Can You Get a Hotel Room Without a Reservation? Yes and No and Here’s Why

So, you are in a foreign country or just in another city and badly need a hotel – do you actually need to make a reservation or can you just show up at the first hotel on your way and get a room? The question is hard to answer with one word, so we’ve decided to write the article to tell you more about getting a hotel room without any reservation.

This is a tricky thing because sometimes you will be OK with this, but at some other times, you can get into trouble with such a method of getting a hotel room. Why? Let’s see in the section of this article describing possible problems you may face.

So, here you will read about the following:

  1. Is it OK to ask for a room without any previous reservation?
  2. Can a hotel refuse to give you a room without reservation?
  3. What problems can you have if you don’t make reservations in hotels?
  4. What should you do if you can’t get a room in a foreign place?

Let’s get started!

Can you actually get a room without reservation?

Yes, you can. But not at all times. The problem is that only the proper reservation will guarantee that you will have the access to your room once you show up at your hotel. Without this, you never know if you are actually going to stay in a certain hotel. And sometimes it’s OK – you will just go to a hotel on the next street and forget about all possible problems.

But the situation can be bad enough and that’s why we are writing this article. Never make this mistake if you can make a reservation. Always do it and don’t rely only on your luck.

We’ll describe the process of getting a room without any reservation:

  • first, you find a hotel that works and is open for guests;
  • then, you come to a receptionist and tell him or her that you would like to get a room;
  • the receptionist checks whether they have a vacant room for the time you need or not;
  • after that, they check your documents – you will obviously need an ID in this situation;
  • also, they will ask for your credit card to take a deposit (hold some money) from you;
  • after all procedures are completed, they will give you a key and explain to you how to get to your room.

Now, you can have a couple of problems getting a room in a hotel if you haven’t made a reservation. And one of them is the hotel refusing to let you in. What made you think they can’t do that? They have plenty of reasons to avoid clients that don’t make reservations and sometimes these reasons don’t even depend on the hotel itself.

You should know that once you come to a hotel in a foreign city without any reservation, you are always at risk of not getting a room. And you should be ready for this so that you don’t find yourself in the middle of an unknown city without any room to sleep in and with no idea of what you should do next.

Why can a hotel refuse to give you a room?

Well, plenty of things can make a hotel send you away without any services. This can be as simple as a fully booked hotel but in most cases, it’s a different reason. The problem is that the hotel always estimates the risks it has when giving a room to a client. And sometimes, hotels just will find that you don’t fit their requirements of a safe client.

If you make a reservation, you always use your credit card and they get some information about you. This way, hotels will know that you are a safe client for them and will have some time to check you before you arrive.

If you don’t make any reservations, you will probably get a very long check. The receptionist will ask for your ID and will try to check you up in a couple of databases. Then, they will also check the credit card. They will even look at you and if they find your appearance suspicious or strange, they will not let you get the room.

Also, some hotels just don’t take spontaneous clients and never let people get a room in their properties without reservation. Of course, this most often happens in big chains and luxury hotels, but some budget-friendly chains have also started doing this.

What problems can you get when coming to a hotel without a reservation?

We can think of loads of possible problems and issues but we’ll only cover the most common ones for guests. So, let’s imagine that it’s 10 p.m., you have just left the airport in a city you’ve never been to and now you are going to go to the nearest hotel because you are tired after the long journey.

Here are some issues you are probably going to face:

  1. The hotel may be fully booked and they just can’t offer you anything. In this case, you will just have to find another hotel and you’ll be lucky if this is a big city and it has a lot of hotels.
  2. The receptionist may think you look suspicious and they will not let you stay in the hotel. Of course, they will not tell you this. They will tell you that the hotel is fully booked.
  3. In many hotels, the check-in time is limited, and late in the evening, you may just not be lucky enough to find a hotel that can check you in.
  4. Also, the city you came to may have some concert, sports event, festival, or any other event and a lot of people could come here just a couple of days ago. In this case, you will not be able to find a vacant room in most hotels.
  5. In the end, you may just find yourself standing on a street with a suitcase in your hand and with no idea of what to do.

Because of these possible issues and problems, we always recommend a proper reservation. You can even make a reservation for today while you are sitting in the airport and looking at your gate getting ready to let people through. But the reservation will always save you in these cases.

What should you do if you can’t get a room in a hotel?

If something from the list above happens to you, you may just start panicking. This is the worst thing you may do, so just make sure you can find a calm place to think about the situation. This may be a bench in a local park or a cozy café where you can have a cup of hot tea or coffee and make up your mind.

One more thing – you have to get access to the internet, otherwise, it will be hard to do something with the situation. As a rule, free Wi-Fi is available in cafes, restaurants, sometimes in parks, and even at bus stops.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Go online and use websites like Booking, Airbnb, Hotels, etc. Try to make a late reservation for today.
  2. If it’s not possible, find websites of some hotels in the city and get the phone numbers of their reception desks. You will be able to call them and ask if they can let you in for a night or two.
  3. If it’s not possible, look for a website with student hostels and dorms. Most likely, you will find a bed in a hostel even during the busiest time in the city.
  4. If this doesn’t work, you may go to the nearest hotel and explain your situation. Maybe, they will try to solve the problem by contacting other hotels or offering you some other way to solve the issue.
  5. One of the possible solutions is to talk to locals. Sometimes, they can recommend you a guy who shares a flat with tourists and can give you a room at a good price. In other cases, they may know about some local hostels that can let you in.
  6. If nothing works, you may try calling the police. In most countries, the police will try to help you or at least will provide you with a safe place you can spend a night at.

We understand that no one is happy to spend a night in a police department, but it’s better than sleeping on a bench in the park, especially in winter. So, you should know about these methods to solve the problem and to get a place to spend a night at.

Of course, after reading the article, you may make the right choice – to always make a reservation whenever you are going to any other city. Yes, you may be lucky and get a room in the first hotel you go to. But never rely on your luck when you travel. We personally know how many bad things it can attract into your life.