Travellers must make sure that they factor in hidden charges when calculating the cost of their holiday, experts have said.

Which? Travel magazine is calling on travel firms to stop using these types of payment, which can create extra costs for customers.

Some companies add on additional £2 charity donations without telling customers, while others use ultra-expensive 0871 or 090 calling codes, the magazine found.

Meanwhile, 43% of operators were found to add unavoidable surcharges or booking fees on to card payments, while others offer “free” car hire accompanied by an insurance package costing up to £126.

As many as one in five (20%) use automatic “opt-ins”, meaning consumers have to untick boxes to avoid extra payments for items they do not want, Which? Travel said.

The study of almost 200 companies included travel firms, airlines, hotel chains and hire companies.

These types of hidden charges make it even more important for savvy holidaymakers to save money wherever possible, such as booking cheap airport transfers by bus or coach.

Chris Gray, Which? Travel’s acting assistant editor, said: “Consumers should always have a clear choice when it comes to adding an extra item to their purchase.

“Automatic opt-ins make such choices less than clear, and we want travel companies to stop using them.”

The magazine also found that several hotels in London have hiked room prices ahead of this summer’s Olympics.

Which? Travel said prices at some hotels with rooms still available near the Olympic Park in Stratford had soared by up to £274 during the Games.

Copyright © Press Association 2012

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