What to know for those who’re planning a visit for 2021

Do you remember what traveling was like before COVID-19? You didn’t have to wear a mask or have your brain checked with a q-tip to enjoy the much-anticipated Hawaiian vacation.

Unfortunately, one aspect of the trip that COVID-19 hasn’t changed is the resort fee. That extra cost on your hotel bill that is supposed to cover the amenities is alive and well. In some Las Vegas hotels, they can cost up to $ 50 a night.

Caroline Lupini, credit card and travel analyst at Forbes Advisor, says resort fees typically cover things that hotels previously offered for free – especially for elite members of the hotel’s loyalty program.

For example, resort fees typically cover free Wi-Fi, gym and pool access, towels, a daily newspaper, or a shuttle, although Lupini states that they vary by hotel.

“Those extra services really aren’t worth the extra cost – resort fees are one way hotels can make more money by hiding some of the cost of staying at the hotel,” says Lupini. “If you book a hotel with a pool, you should of course expect to have access to the pool.”

Understanding comparisons can be difficult

Resort fees make it difficult to compare costs between hotels. A hotel may look cheaper, but then beat the guest with a $ 40 daily resort fee. It’s not always (or even usually) easy to see these resort fees in advance, especially if you’re booking through an online travel agent like Priceline or Orbitz, Lupini told USA TODAY.

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Get a little smarter

Lupini recommends reading the fine print to determine if there is a resort fee when booking a hotel stay. If there is a resort fee, make sure it is included in the cost of booking the hotel. “If it’s unclear whether or not a particular hotel charges a resort fee, you can call the hotel to check,” she adds.

As a rule, hotels do not waive the resort fee even if you do not use the services offered by the resort fee (e.g. pool, gym, internet). “However, if you don’t use the services or are disappointed with the quality of the service, there is no harm in requesting a resort fee exemption or a reduced resort fee,” said Lupini.

Learn the jargon

Molly Fergus, Travel Expert and General Manager of TripSavvy, tells USA TODAY that some hotels are now using new terminology in place of the words “resort fee”. Charges like “target fee” or “city fee” now appear on hotel bills, she says.

“If you’re traveling to a popular US destination like Las Vegas, you can look up hotel resort fees before searching for a room on ResortFeeChecker.com,” recommends Fergus. “This website provides resort fee and property information for approximately 2,000 hotels.”

Get the most bang for your buck

You pay to access this hotel pool so you can use it just as well.

Make sure you take advantage of the resort amenities as you pay for them. Sara Rathner, travel expert at NerdWallet, was staying at a New York City hotel last year and was receiving a “Mandatory Setup Fee” of $ 36 per day that covered local and long distance calls from her room phone and unlimited access to the hotel gym, Use of the business center, a discount in the lobby bar and an additional free hour-long bike rental.

“The more amenities you use, the more you” use “the resort fee, so to speak,” says Rathner. “Since you’re paying for it anyway, you might as well get the best bang for your buck if you can.”

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