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Checking Out

This photo shows a happy young couple checking out of their hotel room, rolling luggage behind them.

Take photos to prove the room condition when you leave.

If you want to check out of a hotel quickly and easily, here are some expert tips.

Checkout time for most hotels is around 11 am. Sometimes it’s 12 noon and on rare occasions it’s as early as 10 am. Try to avoid the last minute rush and getting stuck in line behind large disorganized families, by checking out at least 30 minutes early.

If you forget to ask for the checkout time when you check in, look on the inside of the door to the room. Usually there’s a card attached to the door, that has the fire escape plan, room number, rates and check out time on it. Alternately, you could check the website, or call the front desk to confirm.

If you shower in the morning, you can leave all the towels in the tub, or shower stall, as you won’t be using them anymore. Fold up the sheets on the bed and place the bedspread back on the bed. (Wash or sterilize your hands after touching it.)

Pack up all the suitcases. Get changed out of your home clothes into what you’ll be wearing for the day. Take the batteries out of the remote, but only if you put them in. Pack up the food and the cooler last, so the ice packs stay frozen as long as possible.

After everything is packed up and you are ready to leave, give the room a final look. Be sure to check inside all the drawers, fridge, closet and room safe. Look under the bathroom counter and be sure you didn’t leave any laundry hanging in the shower.

Now open all the doors, cupboards, closet and fridge. Use the camera in your cell phone to take at least 10 photos, covering every angle of the room.

What you want is proof that you left the room in the same condition you found it. You have proof that you didn’t steal anything. Not that you’ll ever need it, but you never know. Besides, digital photos are free and you can delete them when you don’t need them anymore.

Personally I’ve never had an issue, because I always report any deficiencies to the front desk upon check in. That way they make a note of them on the computer. But I always take photos of the room when I leave, just to be safe.

Some places have an express checkout. They slide the bill under the door and if you agree to what it shows, you need do nothing but leave the room keys behind. The total will be charged to your credit card.

On rare occasion, they send housekeeping to your room for an inspection during the checkout process, to confirm if any snacks, or minibar items were consumed. Some hotels do this as a matter of policy, but it easily adds 15 minutes to the checkout process, depending on how many people are waiting.

Usually you have to check out by going to the front desk. Tell the clerk that you are checking out and have a little chit chat, reminding them of any deficiencies that you found during your stay.

Be sure to look at the bill. Make sure you understand all the charges on it. There shouldn’t be any extra charges like room service, or bar tabs, if you didn’t charge anything to the room. If there are unexplained charges, be sure to dispute them immediately and ask to talk to a manager if need be.

Most hotels don’t want to put up a fuss, or play head games these days. The consumer – that would be you – has a real voice on all the social media websites and hotel booking sites, where you can leave reviews and photos of your stay.

Hotels know that independent customer reviews, are the single most important factor, that people use when deciding where to stay. Bad reviews mean no business. Hopefully you’ll never be in the situation where you have to remind a hotel manager of that fact.

Log in to your online banking, or banking app a few days later. Make sure the bill matches what was charged. Contact the hotel and the credit card company immediately if anything is out of whack, but chances are, everything will be just fine.

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