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Let's say I was traveling, with my luggage, from city A to city C, but en route I wanted to stay in city B for several hours to explore it. Exploring the city with a bunch of luggage would not be my first choice. As a general rule, is it possible to leave luggage with hotels even if you're not staying with them?

This would be for several countries Europe if that matters.

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    I don't think this is answerable, even for a specified hotel. It'll depend on the hotel's policies, and if those policies say "no" whether the front-desk person then on duty is willing to accept a pleasant request or an under-the-counter payment even if doing so is against the rules, whether there's space, and probably the phase of the moon. All in all, even knowing the hotel, the answer's going to be "Maybe." Nov 23, 2022 at 15:04
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    There is no 'general rule' - even different locations of the same chain can have different policies. Contacting individual hotels to ask (also looking for train/bus stations etc which may have storage facilities) has generally been my personal experience in this situation.
    – etmuse
    Nov 23, 2022 at 15:16
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    As a general rule, you would look for dedicated luggage storage. Larger railway stations usually offer such a service.
    – Berend
    Nov 23, 2022 at 15:33
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    Why wouldn't you leave your luggage at lockers at the train station or airport? That would be my first thought. As for hotels, I recently saw an app offering exactly what you're asking for. It's for Japan though, so I don't know if European cities have a similar solution. Nov 23, 2022 at 15:41
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    It's actually not that hard to find a locker, if you know where to look: You can use Overpass here to query Openstreetmap with node [amenity=locker] ({{bbox}}); out;. I think it may be more work to find a hotel that is willing to store luggage
    – Berend
    Nov 23, 2022 at 16:18

5 Answers 5

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General answer: Expect not to be able to.

But as so often there will be hotels which will accept luggage from non guests for payment or even for free. The hard thing will be to find them.

In most of Europe the main cities will have luggage storage at the (main) railway stations, often also at smaller stations or in smaller towns and in those countries I do not expect hotels to publish they take luggage for non-guests.

In those countries where luggage lockers have disappeared you might find some hotels mentioning it or at least you getting directed to a hotel from the tourist information office, but do not expect that to be available in all places.

If you have status with a hotel chain you can try to call them, me not having status I can not tell you how your succes rate will be.

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    Similar to your last paragraph, I'm wondering about using a branch of the chain where you spent the previous night, and asking reception of one to contact the other. Still very much a case of asking nicely and hoping to be lucky Nov 23, 2022 at 16:50
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    @ChrisH-UK agree with your point. While not related to luggage, in the past I travelled a lot on business, so had a status with both Sheraton and Hilton chains. I had had reasonable degree of success asking one hotel to call a different one from the same chain to ask for various small favours on my behalf.
    – Aleks G
    Nov 24, 2022 at 10:38
  • @Willeke This most likely won't work in the USA. I had been in a situation in New York where I was not allowed into a museum with a small (carry-on size) suitcase; they said they don't have any storage facilities and it's not their problem. I approached tourist information office, as well as central bus terminal and amtrak station - neither had luggage facilities and suggested that I should take the suitcase home and come back (very useful, considering that home was several hundred miles away). Nearby hotels from both chains I had status with also refused even for payment.
    – Aleks G
    Nov 24, 2022 at 10:41
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    @AleksG, the question mentions Europe and that is what I based my answer on. But as I wrote it does not even work in all of Europe.
    – Willeke
    Nov 24, 2022 at 11:20
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I have done it with 100% success both times I tried (albeit quite some time ago). I don't think it's official policy but concierges tend to appreciate generous tips and especially if you are dressed and look like you could be staying at their hotel I think you might do okay. After all, they often store luggage of guests after they have checked out. If there are several hotels within a small distance, there's also Plan B and Plan C.

Alternatively there are a number of apps that direct you to small businesses that are willing to store your luggage temporarily for a fee. I have not used them, but they seem to be prevalent in Europe- the businesses were things like convenience stores and quick print places.

Of course things could change very quickly in something like this, and a single terrorist incident in the region could change their attitudes very quickly, as they are not going to have the X-ray facilities of an expensive airport left luggage facility.

