Technology has simplified and improved many of the old conventions of travel. These days, you don’t even have to carry a printed boarding pass — and you certainly don’t have to protect your money on the road with traveller’s checks. But there is a long-standing travel protocol that you should continue to do even though you technically don’t have to. Read on to find out what you should never leave a hotel without doing, according to experts.
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These days, hotels make the checkout process easy. You can just toss or recycle your electronic room key cards and then check out directly from the hotel without formally checking out. but Brandon BerksonHotel expert and founder of curated boutique accommodation guide Hotels Above Par says you should always follow the check-out process, whether digitally or in person at the office.
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Since you provided your credit card information at or before check-in, you can technically only check out and the hotel will pay all final fees to your credit card. But here’s the problem, Berkson warns: If you don’t make payments, you won’t know what those fees are up front — and you won’t have the opportunity to dispute them if something looks wrong.
When you check out of the hotel, you get a chance to review the charges individually and make sure everything looks accurate. “Check-out is important,” Berkson notes. “There have been a few times where I have been charged the wrong amount – yelling at the pulpit sensors that mistakenly detected something I took.”
It is also an opportunity to negotiate the law under certain circumstances. Let’s say you didn’t feel that the room was as advertised, or that the service was far below any reasonable expectations. Checking out is your chance to ask if the matter will be rectified by giving you a break in the price, or throwing in a freebie.
Another pro tip: Checking out an international hotel allows you to ask for the bill in the local currency, which is likely to be a much better deal for you in the end than a foreign bill issued in US dollars because of the conversion rates.
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Dollars and cents apart, checking out of a hotel is just a polite thing to do, especially at a time when staffing shortages are causing major disruptions across the hard-hit travel and hospitality industry. “This is how housekeeping knows your room is visible to the next guest, which is especially important during a pandemic when staff need to sanitize more surfaces, do laundry, and restock essentials,” Berkson says.
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