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4 Things You Can Take from Your Hotel Room (and 4 You Can’t)

Unfortunately, you shouldn't take the robes.

toiletries and clean towels set on a hotel bed
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Hotel rooms are filled with nice things. Most places want to make your vacation as comfortable as possible—you’re paying for it, after all. With so many nice things around, you may want to grab a couple before you check out. But while you may be tempted to take what you can, there are some things you actually can’t take with you—and you may even be charged a fine if you do. These are the things you can and can’t take with you from a hotel. And make sure you also read up on what you should check for in a hotel room and what you may not see in hotel rooms anymore.
Hotel soaps on a tray in the bathroom
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What you can take: Soap

If there’s one thing most hotels reliably have in their rooms, it’s soap. And according to Ousman Conteh, general manager at Claridge House Chicago, these mini bottles are OK to take from your hotel room. “Often hotels receive negotiated pricing for items from another brand,” he says. However, Curt Asmussen, managing director of Obie Hospitality, notes that it’s not encouraged to take these items—but guests aren’t penalized in any way if they do. Make sure you know what you should never ask the hotel staff before you go on your next trip.

hotel shampoo and condtioner bottles on a tray in the bathroom
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What you can take: Shampoo or conditioner

Much like the mini soaps stocked in the bathroom, the travel-size shampoo and conditioner are also fine to take from your hotel room. Hotels sometimes brand these items too, Conteh says. So taking their shampoos and sporting the hotel brand name can help spread the word about a hotel. This goes for motels too.

Honeymoon concept. Champagne bucket near bed in a hotel room

What you can take: Anything “complimentary”

Complimentary items could include things like dry-cleaning bags, coffee, creamers, sugar packets, and certain marketing collateral pieces, Asmussen says. It’s fair game to take them with you. 

Joanna McCreary, general manager for the W Hotel in Austin, Texas, adds that some hotels even give exclusive complimentary gifts, which you are, of course, free to take. “We love giving people champagne on check-in on peak arrival days at W Austin,” she says. “We don’t advertise it, but do get a good deal on it, and complimentary surprise champagne you will find is a very easy sell.” Before your next trip, make sure you know how much to tip hotel housekeeping

Hotel Nightstand Gettyimages 172803649 Mledit
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What you can take: Paper and pens

These paper items also usually have the hotel brand name on them and serve as a marketing tool. Feel free to take them with you! But before you grab anything, learn about the dirtiest spots in every hotel room.

Close-up of stack of fresh white bath towels on the bed sheet. Room service maid cleaning hotel room.

What you can’t take: Sheets and towels

Sheets, towels, and other linens are definitely something you shouldn’t take from hotel rooms. As McCreary explains, the hotels’ goal is to prepare the perfect room for the next guest. Taking pricy essentials, like sheets, makes it harder for hotel staff to do their job.

According to the The Telegraph, however, 68 percent of people in a survey admitted they steal linens and towels from hotel rooms. Beware that some hotels can track stolen towels, thanks to electronic tags, Huff Post reports.

Holding a digital tablet in bed

What you can’t take: Electronics

Conteh notes that in most cases, there are disclaimers on all items that shouldn’t leave the room—especially in the case of pricy electronics. “An example is Claridge House’s AavGo tablet,” he says. “They note that there will be a cost levied on the room charge if a tablet or other item of value goes missing or removed from the premises.” If you’d rather opt for an Airbnb, find out the cheapest Airbnb in every state

two off white color bathrobes hanging in closet, room for copy space

What you can’t take: Robes

You may decide to use these on your next romantic stay, but you certainly can’t take them with you. These plush robes are one of the most common items people think they can take from hotel rooms, but can’t, according to Conteh and McCreary. You will be charged! Slippers, on the other hand, won’t be used again and are typically OK to take. Make sure you know these things you probably shouldn’t be doing in your hotel room.

Wooden Coat hangers hook in wardrobe
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What you can’t take: Wooden hangers, glass bottles, and mugs

There is a chance that taking these items from your hotel room could lead to consequences beyond an extra charge to your room—including being “blacklisted,” NBC reports. Hotels keep a record of guests who trash hotel rooms or steal items, and they might ban those people from booking rooms again. In rare scenarios, some people could get arrested.

The Telegraph reports that a couple in Japan was arrested for stealing robes and an ashtray. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so only take the complimentary items that you really need. Remember, just because you can take something doesn’t mean you should. Next, find out what hotel housekeepers know about you, and make sure you know how to spot hidden cameras wherever you stay.


Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is a former staff writer at Reader’s Digest. There’s a 90% chance Emily is drinking tea right now, but when she’s not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts and liking one too many astrology memes.