What You Can — And Absolutely Can’t — Take From Your Hotel Room

Hotel Etiquette

For some reason, hotel toiletries just have that special allure. With their unique scents and cute packaging, those products have a certain appeal that makes them irresistible to many travelers. In fact, a staggering 73% of American travelers admit to taking hotel toiletries home with them. But where do we draw the line between acceptable souvenirs and items that should be left behind? Let’s explore the expert-advice etiquette of taking hotel souvenirs.

Acceptable Items

According to Mehmet Erdem, an associate professor of hotel operations and technology, certain items are acceptable to take. These include hotel toiletries such as bar soap, shampoo, and disposable slippers. However, it’s important to consider whether the hotel participates in charity programs that repurpose these items. If they do, it’s best to leave them for those in need. Additionally, writing stationery like pens, pencils, and note papers are typically free for guests to take.

Off-Limits Items

Off-Limits Items

Erdem emphasizes that there are items that should never be taken from hotel rooms. Linens, including towels, sheets, and pillowcases are considered big no-nos. Some guests mistakenly assume that books or magazines in their rooms are available for taking, but this is generally not the case. Hairdryers and steam irons are also frequently packed by guests ‘accidentally.’

Probable Consequences

The act of stealing hotel property is considered a crime. Authorities have pursued charges against guests who have taken items like towels or other valuables. In some cases, guests even have served prison time for theft. Furthermore, a hotel can maintain “no stay” databases for individuals they no longer wish to accommodate, which may also be shared with other hotels. The costs of theft, even petty theft, can add up to an estimated $100 million annually for the hotel industry.

Seeking Guidance

If you’re uncertain about what is acceptable to take, it’s always best to ask the hotel staff at the front desk. Seeking guidance ensures that you make informed decisions without inadvertently crossing any boundaries and facing unintended consequences.