In everyone’s perfect vacation fantasies, you arrive at your destination and your room is ready as soon as you’re ready to check-in. Unfortunately, rarely does reality follow your well-laid plans. Unless you get lucky or get there after the stated check-in time, chances are good that you’ll arrive at your accommodations before your room is actually ready. In those instances, you could choose to pout or throw a fit, or you could follow our great tips on what to do when you arrive too early to check-in.
Talk to Customer Service
Of course, your best bet is to be proactive and secure an early check-in before you even leave for your trip, but hindsight can be 20/20. If you arrive at your hotel early and you know your room won’t be ready, you should still go to the front desk and speak to a hotel agent. If you’ve been assigned a room in a specific category that isn’t clean yet, there may be a chance that there are rooms ready in another category. If you ask nicely, they may be able to upgrade you to a room that is available (or downgrade, if you’re truly desperate to get off of your feet.) If that fails, at least see if the front desk will hold your luggage so you can explore or just take a nap in the lobby without having to worry about your belongings.
Enjoy the Hotel
If you are unable to sweet talk your way into a room that’s available immediately, use this time to explore your newest home away from home. You can ask for access to the hotel business center (if one is available) so you can get some work done or tie up any loose ends you may have. If there’s no business center, see if you can snag the wi-fi password from the front desk clerk so you can at least use the lobby as a workstation. Or, you could use your extra time to start your vacation the right way and visit the hotel spa to relax and enjoy a serene environment or even an impromptu massage if you’re lucky! Alternatively, if you happen to have some pent-up energy from traveling, you could burn that energy and your wait time off at the gym. And if you’re hungry and there’s an on-site cafe or restaurant, grab a snack and chat up the other patrons to get some good vacation recommendations.
Explore the City
Our personal favorite on this list: exploring your new city will have you forgetting that you even have a hotel room you need to get back to! Check-in with the hotel staff to make sure they’ll call you when your room is ready, ask if they have a map of the immediate area and get to it! Check out the local bars, restaurants, and shops to get a feel for your neighborhood. Walking around will help you to get your bearings and chances are, you’ll find something interesting to keep you occupied so you won’t even have to “kill time.” You may even get lucky and make some vacation friends!
Knock out Errands
If you have errands you need to run, now is a great time to get them out of the way so they won’t interfere with your more fun plans throughout the week! If you are staying in an efficiency, you could head to the grocery store to grab your essentials for the week or head to the mall to do some shopping if you need some last minute wardrobe touches. And if you happened to wait until the very last minute, you could always head to a nearby bank or government agency to exchange your currency.