Ann Abel - It’s a lesson every traveler learns eventually: Don’t use the drawers in your hotel room. Sure, the idea of putting your things away and not living out of a suitcase is appealing, but the hotel drawer is a black hole, beckoning you to leave objects for it to swallow up. If you put something in a drawer, you’re asking to leave it in the drawer. Safes (while necessary), balconies, low outlets, and under beds are also trouble zones.
People even admitted to leaving behind their hearing aids and false teeth. (Yes, really!) (Photo: iStock)
Many of us learn this the hard way. So many, in fact, that G6 Hospitality, the parent company of Motel 6, recently commissioned a survey about who leaves what and how they feel about it. More than half of the respondents copped to forgetting something, and nearly a third said they were more likely to leave something of theirs than to take something, even shampoo, from a hotel. While most of the frequently left items would come as no surprise (clothing, toiletries, chargers, and watches and jewelry are the top four), 3 percent of the people who answered the survey admitted to leaving their hearing aids or false teeth behind in a hotel room.
How do you even make it outside without those?
Always remember to check your drawers before you check out. (Photo: Carolyn Lagattuta/Stocksy)
I learned the drawer lesson after a weeklong cruise through the Mediterranean. It was a long trip, and I had a lot of stuff in a tight cabin, so I put some things in a drawer. Sure enough, I forgot to empty it and I left four rather expensive bras and a Lululemon yoga outfit in that drawer. I had to email the company for my things, and I’m thankful they were returned without comment.
Which got me thinking: I can’t be the only one. So I asked around about what travelers had left and what hoteliers had found (though the latter are too famously discreet to dish too much). Here are some of the cautionary tales:
In research from a couple of years ago, Travelodge said artificial limbs were discovered in rooms after guests checked out. Between 2003 and 2004, Travelodge said 80 false limbs were left behind. Like the false teeth, how??
One hotelier told me that he once found a goat dressed as Abraham Lincoln. He said, “Don’t know how it got there…but it made a good story for a while.”
Don’t forget your PJ’s! (Photo: Getty Images)
A pair of fancy pajama bottoms. “I stayed at a client’s gorgeous hotel with my husband, and we took advantage of having no kids in the bed with us,” confessed a travel publicist. “I guess I kicked off my pants at some point, and forgot to pull them out in the morning. They disappeared with the bed change during the day, and I never had the guts to ask for them back. I mean, who kicks off their PJ pants in the night, and leaves them there, except for one reason? They were gorgeous new Roberta Freymann ones, too. I still have the top, and every time I see it in my closet I am mad at myself.”
A pair of mermaid slippers.
A passport. “It was in my pillowcase, where I used to keep it,” says a longtime travel blogger. (Note the used to.)
Yikes! Your passport is definitely not something you want to leave behind. (Photo: iStock)
Extra-fancy underthings. “I left all my brand-new lingerie that I’d purchased for my wedding and honeymoon in a drawer at the Ritz in London,” laments one disappointed newlywed. “When I reached out to housekeeping the next day, they knew nothing about it. Someone had some nice new lingerie!” (Note to housekeeping: really not cool.)
Hand-washed underwear. “I’d left it drying in the sun outside at a five-star hotel.” Ladies, let’s look after our unmentionables!
No one wants to find used undies in their room. Ew! (Photo: Getty Images)
No, really, let’s pay more attention. One frequent business traveler had a cringe-worthy experience when he checked into a hotel in Bordeaux, France, and found a pair of used knickers under the desk. (Note to housekeeping: what the heck?)
An article in the Telegraph quoted a discerning guest who wrote, “My friend found a crack pipe in the coffee maker.” Again, what?
A taxi driver in the resort town of Park City, Utah told me he once found an ax in the back seat at the end of his shift. While it’s not false teeth or a hearing aid, it does seem like the sort of thing one might have good reason not to leave behind. Then again, he was never asked to return it.