When we want to have a good travel experience, we generally focus on picking the right hotel. We read reviews, ask well-traveled friends for their recommendations, and search for photos online. However, you can really heighten the quality of your trip by doing a few things when you check in and out. These things are often supremely simple but can totally change your trip. Here are 10 things you should do when checking in and checking out to ensure the best travel experience possible.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
The old adage is true: don’t ask, don’t get. Of course, remember to ask about essentials like the hotel amenities and check-out time when you’re checking in. However, you can also use this time to ask for any extras that might really improve your trip. Extra toiletries? Double pillows? Ear plugs? A later check-out time? Hotels are often happy to accommodate these requests, but you won’t get them if you don’t ask, so speak up.
Celebrating Something? Mention It!
Are you traveling for a birthday, an anniversary, or some other special occasion? Mention it before or during your check in. Many hotels will use this as a good excuse to spoil you, whether that’s offering a bottle of bubbly, gifting some chocolate-covered strawberries, or fancying up your hotel room with some fresh roses.
Listen to Staff Recommendations
In the rush to check in, many guests ignore staff recommendations or fail to ask about them. But you should remember that staff know the local area and its amenities better than anyone else. They hear feedback from other guests about what they enjoyed, and they’ll have their own favorite spots in the area if you just ask. This will let you can get the real local experience, straight from an expert. The hotel might even have partnerships with local restaurants or tour companies which could score you a great discount.
Borrow, Don’t Buy
Chances are, you’ll realize you forgot something you need right after you leave home. It might be a phone charger, a bottle of conditioner, your headphones, or some other basic that you can’t do without. Before you rush out to buy new ones, ask the front desk if they have any you can borrow. This stress-free solution will save you time and money that you can use on enjoying your trip.
Inspect Your Room
Take a good look around your room when you check in so you can sort out any issues before you settle in. Make sure the room has all the amenities you booked in case they’ve put you in a room with a queen-sized bed when you booked a king, or a room without a bathtub when you paid for one. If the bed linens aren’t fresh or the television isn’t working, now is the time to mention it. Don’t wait until bedtime to request a fix to a problem the hotel could have sorted out immediately.
Give Yourself Enough Time
You might think you can shower, pack your bags, and get to the lobby in ten minutes, but you’re probably wrong. Be realistic about how long you need and don’t rush it. You don’t want to end your trip feeling stressed and rushing around your room trying to meet that 10 a.m. check-out.
Double-Check Your Room
Before you leave, scan your bags and your room to make sure you haven’t left anything behind. Check the power outlets, the shower, under the bed, and in the bedsheets – these are the most common places for lost items. Of course, you can call the hotel if you’ve left something important behind, but it’s much easier to find them before you leave.
Leave A Tip for Housekeeping
Housekeepers generally aren’t paid very well but their work goes a long way to making your stay enjoyable. Nicely fluffed pillows, clean towels, and a straightened-up room are all their doing and you probably appreciated it even if it wasn’t super obvious at the time. Leave a tip in an obvious place, like a desk or nightstand, with a note specifying that it’s a tip for housekeeping, not cash you’ve left behind by accident. Think of it as a good karma investment for your next trip!
Speak Up About Any Problems
If there was anything you didn’t like about the hotel or your room, mention it when you’re checking out. This will help the hotel to improve in future, but more importantly for you, it might net you a discount from your bill or your next stay. If your room was noisy, the Netflix didn’t work, or the water in the shower ran cold too quickly, tell them. Many hotels will happily take some charges off your bill to make sure you’re a satisfied customer.
Read Your Bill
You’d be surprised by how many people pay their bill without even looking at it – or maybe you wouldn’t be, if you’re one of them! Take a proper look at your bill and check that each charge is accurate. You might notice extra charges you weren’t notified about beforehand, a room service item that should belong to another room, or a mistaken minibar charge. It’s easy to remove these charges before you pay them and it’ll save you an annoying call to your credit card company later on.
Everyone wants an amazing hotel stay but most people underestimate the small things that can take a trip from “okay” to “outstanding”. Make sure to do these 10 things at hotel check-in and check-out and you’ll give yourself the smoothest, most enjoyable trip every time.