When Booking A Hotel Room, Think About This Check List

When traveling, no one should have to settle for a hotel room. It’s supposed to be a home away from home! So, before committing to a room, think about a few different aspects.

The location should be stellar if sightseeing is the goal, while rooms with complimentary water bottles get bonus points if they’re outside the United States. Take a look, and next time booking a hotel is on the menu, think about these key points.

Location, Location, Location

Location, Location, Location
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The first thing a traveler should do when picking a hotel is figure out the location they want to make home base. According to Friendly Planet Travel president Peggy Goldman, “if you’re [traveling] for the purpose of sightseeing, it’s really important to be in a place that’s very accessible.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean being within walking distance of various attractions. But making sure a hotel is accessible to public transportation is a must if walking isn’t an option.

Does The Hotel Have A Mobile Check-In

Does The Hotel Have A Mobile Check-In
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images

With many places looking into fewer face-to-face contact options, look to see if the hotel has a mobile check-in through a phone application. It will greatly reduce the amount of time a traveler has to be in line at the front desk, signing all of the paperwork and handing over their credit card information.

The mobile check-in allows travelers to bypass the boring logistics, head straight to their room to drop off their bags, and start sight-seeing right away!

Check The Hotel’s Cleaning Procedures

Check The Hotel's Cleaning Procedures
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

After staying at home for 2020 and a lot of 2021, people are just starting to feel confident traveling outside of their living room. But that means putting a lot of confidence in hotel cleaning procedures.

Before booking a room, be sure to look into the hotel’s safety and cleaning guidelines to ensure they are properly cleaning rooms after each guest. According to Scott Berman, a representative from The Points Guy, eventually, there will be brand standards for cleaning. So, keep an eye out when booking.

Wipe Down “High Germ” Areas

Make Sure The Door's Auto-Lock Works Properly
STR/AFP via Getty Images
STR/AFP via Getty Images

Even with new cleaning protocols being put in place, there is no shame in bringing cleaning wipes. Remote controls, doorknobs, and light switches are all high germ areas, and wiping them down with a Clorox wipe goes a long way!

Especially the latter, which is widely considered to be the most germ-infested part of hotel rooms. If wipes aren’t an option, soap and warm water from the bathroom will do the trick!

Safety Is Always The Number One Priority

Safety Is Always The Number One Priority
JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images
JAIME REINA/AFP via Getty Images

Once a traveler finds a hotel, it’s important to check out the surrounding area before booking a room. Since walking around is one of the best ways to get to know a new city, it’s best to do so in a safe area, right?

A good way to learn about a hotel’s surrounding area is as easy as looking at online sources such as TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, or even the hotel’s reviews. Also, there is a lot to be said about trusting one’s gut. If a hotel doesn’t feel safe, leave.

Remove The Comforter On The Bed

Remove The Comforter On The Bed
DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images
DESIREE MARTIN/AFP via Getty Images

One thing a lot of people don’t think about when checking into their hotel room is the cleanliness of the bed’s comforter. In many hotels, the type of comforter used has special cleaning instructions that housekeeping rarely does.

Instead of sleeping with an unclean blanket, just remove it altogether. With the ability to change the thermostat in the room, guests will be plenty warm enough using the sheet and duvet.

If There’s A Choice, Choose Non-Carpeted Floors

If There's A Choice, Choose Non-Carpeted Floors
Andi M Ridwan / Opn Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Andi M Ridwan / Opn Images/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Carpets might be vacuumed on a regular basis, but they’re rarely shampooed. There’s no telling what types of germs linger in the depths of those threads, even if they are a bit nicer to step on in the morning.

Even so, if there is an option for a wood or tile floor, choose it. Bare floors are scrubbed down on a daily basis, making them much more sanitary to walk on without socks and shoes.

Make Sure The Door’s Auto-Lock Works Properly

Make Sure The Door's Auto-Lock Works Properly
davidlee770924/pixabay
davidlee770924/pixabay

When it comes to the auto-lock, people are very willing to assume it works. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. It’s important to make sure the lock works properly.

Walking out of the room with the room key, close the door and make sure it won’t reopen. If it does, travelers should gather all of their belongings and ask the front desk for a room change. No one should have to stay in an unsafe room.

Check To See If There Is Mold In The Bathroom

Shower Mold
Pure Air of the Ozarks/Facebook
Pure Air of the Ozarks/Facebook

Something many travelers don’t consider when dropping their luggage off in a hotel room is to check the bathroom for mold, particularly the caulking in the shower. The cleanliness of the caulking can say a lot about a place, namely whether or not someone should be wasting their money to spend the night.

Friendly Planet Travel president and founder Peggy Goldman says, “[caulking] tells you something about how the hotel is maintained, how important cleanliness is.”

Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite…Seriously

Good Night, Sleep Tight, Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite...Seriously
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Unfortunately, bed bugs can be the reality for even some of the nicest hotels. All it takes is one unknowing traveler to bring bed bugs into a hotel for a room to become infested. The issue is, the staff won’t know about the issue until someone tips them off.

