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Mistakes to Avoid When Checking Out of a Hotel | Frommer's Juliana Shallcross

Mistakes to Avoid When Checking Out of a Hotel

When a hotel stay ends, it's tempting to just stroll out and get on with your next journey. Don't. Go through this list of simple checks to make sure you're actually squared away and ready to roll.
For most guests, checking out of a hotel may only involve a quick glance at the room folio—whether at the front desk or on the hotel room TV—before hopping into a cab headed for the airport. Other guests may not even do that much, choosing instead to just pack their bags, slink out unnoticed, and deal with the final charges when they get back home. But whatever kind of checker-outer you are, here are five things you should remember when leaving your hotel room for good.
Do a final sweep of the room.
Whether it’s five in the morning or five minutes past check-out time, make sure to give your hotel room one last good look for your belongings. Look under the bed, shake out those bedsheets, peep into the shower, and double-check the closet and the safe. If you leave something behind in a hotel room, it can be surprisingly hard to track it down once you’ve checked out. 

Grab some “souvenirs.”
One way to remember your hotel stay, especially a good one, is by grabbing a few of the freebies that are included like the little toiletry bottles, notepads and pens, slippers, or room key cards. (But not the towels or hotel robes, as the hotel will charge you for those.) And no, this is not a cheap move or even stealing: Housekeeping will throw toiletry bottles away as soon as you leave, so you might as well save them for when you run out of body wash at home.

Tip the housekeeper.

Increasingly, gratuities are seen as a way to overcome poor wages paid by the hotels. If housekeeping has come by during your stay and made the bed, fluffed the pillows, replaced your towels, and straightened out the clothes you haphazardly tossed from your suitcase, leaving a small tip is seen as a nice gesture of appreciation. The general rule of thumb is a couple of dollars for each day. You should leave the tip out in the open, like the nightstand, and with a note so the housekeeper doesn’t confuse it with cash you’ve just left out (which you should never do, by the way). Renaissance Hotels actually has a special tip envelope that it places on the bed at turndown service to facilitate the tip-giving. One problem with tipping is the person you tip may not have been the one who tidied your room yesterfday, but one thing is true: Housekeepers definitely aren't getting rich cleaning your room, so tips help. 

Let the hotel know of any problems.
If something bothered you about your hotel stay, whether it be a noisy neighbor, a leaky faucet, or a shower that never seemed to heat up, make sure the hotel knows about it. Not only will it fix the problem (hopefully), it may even take off a few charges on your room bill to make up for the hassle. Hotels are hyper-concerned about online guest reviews, so they will do what they can to make you happy during your stay rather than have you leave unhappy, ready to rant on a review site. Similarly, if a hotel is doing a good job, let staff know that too.

Closely review the final charges.
If you purchased something during your stay—Wi-Fi, an in-room movie, minibar snacks, or room service—make sure these charges are correct on your check-out folio. Hotels make "mistakes" all the time and it’s common to find that they’ve charged you twice for something you bought—"accidentally," of course. If you’re leaving the hotel early in the morning, review the charges the night before. It can be a pain on your last night, but resolving mistakes after check-out with your credit card company is far more annoying.