TODAY   |  February 16, 2013

How to avoid unexpected fees on vacation

If those winter blues have you dreaming of a tropical getaway, online deals may be very tempting. However, buyers should be aware that the price may not actually be what you end up paying. NBC’s Diana Alvear reports.

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>>> this morning in "today's consumer," hotel fees. as the winter weather lingers on, you may be thinking of a getaway to a sunny vacation. while you're making travel plans, don't skip the fine print . some hotels are adding charges that you're probably not expecting. diana alvear with more.

>> reporter: if the winter blues have you dreaming of a sunny getaway, online deals may be very tempting. buyer beware .

>> the price is never the price. there's always added fees on top of it.

>> they tell you it's $159 a night and tax on $25 worth of roar fees. we stayed -- resort fees. we stayed four nights, that's an extra $100 that you weren't expecting.

>> reporter: fees for all sorts of things. some you may not expect. so we decided to visit sin city to make sure what happens in vegas doesn't stay in vegas . first stop, caesar's palace to get advice from travel expert john discala. what can we be charged here?

>> everything.

>> reporter: especially the mini bar .

>> they're like the darth vader of mini bars because there's centers in here -- nightmare you pick up any of this stuff, you'll be charged.

>> reporter: before you touch, read.

>> fine print . very fine print .

>> reporter: oh, movement of items may cause unintentional charges.

>> reporter: how about the coffee in your room?

>> do you enjoy your morning coffee ?

>> sure.

>> this will cost you $12.

>> reporter: $12? room service has long been an added fee no matter what you order. a single glass of soy milk costs $10. $4 for the milk and $6 for the service charge . what about wi-fi?

>> they charge you.

>> reporter: how much?

>> $15.

>> reporter: really?

>> per device.

>> reporter: the next night we visited the wind where you'll pay a resort fee. i don't.

>> i don't know what it covers to actual the truth. yao even know, do you?

>> reporter: it depends on the hotel. at the wind, it covers internet access in your room, unlimited local and domestic long distance calls, and access to the fit not facility. it's not just vegas . in the big apple , expect big charges for room service at the new york palace hotel . they charge $7 per person which they say is clearly stated on their menu. if you're visiting orlando, the hyatt regency grand cypress charges $13 for guests to park their own cars on the premises. but there's no self-parking at the hotel irwin in venice beach . with $33-a-day valet parking . if you're wondering where all these fees come from, some travel experts tell us they believe hotels are taking a page from the airline industry .

>> last year hotels made almost $2 billion in extra fees. while the airlines made almost $20 billion. so the hotels are starting to get smart and follow the airlines' leads.

>> reporter: so get the facts on fees before you leave home.

>> you can look at the message boards like tripadviser or -- i would go on google and type on what hotel you're going to and hotel fees.

>> reporter: make sure you pay your deposit with a credit card , not a debit card .

>> reporter: there's a fair credit billing act . you can get your money back if for some reason something goes wrong. if you pay by debit card , you'll never get your money back. kiss it good-bye.

>> if you notice fees that you don't think are fair, make sure you dispute them before you check out.

>> reporter: try and fight it. the worst they can do is say no.

>> because financial peace of mind may be the true ticket to paradise. for "today," diana alvear, nbc news, los angeles .

>> reporter: