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What Documents Do You Need at Hotel Check-In?

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When checking into a hotel, you'll need to present proof that you are the person who made the reservation. Normally this comes in the form of an identification document such as a driver's license, state ID card or passport. Hotels require identification for two main security reasons.

The first reason is to protect customers from fraudulent credit card use and theft. Requiring identification upon check-in is a way that hotels can ensure that a hotel room was not booked with a stolen credit card. The second reason that hotels check identification is to protect the safety of their guests. Requiring an ID for check-in is a way to make sure that only registered, paid guests are admitted to hotel rooms, and prevents strangers or criminals from comprising the personal safety of those staying in the hotel.

When you check into a hotel, you may also need to present a reservation confirmation. If you book a hotel room online, you will usually be e-mailed a confirmation statement with a special confirmation number that guarantees your reservation. If you book over the phone, through a travel agent or in person, you'll often be given a printout with your confirmation number on it. Presenting this document when checking in shows proof of your reservation and guarantees you a room.

For example, if the hotel has made a mistake and shows no record of your reservation but you have a printed confirmation from them, they will have to accommodate you even if they are all booked up. It's important to note, however, that not all hotels provide confirmation letters. Some hotels will simply give you a confirmation number of the phone when you make your reservation.

Other documentation that you should have on hand when checking into hotels includes the credit card you used to make your reservation, or your checkbook, as well as any letters or licenses pertaining to special medical or personal needs. These include doctor's letters regarding medical conditions or dietary restrictions, and permits for seeing-eye dogs that allow guests to bring their animal guides into hotels with no pet policies.

In general, the check-in process at most hotels is simple, quick and hassle-free. Hotel clerks are friendly and ready to assist guests with any concerns they might have.

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