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Can You Check Out of a Hotel Early?

Staying in a hotel for the night is often a much needed, relaxing experience.  

Now whether it’s due to travel, work or another reason, you may need to check out of a hotel earlier than previously expected. If you need to check out early, or have ever wondered what the stipulations would be when you do so, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article we’ll take a look at what happens when you check out of a hotel early. We’ll also look at the reasons you may need to, as well as the potential pros and cons of doing so too.

The quick and sure answer is yes. If you want (or need to) leave early, then no hotel can force you to occupy a room, so you can actually leave whenever you want. 

It doesn’t matter if leaving a few hours before the scheduled check out time, or a few days in advance, the majority (if not all) hotels will actually have no issue since it gives them more time to clean and prepare the room for the next guests.

Why Check Out of a Hotel Early?

Here we’ll explore the most common reasons you may need to check out early from a hotel.

Reason 1: Travel Itineraries 

This is often the biggest one, and also perhaps the most inflexible too. Whether you’re catching the hay between connecting flights, or needing to get on the road early the next morning, travel is often one of the most reported factors of an early check out from a hotel. If you need help planning your own travel plans, then check out our article here.

Reason 2: Work Commitments

Similarly, many people often stay in hotels when going to a work event or conference outside of town. And unless you’re a CEO who can say otherwise, you’ll have to plan your hotel stay around this. Sometimes guests will need to get up pretty early to get ready (and find a good coffee) before heading to their work event. 

Reason 3: Changing Hotels

Whilst the previous reasons have a need for you to check out early, this isn’t the only context you may want to leave a hotel earlier than expected. Perhaps you’re on holiday and the hotel isn’t living up to your standards, and you want to change accommodation. This is a perfectly valid reason to want to change hotels, especially if you’re away for a longer time (and actually the longer you have left booked, the more likely you may be able to get financial reimbursement, which we’ll look at later).

Reason 4: Unforeseen Circumstances 

These are the ones we don’t plan for, and will require our immediate need to leave early. Perhaps someone in your family gets ill, or something has happened in the hotel that has affected your stay. Since these are rare, you often don’t even think of these (and don’t need to either).

Related Article: Do You Have to Check Out of a Hotel?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Checking Out of a Hotel Early

Advantage: Potential Reimbursement 

This is by far the biggest advantage, however whether it applies or not mostly depends on the hotel’s policy, and your unique circumstance. For example, let’s say you’ve booked a one-night stay at an independent hotel, and are planning to leave at 6:00am, when check out is at 10:00am. Unless you’ve hit the lottery, then there’s very little chance you’ll receive any compensation, since you’ve already completed the night. 

On the other hand, if you’ve booked a week at a hotel and have to leave the third morning due to personal reasons, then you can probably organise some financial reimbursement. Again it depends on the policy of that hotel, however being warm and not overly demanding will most likely help your case when speaking to the hotel reception.

This also depends on how you booked the hotel. Some applications such as Booking.com have policies that can help move this in your favor, than if you were to book directly with the hotel. So for this reason it’s always good to browse different ways of booking before going for it. Here’s a good place to start.

Advantage: Personal Freedom and Flexibility

As we’ve already seen in the list of reasons earlier in this article, there can be a ton of reasons why you may need to check out early. And since a hotel can’t keep you there without your consent (well unless for some extreme reasons, whether it’s government enforced or visiting during a geographical catastrophe), then you have the freedom to leave when you want.

This is good since flights and work commitments are running on their own schedule, and not according to a hotel’s check out time! So as long as you plan how much time you need, then you can get to where you have to go in good time.

Another reason we looked at earlier, is that you may just not like the hotel you’re staying at. It’s all happened to us at least one time, where the hotel didn’t live up to our standards. And if you’re on holiday, then there’s no reason to just soldier on! Find a different one instead, and depending on how much time is left on your stay, you may be eligible for receiving financial compensation from your existing stay.

Disadvantage: Little Flexibility

So you’ve decided to check out early for whatever motive. What you’ll now find is that most hotels are quite inflexible afterwards. For example, you checked out and then had your event cancelled, or even realized it was too early, then you most likely won’t be able to return to your room. 

Similarly, in some cases most hotels will not compensate you financially if your stay is short, or if trying to check out close to the end of your stay. For them it makes little sense, since you’ve already used the room, so it will be harder to justify this.

This is why it’s important to only check out when you’re 100% sure you no longer need the room, or are prepared with alternatives in case something in your schedule changes.

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Final Thoughts

And that’s all for our guide on checking out of a hotel early.

There’s many reasons you may need to check-out early, and these are not always circumstances you have planned for in advance.

In this article we’ve looked at whether you can check out of a hotel early, and the different reasons you may need to. We’ve also explored some advantages and disadvantages of doing so too.

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Hayden Wall

Hayden is the founder of Travel Gear Discounts and tries to vacation as much as possible. He loves finding the latest travel accessories that will make getting out easier and planning the perfect weekend getaway.