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Hotel Room Hacks Every Traveler Should Know About

There’s always something that’s just naturally exciting about exploring a new city or really, just a new hotel. From a family vacation to a business trip to a huge convention, hotels act as our slightly off, “home away from home.” The first few hours or first few nights (given an extended stay) are a bit awkward, but in no time, you’ll be treating the place like your own. And just like your own home, you’ll be developing your own hotel room hacks to make your stay even more comfortable.

As the name implies, hotel hacks are the little bits of personal ingenuity to make the room resemble your own expectations and requirements. The questionable surfaces, lack of high-definition speakers, or adequate Netflix and Hulu streaming set-up are just a few minor annoyances that can be easily fixed thanks to our hotel room hacks guide. Take a second before you take a trip to make your stay a little bit more like home.

Sugar Packet Beauty

If we told you that a sugar-packet was going to beautify you, would you listen? Believe it or not, taking one or two of these bad boys, when combined with the complimentary room lotion, can make for one stellar make-shift face exfoliant. Don’t believe us? Give it a try.

Clamp the Curtain

For one reason or another, hotel curtains never completely close in the middle. These multi-hundred-dollar corporations still can’t prevent that giant gap in the middle for your nighttime snooze. Thankfully, there’s new hope. Grab one of the few closet hangers and use the clamps of said hanger to hold together the sides of each curtain. Repeat with more hangers as necessary.

Ironing Board Table

As much as we want to believe that an ironing board is only meant for ironing, think again. Take that sucker, set it up, and use it for a wide range of table-related uses. Need some extra “table” space for some makeup in the bathroom? You got one. Would like a standing dinner table? Boom, there you go.

Don’t Forget the “Anniversary”

The livelihood of hotels depends on guest satisfaction and (online) ratings. That being said, always be sure to mention any special events or occasions that caused you to book with your hotel. This way, hotels are given the chance to go above-and-beyond with small free gifts or tokens of celebration. Free champagne? Free dinner? A room-upgrade? Try your luck (but be honest).

Laptop to the Rescue

We all know that hotel television “entertainment” isn’t always that great. The channels are lackluster beyond basic news stations and the pay-per-view movies are expensive. Free your expectations – bring along your laptop and an HDMI cord, and stream to your hearts content. If the Wifi isn’t free, suck it up, or download some free movies using the Wifi from the hotel lobby or local fast food joint.

Be Safe with the Remote

With the tip before, be smart and healthy with the room television, particularly the remote. We’re not sure if room service even cleans the remote… yuck! Therefore, take on the bags a paper or plastic cup is held in and place the remote inside. This way, you won’t have to touch that nasty remote directly.

Match-Book Touchup

Ladies, this one’s for you. Even if you believe your nails are just near perfect, always be prepared for a jagged edge to pop up. To help file down the disaster nail, keep a matchbook if your purse. No, you won’t need the matches, just the striking surface. This iconic match-landing-strip will help file down any loose corners.

Dry no more!

Some love it but you hate it. If the dry hotel air isn’t helping your sinuses, make your own humidifier. Wet a towel (just not soaking) and place it on the luggage stand in front of your AC unit. As the air is pumped into the room, it will instantly pick up some moisture from the towel sitting right in front of its exit.

Tiny Shampoo Extravaganza

Even if it’s not explicitly mentioned, those tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner are part of your bill. Why wouldn’t they be? Regardless, because you’re paying for them, and that they’re most likely thrown out after your stay, they’re ripe for the picking. Keep a stash at home for future business trips or feel compelled to donate them to those in need.

Meal Budgeting

If you’re on a budget and even booking the hotel was a bit of a stretch, you can thankfully save a few dollars using the faithful coffee maker. Rather than going out to the expensive restaurants nearby, grab some hot-water-ready ramen cups or hot water alternative. The machine is free, the water is “free,” and your meal probably cost less than a dollar!

Jelly Time!

Continental breakfasts offer the common-man a smorgasbord of mealtime opportunity. However, have you considered bringing along a few extra peanut butter and jelly packets upon the ending of your meal? If you have snacks or brought along some bread from breakfast, these little packets can help create an impromptu picnic or provide a solid little road-trip snack.

The New-Age Steamer

Especially if you’re in a rush to make your Monday morning business meeting but have some wrinkled clothing from your overnight trip, bring your pieces (on hanger) into the bathroom as you shower. You’d be surprised how quickly some hot-shower steam can release those wrinkles in just a few minutes. This tip is super helpful even if you’re still at home!

