Hotel entrance
Picture this: You’ve just arrived in a new city – excited, in a rush to go meet friends at a party, event, or dinner. There’s just one problem – you still have your luggage.
You’re ready to go, but your bags are not. A familiar annoying feeling to any frequent traveler.
So, you still need to drop off your luggage at your hotel or your friend’s place. After all, you can’t besaddled with towing it around. You want to be mobile. It can be a real buzzkill when you’re not free of your bags.
Depending on where an airport/train station is in relation to your destination upon arrival, you may have to go out of your way across town or, worse, double-back. In some cities without good public transit or heavy traffic, this could take hours.
Here’s a RLB travel hack to eliminate this problem when you’re short on time, and never worry about the safety or location of your bags again.
The Trick
Forget your hotel. Forget your friend’s place. Where you’re staying isn’t important. Instead, just find another hotel, preferably the closest one, and let them hold your bags for you.
How, you ask? Aren’t hotels only supposed to hold bags for their registered guests?
Technically, yes. Hotel guests, along with visitors for meetings or conferences, are generally the only individuals permitted to check bags for storage in a hotel. However, this is almost never checked or verified. You can store your bags just like a guest would. Here’s how to pull it off:
Much like our famous “sandwich” trick┬áthe key is all in the execution and – to a smaller degree – proper hotel selection.
Simply search for the nearest mid-to-high brand name or boutique hotel near you and head straight there. This works best in a hotel with an outdoor valet and bellhop and it’s best if you appear hurried and rushed.
Walk up to the attendant and explain that you’ve yet to check in and are late for an appointment, but need to check your bags first. For added assurance, it helps to have cash visible, out and ready to give as a tip. To really drive the point home and hurry things along – you can even give a few dollars to the attendant while also handing them your bag.
Think about it – you are handing cash to an attendant. Have you ever seen someone who works for tips hesitate and turn down a few extra dollars?
Execute this right, and you’ll check your bags and get a ticket number. Job done. The attendant gets his/her tip and your bags are stored until you need them. Later than night, the next day, whenever you like. There’s no clock here.
Done properly, it’s a home run. We’ve never seen this move fail – nor have we ever once been questioned or verified as a guest.
If no outdoor bellhop or valet is present at the hotel you choose, simply head straight into the lobby and find the nearest attendant. If no attendant is present, proceed to the front desk and ask for the baggage attendant. Again, stress that you are in a rush. They won’t want to hold up an otherwise happy guest.
At any of the major US hotel brands, they’ll send an attendant straight out, where you can simply do as you would in the description above.
It’s extremely unlikely you’ll be asked to formally check in, or asked your name for guest verification purposes before they’ll store your bags. However if you are asked, simply say you don’t have time to check in and that your booking may not have gone through yet. If they still refuse (again this is enormously unlikely), just pick another hotel.
Bear in mind – like most travel industry tricks of the trade, dressing well will only help your chances. You’ll stand a far better shot and face fewer questions, if any at all, in a suit and nice shoes than a pair of gym shorts and flip-flops.
Hotel Selection
A final word on selecting a hotel. Though it sounds counter-intuitive, your chances will actually be better at nicer hotels. Rolling into the Days Inn or Comfort Inn is probably not the best move, even if they are closer to you.
Why? These hotels likely have fewer guests storing bags and therefore fewer staff responsible for checking them. In even lower level hotels, they may not have the capability or security to properly store your bags in the first place. Choose experienced properties and whenever possible, pick a hotel that is used to handling a high volume of business and international travelers.
Note: We should stress this works much better in major American hotels. While it won’t hurt you to try this in Europe, we cannot guarantee a strong likelihood of success. Due to heightened security concerns, European hotels are far more cautious when it comes to non-hotel guests storing bags, and the lack of a ‘tipping culture’ makes it even harder to pull off.


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