So, it’s important to do a bed bug check right away. This way, if uninvited guests are lurking in the mattress, travelers can notify the front desk and get a room change asap.

Check Sheets And Towels For Stray Hairs, Make-up Stains, Etc.

Check Sheets And Towels For Stray Hairs, Make-up Stains, Etc.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

No one should have to stay in a hotel room where the towels and sheets haven’t been properly cleaned. That means no stray hairs, make-up stains, mold, and in no way should there be a distinct body indentation on the bed.

So, when first arriving at a hotel room, travelers might want to take a minute and pull the comforter and duvet back to check the fitted sheet and mattress pad. Also, give the towels a brief look over, just in case.

Make Sure The Thermostat Is Working Properly

Make Sure The Thermostat Is Working Properly
MIRA OBERMAN/AFP via Getty Images
MIRA OBERMAN/AFP via Getty Images

There is little worse than getting into bed and realizing that it is too hot or too cold in the hotel room. Well, scratch that. Something worse is getting out of bed to change the thermostat only to find it no working.

That’s why it’s important to check and see if the thermostat is working right upon entering the hotel room. If it’s not working, head on down to the front desk. They’ll take care of the situation.

Be Familiar With The Hotel’s Escape Plan

Be Familiar With The Hotel's Escape Plan
Gerald Matzka/picture alliance via Getty Images
Gerald Matzka/picture alliance via Getty Images

While travelers will hopefully never have to use it, there is no harm in being familiar with the hotel’s escape plan in case there is an emergency. In each room, there is typically a sheet outlining various escape routes from that specific location.

Look at it for a minute or so because travelers never know when the knowledge of the closest stairwells or fire escapes might come in handy during a sticky situation.

Are There Toiletries Offered In The Bathroom?

hotel toiletries
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, and even toothpaste are offered at many hotels as complimentary toiletry items. Knowing this, it’s important to check the bathroom to ensure each item is on the counter or in the shower.

It’s the best way to stay out of a sticky situation, such as getting in the shower and realizing there is nothing there to wash with. If travelers notice something is missing, a quick call to the front desk typically does the trick!

Complimentary Bottled Water Gets A Gold Star

hotel toiletries
Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Especially when traveling outside of the United States, travelers have to be careful when it comes to drinking water. In places like Thailand and Mexico, tap water isn’t an option. So, one of the first things to do when arriving in a hotel room is to check and see if there is any bottled water around.

Not only does the hotel get an extra star for supplying water, but travelers will be happy when they wake up in the middle of the night thirsty and wanting to drink from the sink but can’t!

Check The Coffee Situation

Check The Coffee Situation
stokpic/pixabay
stokpic/pixabay

For many people, the day doesn’t start without a morning cup of coffee. And that’s no different if they’re in a hotel! So, it’s important to check out the coffee situation before booking a room.

When a hotel typically advertises “free coffee” in rooms, it typically refers to instant joe and powdered creamer. If that doesn’t cut it, think about bringing coffee bags. Similar to tea bags, this coffee tastes a bit better than instant coffee and won’t have travelers scrambling to find a café.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For A Different Pillow

Don't Be Afraid To Ask For A Different Pillow
Wokandapix/ipxabay
Wokandapix/ipxabay

The main reason people stay in hotels: so they have a place to sleep in a foreign city. That’s why one of the first things travelers should do when getting to their room is lie down in the bed. If the pillow is lumpy or the bed has a weird dip in it, don’t be afraid to talk to the staff.

According to Peggy Goldman, people in the service industry are willing to help guests, give them new pillows, or even switch their room, as long as they ask nicely.

Make Sure There Is A “How-To” List Handy

Make Sure There Is A
mojzagrebinfo/pixabay
mojzagrebinfo/pixabay

It might not seem like the most important thing, but there’s nothing worse than going to flip through television channels at night only to find out the remote control is way more complicated than it looks.

After dropping bags off in the hotel room, think about looking for the handy “how-to” guide. This typically tells guests how to use the television correctly and also how to set the alarm clock, if needed.

On-Site Shops In The Hotel Lobby Are Key

On-Site Shops In The Hotel Lobby Are Key
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

There is nothing worse than getting to a hotel, unpacking, and realizing that the cell phone charger, toothpaste, and hairbrush are still on the counter at home, waiting to get packed.

For basics such as these, it’s nice to have an on-site store in the hotel lobby. Before booking, search around the hotel’s website to see what it has to offer, especially for those who have a weird affinity for forgetting little things at home!

Utilize The Hotel Safe

Utilize The Hotel Safe
Wodicka/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Wodicka/ullstein bild via Getty Images

When booking a hotel room, travelers should keep an eye out for rooms that have a safe. While they might seem silly and not the most secure, these safes are a better way of securing personal items than taking a chance and leaving them on the counter.

Passports, loose money, cameras, and even tablets can fit into these safes. It’s just one of those things that will give travelers peace of mind while they’re out and about.