Safely storing your luggage is always a concern when traveling. Once you have a hotel room to keep your things secure, you can generally exhale and explore the city hands-free. However, there are times you arrive before check-in time at the hotel, and waiting for a few hours with your bags can be an absolute nightmare.
Usually, a hotel will hold your luggage if you have booked a room but arrive before it’s time to check in. The hotel may charge a small storage fee to keep your bags till you officially check in or if you’re asking them to store the luggage after you check out.
This article will examine what to do if you arrive early at a hotel, how to store your luggage, and some alternate storage options.
What To Do With Luggage Before Checking In
If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably experienced having to wait at a hotel till the rooms are ready. In most cases, you’ll have to wait an hour or two in the lobby while the staff prepares your room.
However, there may be instances where you arrive too early at the hotel, well before it’s time to check in. Waiting in the lobby for an hour doesn’t sound so bad, but lounging around for the better part of a day can be pretty annoying.
Instead, it would make sense to walk around the vicinity and enjoy your new destination until the room is ready to move into. But exploring the city isn’t fun when you’ve got a luggage bag or two to drag around. So what can you do with your luggage before checking in?
1. Ask the Hotel To Keep It
Most hotels (especially the high-end ones) often have a separate ‘baggage section,’ or room where they store luggage for guests who arrive before it’s time to check-in.
So if you come to the hotel early, ask them if they have a provision for keeping your luggage while you wait for your room. In most cases, the hotel should agree to keep your luggage.
If the hotel doesn’t have a baggage room, as in smaller hotels, you can ask the receptionist or one of the bellhops to keep your luggage somewhere safe. Remember, though, that this is an informal arrangement, and the hotel isn’t responsible if you lose something.
However, considering you’re keeping the luggage on the hotel premises and staying at the hotel, it’s unlikely that your valuables will be taken. After all, you’ll know as soon as you check in, and the hotel will have to answer for it considering your luggage was in their care.
If the hotel doesn’t have a formal arrangement to store your luggage, you can ask the staff to keep it. However, removing valuables like your wallet or any cash you carry is best before storing your luggage. Alternatively, you can bring a bag with a combination lock to keep your things safe while you’re away.
2. Find the Guest Lobby
If your hotel isn’t willing to store your luggage, and you don’t mind waiting for your room, locate the guest lobby in your hotel and park yourself here until your room is ready. You can also ask if your hotel has a concierge floor where you can lounge, eat, drink, watch TV, or read while they prepare your room.
You may have to pay a small fee to use this facility, but it’s worth it if you’re planning to wait a while. Additionally, the concierge floor also has a reception desk, and the staff here should be willing to hold your luggage, considering you’ve paid a fee to use the room.
3. Locate Storage Facilities Nearby
If you’ve arrived too early at the hotel, you may want to get out and explore the place instead of idling at the concierge.
If that’s the case, consider locating luggage storage facilities near your hotel and arriving there first instead of at your hotel. These places are professional storage facilities, and you can rest assured that your luggage will be safe.
Keep in mind that most places charge a small fee. However, they also allow you to keep your bags for an extended period.
4. Keep Your Luggage at the Airport
If you arrive at your destination by flight and reach too early, consider storing your luggage at the airport storage facility. Most airports have spaces where passengers can safely store their luggage for a small fee.
And if you’re eight hours too early to check in, play it safe by stashing your luggage at the airport. If you aren’t sure whether your hotel will hold your bags, it’s best to keep your things somewhere and come back to pick them up when it’s time.
You may also find storage facilities at some train stations if you’re traveling by train. Of course, this option won’t be available if you’re making a road trip.
5. Carry Your Luggage
Taking your luggage with you should be the last option, only if you can’t store your luggage in any of the ways mentioned here. If you’re traveling light, with only a backpack or single suitcase, then carrying your luggage may not be such a bad idea.
It’s best to find a lovely cafe or lounge near your hotel where you can spend a few hours while they prepare your room. The cafe may even be willing to hold your luggage if you decide to step out for a bit, especially if you’ve bought something there.
Alternative Option: Ask the Hotel to Check You In
If the hotel doesn’t have a baggage facility, and you don’t have access to any of the options mentioned here, you can ask the hotel to check you in early. Sometimes, hotels may be willing to temporarily grant you an available room until your room is ready.
Sometimes, your hotel may even upgrade you to a better room if you ask nicely. By asking them to check in early, you can save time and money that you would otherwise spend waiting for your room to get ready.
Most hotels won’t charge an additional fee for guests who arrive early. And even if they do, storing your bags elsewhere will probably cost as much.
What To Do With Luggage After Checking Out
Sometimes you may have to check out of a hotel room hours before your flight or train. If that’s the case, you’re faced with the same problem: where to store your luggage. Fortunately, you can try the same options mentioned in the previous section.
However, this time it’s different because you’re leaving, so it’s best to store your bags at the airport or train station to have them nearby.
If you still wish to explore the vicinity after checking out, you can always ask the hotel to keep your bags at the reception for a few hours. Most hotels won’t object to such a simple request, especially after hosting you.
Worrying about where to keep your luggage will only dampen the spirit of adventure and make traveling more cumbersome. Instead, trust that the hotel staff want to help their guests and are willing to do what they can to make your stay more comfortable.
So, ask nicely, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly they’re willing to help.