What You Can (And Can't) Take From Your Hotel Room

When you set out to enjoy a getaway, there's a good chance a hotel stay is part of your plans. Travelers have many options when it comes to the type of hotel they book and the kinds of comforts included in the experience too. Data collected from Hotel Tech Report through STR points to there being an estimated 187,000 hotels available worldwide.

Each of these hotels is stocked up with a unique collection of features, furnishings, and amenities for guests to enjoy. Part of the fun of a hotel stay can be returning home with some small hotel mementos in hand. However, knowing what you can and can't take from your hotel room is important before you start filling up your suitcase with what you might mistakenly assume are freebies.

Each year, it's believed that theft costs the hotel industry around $100 million. Whether items are taken on purpose or by mistake, it creates expensive issues for the industry. Guests might also find themselves banned from a hotel chain if they continue to swipe items each stay.

Avoiding this unpleasantness starts with knowing what's up for grabs in your hotel room and what needs to stay behind. Start with keeping your eyes open for strategically placed notices. For example, many hotel towels and robes are hung on hangers that clearly list the price that will be automatically charged to a guest's credit card if the item is taken from the property for any reason.

Feel free to take small bathroom amenities and paper goods

The charges can quickly add up for guests who attempt to take large hotel items with them upon departure. However, smaller hotel goodies are typically ok to take and enjoy back home. Many items from the bathroom are placed by housekeeping staff with the full understanding that guests will be packing them up when they head out. These include mini lotions, shampoos, and conditioner bottles that are often found in combination on the bathroom sink or in the shower.

While bathrobes are rarely considered hotel giveaways, the slippers in hotels are often another story. It's not expected that guests will share slippers, so they're typically up for grabs. If you're unsure, take time to check interior tags and slipper packaging for notices regarding any potential charges.

Disposable items in your hotel room are also fine to pack away in your suitcase on your way out to enjoy later. You don't have to worry about being charged for taking things like creamer or sugar from the beverage bar. The same goes for tea or coffee packets that are meant to be used up by guests.

It's also acceptable to take the hotel room stationary home with you. The same goes for any pens or envelopes that might be placed on desks or end tables. These items are often customized and companies consider guests taking them home a good way to advertise out in the world without incurring added costs.

Leave appliances and reusable amenities alone

Feel free to happily fill your bags with mini toiletries, sugar packets, and paper goods before you head home. Do take note that there are also many items best left exactly where they are in a hotel room. As a general rule, assume major appliances are never complimentary. That means you're going to want to leave items like hair dryers, coffee makers, irons, and the mini fridge right where they are.

Packing up room features like radios, clocks, coffee cups, wall art, remotes, and ashtrays could result in a large charge once you check out. Be sure to leave the room pillows and blankets behind too. These are meant to be reused and taking them is considered stealing.

Other items to avoid taking include mirrors, remote control batteries, lamps, lightbulbs, or utensils. Hotels keep a running list of these items for rooms and anything missing is charged. If you're ever in doubt about an item in the room, it's best to check with the front desk.

Knowing what's fine to take from a hotel can help travelers avoid all kinds of problems and added expenses. It might also help you avoid more serious consequences depending on what country you're traveling through. In Nigeria, for instance, visitors have been fined or given jail time for stealing hotel room towels. Before you fill your suitcase with hotel room souvenirs, keep caution in mind and understand what's free and what needs to stay behind.