Home » Travel Planning » Do You Have to Check Out of a Hotel?

Do You Have to Check Out of a Hotel?

Leaving a hotel can be stressful. You usually need to be out of the hotel at a certain time, make sure you have all of your belongings, and sometimes even catch a train or flight at a certain time to your next destination.

But what about the hotel’s checkout process? Do you have to check out of a hotel?

No, you do not have to formally check out of a hotel, but there are benefits to doing so, which we will explain in more detail in this article.

We also explain what happens if you don’t check out, how early you can check out of a hotel, and whether or not you can leave your key in your room as a way to check out of your room.

What Happens if You Leave a Hotel Without Checking out?

At most hotels, there is no penalty for not checking out. If you do not check out, the hotel will finalize your stay for you.

They will confirm that you left your room before the checkout time and charge you for your final bill using the card you left on file at check on.

The final price you are charged will include:

  • Your nightly charges.
  • Anything you purchased from your room’s minibar.
  • Any meals or other services you charged to your room during your stay. 

You should have a good idea of how much you are being charged when you leave the hotel. If you are concerned about the final price, stop by the desk before you leave or call the hotel after you leave to discuss your bill.

The hotel should also email you an itemized bill after they process your stay to verify everything you are paying for. 

If you are unsure what a hotel’s checkout policy is and whether or not you need to checkout, ask at the front desk during your stay.

Staying in hotels can be overwhelming if you don’t do it often, which is why we also help you learn everything you need to know about hotels in this article.

Why You Should Check Out Before You Leave

Checking out of your hotel has more benefits than not. If you are running late for something when you leave your hotel, it can be tempting to skip checkout, but you should formally check out whenever possible. 

As a Courtesy to the Hotel

First, hotels appreciate it when you checkout before you leave. You let them know that you are gone so they can prepare the room for the next guests as soon as possible.

When you arrive at a hotel before your designated check-in time, and they have a room ready for you, it is a nice surprise and may make your visit even better. Your room being ready early is possible because the staff could prep your room as soon as the previous guests left. 

When the hotel knows that you are leaving, they can let the cleaning staff know to begin cleaning. If you don’t let the staff know, they may assume that you are still in your room and won’t be able to prepare it for the next guests. 

Confirm and Pay your Bill

Additionally, you need to pay for anything you charged to your room or purchase during your stay. If the hotel allows you to charge meals, drinks, or other purchases to your room, you need to pay for the final bill to complete your checkout. 

You may also be charged for some items in your room like water, coffee, or minibar items. Make sure you are only charged for any items that you use. 

If you are unsure if the items in your room are included or not, ask at the beginning of your stay, so you do not have any excess charges at the end that you were not expecting.

Make sure you read through your bill before you pay for it, and make sure everything matches up with what you purchased during your stay. 

The hotel may add some fees and taxes to your bill at the end of your stay. Make sure you know what each one of these fees is for, and don’t let the hotel add anything to your bill that you are unaware of. 

How To Checkout of a Hotel

When you are ready to check out of your hotel, make sure you have all your belongings out of the room. Then you can go by the front desk, and they will walk you through the checkout process. 

You may have to provide a credit card again to pay your bill. Or, if you want to use a different card to pay than the one you provided when you booked or checked in, you can change it when you check out. 

Some larger hotel chains also allow you to check-in and check out via their mobile app. You can check out at your convenience from your phone without having to stop at the front desk. 

For example, IHG hotels have a mobile app, and select hotels within their brand allow mobile checkout. Here is what the IHG website says about mobile checkout:

When it’s time to depart, we’ll send you a notification so you can check out quickly, leave your keys in your room and get on with your day.

Some hotels also let you leave the hotel key in the room as your checkout, but not every hotel does, so don’t assume you are allowed to do so. We will explain this type of checkout in the next section.

You May Also Like: What Does Hearing Accessible Mean for a Hotel Room?

Can You Leave Your Hotel Key in the Room?

Most hotels allow you to leave your hotel key in your room to signal that you are checking out. 

Marriott lets you leave your key in your room to checkout. You can let them know that you are leaving in the Marriott app, then leave the keys, and you’re ready to leave.

Per the Marriott website

You can check out on the Hilton app, or you can stop by the front desk of the hotel.

Hilton Hotels do not explicitly allow you to leave your key in your room to checkout, but you can always ask if it is an option when you check-in or at any point during your stay.

Here is what they say about checkout on the Hilton Website:

You can check out on the Hilton app, or you can stop by the front desk of the hotel.

You can always ask the hotel staff about their checkout policies during your stay so you can be prepared for your departure. 

You May Also Like: Do Hotels Charge for Incoming Phone Calls?

How Early Can I Checkout of a Hotel?

Typical hotel checkout is at 11 AM, but some hotels may have different checkout times, so always verify when you arrive at the hotel. 

Even though hotels have checkout times that you need to leave by, you don’t have to wait until the hotel’s designated time to checkout. You can check out anytime on your departure date before the checkout time. 

You should let the hotel know if you are checking out extremely early in the morning. Make sure they will let you leave the keys in the room, or they have someone at the front desk when you want to leave so they can assist you in checking out. 

If you decide to leave the hotel one day or more before your reservation ends, you need to talk to the hotel. For example, if your reservation is from the 1st to the 5th, you must let the hotel know if you are leaving sooner than the 5th.

If you just leave early without alerting them, you will be charged for your full reservation. But, there may be early checkout fees if you do not stay for all the nights you booked. 

As an example, here is the IHG Hotel policy for early checkout:

An early departure fee is applicable to guests who check out prior to the agreed checkout dates. The latest point at which the guest can change the departure date without incurring the cancellation charge is at the point of check-in.

Just communicate your plans with the hotel as soon as you know them, and you shouldn’t have any issues during your stay.

Profile Picture For Hayden Wall
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.