Etiquette experts weigh in.

Meghan Overdeep
September 24, 2018
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It’s a familiar scenario. You’re tired and anxious to get home. The state of your hotel room would surely make your mama cringe, but instead of tidying up, you simply shove your belongings in your suitcase and go.  The damp towels, assorted garbage and remnants from last night’s room service are housekeeping’s problem. It is their job, right?

Technically yes, but experts say that that doesn’t give you the right to be disrespectful to hotel staff. Their jobs are hard (and thankless) enough as it is.

Diane Gottsman, a travel etiquette expert, author of Modern Etiquette for a Better Life and founder of The Protocol School of Texas told The Points Guy that the bottom line is to be respectful to the individual who will be cleaning up after you.

“You should behave in the same manner as if you were [a] guest in someone’s house,” she explained. “Be delicate. Flush your toilet, clean up after yourself and don’t leave broken glass all over the floor.”

Gottsman explained that housecleaning staff expect to clean up after you—stripping the bed and remaking it, restocking the bathroom and tidying up—so there’s no need to go overboard But, leaving the room in a state of absolute disaster is downright disrespectful.

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Heather Schreiner, a Delta flight attendant who spends three to four nights a week in a hotel, shares a similar view. She told The Points Guy that she tries to make the housekeeper’s job as easy as possible.

“It’s my mess,” said Schreiner. “I try to put all of the trash in the trash can and put the dirty towels all in one spot. [The housekeepers] have so many rooms they have to clean in such a short amount of time. I like to make it a little easier for them.”

If, for whatever reason, you’re forced to leave your room looking like a bomb went off in it, Gottsman advises leaving generous tip for the housekeeper. And at the very least, take a few seconds to write a nice note—you might make someone’s day.