Hotel Hacks – While You’re There

Here are some tips and hacks for while you are at your stay. Also, things to consider when you have left to make your stay the best.

Double-check for bedbugs at home when you get back from your trip, head to the laundry room to check your luggage for signs of bedbugs. If you see any signs, toss the clothes straight into the wash, and follow up in the dryer on high heat for at least 15 minutes. Items that can’t be washed can be put in the freezer for a couple of days. Those nasty bugs won’t be able to survive the extreme temperatures.

Use the main entrance instead of using side doors when you return to your room. You might be farther from your room, but you would at least have been seen by an employee and anyone who follows you in.

Don’t forget the fitness facilities if you’re staying longer than a few days, make sure your lodging has a workout room or pool.

No excuse to skip the gym, the average hotel room affords plenty of space to do squats, pushups, jumping jacks, crunches, lunges, and triceps dips. Resistance bands are lightweight and portable enough to fit into any carry-on.

Avoid the hot tub there’s a chance that the hot tub is a breeding ground for bacteria such as the one that causes folliculitis, an infection that creates itchy red bumps. Even the air can be disease-causing if bacteria in the water have contaminated it—some people have contracted pneumonia or bronchitis from it.

Pack a nostalgic photo if you’re on a business trip, you might end your days feeling lonely or stressed, and a long vacation could start to get exhausting. Anchor yourself by looking at a photo of someone you love to remind yourself of home.

Spend just half your breakfast and lunchtime eating. When you’re done with your meal, take the rest of the time to stroll outside and enjoy your surroundings while you let your food digest. It’s a great habit not only for traveling, but also to continue during your lunch break at work.

Use a wireless router to avoid paying for Wi-Fi on multiple devices.

Paying for Wi-Fi at your hotel is a drag and paying per device is worse. There are various tech solutions, such as a Wi-Fi travel router that will set up a single hotspot for all your devices to share.

Free food or drink at the hotel restaurant

Some hotels offer complimentary breakfast or free drinks and snacks in the lobby. Bring a container to the breakfast and save some for a snack or lunch. If the hotel has a restaurant on the property, they may offer guests a discount to dine there or a free drink at the bar. This is not always the case, check ahead and see what discounts your hotel offers.

Along the line from above, fill up your mini-bar for free by storing things from the breakfast bar in your mini bar to give you a greater selection of drinks and food.

Tea & Coffee

Most hotels provide complimentary tea and coffee in the lobby, however, many guest rooms are equipped with these facilities as well. However, check to make sure that the tea and coffee provided in your room are actually free.

Make your own breakfast. If your hotel doesn’t provide free breakfast, buy (or bring) a few packs of instant oatmeal. You can cook it in the microwave if your hotel has one or use the coffee maker or tea kettle to heat some water for an easy meal. Also, use it for boiled eggs or pasta. If you have an iron you could make something like a grilled cheese.

Skip the hotel bar and fill the bathroom sink with ice and water and use it as a cooler for beer, sodas, or any drink.

Do your own laundry. You’re on a long trip, but you don’t want to lug three suitcases full of clothes. Instead, pack a product like the Scrubba. You can wash your clothes yourself in the sink instead of paying through the nose for your hotel to do it for you or feeding coins into the machines at a dingy laundromat. This works best for lightweight, quick-drying fabrics; in a pinch, you can use your hotel’s hairdryer to blast away any lingering dampness.

Hang creased clothing (especially silk) in the bathroom when you shower. The steam will get rid of most wrinkles. For tough cases, trap the steam and the clothes in the washroom all night long.

If you’re more worried about theft than a bedtime turndown, leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door when you go out.

Don’t sleep on hotel sheets that don’t have creases from being folded, a sign someone else already slept in them.

Hair conditioner can substitute for everything from shoe polish to shaving cream to makeup remover to foot moisturizer.

After a late-night, a pants hanger (the kind with clips) is a great tool for fastening curtains together and blocking out daylight.

Take home as many tiny bath products as possible by packing existing bottles before they get replenished by housekeeping. These treasures can be re-gifted or work as gym-ready cosmetics.

Before your trip, call your hotel and check to see if they have a washer/dryer available. If they do, bring a couple of detergent packs and dryer sheets, and it eliminates two to four days’ worth of clothes, depending on your stay.

Use the heated towel rack as a clothes dryer. Instead of spending a small fortune on the hotel laundry service, use the towel heat racks in the bathroom to dry your hand-washed clothes.

Connect Netflix to the hotel room TV. If your hotel room has a flat-screen TV with an HDMI port and your room has wifi, bingo! Now you can hook Netflix up to the TV directly from your laptop, tablet, or smartphone and binge-watch all your favourite TV shows.

