12 Things You Should Always Do Before You Leave Your Hotel Room
Do these things before you leave your hotel room and you'll save time and money—and earn the respect of hotel staff.
Check under the bed and dresser
“I always get down on my hands and knees and look under the bed and under the dresser,” says Suzanne Markham-Bagnera, a former general manager at hotels and clinical assistant professor at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. Young kids especially like to hide things, and then forget about them. “You get the frantic phone call that a child has left their Lovey, their stuffed animal, or their toy and they realized once they get in their car and start driving, but they’re not able to come right back to the hotel,” she adds.
Pull the bed linens back
Markham-Bagnera typically removes the bedding to both help out the housekeeper and make sure she hasn’t forgotten anything. “That’s my way of securing: I’ve done the clean sweep of the bed. I’m good,” she says. Guest aren’t expected to strip the bed, but should you decide to, make sure to leave the comforter on a chair or in the closet, not on the floor. And don’t ball the bed linens up with the blanket, keep them separate.
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Leave the used towels in the tub
Markham-Bagnera puts all the towels on the bathtub, especially if they’re still wet. That way they’re out of the way and all together in the pile. And the room attendant only has to pick up one pile of dirty linen. “It makes it a lot faster to pick up,” Markham-Bagnera says.
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Take the food you want to keep
If you’ve spent some time at an Extended Stay Hotel and used the refrigerator, make sure that you take out the items that you want. “The ones that you don’t want, throw away,” she says. Some guests leave alcohol as a tip for the housekeeper, but policies vary from hotel to hotel on whether they can accept it or not.
Stack overflow takeout boxes next to a trash can
Hotel trash cans are pretty small, the remnants of last night’s dinner may not fit. If you’ve got overflow, pile the boxes next to the trash can instead of leaving them scattered all around the room. “The messier you leave the room, the harder it is for the room attendant to clean that room,” Markham-Bagnera says.
Check between the mattress and box spring
When a room doesn’t have a safe, hotel guests will sometimes hide items they don’t want to leave around the room between the mattress and the box spring. Housekeepers have recovered weapons and sex toys there, Markham-Bagnera says.
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Move the furniture back
If hotel guests are travelling with children, they sometimes move one of the beds against the wall so there’s less opportunity for a child to fall out of the bed. That’s fine, but the courtesy is to move the furniture back where you found it before you leave.
Take your medications and supplies with you
Forgetting your medication can be dangerous for you, but leaving supplies like needles in your room could also be hazardous to your housekeeper. Also, if you gashed yourself shaving and used a towel to stop the blood flow, separate the towel out from the rest and put it in the trash. “Hotels will have protocols for how to clean it or for how they have to bag it and have a company come and dispose of it. “Because they can’t just put that in the regular trash and be done with it in a hotel,” Markham-Bagnera says.
Make sure you have your charger!
“If I had a dollar for every charger that I found, I could take my whole family on vacation,” says Adam Sperling, general manager of the Hotel Commonwealth in Boston. These days, it’s bad news if your phone dies, so take that last look around. “It’s things that get left behind that can often cause you stress at the end of your journey,” he says.
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Think about a tip
Room attendants are typically paid hourly, so their position is different from a bellhop or a server that might make less per hour with the expectation that they will make more in gratuities, Markham-Bagnera says. That said, room attendants work incredibly hard and tipping is appreciated. Things to consider? The quality of the hotel, whether you’re staying one night or multiple nights, and how messy you’re leaving the room. “If you’ve got a lot of people staying in the room and you’ve got a pullout sofa or a cot, and you’ve used a lot more towels, it certainly is nicer to leave a little extra,” Markham-Bagnera says.
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Call down to the front desk for transportation
Mornings can be hectic at hotels, with out-of-town guests rushing to make meetings and flights in cities they don’t know. You can save yourself some of the hassle by doing a little prep before you leave the hotel room. “Call down and say, ‘hey, I’m leaving at 7:30 tomorrow, can my car be waiting for me?’” Sperling suggests. “That helps everybody. Your car’s waiting for you and we’re not scrambling to go get it at 7:25 when you need it at 7:30.”
Book your next stay
If you really liked your room and are planning to be back in the area, before you leave your hotel is a great time to rebook, Sperling says. He recommends you ask for the front desk manager for face-to-face treatment that can trump the savings online. “You’re likely to get a great rate, and you’re likely to get upgraded,” he says. Prefer to book online?
Next, check out things smart travellers always do before a flight.