Today we celebrate World Tourism Day. For this occasion, ECC Malta would like to share some tips on how to prevent financial surprises when planning your well-deserved holiday break. Hidden extra charges can be very annoying, especially when you have a limited budget and have not planned these additional costs. Below we have listed the most common additional charges that one may encounter during a holiday.
Additional costs in hotels
Almost every hotel has specific check-in times. Therefore, if you arrive at the hotel early in the morning and wish to go straight to your room, you need to inform the hotel beforehand about this since you will probably be charged extra for the early check-in. Beware of other additional charges, such as parking fees, for using the safe, the TV in your room, or Wi-Fi. Sometimes these facilities are complimentary with the booking; however, this may not be the case, especially with budget hotels.
If you want to bring your pet, always search for pet-friendly hotels and be aware this usually will come at a cost. Furthermore, in some hotels, a cleaning fee may be added to your bill; sometimes, it may apply even without pets. It is also important to note that a local tourism tax is levied in several EU countries.
Good to know: You have the right to be informed about any additional costs and the respective fees which are not included in the booking before concluding the contract. This information should be available on the booking page or in the hotel’s general terms and conditions. It must be clearly indicated if additional services are offered at the location like towel rental and use of faster internet.
Additional costs for package tours
Package tours come in handy when you want a hassle-free holiday. It would help if you kept in mind that under certain conditions, the organiser could increase the price by up to 8% even after booking. Such circumstances include, for example, variations in the costs of fuel and kerosene, changes in port or airport taxes, or when there are currency fluctuations.
However, the travel organiser is obliged to justify on a durable medium that there is an increase in the price, not later than 20 days before the start of the package tour. The travel organiser must also inform you about the possibility of a price adjustment before the contract is concluded. It is also a prerequisite that the calculation of the new price is transparent.
However, if the cost increases were foreseeable at the time of booking or if one of the above conditions is not met, you may refuse payment. Similarly, the price increase is also effective without your consent if all the above conditions are met.
If the price increases by more than 8%, the organiser must inform you and request that you explicitly accept the increase within a certain period or withdraw from the contract. The price increase is considered accepted if you do not respond within this period. Thus react in time if you do not wish to accept the price rise.
Additional costs for flights
Before booking, passengers must be informed of the airfare, including all taxes, fees and surcharges. However, you should still be aware of any additional services you may incur, such as check-in at the airport (instead of online), checked baggage, seat selection, meals, etc.
Tips on how to Recognize & avoid additional costs
- Read offers carefully and check which services are included before you book. In case of doubt, contact the hotel or the tour operator.
- Read customer reviews to see if other guests have complained about unexpected additional costs.
- Ask for the bill before the end of your stay to detect extra charges.
- Book cancellable rates. These might be more expensive, but you may save on high cancellation fees.
- Before choosing extra travel insurance: Check if the insurance on your credit card is sufficient.
- If you book “all-inclusive”, you will have fewer surprises regarding food and beverage costs.
- Book well in advance.
- Use a less popular airport.
- Book in the off-season or on less busy weekdays.
- Instead of using hotel parking, choose free public parking lots.
ECC Net Malta – firstname.lastname@example.org