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I can probably count on one hand the times I’ve properly checked out of a hotel. I usually leave as discreetly and quickly as possible. And I’m doubly unlikely to check out if there’s a queue at the front desk.
Some hotels allow you to check out by simply pressing a button inside their mobile app. It couldn’t be easier. But having never experiencing backlash of any kind for skipping the process, it just seems wholly unnecessary, no matter how simple.
So, do you have to check out of a hotel? My recent hotel experience prods me to think it’s a great idea.
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Do You Have to Check Out of a Hotel?
Ruminating on the subject, there are only two reasons I can pinpoint for checking out of a hotel. They’re actually both legitimate, and may persuade me to do it more often.
1. Check the Bill for Incorrect Charges
The biggest reason to check out of your hotel is to view your bill and contest anything that may be incorrect. LOTS of possible errors can occur.
Of course, checking out still isn’t entirely necessary. You can dispute a charge over the phone later, but it’s just easier face-to-face.
I’ve never found an incorrect charge on my final bill, but I do check it every time. One thing I find moderately concerning is when hotels allow you to charge your meal directly to your room number. Anyone can jot the wrong room number on the check (unintentionally or otherwise), and that meal could instantly be added to your room tab.
Jason ran into a related issue during a stay at The Gwen in Chicago. When reviewing his bill, he discovered a meal expense that didn’t belong to him. When he queried the front desk, they discovered the charge was from the previous guest that was staying in his room. The hotel had charged the room after Jason checked in, so it was added to HIS bill.
Other unexpected charges can come from inside the room. During a recent stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, I fell victim to minibar sensors.
Some hotel minibars have weight sensors that are tripped when you lift an item, and your room is automatically charged. It’s a you-touch-it-you-buy-it policy. Not until this hotel stay have I been bamboozled by minibar sensors, but this time they got me. I had rifled through the alcohol, picking up bottles to read the labels, and inadvertently spending ~$80 in the process.
I made sure to check out and receive my final bill so I could explain that I hadn’t actually purchased minibar items, but fortunately I wasn’t charged. The front desk said you have a few seconds to replace an item after you pick it up before the sensor charges the room. Next time I know to bring a bag of sand and Indiana Jones the minibar if I want something.
Meghan’s main gripe about “hidden” hotel charges are those seductive bottles of water in the room. Some are free. Some cost a lot of money. Some are complimentary with hotel elite status. And they’re all nearly IDENTICAL. If you’re not diligent, you’ll break the seal on the wrong bottle of water, and you’ll pay dearly.
2. Checking Out Is Courteous
I believe this to be true simply because it makes sense. If you don’t check out, housekeeping won’t know your room is all clear to prepare for the next guest.
I almost never stay in my room until checkout. And I almost always want to check-in early. If the guest before me checks out when he leaves, I probably have a better shot at an early check-in.
This angle persuades me to actually check out. It’s just considerate to the hotel and fellow travelers.
Any reasons to check out that I’m overlooking? Let me know in the comments, and tell me if you take the time to check out. It just seems largely unnecessary.
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