How To Check Out Of A Hotel

Last Updated on November 2, 2021

There are some important things guests should consider when checking out of any hotel.

  • Did you provide the hotel means of payment when you checked in?
  • Do you need a paper receipt?
  • Do you wish to see your bill to review any charges applied to your room?

Your answers to those questions will determine how best to check out of your hotel room.

Here are the steps for the standard hotel check-out procedure.

Know Your Check Out Time

Make sure you know when you are required to leave. The most common hotel check-out time is 11 am, but you need to check your specific hotel. Don’t make any assumptions.

Make sure you will be awake in plenty of time. Set an alarm or request the hotel’s wake-up call service.

Some hotels have penalties for late checkout. You don’t want to pay extra before you slept in!

Decide If You Need To Visit The Front Desk

If your hotel has your card on file then you can leave without formally checking out. This is common practice in the US, especially with experienced business travelers.

Most hotels in the United States require you to provide a credit or debit card as means of payment when you book or check-in to the hotel.

Some hotels in other countries don’t require the pre-authorization of a card. If you walk out without formally checking out you could find yourself in trouble with the police.

If you have provided a means of payment this means you don’t need to formally check out by visiting the front desk if you don’t want to.

But there are some reasons that you might want to visit the front desk before leaving.

You might want to pay with a different card than the one you previously provided. Credit card companies are more likely to side with you in any disputes and issue a chargeback against a hotel charge. Or you might even want to pay cash.

And you might want to get some paperwork.

Get A Printed Receipt [Optional]

If you require a printed receipt you will need to check out in a more formal way.

If you are concerned about how much time you have in the morning you can usually settle your bill the evening before you leave.

You don’t need to even hang around at the front desk. You can simply request that a copy of your final bill be sent up to your room the night before you leave.

Review Your Bill [Optional]

One of the reasons to get a printed receipt is so that you can review your final bill.

Hotels routinely charge extra for wi-fi, movies, minibar snacks, bar drinks, or room service

Sometimes charges are applied to the wrong room number. Mistakes do happen. It’s easier to dispute room charges by speaking face to face with the front desk clerk.

You can usually get your bill emailed to you and you can review it later.

Even touching things in the minibar items can sometimes lead to you being automatically charged. Some hotel minibars work using weight sensors.

surprise charges

Arrange Any Transport For The Morning [Optional]

If you need to book a taxi then make sure you do it the night before.

Many hotels require you to reserve your space on an airport shuttle the night before.

Leave A Tip For Housekeeping [Optional]

You might want to leave some money for the cleaning staff.

If you don’t like to leave money consider leaving a small gift. A bottle of wine or some chocolates might be appreciated.

If you are feeling generous you could strip the bed and throw all the linen and towels into one big ball.

It might save the cleaner 2 minutes of work. That doesn’t seem much but if you were cleaning 10 – 15 rooms every day you’d appreciate it!

Remove any do not disturb sign from the door and remember to switch off the TV so that they don’t think someone is still in the room.

Pack For Leaving

It’s usually a good idea to at least semi-pack the night before leaving. It will save you time in the morning.

Here’s a quick checklist.

  • Check and empty the closets and drawers
  • Check the bathroom
  • Empty the hotel safe
  • Remember your phones chargers, check the outlets
  • Have a quick look under the beds in case you kicked anything under

In the morning you’ll only need to carry out a final sweep before being set to leave.

Let Someone Know You’ve Left

As mentioned above you don’t always need to stand in line at the front desk and formally check out.

You don’t need to let anyone know that you’ve left but it’s more polite to do so.

This allows cleaning staff to get into your room early to begin their work.

Think of your fellow travelers. If rooms are cleaned earlier then early check might be possible for the next guest.

If everyone just left without checkout out, it would make early check-in much more difficult. What goes around comes around.

Here are some ways to let your hotel know you’ve gone.

  • Drop the room key at reception [Without waiting for a bill]
  • Use the hotel app for online check out [If the hotel chain has a mobile app]
  • Call the front desk on the phone before you leave the room
  • Let someone know from housekeeping
  • Ask the hotel doorman to let reception know you’ve left [If there is a long line at reception]

Talking to someone before you go a good way to provide feedback. If you are happy with your hotel stay, I recommend saying a few kind words to someone before you leave.

It can have a greater impact than you realize. Simply saying “thanks, I enjoyed my stay” allows the person to feel good about their work.

If you prepare the night before the hotel check-out process should run smoothly. There really isn’t all that much to it!

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