Get expert insights delivered straight to your inbox.

Skip to Main Content

9 Hidden Costs of Hotels

The cost of a hotel stay is almost as confusing as the cost of a hospital stay.

That’s because you often don’t know the actual price until you’re staring at your bill in horror: $10 water, $20 Wi-Fi and a $50 resort fee! And you only stayed two nights!

In an effort to equip you for your next out-of-town adventure, we listed nine hidden hotel costs to be aware of. Remember, most of these fees are up to you. So if you don’t want to pay them, stay somewhere else!

1. Parking

Certain hotel chains are great about free parking. Others? Not so much. The cost of parking can run $25 a night or more—even for self-parking. This isn’t always clear when you make a reservation, so be sure to call and ask. If you’re staying awhile, a less-central hotel with free parking may be worth the commute.

And if you use valet, don't forget to tip! Here are a few helpful suggestions for tipping in a variety of situations.

2. Housekeeping

Last year, Marriott announced they were placing envelopes in more than 160,000 rooms in the U.S. and Canada to encourage guests to tip their housekeepers. Be appreciative and leave a couple bucks per night or leave a note that you don’t need your room cleaned daily. Either way, budget for a little something at the end of your stay.

3. Restaurants

Hotel restaurants usually have subpar food and overpriced menus. But they have a captive audience, so they can charge whatever they want. Find a local dive around the corner and immerse yourself in the culture for a lot less cash.

4. Room Service

You’re paying for convenience. And the cost is high. In New York City, for example, the average cost of a club sandwich is $24! Then there’s the tip, which is usually tacked on at 20%. If you must order from the hotel, go downstairs, order your food, and wait until it’s ready. This can save you a bundle.

5. Water and Coffee

Many hotels offer a certain number of complimentary bottles of water or K-cups. But here’s the tricky part: They put extras in your room that aren’t free. Read labels carefully to see how many drinks you’re allowed. If you’re going to need more coffee, bring your own or find a nearby coffee shop with a better brew for the same price.

6. Refrigerators and Safes

Are you a new mom who needs a refrigerator in your room? Do you want to lock up your valuables at night? In-room refrigerators and safe are usually available upon request—and for a price. Call and ask about this before you go, then budget for the fee.

7. Resort Fees

The resort fee is probably the most hated fee of them all. What does it even cover? It’s free money for the hotel, so don’t expect them to waive the fee for you. If your hotel has the word resort in the name, that’s a signal you’ll be paying more.  Make sure the amenities are actually worth it to you.

8. Internet

Every hotel has Wi-Fi, but not every hotel has free Wi-Fi. That means you could be paying anywhere from $10 to $20 per day to connect to your Facebook account. Plan on using your phone’s data plan or find a hotel that offers this service for free. 

9. Late Checkout

You’re a valued guest—until it’s time for you to leave. Checkout times differ by hotel, so be aware if you need to be out at 11 a.m. or noon. If not, you’ll pay more. If you know you’ll need more time, ask the front desk. They may be able to work around you for an hour or so. But don’t assume!

money icon

Every savings goal starts with a budget. Create yours today with EveryDollar.

Hotels are expensive enough, so don’t tack an extra $20 or $50 to your tab without budgeting for it! Pick the hotel you can pay for. That way, you’ll leave calm and rested, not angry and asking to speak with a manager.

EveryDollar makes it easy for you to track your transactions on the go – even on vacation. You know, in case you ever need last-minute room service or a cool trinket from the hotel gift shop. Just make sure it’s within your budget. Try using EveryDollar today!

Did you find this article helpful? Share it!

Ramsey Solutions

About the author


Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

Related Articles

12 Cheapest Places to Travel

12 Cheapest Places to Travel in 2024

Are you so ready to get out of town? You don’t have to break the bank to visit these 12 cities. They have lots of free or cheap attractions that will make your heart—and your budget—happy.

Rachel Cruze Rachel Cruze