A Quick Cleaning

Our beloved room coffee maker is at it again. If you’re concerned your glass or ceramic cups and mugs are still unclean (despite hoping for the opposite), boil some water in the coffee pot and disinfect away!

The “New” Bedside Table

If your side of the bed isn’t lucky enough to receive its own bedside table, there’s still hope. As a super easy hack, pull the corner of the bed sheet out from under the bed, and fold it half-way up the side to create a convenient bedside pocket. No need to leave your items on the ground!

Blast It!

You need some music as you’re preparing yourself to crush your business meeting (and dinner) in an hour. But your speakers are just a bit too quiet to truly pump you up. Don’t worry! Gently toss your phone into a glass or ceramic mug to increase your volume ten-fold.

Toothbrush Upright

As much as we want to believe that every surface in a hotel room has been thoroughly sanitized, we hate to break it to you, but they’re not. Therefore, keeping your toothbrush off the bathroom counter is of paramount concern. To keep your brush from sitting on the counter, search for one of the paper coffee cups instead. Take said cup, flip it over, and force your toothbrush through the bottom to create your own few-day stand.

Make-Shift Ice Bath

Whether you’re trying to avoid the insane mark-ups of mini-bar beverages or simply don’t have the luxury of having a mini-fridge inside your room, there’s still hope for a night of cold drinks. Assuming you’ve already picked up your drinks of choice from the local supermarket (for ultimate savings), fill up the bathroom sink with a bucket of ice taken from the hotel ice machine. Close the drain, add just a tad of water, gently stir the mixture around, and finally place your drinks inside. In about 15 minutes, you’ll have icy cold beverages.

Grilled-Cheese Lovin

You absolutely need a grilled cheese at 2 A.M… we get it. We’ve been there ourselves. Thankfully, you were smart enough to grab some tin foil from the store, along with your grilled cheese ingredients, and the trusted clothing iron, tucked away in the closet. We think you know how to proceed…

Hiding the Lights

All the lights are off and you’ve clamped the curtains closed… but there’s still an annoying amount of light coming from underneath your door. Easy! Throw a used bathroom towel against the floor and the base of the door to shut out any remaining light.

The LEDS…

And yet again, the story continues. The lights are off, the curtains are clamped, there’s a towel placed at the front of the door, but now you’re dealing with that ever obnoxious, bright red or green LED from the clock or television. For this step, keep a small roll of electrical tape in your bag to quickly put out the remaining amount of light pollution during your snooze.

Baby Proof!

Traveling with newborns can be tough. Allowing a newborn to roam around a hotel room, one in which you’re unfamiliar with, can be nerve-racking. To help remove that unneeded stress, gather some band-aids to “at least” baby-proof unwanted or low-hanging electrical sockets.

No More Wet Clothing!

It’s either you or your kids… but someone just had to go swimming. The problem is that you’re leaving later in the afternoon… there’s no way the piece will dry in time. Fret not as ice bags can hold and contain that cold, slimy piece of chlorine-smelling bathing suit. Thank us later.

Shoe Dividers

Many of us will pack our shoes, dirty and clean, right next to our clothing. What else are you supposed to do? However, play it smart the next time you leave your hotel room. Use one of the free shower caps to bundle your shoes together… obviously placing the soles in the cap. This way, your dirty soles won’t be touching your clothing.

Where to Hide the Cash

Hiding cash and credit cards in your room always seems to be a hassle. You either hide them in some completely random place… but risk forgetting them. Or you’re forced to leave it in your suitcase, which can easily be searched by the less-than-reputable. Therefore, keep your money in plain sight! For example, if possible, sneak your cash and card between the bristles and handle of a hair brush. No one’s ever going to look in there!

Create A Drain Stopper

You never know if you’re going to end up with a bathtub, let alone one with a functional drain stopper. If you do end up with a tub, but no stopper, we’re here to help. Take the ice bucket bag, fill it with some water, and tie it tight. Place it in the drain and slowly begin to fill your tub with water. Once the water-bag has settled into its new home, feel free to fill that tub up.

Set Two Alarms

Set two alarms for the morning, especially if you’re staying in a different timezone than where you normally live. This way, you’ll have two wholly different alarms, roughly 10-15 minutes apart, to ensure that you wake up when you need to.

Layer Your Suitcase

Pack your suitcase in layers. Meaning put the clothes you plan on wearing for your final day of the trip, then pack each corresponding day on top of it. That allows you to unpack day by day while keeping everything in order.

Save on Your Tab

As tempting as it may be, you should avoid the hotel bar. Instead, whet your whistle at a local watering whole. You’ll save money, and get a feel for local culture to boot.

