Travel tip: order Amazon deliveries in advance to your US hotel

By David Flynn , January 18 2016
Travel tip: order Amazon deliveries in advance to your US hotel

There's plenty of stuff on Amazon.com that's much cheaper than buying it in Australia, although the Aussie dollar's current doldrums against the US greenback make it important to do your sums before clicking the Buy Now button.

But there's also plenty of gear which you simply can't get in Australia, so you'll face high delivery fees if you pull the trigger – and then there are products which Amazon won't ship from overseas to an Australian address.

Here's one of my favourite travel tricks to get what your Amazon goodies without the cost or hassle of delivery to Australia.

Any time I see something on Amazon which I'd like, but don't want or need right now, I add it to my shopping list.

When a business trip to the US comes up, I add the hotel where I'll be staying to my Amazon address book and include the dates of my stay, along the lines of

David Flynn
Guest, 3/22 - 3/25 
c/o hotel name

(Note the use of the US month/day format instead of the more natural and more sensible day/month format!)

About a week ahead of my arrival at the hotel I'll move all the items I want from Amazon's shopping list into my shopping cart, buy them and have them sent to the hotel.

This typically allows my order to be sent using free 'standard delivery' rather than paying for express shipping, although it's worth checking if any items on your list will need longer to arrive – especially if they're coming from one of Amazon's third-party partners.

When I arrive, my Amazon order will either be sitting there waiting for me or will turn up the next day.

Dealing with hotel delivery fees

There's one catch to this: many hotels (especially in the US) will charge you a 'delivery and handling fee' for even the smallest parcels.

This is especially common in 'conference hotels' where mail and parcel delivery may be outsourced to the hotel's Fedex bureau – with a subsequent charge around $5 per delivery, even for something as small as an A5 envelope.

You may not be able to escape this charge but you can and should dispute it when you check out, especially if there's nothing on the hotel's website advising of such a fee. It can help if you bring down some of the smallest envelopes as proof of how insane such a charge is, as long as you remain polite reasonable and polite during the 'negotiation' with front desk staff.

Sometimes when collecting parcels from the concierge or a delivery desk, a hotel staffer may demand a cash payment of $2 to $5 per parcel – but you can be sure that money is headed straight for his pocket. If the staffer insists this is a 'hotel fee', you should insist on having it charged to your room (so you can dispute it later on).

Also: depending on what you've ordered, you may need to leave some room in your checked luggage – or just bring an empty collapsible bag, such as a backpack or weekend tote, to fill with your Amazon goodies!

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David

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Oct 2013

Total posts 714

I see New section on Booking.com and other similar travel websites coming soon, it will be below Free WiFi and called Free Package Receiving.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Jul 2015

Total posts 3

This used to be real fun until the hotel charges started appearing. At Ballys in Vegas they came back to demand the packages be "returned" to send back to sender when I refused to sign the voucher accepting the charge. They charged it to my bill anyway. They charged more than the cost of the item , including shipping across the US.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2405

Vegas hotels are (in)famous for this sort of nonsense, and more. I had a similar experience with the Hilton due to their Fedex arrangement – but I signed the form to accept the charge, then disputed it at checkout and had all the charges (around $100) taken off the bill.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Jan 2016

Total posts 2

Don't forget you can also use companies such as MyUS to give you an address in the USA to circumvent the restriction of sending purchases overseas. Whilst it does cost extra, with a bit of planning you can often get free postage to your MyUS address and if you are purchasing a number of items they will bundle them into one package to reduce the cost of sending it to Australia.

I've used them numerous times and it has always worked well and reasonably affordable.

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 66

I would add to this that items shipped/sold by Amazon direct are safest in terms of sticking to delivery dates especially if you only have 1 or 2 days in a hotel to receive the goods. Some third party sellers will commit to a delivery date BEFORE you click buy but once the order is processed you'll get a polite email advising your goods are backordered and will be delivered in 2-3 weeks!

I've done this before. There are certain energy drinks so strong that they're illegal in Australia.

I do the same, but in Japan, for gadgets!

21 Oct 2015

Total posts 27

Two words: Amazon Locker. Not in all cities, but it's awesome.

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 282

Indeed, the Amazon Lockers are ideal.  There's no charge, and you collect them when you're ready, and they're often in convenience stores that are open extended hours.  They're popular in both the UK and the USA.

Qantas

22 Oct 2012

Total posts 282

David's $5 Fedex fee is a bit out of date.  I recently stayed at a Las Vegas hotel and had a parcel delivered from Amazon to the hotel's Fedex office.  Fedex charged me US$15, being $5 storage for <1 week, and $10 for 1 to 10lbs weight.

And David's tip of a collapsible bag for my goodies is exactly what I brought, and it's good advice.

19 Jan 2016

Total posts 4

I've been doing this for years, never had a Delivery Fee charged, but if I'm ordering many boxes a tip is naturally given.

One word of advice, check with your Hotel directly if they will accept parcels. Since 9/11 some hotels will not accept delivery unless you are actively checked in at the Hotel. I've had parcels returned to Amazon, even though I was due to arrive at the Hotel within 24 hours.

Don't trust your Hotel chain's support desk, you need to check directly with the Hotel as policies vary hotel to hotel.


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