Travel tip: have Amazon deliveries sent to your hotel

Travel tip: have Amazon deliveries sent to your hotel

Although Amazon is finally gearing up to launch in Australia, we could see significant differences in both the range and pricing of items available through the local outlet compared to the Amazon mother-ship in the USA.

But if you regularly travel to the US, there’s a canny way to access the full Amazon product line – and avoid often-outrageous shipping charges to Australia, which for some items can be as much as the product itself – as well as letting you buy goods which the company doesn’t ship to Australia.

This is what I do ahead of each trip to the US.

First up, on an ongoing basis, add anything you’d like to buy from Amazon into your online ‘shopping cart’.

About one week in advance of your trip, revisit the cart and fine-tune the list – you might want to buy everything in the cart, or just stick with a handful of items while moving others off the list using the ‘save for later’ link.

One week is usually sufficient for free ‘standard’ shipping to arrive at your hotel, although you should check your order for items which are not being fulfilled by Amazon but instead have to come from a third-party retailer, as these can take longer to arrive.

Specify the address of your hotel for the delivery, listing your name and the dates of your stay on the top line, such as Jack Smith, guest: 22/3 – 25/3.

(Note the reserved US-style format of month/day rather than day/month).

If you’re offered free trial membership of Amazon Prime, take that up – it’ll give you two-day shipping so you can place orders closer to you trip and, depending on the length of your stay, even while you’re in the US. You can always cancel the trial Prime membership within 30 days, before the annual membership fee kicks in.

Be aware of how much you’re ordering: you’ll need to either leave sufficient room in your luggage or bring along a spare bag. I usually pack a collapsible ‘weekender’ bag inside my checked luggage.

If you’re in the US and the parcels are delivered to your room, you’ll be expected to hand over a tip of around US$2 per box.

Obviously if the parcels are delivered to your room, expect to hand over a tip – it’s typically US$2 for one item or a flat $5 for several boxes.

Note that some hotels will charge you – or at least attempt to charge you – on a per-item basis just for receiving your deliveries, especially if they arrive several days ahead of you and the items have to be held in the hotel’s security cage.

(This is one reason to time the deliveries to reach the hotel no more than a day before you check in, and ideally to land while you’re at the hotel).

This fee is especially common in popular convention hotels – doubly so in Las Vegas, where some hotels have outsourced their mail and package handling to an on-site Fedex branch.

It’s usually possibly to dispute the fee at checkout and have it removed, either entirely or in part – just make your objections know calmly, and keep them logical and fair-minded.

(For example, I once brought down to the checkout desk a small slim A5-sized document envelope for which I’d been charged a US$5 ‘holding’ fee as an example of how unrealistic the surcharge was – the receptionist found herself in agreement and stuck all the charges off.)

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


  • Bluekey

    Jai Bentley

    16 Oct, 2017 03:41 pm

    The other free and easy option is to send it to an Amazon Locker, you are given a 3-day Window to collect. This is especially useful if you are flying into a location for a short period of time and not staying at a hotel

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  • timster


    16 Oct, 2017 04:53 pm

    Thanks I had never heard of that. I would have thought it works best though when you are in a single location for a while, otherwise getting the 3-day window between goods arrival / pickup right could be difficult, unless you can predict accurately when the goods will arrive at the Locker (you don't get to specify when you want the goods to be there right ?).
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  • Bluekey

    Jai Bentley

    16 Oct, 2017 05:03 pm

    You can't specify a day however; If you travel to the USA enough Prime is still worth it as when you place the order they tell you the delivery date. As it is free 2-day shipping you are able to plan when it will turn up. Or you can often pay a token small amount more and have it overnight. Often paying for overnight shipping is still cheaper than purchasing retail.
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  • Bruce Ryan


    16 Oct, 2017 03:54 pm

    had my order shipped to my hotel in Hawaii from amazon, got free shipping at it was in the u.s , rather than over $100 to aus, cost me nothing as it fitted into my luggage allowance with QF, hotel reception was fine with it
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  • AlexTravAddict


    16 Oct, 2017 05:11 pm

    The other thing to keep in mind is that different states (and even different cities) charge different tax, so if you are visiting multiple states/cities it is best to get your orders delivered to whichever state charges the least tax. The tax will appear on the checkout page (it is never quoted on the product page).
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  • Jim Horscroft


    16 Oct, 2017 10:24 pm

    Do you mean Jack Smith, guest: 3/22– 3/25 ?
    Ie in US, month before day?
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  • Dave Hall


    16 Oct, 2017 10:27 pm

    These days I always contact the hotel before ordering anything. Increasingly hotels in the US operate out sourced mail rooms which are courier shop fronts located in the hotel. They charge high handling fees. I've been finding they start at 5USD for a padded bag and go up from there. As they are separate from the hotel they won't deliver packages to rooms and they won't waive the fees but they will let you charge it back to your room. My last trip cost me 50USD in parcel handling fees.
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  • traveller99


    17 Oct, 2017 09:47 pm

    I do this everytime I go the USA. It's nice to arrive to a goodies bag.
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24 Jul, 2019 12:17 am


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