Home Tips and Tricks 12 Things You Should Do When Checking Into/Out Of A Hotel Room

12 Things You Should Do When Checking Into/Out Of A Hotel Room

by SharonKurheg

After a long day of traveling, finally arriving at your hotel is one of the best feelings in the world. If you’ve traveled a particularly long time, or woke up especially early, you may want to take a nap the second you get into your room. Or maybe unpack, take a shower, change your clothes, or whatever it is you do when you finally arrive at your “home away from home.”

Don’t do that just yet.

There are a few things you might want to check out and/or do before you start to get settled, some for your own comfort, others just to make sure you’re going to want to stay in that particular room.

Does your door lock work?

It’s a small thing but it’s probably one of the most important things to check. Does your door lock? (have your key with you, go outside the room, let the door close completely and check the door) Does it unlock? (OK yeah, you’d know that when you tried to get into the room in the first place) Do(es) the chain lock and/or deadbolt work?

If the answer to any of these is “no,” obviously, go back to the front desk and get a new room with a door lock that works correctly.

Does the thermostat work?

Some hotels with electronic thermostats have ways to control the temperature of a room, regardless of what you set it to.

Check for bed bugs

Although we were hoping that bed bugs would die off during the pandemic, they didn’t. They’re apparently alive and well, and these cities have the highest amounts of them.

You can check to see if your hotel has been reported for bed bugs but even if it’s not on any of the lists, that doesn’t mean your particular hotel (or room!) doesn’t have bed bugs. So here’s how to check for them:

Where are the nearest exits?

If there’s some sort of emergency, you’re going to need to know how to escape. Check to see where your room is in relation to the nearest emergency exit (or, if you’re not on the first floor, then the nearest stairwell). If the hallway is filled with smoke and you can’t see, how many rooms are between you and the doorway to there? If that exit is inaccessible, what’s the second closest emergency exit?

Knowing this ahead of time could save your life.

Double-check your sheets

With some exceptions, hotel sheets are usually white (here’s why). If yours show staining, ask housekeeping to replace them, to ensure they’re fresh and clean. Sheets with wrinkles that follow the pattern of where someone slept could also indicate housekeeping cutting corners and not changing the sheets (caveat: unless they were ironed, sheets will have SOME wrinkles. I don’t mean “those” kinds of wrinkles. I mean wrinkles that look like someone slept on them).

Check your towels, too

Clean towels should be smooth, without hairs or stains. If they’re fluffy towels, the “fluff” should all (or mostly all) be standing up.

Are the glasses in your room clean?

Lots of hotels offer disposable cups nowadays, both others still give glassware for drinking. Make sure there are no chips near the mouth area. And, of course, make sure they’re clean and don’t smell like furniture polish. Maybe wash them with soap and water, just to be safe.

How about that ice bucket?

Ice buckets can be used for ice – hopefully with a plastic bag. But if there’s a microscopic hole in the bag or no plastic bag at all, your ice is mingling with whatever else that ice bucket has been used for. And yeah, some people have used the ice bucket for puking, if they couldn’t get to the toilet in time. Or for soaking their dirty underwear if the sink stopper doesn’t work. So you may want to clean that ice bucket with soap and water.

DID they clean the remote?

Most hotel brands are touting how clean they are, to make you feel safe. However, we all know that just because they SAY they clean the remote control doesn’t mean they do.

Remember that hand sanitizer you still keep in your pocket because of COVID? Put some on a tissue and wipe down the remote.

BONUS! For when you leave:

So you have all these things you should do when you arrive at your hotel room (and yeah, we know some are more “ick factor” than anything else. Your Mileage May Vary). There are a few you may want to consider when you leave your room for the last time and are getting ready to check out of your hotel.

How to ensure you don’t leave anything in the safe…

Frankly, we don’t recommend using the hotel safe. Here’s why. But if you insist on using it, you also don’t want to wind up forgetting to take the things you’ve been storing in it. Here’s a great way to help you remember.

…or the rest of your room!

Safe set aside, you don’t want to leave anything behind in the rest of your room, either. Here’s a way to help ensure you take all your stuff with you.

And don’t do these!

And finally, these are a few things you SHOULDN’T do when you leave your hotel room for the final time.

Feature Photo: PxHere

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Steve July 6, 2021 - 12:24 pm

Always flush the toilet when you first check into a room. There’s nothing worse than waiting until *after* you’ve used it to discover that it doesn’t work and you need to call someone to take a look….

SharonKurheg July 6, 2021 - 3:30 pm

Thanks for the heads up!

Brian L. July 6, 2021 - 12:42 pm

One of the first things you should do when checking into a hotel room is flush the toilet. If that doesn’t work, you want to know BEFORE you use it.

SharonKurheg July 6, 2021 - 3:29 pm

Excellent idea!

derek July 6, 2021 - 2:34 pm

All great tips. Also look under the bed if there is such a space. The chance of finding money is extremely low. So far, I’ve only found about $5 in more than 500 stays as well as one woman’s panties, some socks, and dust.

DaninMCI July 6, 2021 - 6:35 pm

Here are some rules to avoid all that:
1. Never, ever use the glasses in hotel rooms
2. Never, ever use the ice bucket in hotel rooms, it’s the second dirtiest thing in there.
3. Clean the remote (See rule 2 to discover what is the second dirtiest thing in the room.
4. Make sure the alarm clock isn’t set for 3am.

Sara J July 6, 2021 - 10:16 pm

Check for cigarette odor or really heavy incense odor. Check for cigarette butts and other signs of smoking.

James Pierson July 8, 2021 - 10:07 am

I always carry a small can of Lysol when I travel.

Mary E July 8, 2021 - 5:32 pm

I always check behind the curtains, under the bed, the closet, and the shower for security- you just never know if someone is hiding in your room. It’s something I learned as a flight attendant and any woman travelling alone should take extra precautions.
Also, don’t use the coffee maker (Kuerigs are fine)- I know plenty of FAs who wash their panyhose in them. 🙁

Jane Jones July 8, 2021 - 6:10 pm

A small act of kindness that I always do when leaving the room for the last time: Open the curtains. I never want the maid to have to enter a dark room.

Chris@Oak December 4, 2022 - 8:26 pm

Carry and use a mini UV flashlight. In a dark room, check the bedding and bathroom linens and chairs and drapes for glowing stains. Telltale signs.

Olivier December 5, 2022 - 1:25 pm

I always take a picture of the contents of the minibar upon checking in. Sometimes there are items missing, for which I may be charged after checkout and I always want a time-stamped photo of what was in there, when I check in.

JohnB December 5, 2022 - 1:52 pm

Supposedly Australian men wash their underwear in the tea kettles in their hotel rooms. Beware of this throughout Austral-Asia region!


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