Your Vacation's Hidden Costs

By Candice Choi, AP Personal Finance Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Once you book a plane ticket and hotel room, it's natural to think your vacation costs are all but covered.

Yet a hodgepodge of new and unexpected fees when you're on the road means your trip can end up costing far more than expected.

With airlines, for example, fees can now outweigh the price of a ticket if you're not careful. And the attractive rates for hotels and rental cars on travel Web sites probably don't reflect the surcharges and extras that will be added later.

Knowing about any hidden costs will help you stay on budget, and perhaps even dodge some fees. Here's what to watch for.


Testing the limits of fee outrage, the low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines last week said it will charge as much as $45 each way for a carry-on bag. The practice isn't catching on, but it further shows complimentary services on airlines are quickly becoming industry relics.

To start, many carriers now charge around $25 for the first checked bag, and $30 for a second bag. Be sure you know the size and weight requirements too, or you may end up paying an additional $50 or so per bag. So if you checked two overweight bags, it could cost $155.

Once you're in the air, typically all that's free are drinks such as soda, juice and coffee. Complimentary meals have all but vanished on domestic flights, and many airlines now charge for snacks as well. On United and US Airways, snacks range from $3 to $7, according to

Alcohol, headsets and Internet access generally come with price tags too. On JetBlue, it's $7 for a blanket and pillow.

The good news is that most these fees can be avoided with some careful planning. And you may be able to get some fees waived or reduced if you have a frequent flier account or a rewards credit card with the airline.

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