Can Hotels Hold Your Luggage?

Travelers frequently arrive at their destination earlier than they can check into their hotel.

It’s also common for them to need to check out earlier than they can actually leave the area. 

To make everything easier, can a hotel hold your bags for you?

Most of the time, yes, hotels will hold your bags if you ask them to. They have a storage room near the front desk where your bags will be placed in until they can be delivered to your room or you come to pick up your bags. 

Hotel Policies for Holding Bags

Almost all hotels will hold your bags for you if you ask them to.

If you arrive before available check-in times but want to go out and explore your destination, hotels will usually hold onto your bags until check-in time and may even deliver your bags to your room. 

You can also take advantage of the hotel for check-out times as well.

If you need to check out early in the day but aren’t scheduled to leave until later, you can ask the hotel to hold onto your bags even after you’ve officially checked out. 

Even if you aren’t staying at a particular hotel, they can usually store your luggage for you.

For a tip, bellhops can keep your bags in a secure place while you’re out during the day, as long as you come to pick them up later. 

Things to Keep in Mind

Every hotel will have different policies about whether or not they will hold your luggage, how long they will hold it, and when you can leave your luggage with them. It’s generally the best practice to call ahead and inquire about their policies before trying to leave it with them. 

Most hotels operate on a “store-at-your-own-risk” policy and are not liable for any damages to your luggage that happen while it’s stored. 

Usually, bags are placed in secure rooms but there isn’t someone watching your bags the entire time. Don’t leave valuables in your bags if you intend to allow the hotel to store them. 

Always travel with a tag or other identifying feature on your bags. If your bags are common or look similar to other guests, you can end up leaving with someone else’s bag or vice versa. 

Some hotels charge fees for holding your bags, especially after check-out. To avoid these, always call ahead and get a clear rundown of the hotel’s policy. 

Also, make sure to get a receipt for your bags when you have the hotel hold them. This ensures you can get your bags back and serves as proof you left them there. 

Do you tip the hotel for holding your bags?

It’s normally customary to tip your concierge or bellhop to hold your bags for you, the same way you might want to tip the housekeeper or bellhop to bring your luggage to your room.

Usually, this is about a dollar per bag or five dollars plus a dollar per bag. 

You aren’t required to tip the hotel or the staff for holding your bags for you, but it is the polite thing to do. At cheaper hotels that have you handle your own bags, you don’t really need to tip for storing them. 

Why do hotels check-in at 3?

The check-in time can vary depending on the hotel you’re staying at, but almost all hotels have a standard time to check-in. 

This is set to ensure housekeepers have enough time to clean the hotel’s rooms and have them ready for guests to check into. Generally, reserved rooms and rooms with guests already in them take priority early in the day. 

If there are available rooms that are cleaned and ready, you may be able to check-in earlier than the check-in time. There is no guarantee your room will be ready before this time though, and the hotel usually won’t expedite your room cleaning just because you arrived early. 

What happens if you leave the hotel without paying?

Penalties can vary for leaving without paying depending upon a variety of reasons.

The circumstances in which you left, the location of the hotel and the hotel chain itself, and even the mood of the staff can all affect what happens if you leave without paying. 

Many hotels now allow you to drop your room keys in a basket on your way out and leave without stopping at the front desk to check out. In this case, your room and any charges are charged to your credit card. 

If the charges can’t be paid this way, you’ll receive an email or phone call from the hotel looking to collect the money you owe them. 

If there isn’t any evidence that you were trying to defraud the hotel, you can usually work out your payment with them when they contact you or at the front desk when a problem comes up. 

If the hotel does believe you are trying to cheat them out of the money, they can file legal claims against you or even have you arrested. 

Different hotels will have different policies for how they collect debts owed to them. The hotel may handle it themselves or have a collections department that will contact you. 

Smaller hotels may try to prevent you from leaving and contact local authorities. 

Legal ramifications vary depending on the local laws for the location of the hotel. You may face fines, jail time, or appear in court.

Do hotels charge you for not returning key cards?

Key cards can be a great souvenir of your trip, allowing you to always remember the amazing place you stayed. But should you keep your key card after checking out?

Different hotels will have different policies for turning in key cards.

Most will have you leave them in a basket or turn them in upon checking out, but you could still sneak them out. 

Most of the time, hotels don’t charge you for keeping your key cards, because they’re very cheap for the hotels when purchased in bulk. 

There isn’t anything stopping them from charging you though, so you may end up with a small extra charge on your credit card if you take the key card. 

While the card doesn’t work for your room after checking out, sometimes the key cards will still work to access hotel amenities like exit doors or pools.

If this is the case, collecting your key card after check-out becomes a security issue for the hotel, though they normally won’t email you asking for it back. 

Read More > Do Hotels Charge for Not Returning / Lost Key Cards?


Most of the time, hotels will hold your bags for you before check-in and even after you check out of the hotel. Policies vary by hotel, so you may be charged for holding your bags. 

Before your trip, call ahead and ask the front desk about their policies surrounding holding your luggage.