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How to Avoid Sneaky, Hidden Travel Fees This July 4 Weekend

When booking flights and hotel stays, hidden fees can add up quickly (and quietly). Here's how to avoid them.


If you're traveling this Fourth of July weekend, be sure to check your receipts.

Add-on fees are the sneakiest and most common method that companies will use to drive up the cost of your next trip, but being aware of all of your options is the best way to save your wallet this summer travel season. Ahead of the July 4 holiday weekend, Nerdwallet compiled the most often overlooked hidden fees to watch out for when booking travel. Here's what to know:

Most airline passengers gravitate toward the lowest-priced tickets, obviously, but this isn't always the smartest move, according to NerdWallet. Oftentimes, that low base price is only an option because the airline plans to slam the customer with hidden fees along the way, particularly at checkout — what experts refer to as "drip pricing." One example of "drip pricing" is now fairly common — paying more to select your seat.

Related: First Major Airline Strikes a Deal With Pilots Union

Whenever possible, avoid incurring those optional fees (foregoing seat selection won't make you more likely to be bumped from a flight in cases of overselling), and always be on the lookout for search filters that might give you a more accurate sneak peek of the final price.

Booking accommodations can also be riddled with hidden charges. Guests are often hit with resort fees, sometimes called "facility fees" or "destination fees," for internet or pool access. Once again, these charges are often withheld until the end of the checkout process.

So what can you do?

In addition to using the search filter options, paying with points at places that dismiss resort fees for rewards bookings can go a long way. Alternatively, you can ask the front desk or booking agent directly to waive the fee (a less sure way to succeed, but it doesn't hurt to try).

Related: Credit Card Hacks to Help You Build up Big Rewards

If staying in an Airbnb, you'll want to avoid the surprise, and often exorbitant, cleaning fees. On the app, you can compare the "total price" of listings to get a sense of what your stay will cost you once cleaning and additional fees are factored into the equation.

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