The hotel industry is one that most of us patronize only occasionally, especially when you find the hidden hotel fees. For many travelers, the proliferation of new hotel fees are proving very surprising. Here are the most common new fees and how to avoid them.
An extra $800 million in fees
The hotel industry, in 2001, generated about $1 billion in add-on fees and services that were, at one point, included with the cost of a room. In 2011, that figure is expected to clock in a record profit of $1.8 billion. This additional $800 million is expected to come from fees [...]
If you’re looking to have fun on a budget this summer, but are burdened by a miniscule budget, consider what your community has to offer. A little creativity and a community activity guide can lead you to free fun in no time. Here are some ideas about how to have family fun without spending any (or much) money.
Mining your community for gems
It’s easy to plop down major coin on entertainment. Food, activities and monthly memberships are fabulous fun, but not if you’re left with too little money to pay the bills. City tourism bureaus and chambers of commerce are great [...]
Phrases like “bank bailout” and “too big to fail” have left a sour taste in the mouths of consumers. The results are easy to see in recent consumer confidence polls, suggests Bankrate. The question “Do you trust your bank?” posed by banking consultants BAI & Finacle in their biannual Index of Bank Sentiment survey received negative replies from consumers. Not only that, but the survey shows that bankers’ assessment of consumer confidence is entirely out of whack.
The divide between consumer and banker opinion
The Index of Bank Sentiment survey polled a large group of bankers and more than 2,500 U.S. banking [...]
Statistics show that 2011 saw a record number of people enrolling in credit unions. Consumers continued to leave traditional banks in reaction to unending fees, and out of a continued mistrust of those institutions following the economic downturn.
A record 91.8 million members
The ranks of the nation’s credit unions swelled as another 1.3 members joined their ranks in the last year, according to figures presented by the National Credit Union Administration. The NCUA collected the data from 7,094 federally insured
credit unions across the nation. A record 91.8 million people now bank with the member-owned institutions.
Bank transfer day
Bank Transfer Day was on [...]
Airfares and lodging rates keep going up, making travel increasingly difficult in a fragile global economy. However, with sharing sites like Airbnb, the lodging costs at least can be significantly reduced, if you are willing to embrace the unconventional.
Unconventional lodging through Airbnb
The website Airbnb matches up travelers with those willing to rent out rooms or spare homes, often for a fraction of the cost of standard hotel lodging. Others, willing to share with strangers, are also cross-indexed. By typing in your destination and the dates of your stay, you can see what is available for your travel plans.
Oddly, the site’s [...]
If you’re a novice to investing, mutual funds and 401(k) accounts, you may be confused by some of the terminology. Diversification is one of the more misunderstood terms. In basic terms, diversification means investing in a variety of different assets so that if one drops, the whole portfolio won’t plummet. But it doesn’t always work that way, depending upon market forces. Here are some of the most common myths about diversification, designed to help give the neophyte investor a better understanding.
Myths about diversification No. 1 – Owning many mutual funds
When you sign up for a 401(k) plan through your employer, [...]
A ban on selling large sugary drinks in New York City was set to go into effect on Tuesday, March 12. However, the ban was overturned Monday by a judge. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city of New York have vowed to appeal the decision.
Large sugary drinks ban thwarted
The regulation would have prohibited the sale of sugary, non-diet beverages larger than 16 ounces in the kinds of venues that the city has jurisdiction over. The ban would have given retailers a 90-day grace period for compliance. After that, they would have risked a $200 fine per each inspection if they [...]
The United States, generally considered a first-world nation, is rapidly losing its standing if one consider the security and life-style of it average citizens after retiring from the work force. According to a new survey, the U.S. ranks low in terms of retirement security and even lower in healthcare.
Global retirement security indexed
A new report by Paris-based Natixis Global Asset Management examines “how well retired citizens live in 150 nations,” according to 20 measures, including wealth, healthcare costs and “quality of life.” It’s conclusions surprised even those who prepared the report. The United States, long considered the place of opportunities, ranked [...]
Carrying balances on too many credit cards can damage your credit score. In order to staunch the bleeding and perhaps obtain a better interest rate, many consumers consider consolidating credit via balance transfer. Does doing this hurt your credit score? Here are some of the ins and outs.
Does consolidating credit hurt your credit score?
Credit consolidation doesn’t add to your total debt right out of the gate, so in that sense, it does not negatively impact your credit. However, shifting balance from multiple credit cards onto one card sends the credit utilization on that one card way up, likely to the [...]
Many people have had the displeasure of dealing with debt collection agencies. You know how you got to this point – thank you, credit cards, car payments, medical bills, depressed wages and low impulse control – but you don’t necessarily know how to navigate your way out of the mess. Here are some tips for how to deal with debt collectors that do not necessarily introduce bankruptcy into the equation.
How to deal with debt collectors No. 1 – Remain calm
Among the chief weapons of debt collectors are guilt and intimidation. What you debt delinquent must remember is that no debt [...]
The recent nightmare suffered by passengers aboard the Carnival cruise ship Triumph has put a spotlight back on travel insurance. When is it a good idea to insure your travels, and when is it a waste of your resources?
Buying ‘peace of mind’ with travel insurance
Like any kind of insurance, it is a safeguard against the unexpected. Insurance never pays off unless something goes terribly wrong, which is not something anybody wants to bet on. However, life being the risky venture it is, sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry.
Thomas Nulty, former president of corporate travel agent Navigant International, [...]
Food costs are on the rise, and nearly every working American is feeling the crunch with the increased payroll taxes that kicked in on January 1. Wasting food by letting it spoil seems less and less of an option. But there are ways to keep fresh food from spoiling so quickly.
Fresh food gone bad
According to Money Talk News, Americans throw out about 20 pounds of food each month due to spoilage. It estimates that is the equivalent of putting $516 a year into the trash can. But you can minimize the hit by prolonging the shelf-life of your groceries with [...]
According to a recent report, Americans are hoarding old cell phones and missing out on billions in trade-in value. So what are you waiting for? Sell those old phones. You know you can use the extra cash. Plus, you’ll be helping the environment.
Old cell phones worth $34 billion
According to a recent study by MarketWatch, about half of all American consumers have at least two old devices collecting dust in their homes. Collectively, MarketWatch says, based on current trade-in values, that represents about $34 billion in uncollected revenue.
Around $9 billion of that is for un-recycled iPhones alone. Apple devices are traded [...]
Last November, voters in both Colorado and Washington state made the recreational use of marijuana legal for adults within state borders. That begs the question, will the states, like Amsterdam, breed a new industry of pot tourism?
Pot tourism not going to happens, says Governor
Late last year, Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper, who opposed the legal marijuana initiative, said that marijuana tourism was not likely to emerge in his state.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said. “They’re going to flock here to buy marijuana as if they’re going to take it back? On an airplane? That seems unlikely to me.”
But Hickenlooper [...]