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    I've paid five euro to leave luggage for several hours at an airport. I wouldn't call that expensive, but I was rather surprised at the lack of security. Didn't appear to be any screening at all.
    – WGroleau
    Nov 24, 2022 at 4:45
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    @WGroleau: there's no security to speak of for cars left in the airport carpark, either. I think the general model is that the airport draws a security perimeter, and left luggage is outside that perimeter. There's an almost insoluble (or at any rate unsolved) problem in this kind of security screening, which is how do you stop someone attacking the people in the line for security? You can't screen them for weapons/explosives, because that's exactly what they're waiting for and you haven't got to them yet, so you fall back to general policing methods for public spaces. Nov 24, 2022 at 9:50
  • Apps or websites are definitely good solutions, but I won't recommend any here: Google and check ratings. You might end up at a shop, office, supermarket, or hotel, and opening hours and prices vary, but it's a lot cheaper than airport/railway offices, and in popular areas (e.g. near main railway stations) is generally convenient. As with comparable services (hotel concierges, checking bags for transport, etc) I wouldn't leave anything too valuable but your dirty clothes are likely to be safe, I've done this recently in the UK although I can't actually remember which services I've used.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 24, 2022 at 9:52
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    A lot will depend on the particular terrorists a country is facing or has faced. My understanding is that a lot of UK stations used to have luggage lockers, but they were removed during the IRA era leaving only paranoid/expensive left luggage places at major stations and nothing at all at more minor ones. Nov 24, 2022 at 16:22
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    I also did this successfully earlier this year, in Trieste, Italy — the train station’s luggage-storage desk was temporarily closed for refurbishment, the bus station’s was closed for the day without explanation, and all the independent storage places we tried were (unsurprisingly) full. So we tried a hotel (old-fashioned, independent, mid-sized) and the concierge very kindly obliged, and wouldn’t take any charge for it. When we were back in the city a few weeks later, we booked straight at that hotel instead of searching further!
    – PLL
    Nov 24, 2022 at 22:40
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Stasher.com connects you with places where you can store luggage for short periods of time. They have hotels, small shops etc.

Of course, it costs something, but one advantage is that you know beforehand where you can leave your stuff and don't have to spend your precious time asking around at multiple places. Another advantage is that you can search geographically, and work this into your travel plans.

I used this service a few times in 2019 and was quite happy with it, leaving my bags at one shop in central London when I arrived before heading to the hotel in the evening, and again when I visited the British Museum before going to the airport. In both cases, it was easy to find storage close to my destination for the day.

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It happened to me this summer. After checking out of my hotel I was planning to leave my luggage in the public luggage locker at the train station and go for a long hike in a nearby natural park that I was recommended. However when I arrived there...all lockers were full!!

After waiting there for a precious time, I decided to leave and try to store it in another hotel nearby (my hotel was too far away from there and completely opposite to where I was going).

I went to several (maybe 4) hotels explaining my problem but none of them let me leave my luggage there. There was only one hotel left there so I changed the tactic and didn't explain my problem at all. Just told the two persons there at the counter that I was leaving my luggage there, already leaving it at the counter. They took my luggage and gave me a tag with a number, when they asked me what room I was i just said "I still don't have a room" and they said..."ok" while I was almost already leaving. When I later went to pick my bag they gave it to me with no questions asked.

So my advice is just look confident as you own the place, it worked for me!

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    While this might work, it’s not a nice thing to do
    – JonathanReez
    Nov 24, 2022 at 16:48
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Whenever I've left my luggage with the bell desk, they never asked for any proof that I was a guest there. In fact, most of the times that I've used the luggage storage service, it has been after I've checked out (I check out in the morning, but I'm not leaving the hotel area until later in the day), so I'm not technically staying there at the time.

It's possible that they recognized me from going in and out of the hotel for a week, so they didn't need to ask for any ID. But I actually suspect that it's simply not worth the effort to try to prevent non-guests from using the luggage storage service. Unless the luggage room is full, the cost to provide the service is negligible.

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    But some hotels still charge a few €/$/£ per piece of luggage they store (even after confirming that you have a reservation for that night.)
    – Willeke
    Nov 24, 2022 at 9:11
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    I don't think I've ever stayed at a hotel that charged for this service.
    – Barmar
    Nov 24, 2022 at 9:44
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    I wouldn't recommend this unless you're very confident and good at talking yourself out at trouble. I've been in some that have asked for a room number for this service (generally when checking out although once in an apartment-hotel where rooms were pre-allocated), and some will take bags when you arrive early and put them in your room when it's ready, which presupposes you have a booking if you want to get your bag back; even one which said "leave bags in your room under the table when you check out, and we'll put them in storage".
    – Stuart F
    Nov 24, 2022 at 9:57
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    Maybe it depends on the kind of hotel. Most of my stays in the past decade have been at hotels adjacent to conference centers, perhaps they're more lax because this is a common need of conference attendees.
    – Barmar
    Nov 24, 2022 at 10:02
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    @Barmar That does sound like different pricing models. Business travellers are typically assumed to be willing for the company to pay a higher room price, but less willing to pay for additional services. Tourists are price sensitive to the sticker price, but more open to be nickel & dimed on additional services like luggage or wifi.
    – origimbo
    Nov 24, 2022 at 12:06

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