Now What? : Check-In Do's and Don'ts

While abroad, I stayed at ten different places in less than sixty days. One might say that isn't a lot if they travel often but for me it was unsettling (no pun intended). Two of these places were homes of a friend of a friend, two Air BnBs, one apparthotel, one brand hotel, two boutique hotels and two four star hotels. In all of these situations, there has been a check-in. I've arrived at a set and expected time. I've been introduced to a new space with its own rules and activities. I've gotten acquainted and relaxed. Then I freshen up to either go to sleep or leave for the days excursion. I guess you can say there is an unwritten code or a check-in etiquette for all stays alike be at a friends or a five star hotel

 Do - Arrive A Tad Early or Right On Time
Showing up as expected is comforting for any host and/or establishment to ready your room for your stay

Don't - Arrive Too Early or Late
If you are early you run the risk of intruding on preparation.
Of course, being late could result in an unnecessary change or complete loss of your intended stay especially in a hotel situation. 

I didn't arrange for our BnB stays and I was never privy to anything about the host or hostess. Our stay in Paris we rushed to get there, arrived too early and we're forced to stay outside until the flat was ready. 
Only one hotel was not ready upon an early arrival but strangely took other guests arriving around the same time. We sat in the lobby quite frustrated before we asked questions, asked for wi-fi connections or found much of anything to occupy our time. If you must be early find ways to comfort yourself while you wait for your scheduled check-in. It doesn't hurt to immediately find out about the wi-fi, visit common areas like the bar or simply ask the hotel or innkeeper to hold your luggage so you can leave and return later. If you find yourself running late do your best to communicate with you accommodations and be polite upon arrival. 

Do - Make Requests, Ask Questions and Admit Observations Early
Ask about second keys, quiet times, locations of specific places etc. during the check-in process 

Don't - Make Demands and Complain Late
Why contact the front desk or disturb your host about things after hours?
This could make your initial introduction to staff or a host rather harsh.

Allowing yourself to speak up front about things you may need or issues encountered - ahead of time - is not only convenient to you but to your host or hotel staff as well. Create a rapport with your front desk, housekeeping and/or innkeeper the moment you check-in. If something isn't right, it is better suited to address it assertively now then aggressively later. Simply open yourself up to suggestions and information the moment you arrive. The hotel or inn should be obliged.

Do - Get Acquainted With Your Room
Find your wardrobe, safe for valuables, toiletries, light switches, outlets. Also review any information provided about amenities or attractions.

Don't - Just Rest and Explore Later
Placing ones suitcase in the corner and sleeping or leaving could amount to nothing. You may never personalize the space or gain any level of trust and comfort.

You should be aware of your surroundings in every which way. You should put away items, secure your passport and/or valuables and learn about your temporary space. It is a terrible feeling to live out of ones suitcase and not have any knowledge of what to do outside of it. You should utilize drawers, review brochures and adapt to your new environment. I've always avoiding reading site related materials in my room. However, those are your resources to find out more about your stay. I found that most things I wished I had were explicitly listed in those materials. So even if you don't plan on engaging in activities or ordering room service - still review all those materials to rule out things you may not have known about i.e. Al a carte pillows or breakfast to go when you check out.

Do - Freshen Up and Settle In
Take a shower and/or change clothes. Put on lounge wear to settle in or simply leave the towel on as you put items away.

Don't - Stay Dirty and Wallow In It
The worst thing you can do is soil clean linens by immediately resting or take your first shower at an ungodly hour. 

As cliche and kitschy as the phrase "go freshen up" is - you should revel in it while traveling. No matter what sort of arrival you have be it coming from Point A and have arrived at Point B or just dropping things off and heading right back out - a freshen up is in order. You should at least explore the bathroom. Get acclimated and not discover things later. Also pet peeve but one shouldn't climb into a clean bed with the days dirt and sweat on you. At least start your first night clean because not all hotels or BnB's provide cleaning daily or immediately after your firsts nights stay.

Short and sweet but necessary. Checking In doesn't have to be excruciating or simply routine. You should assess all your needs and get comfortable even if your stay is for one night. I personally despise checking out and finding that I missed out on a service, didn't even hang my clothes up or never figured out how to use the shower correctly. There are next steps in the check in process and they shouldn't be ignored. In every case, be it at a friends home for the weekend, at an Air BnB condo or at the Best Western for a business trip - you should check-in right every single time.

No comments: