Rookie Wednesday: Three Reasons you Should Take Pictures of Your Hotel Room Number

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RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.

A hallway at the Grand Hyatt DFW airport hotel in Dallas, Texas.

“Um, which room’s mine?”

As with my Global Entry and passport post, I’m going to make an example of myself. Though this is slightly more embarrassing than a technical oversight.

How I Learned My Lesson

Approximately five years ago — several years before we were parents — my wife and I were on vacation in Las Vegas.

My wife was tired after our day at the pool, followed by a big dinner we enjoyed at the legendary Hugo’s Cellar in downtown Vegas. I was thirsty for a cocktail and some blackjack. So while she hit the sack, I hit the casino.

A couple hours — and a few beverages later — I took the elevator back to our floor.

At least, I thought it was our floor.

We ARE staying in room 15822 — right? I thought to myself while I was meandering the hallway, unable to find 15822. Or is it 15228?

I had to called my wife. 🙁  In her sleepy haze, she said we were in 12258.

Uh, whoops!

Since then, I always use my cell phone to photograph the room number scribbled down on my key packet before leaving the front desk. But besides your occasional tipsy night, there are a few more reasons to take pictures of your hotel room number.

1. Memory

Some of us bounce from city to city, hotel room to hotel room. (Road warriors, I see you nodding at your screen!)

For example, I sometimes cover concerts for a client. We’ll hit four cities in six days. The days, nights, and travel are busy and exhausting. Flights, call times, and hotel rooms become a jumble of numbers. Taking a picture of each city’s hotel room number gives me one less thing to remember.

An IHG hotel key packet with room number.

I work several times a year in Las Vegas. My client usually puts me at one of the mega resorts — you know, the ones with five-digit hotel room numbers and different towers. (MGM Grand Hotel & Casino has almost 6,900 rooms.) It’s easy to get lost.


Las Vegas, USA - December 07, 2011: MGM Grand Hotel at night on the Las Vegas strip. ©

So. Many. Rooms.                                     (Photo: ©

An MGM Grand Hotel & Casino key card packet with room number and tower location.

“Well, idiot,” you might say, “why not just carry the key packet with you?”

I am glad you asked!

2. Security

Carrying your keycard in the packet can literally invite trouble.

Say you’re digging around in your pockets or purse, and the full key packet tumbles out without your recognizing it? If that room number information and key fall into the wrong hands, an uninvited visitor may help him- or herself to your hotel room and everything in it.

While this is a fairly unlikely scenario, it certainly is possible. But why risk it?

“What an idiot!” you may say now. “Why doesn’t he just separate the key from the packet? Carry them in separate pockets or something?”

Well, this is the method I usually used before the whole “forgetting my room number after drinks and blackjack” incident.

But if like me, you have a habit of misplacing things, that little envelope can easily get lost. (And I lost a few.) Or you may forget it all together back in your room — whose number you now may not remember.

Check-in kiosks print out little scraps of paper with your room number. (Like the below from my stay at Park MGM née Monte Carlo in Las Vegas last year.)

A Park MGM check-in receipt with room number, stay dates, and confirmation number.

It’s easy to lose or accidentally throw away these check-in receipts with your room number.

These look a lot like receipts. Hence, they’re easy to lose in your clutter and accidentally throw away.

3. Makes Room Charges Easier

This is sort of related to the security issue above.

When taking advantage of a hotel’s restaurant and bar (which clearly I do), I charge everything to my room so I can earn more points. But in crowded settings, I’m not a huge fan of announcing “ROOM 938, LAST NAME IS CARLEY!”

Many staff are good about checking photo ID to confirm this information. But I don’t need everyone around me hearing my room information and name. Next thing I know, I’ll be responsible for a banquet and huge bar tab.

Instead, I show my ID and picture of my room number to the staff member. Never has one of them said, “Can you just say it instead?”

Is This a Key to Easier, Safer Travels?

Do you practice any of these tips? Or do I have a horrible memory and lose everything? 😉 Tell me in the Comment section below! — Chris



  1. I always put it in my phone as a ‘note’, especially in Vegas given the enormity of the hotels.

  2. I take a photo of my suitcase too, just in case I need to show it to a baggage handler or make a claim. I did this one day and my hubby said why are you taking a pic of my suitcase? I said, Quick-tell me what brand it is? He couldn’t do it. Case closed.
    Also good idea to take pics of your kids/grandkids before entering a theme park, circus, etc.

  3. @Amy: great examples, thank you for sharing! My wife and I especially love the idea about taking pics of your kids/grandkids. Hope we never have to use it but will definitely start implementing that.

  4. I usually text the room # to myself. I don’t like pictures because my IOS does backup all my pictures to the cloud but once I delete a picture of a room number from my phone it may already be stored in my cloud.

  5. We also take a pic of our rental car and plate. Some hotels want that info for parking purposes.

  6. Yep, I do this as well, but don’t forget to delete the room number photo when you move to the next city. For years I also write the room number on a scrap of paper in an address format, room 1025 is 1025 Smith street. That way if you loose your wallet they still won’t know they have your hotel room number – never write the hotel name and room down in your wallet. I also keep great room numbers/suite names in Evernote should I visit in the future.

  7. Thanks Chris. I’ve been thinking I should do this. I’ve even lost my key card in that little envelope with the number. So because of you – I actually did it on this trip and feel a ton safer!

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