Late Check-In at Hotels: Tips and Guidelines

Are you worried about arriving late at your hotel and not knowing what to do? Late check-ins can be a stressful experience, but with a little preparation, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free process. In this article, we’ll provide you with some tips and guidelines to make your late check-in as easy as possible.

Contact the Hotel in Advance

Arriving late at a hotel can be a stressful experience, especially if you’re worried about not being able to check in. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make the process smoother. One of the most important things you can do is to contact the hotel in advance.

Call or Email the Hotel

When you know that you’re going to be arriving late, it’s a good idea to call or email the hotel to let them know. This will give them a heads up and allow them to make any necessary arrangements. Make sure you have the hotel’s contact information handy so that you can reach out to them easily.

When you call or email the hotel, be sure to let them know your expected arrival time. If you’re going to be arriving after the hotel’s standard check-in time, they may have specific instructions for you. They may also ask for your confirmation number or other information to verify your reservation.

Ask About Their Late Check-In Policy

When you contact the hotel, it’s also a good idea to ask about their late check-in policy. Some hotels have a 24-hour front desk, while others may have limited hours. Some hotels may require you to check in before a certain time, while others may have a more flexible policy.

Be sure to ask about any fees or additional charges that may apply if you’re checking in late. Some hotels may charge an additional fee, while others may not. Knowing this information in advance can help you avoid any surprises when you arrive.

By contacting the hotel in advance and asking about their late check-in policy, you can help ensure a smoother and less stressful arrival experience.

Bring Your Reservation Confirmation

One of the most important things to remember when checking in late at a hotel is to bring your reservation confirmation with you. This will help speed up the check-in process and ensure that there are no misunderstandings or mistakes. You can typically find your reservation confirmation in your email inbox, or by logging into your hotel’s website or app.

Why You Need Your Reservation Confirmation

There are several reasons why bringing your reservation confirmation is important. Firstly, it ensures that you have all the necessary information about your reservation, such as your check-in and check-out dates, room type and rate, and any special requests you may have made. This will help to avoid any confusion or mix-ups when checking in.

Secondly, if you have made a reservation through a third-party website or travel agency, such as Expedia or, bringing your confirmation will help the hotel staff to quickly and easily locate your reservation in their system.

What to Do if You Can’t Find Your Confirmation

If, for whatever reason, you cannot find your reservation confirmation, don’t panic. You can usually still check in by providing some basic information, such as your name and the dates of your stay. However, this may take longer and could potentially lead to delays or other issues. To avoid this, it’s always best to bring your confirmation with you.

Other Tips for Late Check-In

  • Call ahead to let the hotel know that you will be arriving late. This will help them to prepare for your arrival and ensure that everything is in order.
  • Make sure you have a valid form of identification, such as a passport or driver’s license, with you when checking in.
  • If you have any special requests or preferences, such as a non-smoking room or extra pillows, let the hotel know ahead of time.
  • Consider using a hotel app, such as Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors, to check in and access your room key digitally. This can save time and hassle.

By following these tips and guidelines, you can help ensure a smooth and stress-free check-in experience, even if you arrive at the hotel late in the evening or early in the morning.

Be Prepared to Pay

One of the most important things to keep in mind when checking in late at a hotel is that you may be required to pay an additional fee. This fee can vary depending on the hotel’s policies and the time of your arrival, so it’s important to check beforehand to avoid any surprises.

Know the Payment Methods Accepted

When it comes to paying for your late check-in fee, make sure to ask the hotel what payment methods they accept. Some hotels may only accept credit or debit cards, while others may accept cash or other forms of payment. Knowing what payment methods are accepted can help you avoid any delays or issues when trying to pay your fee.

Have Cash on Hand

While many hotels accept credit and debit cards, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand just in case. Some hotels may prefer cash payments for late check-in fees, or you may need cash for incidentals or tips during your stay. It’s also a good idea to have some small bills on hand for tipping hotel staff.

Remember, being prepared to pay for a late check-in fee can help make your hotel stay more enjoyable and stress-free. By knowing what to expect and having the right payment methods on hand, you can avoid any unnecessary delays or issues during your check-in process.

Check for Additional Fees

When you are planning to check-in late at a hotel, it is important to check for any additional fees that may be charged. This will help you avoid any unpleasant surprises and ensure that you are prepared to pay the full amount for your stay.

Late Check-In Fees

Many hotels charge a late check-in fee if you arrive after a certain time. The fee varies depending on the hotel, but it can range from $10 to $50 or more. It is important to check with the hotel beforehand to find out what their policy is and whether or not they charge a late check-in fee. Some hotels may waive the fee if you let them know ahead of time that you will be arriving late.

Extra Night Charges

Another thing to consider when checking-in late is whether or not you will be charged for an extra night. Some hotels consider a late check-in as an additional night’s stay and will charge you accordingly. This can be particularly costly if you are only staying for one night. Make sure you clarify the hotel’s policy regarding late check-ins and extra night charges before making your reservation.

By checking for additional fees, you can avoid any unexpected expenses and ensure that your stay is enjoyable and stress-free. Remember to always read the fine print and ask questions if you are unsure about any hotel policies.

Take Safety Precautions

When checking into your hotel room, it’s important to take necessary safety precautions to ensure a secure and comfortable stay. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Be Wary of Strangers

While it’s natural to be friendly and open to new people, it’s important to be cautious of strangers when staying in a hotel. Avoid sharing personal information or your room number with anyone you don’t know and always use the peephole to identify visitors before opening the door. If someone claims to be a hotel employee, call the front desk to verify their identity before opening the door.

It’s also a good idea to keep your valuables out of sight and locked away in the room safe. If you’re traveling with expensive jewelry or electronics, consider leaving them at home or storing them in a safety deposit box at the hotel.

Check Your Room Thoroughly

Before settling into your hotel room, take a few moments to inspect the space for any potential safety hazards. Test the locks on all doors and windows to ensure they are secure and report any issues to hotel staff immediately.

Check the smoke detector to make sure it’s in working order and report any issues to the front desk. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the emergency exit routes in case of a fire or other emergency.

Finally, don’t hesitate to request a different room if you feel uncomfortable in your assigned space. Your safety and comfort should always be a top priority.

For more information on hotel safety, visit the Overseas Security Advisory Council.


Late check-ins can be stressful, but with these tips and guidelines, you can make the process as smooth as possible. Remember to contact the hotel in advance, bring your reservation confirmation, be prepared to pay, check for additional fees, and take safety precautions. By doing so, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your stay, even if you arrive late.

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