Avoid hotel breakfasts (unless included in the rates)

Six main hotel rip-offs
Hotel breakfasts aren't the only rip-offs at the inn. Here's the skinny on some perfectly legal hotel scams:
• the minibar
• the telephone
• the parking garage
• the breakfast
• the laundry service
• the taxes
A hotel breakfast usually costs anywhere from $7 to $35 per person, so if you have the option of opting out and getting some of that amount knocked off your hotel bill, you should do so.

Legally, hotels are supposed to break out the price of breakfast seperately (unless you booked via a package or a group rate).

In practice, though, many hotels lump breakfast into the rack rates, and many often refuse to remove it.

Try as politely as you can to opt out in order to reduce your room price. Not that you shouldn't have breakfast. Just that hotel breakfasts are overpriced and underwhelming.

A hotel breakfast normally consists of croissants and/or rolls, maybe some packaged jams, coffee or tea, and some sort of weird European orange drink that tastes likes an early (and, thankfully, discarded) formula for Tang; it's wet, sweet, and vaguely orangey, but it certainly ain't juice.

You can get the same thing (minus the definitely-not-Tang) from the corner café for $5–$10. Plus, if you patronize the neighborhood joint, you get the chance to rub elbows at the bar with locals on their way to work rather than share a hotel breakfast in a room filled with other tourists.

Only on very rare occasions and in the very cheapest hotels do they charge you as little for breakfast as the local cafe would.

Now I know that some hotels lay on a much more impressive spread—slices of ham, cheese, teensy boxes of cold cereal, even hot prepared foods like eggs and grilled breakfast meats (either of which is a sure sign the hotel is catering to Americans who would rather not be in a foreign country after all)—but even that is truly not worth the added expense. Skip it, hit the local café, and get on with your day quickly and, dare I say, more authentically.

However, if your hotel insists that breakfast is included in the rate and you cannot opt out, then you have carte blanche to bring your daypack down to breakfast with you and load it up with enough extra food to make at least a decent mid-morning snack if not a light picnic lunch out of it.

After all, the hotel did insist, and you are paying through the nose for it. Just don't be obvious about it; for some reason, they seem to frown upon this act of nonviolent protest.

» Lodgings in Paris: Booking.com, Venere.com, Bedandbreakfast.com, Getaroom.com




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A continental breakfast in Europe usually consists of little more than rolls, packaged jelly, and a cappuccino. Mmm, and all for just $13. What a deal!
A continental breakfast usually consists of little more than plain rolls, packaged jelly, and a cappuccino. Mmm, all that bounty for a mere $13. What a deal! If you can, try to get out of paying extra for a lame breakfast and hit a nearby cafe for a much cheaper breakfast alongside the locals.