Vacation rentals are taking a page from the hotel playbook and tacking on extra fees

When Karen Payton searched online for a vacation rental in Hawaii, she expected to find pictures of gorgeous homes by the beach, and maybe a deal or two. Instead, she discovered a surprising vacation rental fee or two.

“I saw one rental where the daily rate was $89,” says Payton, a teacher from Irvine, California. “I was about to book it, but on the last page, I found a summary of mandatory fees. There was a cleaning charge for $200 and a business charge for another $188. These additional charges were more than my entire stay.”

She’d better get used to it. And so should you. Vacation rentals are fee-crazier than ever. They don’t reveal these extras until the last page of your booking, by which time you’re already emotionally invested in the purchase. Occasionally, they wait until after your stay to inform you of the extras.

“I still need a vacation, but I’m worn out from searching,” says Payton. “Just give me the price upfront.” 

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