Remember your last vacation? If you're part of Generation X (1966-1983), you probably worked all year to afford some much deserved rest and relaxation -- pulling extra shifts or staying late in order to take one week off out of your two-week allotment.
But you did not put in all those hours just to pay hidden fees that corporations squeeze out of consumers like you. As times get more difficult, many companies -- especially those in the travel and leisure business -- often turn to hidden fees to boost their revenue per customer. This is creating a culture of mistrust for our generation.
Unlike our parents, who could buy an all-inclusive hotel stay for $100, we must read the fine print to find the stay's real cost (an extra $50 a day for beach entrance and $5 for a towel).
We experience hidden fees constantly with airlines, such as American Airlines (Stock Quote: AMR), United Airlines (Stock Quote: UAUA), and Ryanair (Stock Quote: RYAAY).
Redeeming miles and changing flights will also cost you -- and way too much! Last year, the airline industry made $2 billion on charge fees and cancellation penalties alone, according to the Department of Transportation.
Travel plans change all the time, so why should our wallets bleed as a result? In this sense, we would expect consumers to flock to airlines like Southwest with no hidden fees. But it has not seemed to make much difference.
No travel is without its extra charges, and Ryanair captures that so well. Airline tickets from London to Barcelona are listed with no cost for the fare (if you book at least two months in advance)!
Their colorful Web site even states "book cheap flights" as you purchase their tickets. But with the airport tax (28 pounds), online check-in (5 pounds) and baggage cost (5 pounds per kilo), you could end up paying the same amount as a standard carrier. If you have an oversize bag, it might even be cheaper to rent a yacht and sail there yourself (and without all the advertisements draping over the overhead compartments).