It’s not always easy to time your arrival time or departure flights to your hotel check-in and checkout time.
As a result, during your travels you may find that you need to store your bags for a few hours in order to have the freedom to sightsee, get something to eat, rest, etc.
One of the easiest solutions to this problem is to get a hotel to store your luggage.
But will hotels always be willing to do this and what do you need to know about things like security and liability?
Below, we’ve broken down everything you need to know before storing your luggage with a hotel!
Table of Contents
Will a hotel store your luggage?
Lots of hotels will store your luggage while you wait for your room to be ready or for a few hours after you check out. Some may even allow you to store your bags for several days although you may have to pay a fee.
When storing your luggage at a hotel be sure to ask where your luggage will be stored and if the hotel has any process for identifying your luggage so that others may not be able to retrieve it.
And finally, it helps if you are aware of the liability rules in place for when a hotel is storing your luggage.
Keep reading below for more details!
Common reasons to ask for a hotel to store your luggage
Room not available when you check-in
A common back up plan when going for early check-in is to simply leave your luggage with the hotel until your room is ready.
This is a common practice and it would be pretty rare for a hotel to deny your request to hold onto your luggage until your room is ready.
In fact, at many resorts you can still get your wristband and get access to all the amenities once you check in your bags so this is often a great option at all-inclusive resorts or resorts with pool areas.
For those, consider having a small bag or removing your swimsuit from your luggage before you store it.
Late check out not available
In the event you were not able to get late check out, you may request for the hotel to store your luggage until you are ready to depart. Generally, this would mean the hotel holding onto your luggage for about 3 to 6 hours.
This can allow you to get in some sightseeing on your last day of travels before you fly out so it’s a pretty common request.
This may not be honored as often as storage before check-in but every time I have asked a hotel to hold on to my bags after check out, they have been willing to do so free of charge. Still, this is a good time to leave a nice little tip for the bellhop!
Some properties will agree to hold onto your luggage for extended periods of time such as several days or even weeks or months!
Generally, these services are provided to frequent guests of the hotel (regulars). These are people who have a proven track record with the property and are consistent revenue generators.
On occasion, a hotel may allow a guest to store a bag with them for several days but chances are you will have to pay some type of fee.
Also, if you’re not a regular and you don’t show up at the end of your storage period then it’s possible that your bags could end up in the hotel’s lost and found.
If you are not a hotel guest, you might still be able to store your bags with a hotel but chances are that’s going to be much less common to find.
That’s because hotels might view you as more of a security risk than someone who has booked a room and provided a credit card, ID, etc. The hotel also might not want to risk running out of space for their guests by catering to “strangers.”
Where do hotels store luggage for guests?
Before you hand over your luggage to a hotel, you may want to inquire about where (or how) it will be stored.
Below are different ways that a hotel may store your luggage and these can give you an idea of the type of security your bag may have.
Ideally, a hotel will have a system where they issue you a ticket for your luggage whenever they take it but that is not always the case. If you are not issued a ticket, you may want to confirm how the hotel will keep other guests from retrieving your luggage.
Some hotels that take storage really seriously have designated lockers or safes that can fit some bags and smaller luggage.
I wouldn’t expect your checked bags to be kept in a locker for the simple reason that that would require some pretty huge lockers. However, if you had something like a backpack or small carry-on, that might be capable of being stored in a locker.
Other times, you may just be able to request that specific items get placed in a safe or locker such as your laptop. That way, only your less valuable luggage contents are not safely locked away.
Sometimes the hotel will set up designated rooms for storing luggage.
These rooms may only be accessible to hotel employees but other times they will allow guests into the room to store and retrieve their luggage.
Hopefully, there will be a staff member checking tags to make sure that people only retrieve an item belonging to them but this is not always the case.
It’s not uncommon for your item to end up in the manager’s office at a lot of hotels. This is an office that typically can be locked so if the manager is out of office your bags can still remain pretty secure.
Behind the front desk
If there are no other storage options a hotel may just place your bags somewhere behind the front desk or near the desk but in the lobby.
This can leave your bags exposed to the public but often times there will be a front desk agent or bellhops nearby to keep an eye on the luggage.
The hotel liable for your luggage?
Another important question you want to know before handing over your bags is will the hotel be liable if something happens to your bag?
For example, if you had an iPad go missing from your luggage bag, would the hotel be liable?
Lots of states have limitations of liability for hotels when it comes to the personal property of a guest.
For example, the hotel may only be responsible for up to $500 worth of valuables, although the limit is often dictated by whether or not negligence occurred, if a safe was used, notice given, etc.
These rules are often designed for items damaged or stolen while held in the guest’s hotel room so there could be more specific rules for when luggage is being stored.
Typically whenever a hotel takes your luggage to be stored this invokes the legal doctrine of bailment. This means that the hotel must care for your bag like they would care for their own property. In other words, they need to use reasonable care.
For example, if you give them your bag to store and they place it outside by the doorstep and it gets soaked during a rainstorm, that’s probably a clear breach of the standard of care.
It’s good to know about the limits of liability and the standard of care that the hotel must abide by but ultimately just remember that hotels don’t want to establish a reputation of losing luggage for guests.
So they have a pretty strong incentive to take a good care of your bags.
You can make life easier for the hotel and yourself by removing valuable items such as cash, jewelry, etc.
It also wouldn’t hurt to take photos of the contents of your luggage and to have a valuation of how much those contents are worth. That’s because some hotels might actually request for you to declare the worth of the luggage whenever you hand it over (for liability reasons).
If you are struggling to find a hotel that will store your luggage you can also look into finding other options. You can use some websites like this one to help you find storage locations at local facilities.
Lots of airports also have storage options for your bags although in my experience these can be very expensive. For example, for just a couple of bags you could be paying $30+.
As you can see, many hotels will be willing to store your luggage as you wait for your room to get ready or as you wait for the right time to head to the airport after check out.
It’s always a good idea to inquire about the location that your bag will be stored in so that you have an idea of the security of your luggage contents.
Also, it helps to be aware of the potential liability of the hotel in the event something happens.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.