What Happens If You Leave A Hotel Without Paying? Will They Find You?

We’ve been asked many times what happens when a person leaves a hotel without paying. And this is a very strange question to us because in most places you physically can’t leave without paying. We’ll explain to you why. And in those places where you can, you can just lose your passport or another document that is on hold.

Also, in some countries, this will be a criminal affair and you can just go to jail for not paying your bill. Yes, it’s not about the US or European countries, but somewhere in Asia, it will not sound that fun. We think that this topic deserves discussion, so today we’re going to tell you what will happen if you just leave your hotel without paying your bill.

Here’s what we’ll be focusing on:

  1. Situations when you can and can’t leave a hotel without paying.
  2. What can happen in different places if you don’t pay a hotel bill?
  3. What do hotels do to avoid such situations?
  4. What can you do if you have run out of money and can’t pay your bill?

Let’s get started!

When can you leave a hotel without paying?

Never. You never can leave a hotel without paying because it will lead to problems. In the US it’s virtually impossible if we are talking about official hotels. In Europe, most hotels are prepaid and you cannot leave without paying – maybe only some small bills for additional services. But again, the consequences may be not so good.

Now, we want to come up with a situation that may help you avoid paying. We mean that we should create a situation that can physically allow you not to pay for your stay in a hotel. And we think it’s quite hard because hotel owners are not stupid guys and they tend to protect their businesses from such situations.

So, here are the criteria of a hotel that you can leave without paying:

  1. It should not be a prepaid hotel, otherwise, you will have paid your bill until you check in.
  2. This hotel shouldn’t hold any of your documents until you check out. Otherwise, you will just lose your document and will then pay much more to get it back.
  3. This hotel shouldn’t be official because any official hotel will send you to a blacklist and you will not be able to book a room in any hotel in this country or even in other countries.
  4. This hotel should take cash only. Otherwise, they will take your credit card details before you check in, and then they will charge you all the money you have to pay.
  5. This hotel shouldn’t be located in a country where not paying a bill in a hotel is considered a criminal affair. Otherwise, you may just go to prison.

So, now ask yourself: have you ever seen the unofficial hotels that only take cash and are post-paid? And they shouldn’t take any documents from you before you check in. This sounds like a miracle, at least in America or Europe. So, you will have to think about that before you even try to trick a hotel.

We don’t recommend even trying because you can get into trouble. We’ve seen people hiring expensive lawyers to sort out the situation, especially in Asian countries like Thailand or Bali. These guys are friendly until you try to trick them. Then they will just call the police and you will be arrested in a day or two, so you shouldn’t take this risk.

How do hotels protect themselves?

If you think that a hotel can let you not pay, you should think about their business. They would lose their businesses if there was a single option of not paying. These companies now use the experience of hundreds of other hotels that have learned well how to avoid problems with paying. So, they have wonderful protection and they know what to do in these cases.

First of all, they use these methods:

  • credit card booking – most hotels in the EU and the US will book your hotel room using the credit card details;
  • ID booking – even if you book without your credit card, they will ask you to show your passport and will take the details;
  • prepaid service – if a hotel lets you stay without your credit card and ID, it will take money before you check in;
  • police – once something goes wrong, the hotel will just call the police and let them deal with the situation;
  • contacting you if you owe money to them – they will call you, send an e-mail to let you pay the bill before calling the police.

As you see, any hotel has some instruments to make you pay the bill. We’ve heard of some guys who managed to escape the countries they were in after not paying their bills in the hotel. But even if these guys actually exist, they did a stupid thing – they risked being arrested right at the airport and going to jail instead of going home.

Please, never try to trick hotels. This may lead to bad consequences like going to jail or paying a big fine. Depending on what country you are in.

The worst-case scenario for you

Well, we now know that in the US and EU you aren’t likely to have a chance to not pay for a hotel room. If you don’t pay for a can of Coke, they will not bother you much. But if somehow you manage to not pay for a room, they will find you and make you pay. In these countries, you will not go to prison or something, in most cases, you will pay a fine and pay your bill. The fines may be quite big, by the way.

But in some countries, you may be sent to prison. For example, in Thailand, you may go to jail for even some minor offenses. Not paying in a hotel is not a minor offense and you may be prisoned in one of the worst jails in the world for years. Just think – do you actually need this? In some cases, hotels will have your credit card details and will just block the credit card until you come and pay. This is also a very bad option, especially if you are in a foreign country.

Think twice before you decide to not pay in a hotel. The consequences may be devastating. Sometimes, you may be jailed and the fine could be a hundred times bigger than the price of your hotel stay.

What should you do if you don’t have money to pay for a hotel?

We guess a lot of people will ask whether they can leave a hotel without paying just because they’ve run out of money. If it happened to you, don’t think about the crime. You can manage to deal with the situation without any problems with the law. And we have a couple of options – from calling your friend and asking to send you some money to going to the embassy of your country.

Now, it depends on why you don’t have any money left. And we have a couple of possible decisions for you. Some of them may be used in all situations, others suit only some situations. But we are sure that you can avoid problems thanks to these tips.

Here are some of our ideas:

  1. Go to a receptionist and tell him or her about your problem. They may just give you their bank account number and ask you to pay once you are at home. Or they may offer any other way to handle this situation.
  2. Ask your relative or friend to send you some money. Card to card payments now work very fast, so you can get money immediately and pay for your hotel. This is one of the best options, by the way.
  3. Call your bank and ask them to open the option of the so-called overdraft. Thanks to this option, you can keep spending money with your credit card even if there is no money left. But this way, you will pay additional charges to your bank.
  4. Go to the embassy of your country. They may help you in different ways including giving some money. Because the embassies exist for helping people in that country.

Now you know that you have some ways out of the situation. Just remember these tips because when you are in a bad situation you cannot think of rational ways to solve the problem. That’s why many people think they can get out of the hotel without paying or avoid paying in a restaurant. Don’t think about any illegal decisions.

Final words

We’ve tried to answer the question in all detail. Now you know if it is possible and safe to leave a hotel without paying. We’ve also given you some tips that will help you avoid any problems when you are traveling. Please remember these tips.

Also, avoid any problems with the law at all costs, especially if you are in a foreign country. Otherwise, you can get to prison or you can be made to pay a big fine.