How to Check Out of a Hotel

Checking out at a hotel is relatively simple, but if you’re not careful, you may be hit with costly penalties and fees. When checking out, be sure to ask for an itemized receipt after handing over your keys and settling payment. Prevent fraud and penalties by leaving a credit card instead of a debit card and by verifying the check out time the night before leaving. Make sure you don’t forget anything when packing for checkout. Look for forgotten items in all closets, drawers, and shelves.

Part One of Three:
Preparing for Check Out

1) Leave a credit card with the front desk when necessary. Debit cards left with the front desk during check in are a high risk for fraud. In many cases, money illegally withdrawn from your debit account cannot be returned. Fraudulent transactions made on credit cards, however, can generally be contested for a full refund.

  • If you don’t have a credit card when checking in, see if you can substitute a driver’s license or a similar item for a credit or debit card. Some hotels may only accept credit or debit cards.
  • If the hotel you’re staying it is insistent about holding a card, ask to see a manager. Ask the manager if you could pay a cash deposit as a substitute for the card. Be sure to get a receipt for the deposit.
  • Some hotels may allow you to pay for your room with a Paypal account. In this case, you won’t need a credit or debit card. Some hotels may charge additional fees for Paypal payments.

2) Verify the check out time and procedure. Some hotels may charge a fee for checking out early or late. Most hotels provide general check out information to lodgers on pamphlets or signs in your room or at the front desk. Alternatively, look up check out information online.

  • The check out policy will vary between hotels. For example, you may be able to leave your room key in your room when checking out.
  • If you can’t find check out info in your room or online, call the front desk. Ask about the check out time and whether there are any penalties for early or late checkout.

3) Inquire about additional penalties, gratuities, and fees. Different hotels will have different policies about penalties, gratuities, and fees. Look online for a complete list of these for the hotel you’re staying at. Ask the front desk about these for additional information or explanation.

  • To check for gratuity on the sly, ask for an itemized receipt at some point. Any gratuities should be clearly indicated on the receipt. Prevent double tipping by not tipping when gratuity is included.
  • Some common hotel fees include things like: a minibar restocking fee (on top of the cost of minibar items), a gym fee, holding fees for baggage, and fees for wireless Internet use.

4) Set an alarm. If you’re a heavy sleeper, you may want to set a few alarms. Position your alarm away from your bed so you don’t turn it off and go back to sleep. Allow yourself enough time before checking out to pack your belongings and make your way to the front desk.

  • Many hotels offer a free wake-up call service. Call the front desk the night before you check out and ask to be called with a reminder.

Part Two of Three:
Checking Out at the Front Desk or Online

1)Check out with the front desk. Some hotels may refer to the front desk simply as “Reception” or the “Reception Desk.” This is normally located near the main entrance of the hotel where you checked in for your stay. With your baggage in tow, go to the front desk worker, give them your keys, and settle payment for your stay.

  • When you arrive at the front desk, say something like, “Hi, I’ve been staying in room 222 and I’d like to check out.”
  • Ask for an itemized receipt for your total bill. Fraud is relatively common at hotels. If your hotel refuses to give you a receipt, this may be a red flag.
  • An itemized receipt is generally required to get reimbursement for expenses on a business trip. Be sure to ask for one when traveling on business.

2) Check out online alternatively, if applicable. More and more, hotels are using online tools to make your stay more convenient. Some hotels may offer an online checkout. To find out if the hotel you’re staying at has an online checkout, look for this information online at the hotel’s website or ask the front desk.

  • Many online check out services will send a bill to your email address, though you may be able to request that a physical bill be sent to your home.

3) Get a receipt for any cash payments. If you’ve decided to pay cash for any of the services you’ve received at the hotel or to resolve penalties, ask for an itemized receipt. Compare this to your total receipt to make sure you weren’t charged twice for the same thing.

  • If a “clerical error” occurs and the hotel doesn’t have a record of your payment, you may have to pay this fee again if you don’t have a receipt.

Part Three of Three:
Packing Your Room for Check Out

1)Remove and pack all items in drawers and closets. Items that you’ve hung in closets or tucked away in drawers can easily be forgotten. Out of habit, you may have put something in one of these places without thinking. Check all closets and drawers before leaving and pack your personal items in your bag(s).

2) Check the bathroom for forgotten items. Toiletries and bathroom accessories, like towels and beauty tools, are often overlooked and left behind. Move towels on the floor to ensure nothing has been knocked on the ground and hidden from view.

3) Scan shelves, under beds, and outlets before leaving. High up storage areas can hide outside of your normal view. Some items may have been kicked under or behind your bed. Outlets, especially ones hidden behind beds and dressers, may still have chargers plugged in.

  • Guests often absently deposit items on shelves, making them easy to lose amidst hotel knickknacks decorating shelves.

4) Gather your room key, possessions, and other checkout necessaries. In many cases, you’ll have to bring your room key(s) to the front desk to check out.Gather your packed possessions near your room’s entrance. Note your room number, if necessary. The front desk worker will usually ask for your room number and keys when checking out.

  • Some hotels may require guests to leave their keys (usually magnetic card keys) behind in the room when checking out.

5) Do a final sweep of the room before walking out the door. When all your things are packed and positioned at the room entrance, anything left behind will be more obvious. Before leaving to check out at the front desk, give the room one more look over.