Stupid Tip of the Day: Check Your Hotel Room Thoroughly Before Checking Out. Otherwise…

Whether an exceptionally relaxing stay at a hotel property topped off a successful trip or you are frantically trying to catch a flight to your next destination, forgetting something in your room after you have already departed can range from mildly irritating to a substantially critical mistake.

Stupid Tip of the Day: Check Your Hotel Room Thoroughly Before Checking Out. Otherwise…

Remember that you are dealing with an entity which will do almost anything for a profit. Some hotel and resort properties will still charge you five dollars for you to receive a fax. Even when faxed information — the origin for the term fax is facsimile — was de rigueur decades ago, the idea of charging anything for an incoming piece of paper seems ridiculous…

…and do not forget that we are currently living in the day and age of the proliferation of mandatory resort fees and their ilk

…so when you are charged a small fortune to have the item you left behind returned to you, do not be the least bit surprised.

“I contacted the hotel to arrange the shipping and they quoted me an absurd rate, about twice as much as I was able to identify myself”, FlyerTalk member troyb posted in this discussion. “It strikes me as fairly unsavory that a luxury hotel is basically charging me a fee to send the item I left behind. I am more than happy to pay the going rate for shipping (after all, it is my fault that I left the item behind), but I don’t think this is something the hotel should be making a profit on. It leaves a very bad taste in my mouth for what was otherwise a very nice stay.”

The key phrase is “it is my fault that I left the item behind”, with which the hotel or resort property does not need to assume responsibility. It is up to the discretion of management to ascertain how much to charge the guest, who has already checked out of his or her room.

Some hotel and resort properties will arrange to have the forgotten item shipped to you at either cost or free of charge; but they are few and far between.


When I am ready to leave a room at a hotel or resort property, I scour it at least twice after I have already packed. I check behind the bathroom door to ensure that nothing is hanging. I look in the shower or bathtub area for any of my toiletries which I want to carry to my next destination. I search under the bed, as one never knows what may have fallen under there. I will open every drawer to see if I left anything in any one of them. I search every shelf of the closet. Behind curtains, on window sills, behind furniture — nothing escapes the scrutiny of my final inspection.

Ample lighting should be available at the time of the great search and rescue operation for those potentially forgotten items so that you do not overlook them before leaving. A dark item in a dark closet is easier to miss than you might think.

Bonus: although I have found items which would be considered less than desirable as an understatement, you would be surprised at the amount of money I found over the years. I even found coins at the top of the door jamb at the entrance of the room. I have no idea why they were up there.

I have never forgotten an item in a room at a hotel or resort property which I needed to have shipped to me; but if I did, I would not mind a small markup in addition to other costs — such as shipping and insurance — by the establishment upon returning the item. After all, a paid employee is going through the time and effort to ensure that the item returns safely and securely to its owner…

…but to intentionally gouge a customer financially upon his or her misfortune for pure profit is not exactly ethical, in my opinion.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

8 thoughts on “Stupid Tip of the Day: Check Your Hotel Room Thoroughly Before Checking Out. Otherwise…”

  1. Billy Bob says:

    Do dumb things, pay dumb fees.

  2. Rubynuby says:

    Regarding your final sentence, when would it be ethical to gouge someone ?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      The final sentence was intended to be an understatement, Rubynuby.

      Of course intentionally “gouging” someone would never be ethical, in my opinion.

  3. Pam says:

    I have always provided a property my own shipping acct info.

  4. SJ says:

    I always send them a prepaid label and arrange pickup. Have used it once or twice annually over the last few years, including once for luggage. Several times, I have paid a $5 or $10 handling fee.

    Once I recall my son forgot his favorite bottle of milk in the fridge of a midtown manhattan hotel, 30 minutes after checkout the hotel didn’t let us get it back or check on it for us. Guess no business for them from us anymore.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Thank you for imparting your experience and good advice, SJ.

  5. Alderney Boyson III says:

    Hi Brian. I note you have copyrighted the photo. I am particularly keen to use a similar image for an article I am currently writing on “effective deep-cleaning of inside spaces”. I would be extremely grateful if you’d do me the honour of relaxing your prohibition to for my own illustrative purposes. Regards, Alderney Boyson.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Can you please tell me for what purpose you intend to use the photograph, Alderney Boyson III?

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