Will Hotels ship lost items? | What you need to know
Have you ever left something behind at a hotel and wondered if you could get it back? Maybe it was a phone charger, a pair of sunglasses, or a sentimental souvenir. Or maybe it was something more valuable, like a laptop, a passport, or a diamond ring.
Whatever it was, you probably felt frustrated, anxious, or even heartbroken when you realized your mistake. You might have wondered if the hotel staff would find your item, if they would keep it safe, and if they would ship it to you.
In this blog post, we’ll answer these questions and more. We’ll explain how hotels handle lost and found items, what you can do to recover your belongings, and what to expect in terms of costs and time. We’ll also share some stories from travelers who have experienced losing and finding their stuff at hotels.
How do hotels handle lost and found items?
Every hotel has its own policy and procedure for dealing with lost and found items. However, there are some common steps that most hotels follow:
When a hotel staff member finds an unattended item in a room or a public area, they report it to the housekeeping supervisor or manager.
The supervisor or manager categorizes the item according to its value, type, and whether they are perishable or not. For example, jewelry, electronics, documents, cash, and cards are considered valuable items; clothes, medicines, cosmetics, and accessories are considered non-valuable items; food and drinks are considered perishable items; and liquor is considered a separate category.
The supervisor or manager records the details of the item in a lost and found register or database. They also note where and when the item was found, and if possible, who the owner is.
The supervisor or manager contacts the front desk to check if any guest has reported losing the item or if they have any information about the owner. If so, they inform the guest that their item has been found and ask them how they want to retrieve it.
If the owner is not identified or contacted within a certain period of time (usually 45 days to 6 months), the hotel may donate, dispose of, or auction off the item.
What can you do to recover your lost item?
If you realize that you have left something behind at a hotel, don’t panic. There’s a good chance that your item is still there and that you can get it back. Here’s what you should do:
Contact the hotel as soon as possible. Call or email the front desk and provide them with your name, dates of stay, room number, description of your item, and contact information. Be as specific as possible about your item’s appearance, brand, model, color, size, etc.
Follow up with the hotel regularly until your item is located. Be polite and patient with the hotel staff. They may be busy with other guests or tasks and may not be able to check on your item immediately.
Choose how you want to receive your item. Depending on the hotel’s policy and your preference, you may have one or more of these options:
Have the hotel hold your item until your next stay or until you can pick it up yourself.
Have someone else pick up your item for you (a friend, a colleague, a courier service).
Have the hotel ship your item to you using a service like I Left My Stuff (https://www.ileftmystuff.com/), which handles everything from lost and found management to shipping labels and courier pickup.
Pay for any costs associated with retrieving your item. While some hotels may offer free shipping or storage for lost items, most will charge you for these services. You may also have to pay for insurance, taxes, customs fees, or address correction fees if applicable.
What can you expect in terms of costs and time?
The costs and time involved in getting your lost item back from a hotel may vary depending on several factors:
The value and size of your item. Valuable items may require more security measures and insurance coverage; larger items may require more packaging materials and shipping fees.
The distance between you and the hotel. The farther away you are from the hotel, the more expensive and time-consuming it will be to ship your item.
The shipping method and speed you choose. You may have different options for shipping carriers (FedEx, UPS, USPS) and delivery times (overnight, express, standard). The faster you want your item delivered, the more you will have to pay.
The hotel’s policy and availability. Some hotels may have limited staff or resources to handle lost and found items; others may have strict rules or fees for shipping or storing items.
As a general estimate, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $100 or more for shipping your lost item, depending on the factors above. You can also expect to wait anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for your item to arrive, depending on the factors above.
Some stories from travelers who have lost and found their stuff at hotels
To give you some examples of how hotels deal with lost and found items, here are some stories from travelers who have shared their experiences online:
A traveler who left his laptop at a hotel in New York City was able to get it back within a week after contacting the hotel and paying $35 for shipping. He praised the hotel staff for being helpful and professional. (Source: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d93450-r150895447-Hotel_Pennsylvania-New_York_City_New_York.html)
A traveler who left her passport at a hotel in Paris was able to get it back within two days after contacting the hotel and having a friend pick it up for her. She thanked the hotel staff for being responsive and accommodating. (Source: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g187147-d197599-r556511656-Hotel_Eiffel_Segur-Paris_Ile_de_France.html)
A traveler who left his wedding ring at a hotel in Las Vegas was able to get it back within a month after contacting the hotel and paying $50 for shipping. He was grateful that the hotel staff found his ring and kept it safe. (Source: https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g45963-d91687-r571062050-Excalibur_Hotel_Casino-Las_Vegas_Nevada.html)
Losing something at a hotel can be stressful and upsetting, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster. If you act quickly and follow the steps above, you have a good chance of recovering your item and getting it shipped back to you.
However, the best way to avoid losing your stuff at hotels is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Here are some tips to help you keep track of your belongings:
Make a checklist of all the items you bring with you and check them off when you pack and unpack.
Use distinctive or colorful luggage tags, labels, or stickers to make your items stand out.
Keep your valuables in a safe place, such as a locked suitcase, a hotel safe, or on your person.
Double-check your room before you check out and look under the bed, in the closet, in the drawers, and in the bathroom.
Take a photo of your room after you pack and compare it with a photo of your room before you unpack.
We hope this blog post has been helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. And if you have any stories of losing or finding your stuff at hotels, we’d love to hear them too!
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