Will Hotels Ship Lost Items?

Since we live in a consumerist society and as such, consume products by the dozens, we are more susceptible to misplacing, losing, or outright forgetting about our possessions than ever before.

So, what happens if you’ve lost your special item in a faraway hotel during your romantic getaway?

Is there a chance you can get the hotel to ship your lost item?

Yes, more often than not, hotels will ship your lost items. Some properties even boast extended lost and found support lines to help you get your valuables the way you’d want to get them back.

How Can You Get the Hotels to Ship Back Lost Items?

If you wish for the hotel to ship back your lost item, you must contact the hotel immediately and give the front desk your information (names and dates of stay), a description of your lost item or belongings left behind, and even your room number if possible.

You must also remember to give the front desk your contact info (phone number or email address).

After the call, the front desk will contact housekeeping to check your room and the hotel’s lost and found. Once your item has been found, you’ll receive a call from the front desk to arrange for the item to be returned.

In most cases, you can choose one of three options; you can either have the item held under your name until your next stay at the hotel or until you come back to the hotel to pick it up yourself.

You can also arrange to have your item picked up by another person (a colleague or a friend who lives near the hotel).

Last but not least, you can also provide a shipping label for the item to be returned to you. However, keep in mind that there’s no guarantee that the hotel will ship your item for free.

While some may do it for free, there are hotels that charge shipping costs too.

How Long Do Hotels Keep Lost Items?

Every hotel has its own set of rules and policies in regards to lost and found items. Generally speaking, hotels keep lost items for a period of 45 days to 6 months. Items that go unclaimed after that time frame usually get donated.

What Is the ‘Lost and Found’ Procedure in Hotels Like?

Any item found unattended in the hotel is handed over to the housekeeping department.

The housekeeping supervisor then categorizes the lost item into one of four different categories: valuable (jewelry, electronic devices, official documents, cash, cards), non-valuable (clothes, medicines, cosmetics, accessories), perishable (food and soft drinks), and liquor.

After the lost item has been identified and categorized, it is updated in the lost and found register. Other details such as where and when the item was found can also be entered in the register.

After the documentation, the housekeeping manager contacts the front desk to check if they’ve received any message from previous/current guests in reference to the missing item.

If the response is positive, the item will either be held under the guest’s name until his/her next stay at the hotel or until he/she comes back to the hotel to pick it up himself/herself. 

The item can also be couriered to the guests with the delivery charges either paid for by the hotel or the guest (as per hotel policy). 

How Can You Get Your ‘Special’ Item Back?

Ok, what’s the process of getting your lost ‘special’ item back? Special meaning an item that cannot be considered normal by any stretch of the imagination.

For instance, if you want your lost firearm to be returned, you’ll need to provide the proper documentation that shows you’re permitted to have such an item.

However, keep in mind that whether the firearm is eventually returned to you depends on the hotel’s policy and local laws. In some cases, the firearm may simply be turned over to local law enforcement.

Also, know this—despite your pleas and proof, strong prescribed medication and illicit drugs or paraphernalia can also be turned over to the local law enforcement. 

As for ‘normal’ items such as uneaten perishable food items, they’ll most probably be disposed of after a day or two.   

Are Hotels Responsible for Lost Items?

I’m pretty certain that you’ve come across the notice, “Management is not responsible for theft or loss of personal property.”  Well, such notice is usually publicized in public and private places, and hotels are no exceptions.

So, unless you lose your item from your hotel locker (which you paid for) or some other platform (service) that cost a fee, the hotel will not take responsibility for your lost possession. 


Due to the cutthroat competition in the world of hotels and with the hospitality industry suffering significant losses during the pandemic, hotels, in the post-pandemic era, have been found to be more accommodating to consumer wishes than before.

As a result, you can fully expect most hotels to be open to the process of shipping back your lost items.

However, you still need to keep your expectations in check as while some hotels may ship your lost item for free, others may charge shipping costs.