There are so many things in life I wish I could've canceled without any repercussions, and I'm mostly talking about text messages.
But nothing is more annoying than cancellation fees. Booking a hotel in advance is usually a good way to save some money and make sure all things are setup before the travel date nears, but it sucks when you change your plans.
Instead of hotels rewarding us for our ambition and anti-procrastination, many choose to punish us loyal customers if we have to change or cancel a reservation.
Maybe you got tickets to the Super Bowl and need to cancel that weekend trip, or maybe, just maybe your girlfriend got a couple J Biebs tickets and asked you to go. You pretend it's a drag, but secretly, you're pretty pumped...
My point is, there are many legitimate reasons why you might need to cancel a reservation, and it would be cool not to end up with a fee. There are some hotels that allow you to cancel all the way up to the day you're supposed to check in. All you have to do is call in before 6pm on the day you are set to stay and they will not charge you.
But the policies for different hotels are so wildly inconsistent it's impossible to know the cancellation practices beforehand. If you are planning on staying at a popular chain like the Marriott or Best Western, each location has its own set of cancellation fees and policies.Disney Land resorts require a 7-day notice if you hope to avoid cancellation fees.
Call the hotel where you have reservations as soon as you know you need to cancel (it obviously has to be before you are required to check in). Give the customer service agent your reservation number and ask him or her to move it forward a few weeks, or even months. They will usually do this with no charge.
Make sure to ask the representative's name and write it down somewhere.
Call back in a few hours and make sure you are speaking with another customer service agent. Now, ask to cancel the reservation you just made. Since it's now way in advance, it will be cancelled with no charge and no fuss.
Hooray for sticking it to The Man.