An after-departure charge refers to any additional travel fees or costs that are charged to a customer after they have already departed from the airport, cruise port, hotel, or other travel provider.
Common examples of after-departure charges in travel include
Hotel charges: A hotel may charge additional incidentals after check-out, such as movies watched, mini-bar items consumed, parking fees, or damage fees. These charges get billed after the guest has departed.
Cruise charges: Cruise passengers may incur onboard charges during the cruise – such as specialty dining fees, bar tabs, photos, shopping, or spa treatments. These charges get tallied and billed at the end of the cruise, after disembarkation.
Airline ancillary fees: Airlines may charge extra bags fees, seat selection fees, or other à la carte service charges post-flight. Travelers discover these surprise charges on their billing statements.
Car rental surcharges: Rental car companies may tack on fuel charges, toll fees, or airport surcharges to the final bill after the rental period, catching travelers off guard.
To avoid surprise charges, travelers should understand all policies upfront, save receipts, pre-pay for services when possible, and vigilantly review final bills for any after-departure fees added. Being informed about when you may be billed post-travel helps avoid costly sticker shock down the road.
How Can One Avoid Unexpected After-Departure Charges When Traveling?
Here are some tips to avoid getting hit with surprise after-departure charges when traveling:
- Carefully review all policies and fee schedules with hotels, cruise lines, airlines and rental cars. Understand what is included and which services or incidentals come at an added cost.
- Decline extras not needed – like hotel mini-bar access and rental car GPS units if you already have navigation. Fewer add-ons means lower odds of extra fees down the road.
- Pay for services and fees upfront whenever possible, like checked bags with airlines. This prevents unpaid items from accumulating as pending charges.
- Save all receipts during your trip for incidentals that can’t be pre-paid, like room service or onboard purchases. Cross check receipts with final bills.
- Opt out of autorefuel or prepaid fuel programs with rental cars if you’ll likely return with a full tank. You’ll pay less in the end.
- Thoroughly inspect rooms, cars and your bill for any charges before departing. Identify discrepancies immediately to resolve on the spot.
Staying proactive about understanding fee policies and paying for services upfront goes a long way towards avoiding surprise charges tallied up post-travel on your final bill.