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  • Writer's pictureDiann Schindler, Ph.D.

Hotel Check Out. How do you check out? Do you plan ahead or just wing it?

For most of us, checking out of a hotel is an afterthought, or maybe no thought. After all, our stay is virtually over, and we are focused on getting home.

How do you prepare to check out? Do you prepare, at all? Well, here are some steps that could save you money…or at least make for a pleasant, efficient and speedy departure

Let's begin this blog by remembering:

“Those old adages - you attract more with honey; do unto others - are true.

You can get attention by being acerbic or mean or making a bizarre comment.

But by being nice, being empathetic, building relationships and listening,

people begin to recognize that you're thoughtful and respectful of their position.”

Shelley Moore Capito

1. Airport shuttle or alternative transportation?

Take a moment to compare the fee to alternative transportation, such as taxi, Uber, Grab (if in Southeast Asia), or Lyft. You can probably get away much cheaper. If so, call your own ride just before checking out of the hotel.

2. Double check the room and be sure to check the safe.

Make sure you don’t leave anything behind. Check under the bed for wayward items. Don’t forget your favorite pen on the desk or bedside table, phone charger, electric razor, and electric converter. Check the safe, too. Did you leave your favorite shampoo or conditioner in the shower? Consider an initial check the night before you go to bed to be prepared to manage through the typical check-out morning crush. I suggest another check before you leave the room for the last time.

3. Leave a tip for the cleaning service personnel.

Though easy to forget, it’s always polite to leave some money for the people keeping your room clean. Leave it out the night before.

4. Take a close look at your invoice…look for add-ons or hidden charges.

I know you researched the fees BEFORE you booked your room, of course! So, a review of your charges will be relatively simple. Give the itemized bill a careful look to compare your understanding of the charges with your initial reservation with the hotel invoice the evening before check out. Note, some hotels have been known to advertise low room rates, and post add-ons later. Some properties add on a resort fee for amenities, simply as a matter of course. The hotel property should clearly spell out the fees they add to the bill. If you find your hotel did not spell out the fees, you clearly have a right, in a warm fashion, to bring this to their attention.

5. Avoid a late check out.

You know, if you are late for check out, you will be charged, and rightly so. If you think you even might be late, kindly call or ask ahead for a one-time exception. If initially refused, negotiate. There’s no harm in it.

6. Be your best self.

Shelley Moore Capito says (in the quote above) kindness goes a long way. Start out with a genuine apology and a soft voice. What? You don’t have

anything to apology for? Doesn’t matter. Apology for having to ask questions about your bill. The clerks respond so much better when they are not put on edge or threatened. Besides, your warm demeanor will be received well. If you are met with complete denial, ask to speak to the manager, still using your best self. If you are still denied, you can feel good about your adult behavior and leave in a pleasant mood. If you have booked through an agency, call the agency and file an official complaint. Consider disputing the charge with your credit card company. Be sure to take time to write a clear, diplomatic review. And, yes, perhaps nothing will change for you; however, it may change for future guests.

7. Use your credit card to pay.

Don’t pay cash. Don’t pay with a debit card. Debit cards often do not have the same level of protection that credit cards do. Pay with a credit card in case you choose to dispute a charge.

Finally, enjoy your travel home, knowing you haven’t left any items behind and you were your best self.

“When you ask the best questions of yourself and others, you invite the best answers.”

Rosalene Glickman, Ph.D.

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