When You Arrive Too Early for Check-In

What to do when it's too early to check in


Everyone wants to get the most out of their vacation. Unfortunately, yours may become stalled if you arrive too early before hotel check-in time. At most places, check-in doesn't officially begin until the afternoon. That can be more than an inconvenience for those who have traveled many hours and/or through many time zones and arrive exhausted.

When you present yourself at hotel check-in tired and in need of a shower and hear, "Sorry, your room is not ready yet," there are steps you can take. Not all of them will get you into your room sooner, but they can make the wait more productive and comfortable.

01 of 10

Suggest a Room Upgrade or Offer to Accept a Downgrade

Two receptionists at hotel reception
Simon Watson / Getty Images

If the hotel or resort has pre-assigned a specific room to you that is not available when you arrive, it's possible other rooms are clean and vacant. Take a chance, as a honeymoon couple, and nicely suggest that the hotel might want to upgrade you (without charge) to a more expensive room. Or if you're about to fall asleep on your feet, tell the reservations clerk you are willing to accept a room-level downgrade.

02 of 10

Stash Your Luggage

Oksana Pasishnychenko/Getty Images.

Regardless of whether or not you leave the premises before your room is ready, ask the bellman, concierge, or front-desk clerk to store your luggage. Remove all valuables beforehand, and be sure to get a receipt. Not having to drag a week's worth of clothing around while you wait will provide immediate relief. Before you depart, freshen up in the hotel bathroom. And If you've packed an extra outfit in your carry-on, change into it before you go outside.

03 of 10

Request Early Check-In When You Make a Reservation

While there's no guarantee your hotel or resort will honor this, if you make hotel reservations in advance, the request is in the system and rooms are available early—and you good-naturedly mention to the front desk that this is your honeymoon—there's a chance you can fly into your love nest that much earlier.

04 of 10

Use the Hotel Spa

If the property has a spa, ask permission to use the facilities before check-in. If the answer is yes, you can shower, have a snack, and perhaps even snooze there while your room is readied. Some hotel spas offer "jetlag" treatments, and one might help you to start your trip off feeling perkier.

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05 of 10

Access the Hotel Business Center

Log on to free wi-fi. Check your email. Surf the Web. Call or text home, and tell them you arrived safely. Draft thank-you notes to wedding guests. How much longer before you can lie down? Not yet? Play video games. Time will fly. If there's no business center at your hotel, ask at the front desk for the wi-fi password and use the lobby.

06 of 10

Explore the Area and Get Something to Eat

With your baggage safely stored, take a walk. Before leaving the reception area, ask for a map and have someone circle the street where your hotel is. Check out the neighborhood, and stop in for coffee, tea, or something stronger while you wait.

07 of 10

Locate the Guest Lounge or Lobby

Hotels are public spaces, and yours may have an area with comfortable couches where you can await your ready room. Alternately, ask if the hotel has a concierge floor. A fee is charged for access to these special areas. Inside, drinks and snacks are served, you can spread out and read newspapers and magazines, and perhaps watch TV until they hand you a key.

08 of 10

Exchange Currency and Buy Stamps

If you haven't gotten the local currency at your port of entry, need more, or hope to find a better rate, head for a local bank with an ATM to exchange currency. On your way, stop at a post office and buy some distinctive stamps to use for sending postcards.

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09 of 10

Go to the Park

If your hotel is in an urban area, there may be a park nearby. Ask the concierge for directions, get a map, and pick up snacks along the way for an impromptu picnic. Find a park bench or velvety green patch and start unwinding from your travels.

10 of 10

Get a Recommendation

The hotel staff knows the neighborhood best: Ask the concierge or front desk clerk where he or she would go if there were a couple of hours to kill. You might be near a world-class museum, a don't-miss restaurant, or the coolest shop in town. So get a recommendation, allow your body to reset itself to the local time, and do some discovering before you dive under your duvet.

If you stay at one of the Conrad Hotels around the world and arrive very early, you can take advantage of one of its 1/3/5 Experiences. These are cultural, culinary, spa and other opportunities to get more out of a destination when you have a free hour, three hours, or five hours to kill before your honeymoon or romantic getaway "officially" begins.

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