Do You Have to Check Out of a Hotel?

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When you’ve packed your bags and gathered your belongings, is it really necessary for you to check out? Do you need to stop by the front desk and check out when you’re leaving, or can you just get in a cab and let the hotel do the default checkout using their property management system?

In short, no, you do not need to check out of a hotel when leaving.

Now, we’ll discuss this in a detailed manner in this post while answering some of the most frequently asked questions associated with hotel checkouts, all while giving you an insight into why you should be checking out of a hotel, even if it’s not necessary.

Do you need to check out of a hotel?

If by checking out, you mean giving the hotel staff a heads-up that you’re leaving – no, you don’t necessarily have to check out of a hotel.

Numerous hotels, especially the major franchise-affiliated ones, have an express checkout system that allows the guests to check out using their app or kiosk or by allowing the guests to leave the room key at a particular point in the room that alerts the hotel staff that you’re checking out.

Often, many hotels leave a copy of your final bill under your door at some point at night, right before the day you’re supposed to check out. This means you don’t really have to wait at the reception to get your final invoice, and you can just leave without letting the front desk know.

As we’ve mentioned, it is not necessary to check out of a hotel; however, if a hotel does not offer express checkout, it would be courteous to stop by the front desk and checkout. This is mainly because if you have checked out without telling them, it will take extra time to contact you for the payment and bill. Let’s not forget that it would just delay the cleaning procedure of your room since you’ve disappeared on them, and they are still waiting for you to checkout manually unless they send one of their staff to confirm.

Given the global pandemic raging and the deep cleaning procedures that the hotels are required to comply with, it is more than generous to properly checkout of a hotel, only quickly letting the reception know that you’re leaving, giving the housekeeping a headstart to start their exhaustive cleaning rota.

What happens if you don’t check out of a hotel?

If by the question, you’re implying at not stopping by the reception to leave, the answer is simple: once the official checkout time has passed (the traditional checkout time is 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.), the hotel will send their staff, probably the maid, to check if you are still in your room.

If they find that you have already left without checking out at the front desk, the hotel staff will communicate to the cleaning staff to start their rota and prepare the room for the next guest.
If you have left without ‘checking out’, the outstanding bill is charged on the card you provided the hotel with for the payments.

However, if by not checking out, you mean not leaving the room, even if your checkout time has passed, and you haven’t made any new reservation, you may end up with police if you do not leave upon the hotel staff’s request. In short, you will be physically removed from the hotel’s property if you haven’t left and haven’t made a new reservation either.

Do you get charged for not checking out of a hotel?

The answer is subjective. On a regular day, when you have just left without calling the front desk and checking out, you will not be charged anything. However, you may sometimes be charged even if you have already left the hotel (i.e., without checking out). Here is why:

Suppose you made a reservation for 7 days and left on the third day without calling the front desk or checking out at the reception (it gets worse if you have a DND tag on your door), you will be charged for all 7 days, and the hotel will not cancel your reservation on the third day itself. The primary reason behind this is the fact that the hotel simply does not know if you’ve left before your designated leaving time.

Given that the hotel is a refundable one, you can cancel your reservation for the rest of the 4 days and get a refund when you properly check out on the third day of your stay itself.

Can you check out of the hotel early?

Of course, you can check out of a hotel early. Here is the catch: Some hotels will charge you a partial fee for early departure since you’re canceling your reservation, and the hotel may not be able to sell the room when you’re leaving early.

In non-refundable hotels, checkout is done only at the checkout time of your original booking, and even if you leave early (and let the staff know that you are leaving), they will still be charging your card for the rest of the duration of the reservation. In other words, even though you’ve left early, the hotel has not really checked you out.

Do you get charged for checking out of a hotel?

Checking out is a courteous procedure at a hotel, and you are NOT charged for checking out of a hotel. When you’re checking out, it helps communicate to the housekeeper that they can now do the mandatory cleaning and prepare the room for the next guest’s stay. All that you are charged for while checking out of a hotel is the stay and additional charges such as the services used during the stay and any incidentals.

How to check out of a hotel properly?

Now, a number of travelers are confused about the checkout procedure. It is as simple as it gets. Here is how you can check out of a hotel properly and hassle-free:

Gather your belongings and double-check the room for any leftover belongings: It is important to briefly scan the room for all your stuff before you close the door behind you.

Appear at the front desk / check out online: Now, there are two ways to check out of a hotel. Firstly, you can either appear at the front desk and let them know you’re leaving. Secondly, myriad hotels offer checkout through their online app to make the whole process automated and easier for the guest.

If you’re checking out manually, return the key to the desk, so the desk clerk can retrieve a hard copy of the electronic folio.

If you’re checking out virtually, you can leave the key at the room’s carrier or anywhere inside; just make sure to let the staff manning the front desk know that you’re leaving and mention your room number to avoid any accidental charges incurred by the next guest being inflicted on your card. You can also call them and inform them you have checked out when you’re already out of the hotel.

Review your final invoice/ receipt: When you’re checking out, it may seem like a daunting task to go through the final receipt of your stay at the hotel. However, it is an important step, and we highly recommend glancing through the receipt to point out any discrepancies in the charges – hotels may (and often do) double charge you for a specific service; therefore, reviewing your invoice before making the payment saves you the trouble of constantly calling up the hotel later for a refund.

Make the payment: Although this can be done at a later stage, it is recommended you make the payment while checking out. While your credit/debit card is put on hold for 24 hours after you leave the hotel, making the payment during the checkout makes sure you have done your bit. If the hotel later charges your card for additional reservation or incidentals, you have more time to review what those charges are for, and even ask for a refund if there have been any discrepancies.

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Author - Willa Carson
Happywayfarer author Willa Carson
Hi, I'm Willa Carson, a passionate traveler who has been exploring the world for 7 years. Whether it's trekking through the Himalayas, exploring ancient ruins in South America, or simply savoring a cup of coffee at a local cafe, I believe that travel has the power to enrich our lives in countless ways. So join me on my journey and let's discover the world together!
Read more about me here.

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