Americans love traveling and whether it's for business or pleasure, it usually means that you're going to end up staying in a hotel. Although sometimes staying in a hotel can be fun (room service? yes please!), they have a tendency to make your life more difficult and can be an anxiety-inducer.
Think of all the worries that run through your mind when staying in a hotel. Is it clean? Does it have everything you need? For those who worry easily, fear not: this list of "hotel hacks" will help you get by to make your stay that much more pleasant.
Keep That Light Out
While hotel blinds are great for privacy and keeping some of the sun out in the morning, rarely is it fully dark in the room before you're ready to open the blinds and see the sun. There is almost always a small (frustrating) gap between the blinds that will allow a sliver of light in the room.
A simple and easy solution to this problem is to use a few of the hangers provided and utilize the clips to hold the shades together. It might not look pretty, but it works.
Skip Room Service By Ordering With An App
If you really don't feel like ordering room service, going out, or making your own food, in today's world, there are plenty of other options. Now, there are countless services that will go pick up your food from your favorite restaurants and deliver it straight to your door, even at hotels.
Some services even offer grocery delivery if you are interested in making your own food. There is no shortages of these services and all you have to do is download the app!
Make Sure Your Toothbrush Stays Nice And Clean
Sure, you could go out and buy a toothbrush travel container. But let's be honest, after a few uses, they start to get pretty grimy on the inside and the side of the sink starts to look more and more appetizing.
However, by using clothing clips, you can eliminate this problem. Just lay the neck of your toothbrush in between the clips and let it rest elevated above the surface its on. This is a cheap, simple, and effective way to keep your toothbrush and mouth clean.
Forgot A Speaker?
In a scenario where you're getting ready or having people over and you want to listen to music but don't have a speaker, don't despair. Although the volume from just your phone might not provide ample sound, if you put it into an empty cup with the speaker facing down it amplifies the sound greatly.
This also comes in handy if you're staying up late and still want music without disturbing your neighbors. This is also great because you can do it just about anywhere.
Don't Forget About The Free Conditioner
The majority of hotel rooms come packed with lotion, shampoo, and conditioner. They always have their own specially decorated bottles as well. We advise you not to take the conditioner for granted because it can be helpful.
Many people don't even open it, but did you know all the ways conditioner can get used? Ladies can use it as a makeup remover if you forgot yours, it works as a shaving cream and cuticle cream as well. They're sitting there just waiting for the taking.
Don't Pay For Internet
If you happen to be staying at a hotel that charges you to use the Internet, there's a trick you can pull from your sleeve to make sure you're not paying any more than you need to. For most smartphones, you can have the option of using your phone as your own personal Internet hotspot.
This may take a bit of planning and communication with your provider, but it will pay off in the long run when you don't have Internet bills to pay!
Make Sharing A Bed Easy
If you're traveling with kids or bunking with your not-so-favorite cousin, and you don't want to pay more for an extra room or a pull-out couch, worry no more. A simple solution is to make separate sleeping areas in the same bed.
All you have to do is ask for more pillows and blankets than you've most likely been provided and construct two different areas on the same bed. This way, each person has their own space!
Use The Shower To De-Wrinkle
Something that is almost impossible to avoid while traveling is wrinkled clothes. Unless you're some kind of magician, chances are that you've arrived at your hotel only to realize that many of your clothes are wrinkled.
Well, instead of packing an iron with you or having to request one from the hotel staff, there's a simple trick. Simply use a hangar from the room and hang up your wrinkled clothes in the bathroom while you shower. The hot steam will help to remove the wrinkles.
A Dining Room Table Perfect For Unruly Kids
When feeding your kids both at home or in a hotel room, chances are you don't want them sitting on a bed with a plate full of food or on the dirty ground either. Without the convenience of the dining table in a hotel room, it puts you in an interesting position.
Well something that works and your kids might even find fun is setting up an ironing board at the edge of the bed using towels as a tablecloth. Now, the kids have somewhere safe and clean to eat.
Too Hot In Your Room?
