When I think of the quintessential sunny holiday, I think about my trip to Belek, Turkey. We stayed at the beautiful Kempinski The Dome, perfect for maxing and relaxing. Can’t beat the sunshine, mint-infused lemonade, ocean breeze, swaying palm trees, salty hair and tanned skin especially in places like the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. But, sometimes those things come at an additional cost if you aren't booking smart.
This whole thing made me think about the different hidden costs in travel. Here are 6 hidden vacation costs you need to know about:
1. Beach Passes
Choosing a cheaper hotel off the beach path may not be as penny-wise as you'd think. Private beaches often charge for entry, and non-guests can also incur hefty fees just to use another hotel's pool. Find out if the beaches near your hotel are public or private before booking a room.
2. Baggage Holding
Not long ago, if you arrived at your hotel before check-in or wanted to extend your vacation past check out most hotels held your bags as a courtesy. Those days are over. Hotels are cashing in on the luggage you leave behind for a few extra hours. Expect to shell out as much as $5 per bag to get the hotel to hold it for you.
3. Hotel Fees
Hotels are notorious for tacking on fees for everything from bottled water to an extra pool towel to WiFi. Hotels made $1.75 billion in fees alone last year, according to Pricewaterhouse Coopers. Didn't use the hotel gym or business center? Carefully review your itemized bill, then ask if they'll remove charges for unused perks.
Use the Internet to your advantage. Often, third-party websites are more up-front about hidden fees than hotels’ own sites. Tripadvisor.com highlighted a $30 second-bed charge at a top Seattle hotel, for example. (The hotel’s website did not, however.)
4. Automatic Gratuities
Before you tip anyone, check to see if an automatic gratuity for their services has already been added. For instance, you may incur a one-time $10 to $30 fee to cover housekeeping and bellman gratuities, while your bill for room service or spa services may already include a 10% to 20% tip.
5. All-Inclusive Deals, Not So All-Inclusive
Booking an all-inclusive package means you can relax and stuff yourself silly without worrying about the cost of every meal. But all-inclusive rarely delivers on the promise. It may say drinks included, but omit alcohol from the bargain. Some packages limit you to one dining facility only. If you want to sample the hotel's other cuisine, you'll have to pay for it. Be sure to ask what the all-inclusive deal doesn't include.
6. Rental Car Insurance If you're planning on being your own tour guide, you'll probably need a rental car to do it. Most renters agree to the optional car insurance thinking it's better to be safe than sorry. True, but you may be just as safe without it. In most cases, your personal car insurance extends to rental cars as well — check your policy first. No car back home? Then it's a good idea to buy what they're selling.
As I was finishing up this post, plans sort of shifted a bit and something solidified. Looks like we are heading to the Western Caribbean in April.
Got a little anecdotal tips of your own to add? Let’s hear it in the comments.
Follow @valeriefidan and tag your awesome travel photos with #ramblist! As always, all opinions, as always, are my own. Photos taken with iPhone; edited in Camera+ and instagrammed.