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I really don’t like early starts when travelling home from a trip and try to avoid them as much as possible. Getting a flight or train in the late afternoon/evening just seems so much more civilised than scrambling around at 6am – and it means you get to enjoy your destination for a bit longer too. Day rates tend to be quite expensive for just a few extra hours, so how do you extend your hotel stays for free?
Standard check out times are rarely later than 12pm, which is ok, but not great if your flight is after 5pm. Obviously you can just ask the concierge desk to look after your bags and go for a walk / get some lunch etc, but unless the airport takes a long time to get to, or you are looking forward to a couple of hours at an airport lounge, that’s still not an ideal solution.
Extend your hotel stays for free with late check out
I just got back from Berlin, and in cities like that sometimes you need late check out!
All the different major hotel chains have different official policies when it comes to late check out, but I usually find that as long as you are a member of the loyalty programme (even without elite status) and they aren’t too busy, then they will usually try to help you out. You are asking for a favour, so be friendly!
I tend to ask at the front desk either when checking in or the evening before departure, and if they can’t confirm anything at that time I’ll ring down in the morning too.
Having elite status helps (status with some programmes even guarantees late check out), but IHG, for instance, offer 2pm as standard for all Rewards Club members (subject to availability) so it really isn’t necessary.
If you want elite status anyway though (and why not!) you can find out how to get it with 10 different hotel loyalty programmes here, without a single stay!
Extend your hotel stays for free with executive lounge access
I like having executive lounge access at hotels (free food + drinks – what’s not to like?), but not usually enough to pay for it. If you can get access for free though, through elite status, it’s a tremendous perk.
Top-tier elite members with Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Starwood and Accor all get guaranteed free lounge access regardless of the room type booked, and with IHG it’s certainly not guaranteed but often provided.
If you do have access and are travelling late the next day, it’s always worth asking whether you can carry on using the lounge after you have vacated your room.
I’ve done this fairly often and never been refused, but again you are asking for a favour and (as far as I know) the hotel is under no obligation to say yes.
Just a few weeks ago I was at the Conrad St. James in London (lounge access via my Hilton Diamond status), and had a late train home. I asked about using the lounge later that day and there was no problem at all – I checked out, had lunch, went for a good walk and then came back to the hotel about 4pm and spent an hour in the lounge.
Extend your hotel stays for free with leisure club access
Not all hotels have executive lounges and not all guests have access even when they do, but if a hotel has a swimming pool or other leisure facilities, I’ve never heard of anyone being refused access to them after checking out.
Being able to swim or even just shower and put on a change of clothes after a day’s sightseeing makes travelling later in the day much more comfortable!
Extending your stay a little bit can really make the difference between having a relaxed, enjoyable final day on holiday and it feeling like you’re just killing time waiting around to leave and getting stressed out.
The tips here are really simple and all basically come down to a one point: hotels want you to have a great time, so if you want something just ask – but do so with a smile and an understanding that they are probably doing you a favour.
Anyone got any other thoughts/tips on how to make the most of the final day of a trip?