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What to do with luggage before check in & after check out: 11 solutions

Here’s what to do with luggage before check in and after check out using temporary and short-term luggage storage solutions—because dragging bags around is annoying.

By Annie André ⦿ updated January 10, 2024  
Woman in Paris trying to pull her heavy yellow suitcase up a flight of stairs
Woman in Paris trying to pull her heavy yellow suitcase up a flight of stairs

What to do with luggage before check in and after check out

woman sightseeing: what to do with luggage before check in

It’s a common problem that all travellers face at some point.

You reach your destination ahead of time and have a few hours to kill before checking in to your accommodations. Or, you have to check out, but your departure time is hours away.

In these situations, it’s only natural to want to make the most out of your trip and sneak in a little sightseeing, explore the city, or grab a bite to eat. The only problem is you don’t know what to do with your luggage before check in or after check out.

As far as I’m concerned, dragging heavy bags around like a ball and chain while sightseeing on vacation can be one of the most annoying parts of travelling.

Not only is it tiring, but lugging around bulky bags can limit which activities you can do. There are also security concerns. Constantly having to keep an eye on your bags and belongings can be stressful, especially if you’re in an area where theft may be an issue. 

So, what do you do? Do you bring your annoying luggage with you, or sit around with your bags and do nothing? 

Fortunately, there are convenient solutions for travellers to temporarily store their bags, suitcases, backpacks and strollers before check-in and after check-out, so you can sneak in a little more fun-filled activities into your vacation. 

Temporary luggage storage options before check in and after checkout

Regarding what to do with your luggage before check in and after check-in, you have several options available for temporary and short-term luggage storage locations.

However, it’s important to remember that not all of these solutions will be available in every city.

1) Hotel luggage storage: Yes, You Can Leave Luggage at a Hotel Before Check-In.

Man at front desk trying to store his luggage before check in

Yes, you can leave luggage at the hotel before check-in

Most hotels provide hotel luggage storage for guests, which is almost always free. You don’t even need to call ahead. Just head over to your hotel and approach the front desk to let them know that you would like to store your bags with them before check-in.

They’re usually more than happy to keep your bags for a few hours until your room is ready.

2) Can you leave luggage at a hotel after check out? YES

Hotel luggage storage isn’t limited to before you check in. Most hotels are happy to store your luggage after check out until you’re ready to head to the airport, train station, or bus stop later in the day.

Just ask the hotel staff during checkout, and let them know when you’ll return. 

Tipping hotel staff for holding your bags: If you’re storing bags at a hotel before or after your stay, be sure to leave a small tip per bag for the porter, bellman or service person who puts them in storage and the person who returns them to you to thank everyone who kept your bags safe as favour to you. In my experience it’s usually two different people.1$/1€ per bag is often quoted as the appropriate amount. 

3) Hostels can store your backpacks and baggage too

a bunch of bags on the floor in a hostel

If you’re staying in a hostel and wondering what to do with luggage before check in, many hostels offer safe storage options, similar to hotel luggage storage

Call ahead to find out if it’s possible and if there are any size restrictions or special hours of operation. 

4) Use hostel luggage lockers when you’re sharing a room

hostel luggage lockers

If you’re staying in a hostel and sharing a room with other travellers, you may not feel comfortable keeping your personal belongings in the same room.

Most mainstream hostels have a solution for this — luggage storage lockers.

In hostel luggage storage lockers, you can securely store your bags, backpacks, electronics, passports, jewelry, and other valuable items. This can give you peace of mind, knowing your items are safe while you’re out and about.

It’s a good idea to bring your own lock as many hostels don’t provide them for their lockers. 

5) Storing luggage at an Airbnb can be tricky

couple walking up to their Airbnb with their luggage

It never hurts to ask an Airbnb host if you can store your bags at the Airbnb before check in.

However, if you’re planning to store your luggage at an Airbnb, you should keep a few things in mind.

Unlike hostel and hotel luggage storage, where your bags are easily placed in a store room someplace, storing your luggage at an Airbnb before check-in or after check-out can be a bit more complicated.

While some Airbnb hosts are flexible if someone has booked the place before or after you, storing your luggage at your Airbnb rental may not be possible. It’s not only an inconvenience for the host but also for the other guests. 

 Airbnb rentals are managed remotely, where you’re given a code for keyless entry that gives you access to the Airbnb rental for the duration of your stay. 

If the Airbnb host cannot store your luggage before checking in or checking out, ask if they can suggest alternative temporary luggage storage solutions. 

6) Store your luggage in the trunk of your car luggage stored in the trunk of a car

If you have access to a vehicle or a rental car, figuring out what to do with luggage before check in is easy. You can conveniently store your luggage in the trunk of your car.

The great thing about storing luggage in your car between check-in and check-out times is that you don’t have to worry about dropping your bags off or picking them up from a separate storage location. Your bags are always with you, which means you can keep them close and accessible at all times.

It’s a simple and convenient way to keep your belongings safe and accessible while on the go!

7) Store your luggage at the airport

Airport luggage storage lockers in Japan

Storing your luggage at the airport can be a great option if you have a long layover and want to explore the city during your downtime.

Even if you’re not leaving the airport, storing your bags at the airport can help you move around more freely without having to worry about carrying your bags everywhere you go.

Unfortunately, not all airports offer luggage storage, especially smaller airports. In the United States, most airport storage lockers and services were removed after the 9/11 attacks and were never replaced.

