When to change rooms in a hotel — or just check out

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By Christopher Elliott,

When Irena Shie rejects a hotel room, it’s usually because of hygiene.

“If the room is dirty, I call the front desk and request a cancellation,” says Shie, a software developer from Glen Mills, Pa.

When Nancy Usich leaves ahead of schedule, it’s because she is uncomfortable. She says she and her husband recently checked out of a bed-and-breakfast in Gettysburg, Pa., because their room had a soft and lumpy mattress.

“It was so uncomfortable that we could barely get out of bed,” says Usich, a retired teacher from Avon, Conn. “We snuck out the next morning without asking for a refund. The owners were so nice, and I didn’t want to hurt their feelings.”

How do you know that a hotel isn’t for you? When should you check out early? How do you break it to the hotel — and get at least a partial refund? And what can you do to avoid such awkward situations altogether?

“If a hotel is unsafe or unsanitary, then there is no point in staying in your room and trying to resolve the issue with the property,” says Yatin Patel, a co-founder of Reservations.com, a travel site. “Conversely, if you find that the hotel staff is flat-out unhelpful in accommodating your concerns, then you should make the decision to leave.”

But those aren’t the only reasons. Cadry Nelson, a food blogger from Iowa City, recalls a short-lived hotel stay in Orlando.

“That night, the couple in the next room started having a huge argument,” she remembers. “Sometimes they were taking the arguing to our adjoining balcony, right outside our window. The yelling continued for hours.”

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