Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to make it work so that you can check out from the hotel and then go straight to the airport after, it doesn’t always work that way. There will be trips when you have to check out only to find that your flight is not until some 5-8 hours yet and you don’t want to have to pay for another day’s stay at the hotel.
What can you do with your luggage after checking out from the hotel? Fortunately, there are some places where you can leave your luggage so you can still travel around the city and explore some places without having to drag your luggage around.
Option 1: Ask the Hotel Staff if You Can Check Out Late
Sometimes, we get this sense that hotels are inflexible. If they require you to check out at a certain time, you’d better check out or risk being escorted off the premises by hotel security. It isn’t really like that, though, as hotels are quite willing to bend the rules every now and then when it comes to checking out. Nevertheless, if you want some extra time, hotels only have one request: be considerate.
If you are traveling to a very crowded city or you’re in a place known for its tourist spots, chances are, someone has already booked the room you’ve been staying in. Before the hotel staff can help the next bunch of guests check-in, your room needs to be cleaned, the bed sheets changed, and the room aired.
Hotels are more than willing to give you an extra half hour or even more depending on how the housekeepers are progressing with their work, as well as if there are any guests booked after you, but you need to let them know. If you overstay your check-out without telling any of the hotel staff, it throws the hotel workflow out of sync.
Option 2: Ask the Hotel Staff if They Offer Luggage Lockers
If you can’t extend your check out at a hotel, you can ask them if they have a locker where you can leave your luggage for a few hours. Most bigger hotels will allow for that and will probably even have lockers where you can store your luggage for an additional fee or sometimes no charge at all.
Smaller hotels might not have luggage lockers, but sometimes you can leave your luggage with the bellhop for a tip. Keep in mind, though, that if it is travel season and the hotel is a busy one, no one will be able to keep an eye on your luggage all the time, even if they do find a quiet corner in the hotel where they can store it.
Pro tip: Before you book your hotel for your trip, you can check for hotels that are also partnered with storage companies that are nearby the hotel. That way, your luggage remains in a secure place and you can continue exploring the city without having to worry about it.
Option 3: Ask In Other Reputable Hotels Nearby About Storing Your Luggage
If the hotel you’ve booked is right in the city center, you’ll most likely find a lot of hotels nearby. You can check with those places as they might have lockers or storage services that your hotel doesn’t have. If you’ve booked a hotel or hostel in what is often known as the backpackers’ district, sometimes the hotels are lined up along the street, one after another. If that’s the case, then you have a lot of options to choose from!
Nevertheless, always remember to check first if the hotel you’re eyeing is a place that will keep your luggage safe. One way to check that is to look up reviews online. The last thing you want to happen is for your luggage to become damaged or stolen.
Option 4: Look Up Self-Storage Services Near You
If none of the above options work, you might want to check out self-storage services near your hotel or in the area you’ll be spending some time in before your flight.
The best thing about self-storage services is that most of them are open 24/7 and don’t have a time limit, meaning you can store your luggage for as long as you want. Plus, you can be sure that your luggage will be safer if you choose to store it in a professional facility, as they are cleaner and more secure.
Tip: Consider getting a GPS tracker for your luggage. In case your suitcase gets stolen while it’s stored at a hotel, a locker, or anywhere, a GPS tracker will aid you in finding the suitcase. Here’s a good GPS tracker that’s useable everywhere, all the time, and not only for your luggage, but your bicycle, backpack, and other things.
Option 5: Store Your Luggage in the Airport, Train Station, or the Bus Station
Some airports have a left luggage facility which is a great option if you want to store your luggage somewhere near the airport so you don’t have to travel some way with it. Before you go to the airport, though, it’s best to give them a call and check rates and where it’s located in the airport. You also need to check the opening and closing hours as some of them might not be open 24/7. Factor in your flight’s departure as well so there’s enough time to retrieve it in case there are long lines. You don’t want to store your luggage somewhere only to leave it behind!
Bus stations and train stations in different countries sometimes have lockers where you can store your things as well. Nevertheless, sometimes the type of storage varies depending on the station. Some stations allow for bigger, wheeled luggage while others can only accommodate smaller bags.
You also need to read the instructions carefully when you’re storing your luggage as some of them come with a time limit. On one of my trips, we had to make sure that we returned to the train station and got our luggage before the time was up, or else the locker doors would open automatically!
Option 6: Inquire Your Airline About Checking In Your Luggage Early
Most airlines allow you to check in your luggage up to four hours before your flight. If you can’t find any other storage facility in the hotel, airport, and even surrounding bus and train stations, you might want to go with that option. Nevertheless, you need to check with the airline first as they vary in terms of check-in hours.
Pro tip: If you are also on a pretty long layover and want to explore the city before your next flight, you can check and see if you can check already in your bags for your next flight. If not, you can check if the airport has a left luggage facility (see option 5).
Option 7: Leave It in Your Rental Car
Are you going around the city in a rental car? Plan ahead of time and book a car that’s big enough to fit your things especially if you know that your flight will be several hours after check-out time in the hotel. You can then easily store your luggage in the trunk or back of your rental car. That way, it’s with you all the time, no matter where you go, and you don’t need to worry about it at all.
Option 8: Send Your Checked Luggage Home With Postal Service
Some people don’t want to have to worry about checking in luggage and then retrieving it when they reach their final destination. If this is a hassle for you and you don’t want to have to deal with it, you can always opt to ship your luggage home, whether you are traveling locally or internationally.
Option 9: Download Luggage Storage Apps
With the rise of technology, companies have been finding new ways to make things easier and more efficient for everyone, travel included. You’ve no doubt seen the rise of various mobile applications that can make travel more enjoyable for you. From booking accommodations to finding the cheapest flights to finding tours that suit your style and taste, you name it, there’s most likely an app for it.
Thus, it’s no big surprise that there would be apps for luggage storage. These apps point you to places where you can store your luggage for as long as you want for a fee. Make sure you do a quick search online first so you can be sure that they are servicing the country you’re going to as well as other restrictions they might have.
Here are some luggage storage apps that you might want to check out for starters:
Locations: 1,000+ locations in hundreds of cities across USA and Europe, and rapidly expanding to Asia and Australia
Price: Starts at 5U$D
Locations: 10,000+ locations in 500+ cities (mostly across USA and Europe)
Price: Starts at 6U$D
Locations: 1,000+ locations in more than 250 cities around the world
Price: Starts at 6U$D
There are, of course, a great deal more luggage services that you can access quickly through your phone and book even before you make a trip.
Travel is meant to be fun, enjoyable, and as free from stress as possible. If you have to check out from the hotel but your flight isn’t until after a few hours, it doesn’t mean that you have to head to the airport right away with all your luggage and wait (unless you want to). If you want to tour a bit more of the city without having to tote your luggage everywhere you go, there are several options you can choose from.
Stress-free traveling often boils down to good planning. Before you go on a trip, make sure you plan for various situations such as this especially if you know that you have plenty of hours to kill between your check-out time and flight. In case this is an unexpected incident (for example, your flights were rescheduled to a later hour), there are plenty of options where you can store your luggage temporarily so you can enjoy a bit more of the city before your trip comes to an end.