Time was when a call to a hotel before 6 p.m. the day of arrival was enough to cancel a hotel reservation without penalty. Not so in today's wired world.

Canceling a hotel reservation, made online, often comes at a cost, whether the reservation is made with an online travel agency such as Expedia or Travelocity or directly through a hotel's website. It is important to note the exact policies for each website, but Expedia's cancellation policy is typical.

"Any changes to or cancellation of your reservation may result in fees from $25 up to the full cost of your stay," Expedia's site explains. Pretty straightforward, though it is more accurate to state "will result in fees" rather than "may" because once you make a reservation, cancellation fees apply.

A recent check of Expedia showed that you have until midnight Mountain Standard Time (11 p.m. Pacific) the day before arrival to cancel, but that comes with a $25 penalty (that time is subject to change so double-check in case you need to cancel a reservation). The price of canceling later than that goes up — it's the cost of one night's stay if made before check-in. After check-in, there is a 100% penalty per room. In other words, you pay for your entire stay whether you stay or not.

Get the full story at the Los Angeles Times