Safe to Check Bags with a Hotel Bellhop? Think Again

It is very common for guests to check out of a hotel but leave their bags with a front desk clerk or bellhop while the travelers spend additional time seeing the sights or attending to business. At most hotels, you are given a receipt for your bags and they are placed in a locked room until you return. Your bags should be safe, right? Maybe not.

What if your bags are not there when you return? Sadly, this story is a great reminder that this can happen. Not surprising, some properties are more diligent about safeguarding guest bags than others. However, this was a Grand Hyatt in San Diego, a hotel that most anyone would trust to take care of their belongings. Having a checked bag stolen was bad enough but then the couple learned that their luggage, which they claim contained thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, would only be replaced at $250 per bag.

This case involves California law but there are similar statutes in many other states. Side note, it is also very common for hotels to have limited liability in the case of room burglaries, too. The reason hoteliers pushed such laws through their legislatures is to avoid the potential problem where a guest claims there was jewelry, cash, or other expensive items in their bags or rooms that didn’t exist. In fact, this is not much different from airline policy when you check a bag with them.

While the loss must be painful for this California couple, it is a reminder to everyone else that you never leave valuable items with anyone when you are traveling. Indeed, please don’t travel with anything that you consider irreplaceable. Knowing there is always a possibility of burglaries, thefts, or even accidents when you are traveling, you do not want a horrible event like this to become the way you remember your trip.

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