We've all had that experience when a hotel room can't seem to get as cool as you want it to be. While some people might just suck it up and be miserable the entire time during their stay, it doesn't always have to be that way.
All you need is a damp towel and either a window or an air conditioning unit. Dampen a towel, and then place it near an open window or by the air conditioning unit. The water will be cooled by the air and pump cool air into the room.
Don't Forget About The Coffee Machine!
Yes, the coffee machine is best used to cook up that much-needed cup of Joe in the morning, but it can be used for even more than just that. If you're in the mood for a snack or maybe just in a hurry, you can use the coffee pot and the hot water to whip up a quick instant meal.
You can use hot water for just about any instant meal such as ramen, oatmeal, or anything else you have on hand.
Use Technology To Your Advantage
It's known that if you want to watch something outside of the cable that your hotel provides it's going to cost you, usually more than the movie is worth. So, if you know that you like to watch movies at night or have kids that want to watch their favorite shows, don't waste your money buying it from the hotel.
If you have one, bring something like Chromecast or Roku to the hotel and hook it up. Or bring a laptop and HDMI cable to watch movies on the TV from your laptop.
How To Keep Your Kids Busy!
While this tip might come off as a little odd, it really works! If you're traveling with young children who enjoy playing with their toys, make sure to keep a roll of painter's tape on-hand. Why you may ask?
Well, if you're stuck in your hotel room for an extended period of time, create lines for them to follow with their favorite toys or watch them as they tape their own creations! It's painter's tape, so it will come off no problem!
Think Outside The Outlet
If you're staying in a room with more than just yourself, sometimes, outlets can be in short supply. Everyone always has a device that they want to have charged either after coming home or before heading out.
Luckily, there are some secret spots in hotel rooms that most people think about. One of them is the USB port that usually can be found in the back of most hotel room TVs. Now you can charge your phone with no hassle!
Use Chrome's Incognito
If you're looking on traveling out of the country, then this trick is something you need try out. Due to sites keeping track of their visitor history through cookies and other targeting methods, the Google Chrome Incognito setting is a big help.
What you do is open the hotel's site with your regular browser, then you open up the site for the country you plan on visiting through incognito. Often times, you can find cheaper rates on the foreign site.
Put Those Shower Caps To Good Use
Whether or not you used the shower cap provided, they can still be put to good use when you're packing to leave. If you brought more than one pair of shoes, chances are you don't want to smash them beneath all of your clothes or put the dirty shoes on top of your clothes either.
So, put them inside of the shower cap and protect your clothes from all of the dirt and grime that the soles might have accumulated.
Don't Be Overwhelmed By Dirty Diaper
It's no secret that if you're traveling with a young child, diapers can pile up quickly, especially if you're stuck in a hotel room. It's not exactly realistic to take the elevator down to throw away a dirty diaper in the dumpster every time you change your diaper, so you have to make do with what you have!
You can always ask the hotel for a larger plastic trashcan so that you can create a makeshift dirty diaper container, just like the one you have at home!
Baby Changing Time!
If you have a child that still needs to be changed regularly, it's something that you just can't avoid. Since there isn't much space in a hotel room, and maybe you don't want to do it on your bed, you can always just use the desk which can be found in even the most basic of hotel rooms.
Assuming that you already have a changing pad, all you have to do is put it on the surface, that is if you're not using it.
You Don't Need To Pay To Have Your Clothes Washed
When staying at a hotel, doing your laundry can be an all-around nightmare. Basically, your choices are to pay a ridiculous price to have the hotel do it and possibly lose some of your clothing, or you can go spend a few hours in a laundromat.
Neither sound very appealing but there is a third option: you can wash your clothes in your room's sink! Put a plastic bag over the drain and begin to weight it down with coins so the water can fill up the sink. Wash away!
Sleep More Soundly
If you are staying in a hotel, you have to accept the fact that you're sharing a building with other people. While often time people are respectful of others, it might not always be as quiet or peaceful as you might like it.
