Travel tip: have Amazon deliveries sent to your hotel

Use this smart traveller tip to make your online shopping even easier and avoid outrageous international delivery fees.

By David Flynn, January 27 2022
Travel tip: have Amazon deliveries sent to your hotel

While Amazon is now well established in Australia, there remain significant differences in both the range and pricing of items available through the local outlet compared to the Amazon mothership in the USA.

That includes many products which, for a variety of reasons, can’t be shipped to Australia.

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. It’s what I do ahead of each trip to the US, and it’s a practice since adopted by the many friends and colleagues I’ve shared it with.

(Of course, this tip also applies to other countries with a local Amazon presence, such as the UK, as well as almost any online retailer.)

Sending Amazon deliveries to your hotel

First up, on an ongoing basis, add anything you think you’d like to buy from Amazon into your account’s online shopping cart or a specific shopping list you might choose to create.

Ten days to one week ahead of your trip, revisit the shopping cart or list and fine-tune your selection.

You might be in the mood to buy everything you’ve added over the months, or you could choose to stick with a handful of items and moving others out of the cart using the ‘save for later’ link.

I find that one week is usually sufficient for Amazon’s free ‘standard’ shipping to arrive at my 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 and might need to be ordered earlier.

Set your hotel in the US as delivery address, listing your name and the dates of your stay on the top line, such as Jack Smith, guest: 3/22 – 3/25 (note the reversed US-style format of month/day rather than day/month).

Just be aware of how much stuff you’re ordering: you’ll need to either leave sufficient room in your luggage or bring along a spare bag (or add a piece of luggage to your Amazon order!). I usually pack a collapsible ‘weekender’ bag squashed down inside my checked luggage for shopping sprees.

Take advantage of Amazon Prime

If you’re offered free 30-day trial membership of Amazon Prime during this process, or shortly before your trip, take it up: it’ll give you fast two-day US 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.

Watch for hidden hotel ‘handling and delivery’ fees

There’s a good chance that some parcels may arrive at your hotel before you do – especially if you order using Amazon Prime. In that case, some hotels will charge you – or at least attempt to charge you – on a per-item basis for receiving and holding your deliveries.

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, assuming your stay is more than just one or two nights.

This fee is especially common in large ‘convention hotels’ and doubly so in Las Vegas, where some hotels outsource 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 slim A5-sized document envelope for which I’d been charged a US$5 ‘holding’ fee even though it arrived during my stay, to use as an example of how unrealistic the surcharge was – the receptionist found herself in agreement and struck all the charges off.)

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

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 2

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

04 May 2016

Total posts 34

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 ?).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Oct 2017

Total posts 2

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.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

07 Oct 2013

Total posts 5

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

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 May 2015

Total posts 77

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).


17 Apr 2014

Total posts 10

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.

18 Nov 2015

Total posts 118

I do this everytime I go the USA. It's nice to arrive to a goodies bag.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Apr 2013

Total posts 57

Have been doing this for some years on trips to the US. Beware many hotels charge a holding fee for packages (regardless of whether they are delivered to your room or you pick up at Concierge) - this can be as outrageous as US$10 per package.

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