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How Messy Should You Leave a Hotel Room?

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Lizzie Post, the great-great granddaughter of Emily Post, author, and co-host of The Awesome Etiquette Podcast, has agreed to weigh in on a few travel etiquette questions from a politesse perspective. She's covered airplane seat backs, to recline or not to recline, arm rests, and kids on flights. She's weighed in on short-term rental etiquette, and here turns her attention to hotels. She told us how much to tip; now she tells us how much mess is acceptable!

How messy or clean should hotel guests leave a room? Should they, say, strip the sheets?

"Nope, that's totally up to them; that's what they do."

How much of an effort should a guest make?

"I do what they ask me to do; if they ask me to put towels on the floor, that's what I'll do. I'll make sure they're in a pile on the floor together, easy to pick up. If I had a lot of takeout or food in the garbage, I'll try to pack it up and throw it away [elsewhere]. I don't try to strip the bed or remake it because I know they're going to strip it anyways. You could do that, but you don't have to. I try to make sure the furniture is back where it's supposed to be; I try to make it look somewhat like it looked like when I walked into it."

If you leave a big mess, does that affect how much you should tip?

"Then I would tip more. If I can't leave things in relatively good shape--sure, I might use every towel in the bathroom--but if I'm leaving spills or messes or the sorts of things you hear about celebrities doing, then I'd leave a tip, a really big tip. ... [It also] really depends on you and who you are and what your wallet's like."

--By Alex Van Buren