What If You Accidentally Take Something From Your Hotel Room?

by SharonKurheg

People steal things from hotels all the time. Towels. Full rolls of toilet paper. Toiletries (even those big mounted-to-the-walls ones – they pump all the liquid into their own container). And, of course, there was this woman, who really took the cake.

But what if you’re getting ready to leave your hotel room and accidentally pack something that belonged to the hotel? And I don’t mean quote-unquote “accidentally” packed a bathrobe. I mean, what if you had no intention of taking something with you and it wound up in your suitcase by mistake and you brought it home?

That’s exactly what happened to a reader of ours not long ago, and they reached out to us to ask what our advice was. We won’t mention their name, of course, but here’s part of their email to us (reprinted with their permission):

…when I got home and was taking my dirty clothes out of my bag, I discovered the remote control from the TV was in there, too. I guess it was under my pile of clothes when I was packing and I grabbed the remote when I was transferring the clothes pile into my suitcase?

Anyway, I’m so embarrassed. What should I do next? What’s the best way to handle this?

a hand holding a remote controlI have a handful of friends who either work or have worked in the hotel industry…one is the head of housekeeping, one’s a hotel manager, and several have worked the front desk for a variety of different hotel brands. I reached out to them and they all said this is a VERY common occurrence. Remote controls and hair dryers are the 2 biggies.

What should you do?

All of my “hotel friends” agreed with my “gut feeling”—contact the hotel and tell them what happened. Explain that it was a genuine mistake. Then, offer to mail the item back to them.

  • Some places will tell you not to worry about it; they have backups for this very reason.
  • Some places will be happy for you to mail their property back to them.
  • And I suppose it’s possible the hotel may decide to charge you for the thing you took home by mistake, but I suspect that will happen the least often at all.

Anyway, don’t feel bad, don’t feel guilty. But don’t ignore it either.

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