Stress-Free Guide: How to Check Out of Your Hotel

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Checking out of a hotel can be a chaotic and rushed experience if you don’t have a plan. Long lines, fees, and forgotten items can quickly sour the end of an otherwise great trip.

Use this simple guide to breeze through hotel checkout with no surprises or headaches.

Stress-Free Guide: How to Check Out of Your Hotel

Confirm Your Departure Details

Before your last day, confirm when you need to leave and have your key cards ready. This avoids any confusion about room occupancy and late checkout policies.

  • Verify the hotel’s checkout time, usually 11am or 12pm.
  • If your transport doesn’t leave until later, ask about late checkout options. Many hotels allow 1-2pm extensions for a fee.
  • Get key cards for all guests together so you can turn them in at once. Don’t forget any in the room.
  • Have your confirmation details handy including reservation number, dates, and room number.
  • Know when airport shuttles, taxis, or rides will arrive to bring you to your next destination.

Review Your Bill the Night Before

Request a copy of your bill the evening prior to verify all charges are correct. This prevents billing disputes or delays checking out.

  • Ask the front desk for a preliminary bill to review.
  • Verify all room, tax, dining, and incidental fees look accurate. Dispute any unusual charges.
  • Add up charges yourself to double check the total.
  • Ensure any deposits, discounts, or packages are applied as promised.
  • Notify staff immediately if anything looks incorrect or missing. It’s much harder to fix later.

Pack Up and Sweep Your Room

Use your last morning in the room to pack everything and do a thorough sweep for belongings.

  • Gather all your possessions and lay them out for packing. To avoid forgetting items, you can even create a checklist.
  • Check drawers, shelves, under furniture and in the safe for any personal items.
  • Don’t forget to look in the bathroom, under sinks, and in shower/tub areas.
  • Unplug all charging electronics like phones and laptops.
  • Strip the beds of all blankets, sheets, and your own linens to check for items.
  • Seal all your packed bags so nothing falls out when brought down.
  • Do a final walkthrough of the entire room before heading to the lobby.

Clear Any Outstanding Fees

Settle any unpaid bills for the hotel stay before checking out. This includes:

  • Room service charges
  • Restaurant or bar tabs
  • Mini bar purchases
  • Spa or salon services
  • Valet parking or dry cleaning fees
  • Early/late checkout costs
  • Damage or smoking fines
  • Rental equipment bills
  • Gift shop purchases
  • Transportation like taxis arranged through the hotel
  • Any other services used during your stay

Having a zero balance makes for easy checkout. You can also ask for invoices to submit for expense reports.

Return Room Keys to the Front Desk

Once you’ve packed everything, head to the front desk to return room keys and checkout.

  • Turn in all key cards you were provided including for each guest. Missing keys can incur fees.
  • Checkout at the front desk, not just by dropping keys in a box.
  • If you’re in a rush, let staff know so they can expedite the process.
  • Provide your name and room number to make locating your account easier.
  • Ask for a final invoice showing your balance is paid in full.

Inspect Your Itemized Bill

Carefully review every charge on your final bill before authorizing payment.

  • Verify dates of stay, room type, room rate, and confirm nothing looks incorrect.
  • Ensure additional nights, guests, packages, or upgrades are calculated properly.
  • Check dining, spa, resort, parking, phone and other fees.
  • If anything seems off, request corrections before paying. It’s difficult to get refunds later.
  • Inquire about having multiple charges combined into one bulk payment.
  • Confirm the total bill matches any preliminary folios you received.

Choose Your Payment Method

When your final bill is verified, select how you want to pay your balance.

  • Most hotels accept major credit/debit cards, traveler’s checks, cash, and bank transfers.
  • Rewards credit cards let you earn points on hotel spending.
  • Debit cards, cash, or traveler’s checks avoid credit card foreign transaction fees.
  • Upscale hotels may even accept Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or contactless payments.
  • Larger balances can be paid directly via bank wire transfer if coordinated beforehand.
  • Always get a printed receipt showing your overall stay’s charges and $0 balance.

Request Receipts for Records

Before leaving, collect documentation of your stay for personal records or work reimbursement.

  • Ask for a final itemized receipt detailing all charges and payments.
  • Request separate invoices for expenses like dining or spa services to submit for reimbursement.
  • Verify receipts show official hotel details like name, address, tax ID, and contact information.
  • Double check receipts reflect any refunds or credits provided for billing disputes.
  • Scan or take photos of receipts to have digital copies as backup.

Thorough receipts help if any billing questions come up later and provide documentation if submitting expenses to an employer.

Grab a Map or Directions for the Road

Don’t head out blindly when you leave. Get directions or a map for your destination. The front desk can provide:

  • Directions or best route to the airport, train station, or bus stop.
  • Local maps with attractions highlighted if extending your stay.
  • Estimated taxi fares and tipping suggestions.
  • Rental car return instructions.
  • Phone number to arrange for hotel shuttle transportation.

Getting oriented for where you need to go next makes exiting smooth and prevents getting lost right out the door.

Leave a Review to Wrap Up Your Stay

Before departing for good, leave feedback on your hotel experience to help other travelers.

  • Fill out a survey if you received one by email or at checkout.
  • Post a review on the hotel’s website, Google listing or sites like TripAdvisor.
  • Provide honest feedback about what you liked and any areas for improvement. Mention staff by name when appropriate.
  • Share photos you took during your trip for others to get a look inside the hotel.
  • Let the front desk staff know directly if you had an exceptional stay and wish to recognize anyone.

Checking out doesn’t have to be painful. By planning ahead, reviewing billing, settling payments, collecting documentation, and sharing feedback, you can breeze through the hotel checkout process and cap off your trip on a high note.

Use these tips to make your next stress-free exit.

Jennifer Tuffen
Jennifer Tuffen

I'm Jennifer Tuffen, a travel enthusiast and storyteller, six years and 10+ countries deep into a journey of discovery and cultural immersion.