So, one easy trick to block out some of the noise from that group of 8-year-old boys in town for a hockey tournament, and even make it darker in your room, is to place a bath towel at the bottom of your hotel door. This will help to muffle sounds and eliminate any distracting movements or light.
Cook Your Own Meals
One of the hardest parts of staying in a hotel is eating. For the most part you don't have much of a choice and it's usually between ordering room service or going and buying food from somewhere else.
If you're on a diet or just trying to save money, this can be a big issue. So, if you put a planning and effort into it, you can usually whip up something that is healthier and cheaper than most hotel or takeout food. Check out some recipes online for some help!
Keep Your Clothes Smelling Fresh
When traveling and staying in a hotel, your clothes become vulnerable to unwanted smells. Since you don't exactly have a washing machine on hand, there is something you can do to solve this problem.
All you have to do is pack in a few loose fabric softener sheets into your suitcase along with your clothes. This will keep all of your clothes smelling nice and fresh. It will even help keep your shoes from stinking up your clothes too!
Offer To Write Up A Review
If you are active in the community of Yelp or Trip Advisor, you have a sneaky advantage. Mention this information to the hotel manager and also suggest that you'll write a review of your stay. If you're a blogger, you can still offer a write up.
Don't tell them that it's going to be a positive review, because it might not be. Remember that being completely transparent that receive a discount is expected. Don't be shy about your blog!
Book During The Right Time
The key to booking for your next vacation is all about timing. This is as much of a hack as it is common sense. If you have your heart set on going somewhere exotic during the time of the year when it's most attractive, be prepared to cough up serious cash.
This is why you need to plan during the off-season. You are bound to save big bucks when booking during the period right before or after the peak season.
Book Through The Hotel
Yes, we know that there are tons of websites out there that promise huge savings if you book through them. However, these third-party websites don't ensure that you get all of the discounts available.
If you call a hotel directly, your chances of getting "off the books" upgrades or deals shoot through the roof. All it takes is one phone call and your odds of saving rise dramatically. This works even better when booking during the off-season.
Always Check For Bedbugs
Hotels and motels are often hotspots for bed bugs, and those little critters always end up following you home.
When you first get to your room, it's good practice to lift up the fitted sheet and check the corners of the mattress. This person may not have been so lucky.
Here's a secret, AAA is one of the most useful organizations to be apart of when traveling. There are tons of hotels abroad and domestic that offer great discounts for AAA members. Being a member also gives you access to a special feature.
If you plan on driving while in another country, AAA can issue International Driving Permits. That makes things a whole lot easier to rent a car while abroad. It can also sub for your passport if you're asked for identification.
If you do plan on booking your hotel or flight through a third-party provider, we offer you a huge tip in that regard. A lot of sites like Expedia and Kayak offer sensational discounts if you book your hotel and flight together.
There are a few catches. One being that you need to pay for everything in advance. The other catch is that cancellations or changes might be expensive. A loss of flexibility, but the savings are worth it.
Be A Negotiator
This hack only applies to those who plan on taking an extended trip that lasts at least seven days. What you need to do is ask about discounted rates for your longer stay. You might be able to find deals online for these type of longer stays.
However, you are still more likely to get the discount if you contact the hotel directly (as we mentioned earlier). The only thing is you might have to pay in advance that isn't a big deal if hotels let you do a weekly payment.
The headline might sound a little violent, but not at all. This hack is simply about using your past experiences to your advantage. For example, was there no hot water your last stay at this hotel? If no, you can use that as leverage.
If they missed your wake-up call causing you to miss your flight, then feel free to post a firm complaint directly to the manager or the marketing department. This often results in vouchers or free upgrades for an upcoming stay!
Don't Be Afraid To Speak Up
Ask and you shall receive. That's an old saying, but it applies wonderfully for this situation. Sometimes, the best way to receive some perks or even a completely different and better room is to be forward and ask!
If you aren't that bold, an indirect way is to ask to see different rooms before you have to check-in. They might have had you in a room facing a brick wall, but you could switch to one with an amazing view for no charge at all if the hotel has it available.
