Mealtickets hotel survey imageDigging Around in the Lost and Found

How many times do you check your belongings, dig through suitcases and peruse the room before closing the hotel door on the final day of vacation? If you’re anything like me, about a dozen. And yet, we still leave important items behind.

When I was a child we traveled often on weekends for my father’s business as an event promoter. Late night check-ins and early morning dashes to the van to get back on the road meant we often left essential items behind in our hotel room. Not on purpose of course, but it’s bound to happen when you’re in a hurry, or if you travel often enough.

A recent trip with my dad brought back memories of those excursions. And I started to wonder. What are the most common items hotel guests leave behind when they visit Northern Michigan?

Since I just happen to work with over 60 hotels in the Traverse City area, I thought I’d take a little survey and report the results.



The 5 most common items Northern Michigan hotel guests leave behind

#5  Swim suits

#4  Toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, razors, etc.)

#3  Pillows

#2  Clothes

#1  Cell phone chargers


I’m sure the number one answer comes as no surprise. In fact, cell phone chargers are the number one item left behind in hotels worldwide. A study last year by Holiday Inn and Holiday Express in the UK revealed 42,000 cell phone chargers left behind in their hotels in one year. What’s more surprising is their collective value: nearly $1 million!


What Else Did They Leave?

Forget the most common items, what’s more entertaining is discovering what area visitors forgot in the closet, stashed in the safe and inexplicably left behind. Our survey of Traverse City area hotels revealed several stories, ranging from the odd to the downright embarrassing. Here’s our list of the top five.


Top 5 Most Unusual Items Hotel Guests Left Behind

#5  Adult toys
As you might expect, underwear and lingerie are often discovered after check-out. And more than a few hotels reported adult toys among the mix. We’ll spare you the EEEW factor and other details. This is a family-friendly website after all.

#4  False teeth
OK, I understand that you have to remove them for cleaning, and could accidentally leave them behind in a glass on the sink or something. But honestly, how do you forget them? And how often do you leave them behind that you can’t remember the last time you had them??

#3  A walker
Discovering a walker accidently misplaced, or folded neatly in the closet may not be all that unexpected. But finding one sitting in the parking lot at the center of a handicapped space gives it a ranking on my strange-o-meter. As Alanis says, “isn’t it ironic?”

#2  A police-issue 9mm handgun
Placed in the safe for security it was left behind. Unfortunately for the officer, that’s a big no-no. The hotel reported it and the officer got in big trouble with the department.

#1  Cremated urn of ashes
This one I just can’t paraphrase. An anonymous hotel found, “An urn of cremated ashes, yes of a person. When contacted the son said ‘throw him in the dumpster’. We tracked down a daughter who was happy to accept.” Strangely enough that same survey respondant also listed “human leg and hip bones from a doctor who does replacement surgeries.” Truth is stranger than fiction.

How to Keep Your Items out of the Lost and Found

It seems to me, we have all need to spend a few extra minutes packing and double-checking before we leave behind something essential…or embarassing.

Mealtickets vacation checklist imageOn that note I’ve created this handy Mealtickets Vacation Checklist to aid in your travel packing.

Click here to download our packing checklist for your next trip.

Staple it inside your suitcase, tuck it in your purse or duct tape it to your tailgate if you have to. Whatever works for you.


Have a great Up North Michigan vacation this summer. And may you, and your belongings, make it home safely.