Before you head to the airport, it’s a good idea to contact the airport to find out if they offer storage services or lockers. If they do, be sure to have your photo ID ready, as you may be required to show it when dropping off or picking up your bags.

You should also check the opening and closing hours of the storage area to avoid any potential issues.

To keep your belongings safe, it’s a good idea to put locks on your bags before storing them at the airport. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that your belongings are secure while you’re away.

  1. Contact the airport or check their website to find out if storage services or storage lockers are available. 
  2. Have your photo ID ready; you may be required to show it when dropping off and picking up your stored bags. 
  3. Check the opening and closing hours so you don’t get caught in a difficult situation when it is time to return.
  4. It’s a good idea to put locks on your bags for added security.  

8) Check in your bags early at the airport

man at airport holding passport with his luggage waiting to check in

At some airlines and airports, you can drop your bags off hours in advance, which is ideal if you’re staying near the airport and want to get in a little extra sightseeing

North America

Passengers flying within North America (USA, Canada, and Mexico) can typically check in their bags 2-6 hours before their flight. However, it’s always best to check with your specific airport and airline for their policies.

Europe, Asia, Middle East

In Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, most airlines and airports allow passengers to check in their luggage 2-4 hours before their flight; however, some may offer the option to drop off luggage up to 24 hours before departure for free or a small fee. 

For instance, if you’re flying Aer Lingus out of the Dublin airport in Ireland, passengers can check in at a self-service airport kiosk and drop off their bags the day before. 

9) Store your luggage at a bus station or train station

beautiful woman stepping off of a train with her vintage suitcase

One of the benefits of travelling by bus or train is that bus stations and train stations are sometimes conveniently located in areas perfect for tourists to explore.

Larger train stations in bigger cities, such as the Tokyo station in Japan and the Paris train station, usually have luggage lockers — same with bus stations. 

Even if you’re not travelling by bus or train, you may still be able to store your luggage in their lockers. It depends on the station.

Your surest bet is to check out their website to see if they have a luggage storage facility or lockers. Don’t forget to find out what their hours of operation are and if there are any size restrictions for luggage storage. Often, you can make a reservation ahead of time. 

Unfortunately, if you’re travelling through the US, many train stations and bus stations no longer offer lockers due to increased security measures following the Sept. 11th attacks.

10) Dedicated luggage storage facility and Luggage Lockers Near Me:

front of the City locker paris where you can store your luggage

Some cities have stand-alone Luggage locker facilities whose main business is to offer a convenient way to store your luggage for a few hours, a few days, or even weeks. 

Reservations are usually made online in a web browser or a luggage storage phone app. Just search for a location near you, reserve, pay and drop off your bags and pick them up when you’re ready to go. 

You can usually find dedicated short-term luggage lockers near major tourist attractions, shopping districts, and transportation hubs.

For example, a French company called City Lockers Paris has a 100% automated baggage storage facility in Paris. Depending on the luggage storage companies, each will have different procedures on how you can access your bags, but the self-automated ones usually give you a personal access code to drop off and pick up your bags. 

11) Temporary Luggage Storage Service: (Airbnb for bags)

a luggage storage app mock up locating the nearest locations near me

Sometimes, you need to store your luggage while travelling, but your hotel or Airbnb isn’t an option, and there aren’t any dedicated luggage lockers available either. 

Enter temporary luggage storage services. A relatively new luggage storage service similar to Airbnb, but for luggage. They’re also a great alternative to left luggage, airport storage & lockers near you. 

Temporary luggage storage companies, such as Stasher, based out of London, and Luggage Hero, based out of Copenhague Danemark, operate much like homeowners on Airbnb in the sharing economy.

 These companies have partnered with local businesses around the world to provide secure and convenient luggage storage options for travellers with locations in thousands of cities worldwide and continually add to their network

Here is an example of businesses that work with luggage storage services.

  • local stores
  • restaurants
  • souvenir shops
  • hotels
  • convenience stores
  • restaurants, coffee houses
  • Bus stations & train station
  • and many more…

Luggage storage services almost always have an app so that you can locate a place near you to store your bags.

There are quite a few luggage storage services available now, but not every luggage storage service will be available in every city or every country. 

How do temporary luggage storage services work?

In general, luggage storage services work the same and operate similarly to Airbnb.

You open up a company’s luggage storage app, find a location, book online, put the number of bags you have, enter the dates and times you want to drop them off (and pick them up) and voila.

Cancellations are usually free but may not be for last-minute cancellations. 

Stasher | Luggage Storage Near Me

Stasher is a luggage storage service that connects travellers with hotels and local businesses where they can safely store their bags while on vacation or a business trip, allowing them to freely explore the city. Over 2000 locations in 300 cities worldwide.

Shop Now

Wrapping up what to do with luggage before check in and after checkout

In the world of travel, wondering what to do with luggage before check in and after check out will always be an issue. Just remember that you have options— free from the weight of your heavy, annoying bags.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a 'petite commission' at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my links. It helps me buy more wine and cheese. Please read my disclosure for more info.

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Annie André

Annie André

About the author

I'm Annie André, a bilingual North American with Thai and French Canadian roots. I've lived in France since 2011. When I'm not eating cheese, drinking wine or hanging out with my husband and children, I write articles on my personal blog annieandre.com for intellectually curious people interested in all things France: Life in France, travel to France, French culture, French language, travel and more.

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