When you're worn out from traveling, the drinks and snacks waiting for you in your hotel room can be tempting. But convenient as they may be, every item in those tantalizing hotel mini-bars is outrageously marked up.
A small bag of potato chips, for example, can cost you nearly four times what you'd pay at the grocery store. A Clif Bar that typically sells for $1.83 could cost you a whopping $4.50, and a half-bottle of Skyy Vodka is about 200 percent higher than at the liquor store [source: Mint.com]. One New York City hotel even charged a 1,300 percent markup for a package of Gummi bears [source: Crowe, 10 Items]. And the charges are automatic: Today's mini-bars have detectors that record the items you remove and bill your room.
Order an in-room movie and you'll find more hefty markups. You can rent a recent movie from Redbox for only a dollar; a Netflix subscription costs only a few dollars per DVD. But hotels routinely charge $10 to $15 for movie rentals [source: Crowe, 10 Items].
The best way to beat high hotel markups is to plan ahead. Pick up your snacks and drinks at a convenience store before you check in. Bring a DVD with you and watch it on your laptop, use Wi-Fi to stream movies onto your computer, or stick to free channels on your room's TV.
Are all these markups giving you a headache? The remedy is likely to be marked up too. Read on.