What Documents Do You Need at Hotel Check‐In?

If you’ve been traveling and are finally arriving at your hotel after a long day, the last thing you want to do is deal with a hassle during check-in, so it’s best to arrive prepared. The first thing to pay attention to is the specific time for check-in and check-out (in most cases, check-in will begin after 3:00 or 4:00 p.m.). Early check-in times will be at the discretion of the hotel and is based on the availability of the room, so if this is something you will need, it’s recommended that you call the hotel ahead of time. In addition to arriving on time, it’s a good idea to make sure you have all of your documents in order to make the check-in process as fast and as easy as possible. Here’s a quick review of the documents you will most likely need to have at hotel check-in.

– Some Form of Identification: When checking into a hotel, you’ll need to present proof that you are the person who made the reservation and that you are over eighteen years of age. This can be anything from a driver’s license to a state ID card or passport. Hotels require identification for two main security reasons. The first is to protect customers from fraudulent credit card use and theft. Requiring identification upon check-in is a way that hotels can ensure that a hotel room was not booked with a stolen credit card. The second reason that hotels check identification is to protect the safety of their guests. Requiring an ID for check-in is a way to make sure that only registered, paid guests are admitted to hotel rooms, and prevents strangers or criminals from compromising the personal safety of those staying in the hotel.

– A Reservation Confirmation: When you check into a hotel, you may also need to present a reservation confirmation (although this is becoming less and less common). If you book a hotel room online, you will usually be e-mailed a confirmation statement with a special confirmation number that guarantees your reservation. If you book over the phone, through a travel agent, or in person, you’ll often be given a printout with your confirmation number on it. Presenting this document when checking in shows proof of your reservation and guarantees you a room.

– Your Credit Card: Most hotels require that you present the credit card you used to make your reservation. Not only is this considered an additional security measure (to make sure you are the one who made the reservation to begin with), but the hotel will keep the card on file for any incidental charges you might accrue during your stay (for room service, movie rental, and the like).

– Any Discount Card: Many hotel chains have loyalty rewards programs and other programs where you have the opportunity to earn a discounted room rate. If this is the case, be sure to present the discount card or paperwork at check-in to ensure that you indeed get the reduced price.

In general, the check-in process at most hotels is simple, quick, and hassle-free. Hotel clerks are friendly and ready to assist guests with any concerns they might have, so don’t be afraid to ask if you have questions or need assistance.

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