Keep the power on by asking for two key cards when you check-in. Leave one card in the slot by the door to ensure the air-conditioner is on whilst you’re out and your laptop, camera, and iPhone are being charged.

Create your own surround system by putting your phone into (an empty) glass to host your own house party.

Pack your favourite tea, bring a plastic zipper bag with your own teabags.

Make (real) use of the shower cap – place your dirty shoes in the plastic cap before packing them in your suitcase or wrap it around the germy TV remote control.

Take advantage of other hotels’ amenities, if you fancy a swim but you’re nowhere near the ocean, try the nearest hotel with a pool. As long as you buy a drink, the hotel staff will likely grant you access.

If your room requires a key card insertion to activate the power, place a business card into the slot when you leave for the day. The climate control system will think you’re in the room and keep it cool or warm for your return.

Lock the items you won’t be carrying with you, such as your laptop or other electronics, in the room safe. Modern hotels with a safe that lets you select your own combination are safer than those with keys. Don’t leave your passport behind.

If the safe in your room doesn’t appear safe, lock valuables in the hotel safe. Get a written receipt for your items and ask about the coverage for the loss. Most hotels do not accept liability for items left in the guestroom safes but they will for those locked in the hotel safe.

Use a door wedge to further secure the door. Crooks are not always caught and may not have a record. Some criminals have been known to wait until they hear you in the shower before robbing your room or attacking you.

Place your flashlight or headlamp by the bed. If there’s an alarm or the electricity goes out, you’ll have the light you need to navigate an unfamiliar building.

If a valet has accompanied you to your room, block the door open while you check the room. Look in the closet, in the shower, and behind the curtains before you shut the door or release the valet.

Check the lock to be sure it’s functioning properly. Make sure that the door has a deadbolt and keep it locked whenever you are in the room.

Ask for two business cards with the hotel name and address. Place one by the phone in your room. If there is an emergency, and you call for help, you’ll have the name and address of your location. Place the other in your pocket or purse. If you have to take a cab or get lost, you can show the driver your location and avoid being taken to the wrong hotel.

Don’t wait for mirror fog to go away, before you shower (maybe the night before) liberally rub a portion of the mirror with a bar of soap. Then take a dry washcloth and buff the soap off. This will keep the mist from condensing on the mirror. And one soaping will last a few days.

Protect against bedbugs even if you don’t see any signs of bedbugs. Just in case take a moment to protect your bed. Move the bed out from against the wall, and tuck in the blankets so they can’t touch the floor.

Even the best hotels can end up with bedbugs. Quickly pull away from the comforter, and watch for brown bugs that are about the size of an apple seed scampering away. Take a close look at the pillows, mattress liners, and mattress seams for bugs or bloodstains. If you see anything questionable, ask for another room, and do another search there.

Pack your own sheets since hotel sheets could be crawling with dust mites, allergens, and germs. Throw your own sheet over the bedspread so you’re not exposed to those irritants.

Wear long sleeves and long pant pajamas to avoid contact with the bedding. A pair of light socks will help even more.

Use your bed only to sleep. To watch TV or working on your laptop, shift over to the desk or chair in your hotel room. It’s more hygienic, plus you’ll probably have an easier time falling asleep.

Use a makeshift humidifier, if your room has a kitchen area, fill the teakettle with water and heat it on the stove. Let the steam escape into the room until the water has almost all evaporated.

Bring a pair of flip-flops and wear them in the bathroom and on the carpet in your sleeping area. They’re especially important in the pool area, where you could end up with a nasty fungal infection.

Don’t rely on the hotel alarm pack your own battery-powered alarm clock or use your phone to wake up.

Charge your electronics through a TV since most modern TVs have a USB connector on the back or side.

Light a candle – a fragrant candle will smell much more pleasing than that stale hotel room scent, giving you some stress-busting aromatherapy. Just blow it out before you leave the room or fall asleep so you don’t risk causing a fire.

Free Wi-Fi is an increasingly common hotel amenity, but some hotels still charge by the hour and even by the device. Frequent business travelers should invest in a Wi-Fi base station like the Apple AirPort Express, which turns a single wired Internet connection into a Wi-Fi hot spot, so you can connect all your devices without extra charges. And consider using Skype for business calls to avoid racking up cell phone minutes or room-phone charges.

If bad weather has you stuck indoors, have the kids build a pillow fort, write postcards to friends back home, or hold a treasure hunt with convenience-store finds like candy and stickers hidden around the room. Or plan ahead by bringing DVDs, coloring books, and portable games like Pass the Pigs.

If you’re traveling with kids, sometimes your hotel might offer free activities for children. This may include coloring books, board games, movies, or books.

Some hotels are short on sockets — carry a small, three- or six-port mini power plug to maximize availability.

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