Beware This Sentence When Booking Online

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How often do you read the fine print before you make travel arrangements? You might think you've seen it all, but those diminutive stipulations aren't evergreen—hotels, airlines, even tour companies are continuously updating their list of exceptions. Miss something pertinent to your trip, and you could find yourself spending far more money than you ever intended. Here's one that recently tripped up a friend of mine—a single sentence, embedded deep in a sea of small letters, that read: "hotel may not be able to accommodate more than two people in a room." For couples traveling together this poses no problem whatsoever, but as soon as you start booking vacations for three or more people it can be a challenge. It's especially confusing when you're booking into a hotel that has two double beds to a room.

My friend learned this the hard way when reserving a room in a classy hotel in the Dominican Republic.  Failing to read the fine print and assuming that the photos of rooms with two beds assured enough space for her and her two traveling companions, she jumped on the great rate the site presented and booked the room.

Fortunately, she was smart enough to call the hotel to confirm their reservation before she set off on her vacation (something I always recommend when you book through a third party). At that time, she learned that it would cost them the full price of the five-star hotel room if they wanted to have a third person stay with them. Yikes. Thanks to the fact that she called in advance, she was able to speak to someone at the hotel who eventually agreed to eliminate the exorbitant fee and let her friends stay in her room for the flat rate she booked through the online travel agent. Crisis averted.

She got off easy, but not everyone will be quite so lucky. The lesson? Read the fine print. And always call ahead to confirm your reservation details.

Have you ever been misled by the fine print when traveling? Share your story below so that others can avoid the same fate.

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