Check The Aggregator Sites
You would be clueless not to try this hack out. Just like you can check sites like Hopper and Kayak for different airfare prices, you should do the same with hotel prices before you book anywhere.
Comparing what different outlets have to offer can give you the most leverage ever. In some cases, you can call up the hotel directly and tell them you've found a great price and ask them if they will match what you discovered.
Sometimes, hotel rooms will come equipped with some sort of outlet to let you play your music from. This is helpful because the speaker on your phone is nice and all, but it doesn't have the range you want while you're trying to get ready.
If the room you're in doesn't have any sort of external speakers or you forgot to bring your own, never fear. All you have to do is drop your phone in the cup the hotel provides and your sound will be amplified.
Beat The Steam
Don't you hate when you can't admire yourself once you get out the shower thanks to all the steam fogging up the mirror? It happens at homes and it happens in hotel bathrooms too. There's a way to defeat this.
Probably the night before you plan a shower or right before you do, freely rub some of the mirror with a bar of soap. Then you find a dry washcloth and buff the soap off. A multi-step but helpful hack.
Do Not Disturb
This might be one of the oldest tricks in the books, but its still worthy enough to inform the kind folks about. This hack applies to those who aren't going to be in their room for a lot of the time.
You must always remember to put up the "Do not disturb" sign. This will make people think that you're in there even when you aren't. A great tactic to help against potential burglars and unwanted cleaners.
Choose The Climate You Want
One flight attendant out there has had enough of the temperature issues he faces at some hotels. You know, when they dictate how hot or how cold the room can be by setting limitations on their thermostat? Flight attendant Glenn Ward wrote a way to override the system:
'-Hold down the "display" button-While holding that button, press “off”-Release off, continue to hold down display, and Press the “up” arrow button-Release all buttons'
This trick also allows you to disable the motion sensors that many hotels might have that keep the system running only when the guest is in the room.
Asking For Dishes
This hack is for those who elect to bring their own snacks to the hotels to avoid steep prices that the establishment has to offer. If you and whoever you're traveling with packed your own goodies, one thing you should do is ask for dishes.
Rhoni Speed of Living Our Life says, "I will always ask for some dishes in our room even if we do not have a fridge, in order to have breakfast or snacks on our own to save money and time and for just relaxing."
A Friendly Tip
For this hack, you have to be willing to fork over a little extra cash and be aware that this doesn't work every time. You have a higher chance of this working while out in Las Vegas and that is leaving a $20 tip at check-in.
Someone by the name of Elizabeth Houck tried it and recalled what happened. "I simply pull out a $20 bill, fold it, and place it under my cupped hand at the counter; reception always notices," she said. "If I get a special view, or upgrade, or some other perk, they get the money; if nothing is available I've not committed myself."
Tell Them It's A Special Occasion
Is it time for a honeymoon, anniversary, or birthday? Be sure to let the hotel know in advance, preferably during your booking process. This step can help you get an upgrade that you've always wanted, but for free.
Frequent traveler Nicole Connolly says, "If you are visiting a hotel for a special occasion like a honeymoon or anniversary, let the property know when you make your booking as many hotels will give you a complimentary upgrade to help you celebrate."
Do That Price Match
Not all, but many hotels will offer a price match. That's when you find a cheaper price elsewhere and they will meet that price for your upcoming stay if you show them. That's something you don't want to pass up.
Traveler Deia Bong spends her time finding ways how to travel more and she blogged about this topic. "Some hotel chains like Marriott and Hilton will match the lowest price you can find and give you freebies or further discounts on top of it," Bong said.
Nerves Of Steel
Sometimes, it can work to your advantage to procrastinate. We don't advise this tip all the time, especially if you don't have nerves of steel because you never exactly know what might happen. The hack is to wait until the day before or day of to book because the deals can be too good to pass up.
Kristin Addis quit her job to travel full-time and described this process. "You can get a room somewhere like Las Vegas the day of or the day before for much, much less, but of course you must be very flexible," Addis exclaimed.