One of the things I learned the hard way while travelling around the world is that some hotels have a lot of fine print and add costs that you didn’t expect while checking out. In some cases, the extra cash I was forced to cough up was almost equal to a day’s stay at the hotel.
Thankfully, this hasn’t happened at any of the hotels owned by large, global chains. That could be because such large hotel chains care more about their brand and service than about a few extra Dollars. These hotel groups usually have their own set of rules and regulations that are applied to their properties all around the world.
Sadly, the same can’t be said about privately owned hotels, regardless of their ratings. They have individual policies, rules and pricing structures. Often, unsuspecting guests aren’t aware of these and, hence, end up paying more than what they expected.
How Some Hotels Charge More?
Actually, it’s not possible for hotels to charge more once they announce a price and accept your booking, either online, through their call centre or directly over the phone. However, here’s the glitch. These hotels will ask for your credit card number to reserve or hold a room. In some cases, they will ask for a cash deposit that you can pay either over a credit card, debit card or any other means such as PayPal or wire transfer.
Obviously, you would expect a full refund of the deposit while checking out unless the money will be adjusted against the final tab, minibar, restaurant expenses or other such charges.
You might not have incurred any such charges. Yet, some hotels will never refund the full deposit, even if you’ve paid it in advance.
Worse, these hotels continue to hold your credit card number and billing details. Maybe you’re unaware that holding your credit card details is also equal to having a deposit at the hotel.
Why’s that? Because every credit card issuer will hold some of your balance for a period of three days after you check out. This permits the biller- or the hotel- to claim some extra money. This system is supposed to protect the hotel against any damages and losses caused by theft or damage to its property. Unfortunately, some hotels leverage this system to force you to pay more.
You would wonder: are these expenses legit? The answer depends on whom you ask. In some cases, a hotel may have genuine reasons to charge extra at the time of checkout or later. This could happen if you have damaged something, such as staining a blanket or pillow, smoked in a non-smoking room or left a meal unpaid and other reasons.
However, in some cases, such an extra charge could be unjustified, and you can contest their claim later. Such charges can include a room service fee, money for extra pillows or blankets, a minibar maintenance fee, extra toiletries or water heating. These depend on the hotel. It is such charges that would be deducted from your cash deposit or billed on your credit card at the time of checkout or even later.
Avoiding Deposits to Hotels
If you’ve stayed at a hotel, regardless of its ratings, you would most likely have been given some deposit. It’s possible that you will get a full refund or ask the hotel to adjust the money against the bill. However, it’s also likely that some money from your deposit was taken to pay for unexpected charges and fees.
Therefore, the best way to avoid these charges is to learn about them before booking a hotel. You can do that when booking through their website or that of a hotel aggregator. The other way is to ask by calling their customer care or call centre for reservations.
The third and possibly the best way is to stay at hotels with no deposits. As a matter of fact, you’ll be surprised at the number of hotels that would welcome you as a guest, even without a deposit. You don’t have to pay a deposit while reserving or checking in at the hotel.
Also Read: 6 Cheap Places To Travel Without Passport
Places To Book Hotels with No Deposit Fee Near You!
Now, where to look for hotels that don’t take a deposit from you while making reservations? Obviously, finding such a place is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Of course, we can use Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other reliable search engine to look for hotels without a deposit. Or, we can simply book a hotel on any of these websites of hotel aggregators.
Here are some places to find accommodations and hotels without deposits.
You might not find a hotel on Airbnb. However, you will definitely come across some superb accommodations on this portal. Some of the hosts on Airbnb don’t ask for a deposit. You can reserve these when necessary.
Booking.com is a global website based in the US. Here, you’ll be able to book hotels without giving your credit card details or providing a deposit. However, you will have to carefully read the terms and conditions of each hotel before making reservations.
One of the flipsides of Booking.com is that some hotels will email you a payment link demanding money for the room for half the length of your stay. This means that if you’re going to stay at the hotel for ten days, they can ask you to pay for five days in advance.
Agoda.com is also a top favourite among American travellers to book hotels within the country or even abroad. Indeed, they have a large selection of hotels on offer, and you can pick and book one that suits your needs and budget.
As a matter of fact, you can find some superb hotels and deals on Agoda.com for your next hotel stay. Check their special offers section and read the terms and conditions carefully before making a booking.
One more place where I found superb deals on hotels is hotels.com. This website also operates around the world. Additionally, they have country-specific websites under the same brand.
On Hotels.com, you’ll come across all sorts of hotels, from star-rated properties to budget ones. They also enable you to search according to a desired location at any specific place. You have the option of booking with a deposit or skipping the payment and opting to pay the full amount of your stay.
MakeMyTrip.com is the largest travel and tourism website from India and has a global presence. Since this website is from India, you can find some really good deals on hotel bookings around the world. All you need to do is register and download their app.
All bookings made over their app provide an extra discount of between two per cent and five per cent. Here, you don’t need to provide a deposit at the time of booking. There are two choices: Making full payment and getting a bigger discount or paying later. There are no deposits charged by hotels for booking from this website.
Before booking a hotel with no deposit, here’s some info you could use. Most hotels charge a deposit to guarantee the room when you arrive. This occurs usually during the peak season. However, hotels are eager to find guests during the off-peak season and hence, waive the deposit requirement. You can also bargain with the hotel on room rates during this season and get better prices.
Emily Morgan is a personal finance blogger dedicated to providing practical advice on managing personal finances, budgeting, and achieving financial goals. With a commitment to continuous learning, Emily empowers readers to take control of their money and make informed financial decisions. Through her relatable and friendly writing style, she has helped numerous individuals transform their financial lives. In her spare time, Emily explores investment opportunities, researches financial technologies, and enjoys discovering budget-friendly ways to travel and experience new destinations.