Woman talking(l+r), hand holding hotel card(c)

didesign021/Shutterstock @kindergartenthoughts/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘Why do they need to know when we leave?’: Viewers torn after woman says she just leaves hotels without checking out

‘My husband just left once and they charged him for another night.’


Melody Heald


Can you leave a hotel without checking out?

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TikTok user Lauren Paige (@kindergartenthoughts) says she never does.

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“Are you the type of person that turns in their hotel keys and does, like, a formal checkout?” the TikTok, who has over 140,000 followers, asks. “Or do you just leave and not turn in anything?” 

She shares that she keeps her hotel keycards as momentos and has never had any issues doing this.

“My take is that you stay at a hotel and just leave,” she adds. “You keep your hotel card for a scrapbook or for something fun.” 

She says she’s operating under the impression that hotels are not going to use the hotel keycards more than once. “They’re probably not gonna use them again ’cause they’re flimsy and scratched,” she says.

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She says she feels like checking out is even more unnecessary when the hotel has a box where guests can drop off their keycards. “I feel like this box was saying, ‘We don’t need you to check in with us to leave,’” she says.

Lauren claims that she’s used to hotel workers noticing she’s leaving.

“What a lot of places do is when you leave the parking garage with your car, they say, ‘Are you leaving for good? Are you checking out?’” she says. “And then that’ll signal it, and they’ll send you an email,”

Lauren says she’s under the impression most people are like her and do not check out formally. “But as far as, like, leaving before checkout time and turning in your keys, it’s not something most people do, right?” she questions.

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Lauren elaborates more about the checkout process at her last hotel in the caption. “Our hotel had a box in the lobby for key card turn ins so you didnt have to formally check out,” she wrote.

@kindergartenthoughts Our hotel had a box in the lobby for key card turn ins so you didnt have to formally check out #hotelcheckout #hotelkeys #hotelroom #stayingatahotel #travelprotocol ♬ original sound – Lauren Paige

The Daily Dot reached out to Lauren via TikTok comment and direct message. Her video racked up over 331,000 views. Most viewers shared that they do always check out of hotels.

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“Is this rage bait?  never in my life have I ever kept the key,” one viewer said.

“Turn in your keys. Stunned this is a question,” a second remarked.

“I have never heard of anyone not handing in the keys??!” a third, highly liked comment, questioned.

Another shared how not checking out can backfire. “My husband just left once and they charged him for another night. they said because he didn’t ‘check out,’” they shared.

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Former and current hotel workers weigh in

“As a former hotel receptionist it’s incredibly frustrating when you don’t at least return your key! How are we supposed to know that you’ve left?” one user questioned.

“As a hotel receptionist…….. I just (facepalmed) the heck are you saying lady… we do reuse the keys,” a second commented.

In the comments section, Lauren expressed confusion at the check-out process, “Obviously paid for the reservation but why do they need to know when we leave?”

Some viewers agreed with her, saying that they, too, never check out.

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“Travel a few times per month, Never have i ever checked out,” one said.

“I do the Irish goodbye. I don’t leave keys in room,” another said.

Do you have to formally checkout?

Whether or not you have to formally checkout of a hotel actually depends on the hotel.

However, for the informal checkouts, it is still recommended that you deposit the key in the hotel’s drop box. Nevertheless, it’s considered common courtesy to formally checkout for several reasons. The first is to ensure all of your billing information is correct. Second, it gives the hotel housekeeper a heads-up so that they can start cleaning up the room you stayed in for the next guest.

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Do hotels reuse key cards?

Furthermore, most hotels recycle the key cards. When they receive your key card, they wipe the information and reprogram it. However, if someone takes the key card, the hotel simply deactivates it and orders a new one.

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