Many times, hotels don’t only make money on their guests’ room bookings, but through the guests themselves – by charging them extra checkout fees. To ensure you are leaving and not paying for anything extra, or covering “damages” you shouldn’t have to, always follow these “do’s” and “don’ts” before checking out of your next hotel.
DO Ask for a Receipt
As with any purchase, always ask for a receipt when checking out of a hotel. This is where you’ll be able to see any and all charges that will be billed to you. If you’ve already paid part of your bill, make sure you aren’t being charged again. Speak with someone at the reception desk and ask if this is the final bill, or if you can expect anything else from the hotel. Chances are, that is your final bill – but hold onto it. This receipt will come in handy if you get slapped with additional fees weeks or months from now. You’ll be able to have proof of what you’ve paid for, and what you shouldn’t be paying for.
DO Checkout on Time
Checkout times vary for each hotel. Some can be as early as 9 a.m., while others may let you sleep till noon. Either way, know the checkout time of your hotel well before you are set to leave and abide by it. Checking out late could, and usually does, result in extra charges. If keeping your bags stowed or saving a parking spot is the issue, talk to the staff. Hotel staff is often accommodating and friendly, and it’s better to ask for assistance than to check out late and get charged.
DO Check Under the Bed
Not just under the bed; in the fridge, in drawers, under the sink, in the shower, and anywhere else you may have stored or lost something is where you should be looking. Research shows that over 70 percent of people have lost a data storage device while traveling. Even after you think you’ve packed everything, take a second – and third – look around the room to make sure your laptop didn’t slip under the bed by accident. Slow down – busy travelers are more likely to leave items behind.
DON’T Leave the Room a Mess
Leaving your hotel room a mess is just asking for extra charges to be thrown on your bill. While some mess is expected, hotel staff does not anticipate extra cleanup time for major disarray. If something does happen in your room that requires extra attention, take the time well before checking out to notify hotel staff. This will give them ample time to plan ahead and hopefully avoid charging you extra.
DON’T Drink from the Mini-Bar
If you want a drink, skip the minibar in your room. You’ll almost always be charged way more than the alcohol actually costs which usually ends up surprising guests on their bill. Instead, stop by a drug store or liquor store on your way to the hotel for something small, or head down to the hotel bar.
And don’t forget, it isn’t always just alcohol. Many rooms come with fancy bottles of water, coffee, candy, or snacks. Sometimes these items might be free, but usually there is a cost associated – even if it isn’t clear. Always call the front desk to confirm whether or not these goodies are free range. This way you won’t end up with charges of $7.00 for a bottle of water.
DON’T Take Anything You’re Not Supposed To
You might think you’re sly, but the hotel staff will surely realize that you’ve decided to take their two plush bathrobes with you. Extra fees can easily add up when you take a few things home with you that you shouldn’t. Some hotels and cruise ships even charge if they can’t locate a towel that was in your room, sometimes up to a $50 charge per towel! Keep all hotel items where they are to avoid any trouble. Keep in mind, it might not be only fees you’re looking at. Don’t take anything to avoid burglary or theft charges during your vacation.
Hotel stays are fun and relaxing, but make sure to keep them that way by avoiding silly charges. Remember, this isn’t your house, and you don’t own your room - you’re a visiting guest. As long as you treat your room and hotel staff with respect, you’ll be able to check out without racking up any additional charge.