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Phoning Long Distance from Hotels

Money Saving advice for Business and Personal Travel

A visitor to this Web site recently asked for advice about making calls from hotels. A hotel had charged a connect fee for each call made, even for calling a toll-free number. When you use a calling card to get lower rates, some motels and hotels insist on charging as much as $1 for that toll-free call!

Top tips to save you money:

  • While choosing a place to stay, ask about phoning policies. I have found places that allow toll-free calls without charge, including everything from bargain motels to four-star hotels. Also check on the cost of local calls.
  • Do you have a cell phone that does not charge roaming fees? If there are minutes remaining on a "national" monthly cellular plan, making calls with the cell phone won't cost anything more than you're already paying each month.
  • When you must pay a hotel connect fee, try to make several calls in one calling card session. Some cards allow multiple calls when you do not hang up from the first call then press the # key for two seconds. At the end of each call, ask the person you are calling to hang up right away so you can use the # key to re-access your card.

  • If one of your calls will be to a voice mail system, leave that call for last. Voice mail systems do not hang up (at least the three that I have used don't) and you will have to pay another connect fee to make your next call.
  • Laptop users: If you will be dialing up to the Internet from hotels, remember to check with your ISP for local dial-up numbers to use in each city. National providers such as Earthlink, AOL and MSN have local access numbers all over the U.S. Some hotels offer free local calls and others charge a flat $1 fee per call, regardless of how long the call lasts. This makes a huge difference in the cost! On a trip to New York, my first hotel charged about $14 an hour for local calls. The second place I stayed charged a flat $1 fee.
For another useful tip, Calling Card Consumer Advice, click here.

  • Click here for Dial-1 plans & other types of Long Distance