If you’re a traveler, you’ve likely experienced the disappointment of arriving at your hotel early and being told your room isn’t ready. This can be frustrating and put a damper on the start to your vacation. However, checking into a hotel early can be a perfect way to make the most of your stay, whether you’re a business traveler or a tourist.
Navigating the process of early check-in can be tricky. Still, there are several factors that you can consider before arriving at the hotel to convert the challenging part into a simpler one.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the benefits of checking in early, factors to consider, how to check in early, alternatives to early check-in, common mistakes to avoid, and more.
What Is Early Check-In?
“Early check-in” is when hotels allow guests to use their rooms before the official check-in time.
The standard check-in time varies from hotel to hotel, but it is usually around 3PM or 4PM. When guests arrive earlier than the scheduled check-in time, they may be able to request an early check-in.
Some hotels allow early check-ins as a courtesy, while others might charge a fee for this service. Availability of early check-ins usually depends on the occupancy rate and the availability of clean rooms. If a hotel has a room available and ready before the standard check-in time, they might grant your request for an early check-in. However, it’s important to note that early check-in is subject to availability and not guaranteed. It is always a good idea to contact the hotel in advance if you require an early check-in to discuss the options and potential fees.
Benefits of Checking In Early
Checking into a hotel early can offer several advantages to travelers. Let’s have a glimpse of some of the benefits:
- Avoiding Long Waits at the Front Desk – One of the most significant benefits of checking in early is avoiding long waits at the front desk. You can beat the crowds and get your room key faster by checking in early. This can be especially helpful if you have a tight schedule or a packed itinerary.
- Having Extra Time to Settle In and Relax – Another benefit of early check-in is the extra time to settle in and relax. Arriving at your hotel room early can be a relief after a long journey. Before venturing out, feel free to settle in, unpack, and rest.
- Getting Ahead of the Crowds in Popular Tourist Destinations – If you’re staying in a popular tourist destination, checking in early can help you beat the crowds to the most popular attractions so you can make the most of your time in your city.
Factors to Consider Before Checking In Early
Before you head to your hotel to check in early, there are several factors you need to consider. These include:
- Hotel Policies and Fees – Not all hotels allow early check-in, and some may charge an additional fee to do so. Be sure to check the hotel’s policies and fees before arriving to avoid any surprises.
- Room Availability and Readiness – If your hotel allows early check-in, your room may not be ready. If your hotel is fully booked or the previous guest has not yet checked out, you may have to wait for your room to be cleaned and prepared.
- Travel Plans and Itinerary – Consider your travel plans and itinerary before deciding to check in early. If you have a late-night flight or event planned, this may not make sense to check in early and pay for an additional night.
How to Check In Early
Now that you know the benefits and factors to consider, let’s look at how to check in early. Here are three ways to do so:
- Contact the Hotel in Advance – One way to check in early is to contact your hotel in advance and request early check-in. You can do this through the hotel’s website, email, or phone number. Be sure to provide your arrival time and ask if there are any fees or policies you need to know.
- Arriving Early and Speak with the Front Desk – Another way to check in early is to arrive at the hotel and speak with the front desk. Explain your situation and ask if any rooms are available for early check-in. Be prepared to wait if your room is not yet ready.
- Using Mobile Check-In Options – Many hotels now offer mobile check-in options, which allows you to check in and get your room key through a smartphone app. This can save time and make the check-in process smoother.
Alternatives to Early Check-In
There are several options to think about if early check-in is not an option or if you simply want the best while waiting for your accommodation. Let’s look at them.
- Luggage Storage Facilities – If you arrive early, but cannot check in, consider storing your luggage in the hotel’s storage facilities. This way, you can explore the city without dragging your bags around.
- Exploring the Hotel’s Amenities – While waiting for your room to be ready, you can enjoy the hotel’s many amenities, such as the pool, spa, or gym. After a tiring flight, this might be a wonderful way to wind down.
- Exploring the Surrounding Area – If you’re staying in a new city, take the opportunity to explore the surrounding area while waiting for your room to be ready. You can visit nearby attractions, grab a bite to eat, or stroll through the neighborhood.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
While checking in early can be a great way to make the most of your stay, there are some common mistakes to avoid. These include:
- Not Checking Hotel Policies and Fees in Advance – As mentioned earlier, check the hotel’s policies and fees for early check-in before arriving. This will help you avoid any surprises and prevent unnecessary fees.
- Not Considering Room Availability and Readiness – Even if you arrive early, your room may not be ready. Be prepared to wait and have a backup plan in case your room is unavailable.
- Not Communicating Effectively with Hotel Staff – When requesting early check-in or asking for assistance while waiting for your room, be sure to communicate effectively with hotel staff. Be polite, clear, and concise in your requests.
Early Check-In FAQs
While many hotels allow early check-in, checking their policies and fees beforehand is important. To reiterate, some hotels may charge an additional fee or require a certain membership status to check in early.
The exact time for early check-in varies by hotel, but generally any time before the standard check-in time. Depending on the hotel’s policies, this can be as early as 10 AM or as late as 3 PM.
Unfortunately, early check-in cannot always be guaranteed; this is dependent on room availability and the hotel’s policies. However, contacting your hotel in advance and explaining your situation may increase your chances of an early check-in.
Most hotels offer luggage storage facilities for guests before check-in. This allows you to explore the surrounding area or take advantage of the hotel’s amenities while waiting for your room to be ready.
Some hotels may allow late check-out if you check in early, but it’s important to check their policies beforehand. Late check-out may incur an additional fee or depend on room availability.
There are perks to checking into a hotel early, but you must be prepared by learning the rules, finding out which rooms are available, and coordinating with the hotel’s staff. The odds of getting an early check-in can be improved by contacting the hotel ahead of time, arriving early, or using mobile check-in alternatives.