Flights depart and land at all hours, and no matter how much you try to plan a perfect trip, some things are out of your control. If your flight lands early in the morning or departs late at night, you might wonder what to do with your bags outside hotel check-in and checkout hours.
Can you leave your luggage at your hotel before you check in? Will a hotel hold your bags after checkout?
We have some luggage storage solutions for you if you’d prefer to avoid paying for an extra night before or after your trip to store your bags.
Will hotels hold your luggage?
Yes, if you are a guest, most hotels will hold your luggage for free at the bell desk, in a designated storage room or a locker. Usually, a bellhop will attach a sticker or a tag to your luggage, write down the number of pieces you’re leaving and hand over a receipt so that your bags can be identified when you return to pick them up.
It’s not a perfect system, but it does work for the purposes of matching the bags to their owner, especially after a shift change at the bell desk.
In some cases, hotel luggage storage isn’t complimentary for guests, and you might be limited in terms of what type or size of luggage you can leave behind. For example, explosives, poison and flammable liquids can’t be stored for safety reasons. In either case, it’s best to read a hotel’s policy before you make a reservation.
Can hotels hold your luggage if you’re not a guest?
Let’s say you have a reservation at the hotel, but check-in isn’t until 3 p.m. — and it’s 9 a.m. Because you’re not an official guest yet, the hotel’s policy may not honor your request to store your luggage for a few hours before check-in.
However, it is possible to make an unofficial arrangement with a bellhop and make sure to leave a tip. Having said that, if your bags go missing or get damaged, the hotel won’t be liable for them.
Consider purchasing a Bluetooth tracker, like an Apple AirTag or a Galaxy SmartTag, and placing it inside your luggage. If the bag is misplaced for any reason, you can locate it with a phone app.
Can you leave luggage at a short-term vacation rental before check-in or after checkout?
Although some hosts offer luggage storage services, it’s pretty rare to find one that does it.
Short-term rental properties need to be cleaned and prepared for the next guest, so if someone is checking out the same day you’re checking in, it’s unlikely you’d be able to leave your bags there. They may not have the extra storage space. We recommend messaging the host beforehand for storage recommendations. They might provide a solution or recommendation for a nearby storage facility.
What to do with luggage before checking into a hotel
If your hotel won’t hold your luggage for you, you still have some viable alternatives for storing your bags while you’re out and about in the new city.
Ask for early check-in or late checkout
Depending on the hotel, you might be able to score an early check-in or a late checkout, especially if you’re traveling during a slow season or if you have hotel elite status.
IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite and Diamond Elite members can get early check-in and 2 p.m. checkout, but it’s subject to availability. Even if you have no status or are staying at a non-chain hotel, it never hurts to ask.
Use storage facilities at an airport or a train station
If you’re traveling in Europe, the main train stations are often located in the city center, so you can take advantage of the storage lockers while you wait for check-in at the hotel.
A less convenient option is the airport. Although you could store your bags at the airport, you have to return to pick them up, which might be quite far from where you’re staying.
Don’t leave your passport, wallet or laptop in a stored bag. Make sure to keep all your travel documents, electronics and other valuables with you at all times.
Look for other storage solutions near you
You can always search online for other storage options in your vicinity. For example, there may be electronic self-storage lockers in your area.
You can also check out Nannybag or Stasher, which offer a network of thousands of temporary luggage storage locations around the world. Expect to pay about $6 per bag per day, regardless of the size. And if you’re worried about leaving your stuff with strangers, your belongings are insured for up to about $1,266 (1,000 euros or British pounds).
Book a sightseeing tour
This workaround works better after checking out since you’re already at the destination, but you can book a sightseeing tour that involves a van or a coach and keep your luggage with you during the day trip. Most buses have storage spaces for transporting passengers, so this way you don’t have to worry about finding another storage facility.
This trick can also work before checking in to your accommodation, but we don’t recommend planning a big activity for the arrival day in case your flight is delayed or you’re too tired to enjoy it.
Spend the day being productive
If you can’t find a place that will store your luggage, find a café or a coworking space and spend the free time that you have catching up with emails or work before your flight home. You can even plan the next leg of your trip if you’re traveling long-term.
Although this is less exciting than exploring a destination, it helps pass the time when you’re waiting to check in to a hotel or for a flight. This option helps you be productive and keep an eye on your stuff.
Luggage storage at hotels recapped
Do hotels hold luggage? Yes, most will do so, even if you’re not a guest yet.
However, there are other ways to store your bags if you want to stretch your legs and walk around after a long flight or spend a little more time sightseeing before heading to the airport.
Since you’re likely to know your flight times in advance, you can make a plan for what to do with your luggage if a hotel can’t hold it for you.