If you've spent much time staying in hotels, you have probably encountered travelers who forgot to pack politeness along with their pajamas. Travel etiquette is important, and being nice to hotel staff members and fellow travelers often results in better service.
Let's take a closer look at hotel etiquette.
Before Your Trip
- When you make your hotel reservation, ask about check in and check out times. If you must arrive earlier than the established check in time, ask whether you can store your luggage at the hotel until your room is ready. This should prompt either a reply of, "Yes, of course," or an offer of early check in. Plan to grab a cup of coffee or take a walk through the neighborhood while waiting for your room to be made ready.
- Mention any special requests when you book your room. Special requests might include specific types of pillows, a roll-away bed or extra blankets. You can make these requests when you book online, too. Asking early gives the hotel staff a chance to prepare in advance and saves the housekeeping staff time.
- If you plan to bring a pet, mention this fact when you book your room. Ask about pet fees and find out about your hotel's pet policies.
- Should you need to arrive late, advise the reservation desk when you book your room. This will ensure that your room is held until you get to the hotel. If you encounter last-minute delays, call your hotel and advise the front desk staff that you will be arriving later than you had planned.
- Be polite to the hotel staff, even if there are problems with your hotel room.
- Check your room carefully when you arrive and call the front desk right away if you notice problems. This will give the hotel staff time to correct the problems before you unpack and settle in.
- Do not smoke in non-smoking rooms or in areas of the hotel where smoking is prohibited. If you do, you may be charged a cleaning fee.
- Remember that other guests may be asleep, regardless of time of day. Try to open and close doors quietly and keep your television volume at a reasonable level. If you are traveling with grandchildren, do not let them jump around or run up and down the hallway.
- Do not leave pets alone in your room.
- Tidy up your room in the morning so that the housekeepers can do their job. Put trash in the trash bin and put clothes in suitcases or in the closet.
- Respect the hotel's dress code. If you are headed to the pool, wear a coverup.
- If your hotel serves a free breakfast, eat what you like, but take only what you plan to eat.
- Feel free to take the tiny bottles of shampoo and lotion provided in your room, but leave the towels, pillows, cups and glasses where you found them.
- Lock your hotel room door and use the in-room safe to secure valuables. This protects both you and the hotel staff.
- Check out on time or make arrangements for a late departure with the front desk.
- Review your bill before you leave the hotel so that you can resolve any issues right away.
During Your Stay
In the United States, certain groups of hotel employees rely on tips as part of their compensation. Charlyn Keating Chisholm, About.com's Guide to Hotels and Resorts, has created a hotel tipping guide to help you determine how much you should tip. In other countries, tips may or may not be expected.
Bring small bills or exchange some money at the start of trip so that you can tip appropriately.