Cup Speaker

If you want to listen to some tunes or a podcast while showering but forgot your Bluetooth speaker, simply grab a Styrofoam coffee cup or water class. Plop your phone inside of it, and voila you’ll have amplified sound to enjoy in your hotel room.

Bring a Power Strip/Adapter

In today’s connected world, most people are traveling with numerous electronic devices that need to be charged (including, but not limited to smart phones, laptops, AirPods, etc.). However, many hotel rooms built years ago don’t have nearly enough outlets. The simple solution: bring a power strip to plug in yourself, then you’ll have outlets to power all your electronics.

Fresh Air

If your hotel room smells… less than fresh, you might want to take a run don to your car. Not to sleep there, but rather to grab the air freshener off your AC vent. Simply pop said air freshener on to the room’s AC vent, and it’ll have the same effect it does on your car.

Clip Your Keys

If you’re the forgetful type – and trust us, we’re right there with you – he’s a quick way to make sure you never forget your keys or your phone charger in a hotel room. simply clip the keys to the charger wire, that way you can’t have one without the other.

Plastic Wrap Toiletries

When packing up your hotel room to head home, grab the blasting wrap that covers the room’s disposable coffee cups. Screw them underneath the lids of your toiletries to make sure you don’t have any shampoo leaks in your suitcase.

Garbage Can Cooler

We told you earlier about using the bathroom sink as a makeshift cooler, but let’s say you don’t want to take up the real estate of your sink… or maybe your’re hosting a (small of course) get together in your hotel room, you can also use the room’s garbage can as a makeshift icebox to keep things a bit more portable.

Melts Like Butter

Is there anything worse than indulging in your hotel/motel’s continental breakfast only to find rock hard butter? Take some of those frozen bricks and set them carefully on top of the toaster while charring your bagel or bread, that should make them nice and warm. Just be sure not to leave the on there too long.

Fill That Water Bottle

If your hotel has a gym with a freshwater dispenser (or you don’t mind tap water) make sure you fill up your water bottle before leaving the hotel, that way you can skip buying water bottles for your trip home.

In Need of a USB?

If you’re in need of a USB port, say to plug an electronics charger in to, but you don’t have a wall pier adapter, don’t fret. Simply look behind the TV set, as most modern televisions have a USB port built in and accessible.

Prop the Door

If you’re traveling solo, moving luggage into the room can be a pain given that hotel room doors are designed to close if left open. To get around this, use hook one of the closet hangers o the door, holding it open while you load in.

Stay Powered

Many modern hotel rooms require guests to have their key inserted in. slot to keep the power on in the room. However, if you want to have the lights or AC on while you’re out of the room (you rebel you), simply slide any similar-sized card into the slot.

DIY Childproofing

Most hotels provide childproofing upon request. However, if your hotel doesn’t have the necessary tools on hand, bring along some handy duct tape to cover open outlets, tape down loose wires, and attach washcloths and towels to sharp corners. Seriously, is there anything duct tape can’t do?

Save Those Leftovers

If you have some leftovers – from room service or an outside restaurant – don’t throw them away. Take your clean shower cap and put it over the plate, then slip the food into your mini-fridge for later.

Many Uses for Conditioner

Back to those little bottles of conditioner. Even if you don’t use conditioner, you can actually use conditioner for multiple things besides hair. Namely, it can be makeup remover, skin cream, cuticle cream, and even shaving cream.

Tipping is Your Friend

According to a hotel industry expert, never underestimate the power of a tip. “Slip the front office staff your credit card together with a $20 note and ask if there are any ‘complimentary upgrades’ available and just wait for the magic to happen.”

Always Ask For Extra Items

Often times, hotels will have freebie items available behind the counter, including sewing kits, razors, toothbrushes, and more. If you want them, all you have to do is ask the front desk.

Tell the Hotel About Special Occasions

If you’re celebrating a special event on your trip -honeymoon, birthday, anniversary, etc. – make sure you let the hotel know about it. Often times, they’ll give you a freebie or upgrade as a gesture of celebration.

Bed Divider

Any parent out there knows that traveling with young children can be… difficult. Especially when young siblings are forced to share a bed. A quick way to make that easier? Use a group of pillows as a bed divider, that way each of the kids feels like they have their own personal space.

Wash Your Clothes in the Tub

As explained by the travel site Guff, “If you’re in desperate need of clean clothes while staying in a hotel, don’t have someone do your laundry for you – instead, do it yourself in your hotel’s bathroom by filling up the bathtub with warm water and soap and hand-washing your clothes. It might be kind of a pain, but it will definitely save you money!”

Offer a Review

When you’re checking in make sure to ask if the hotel wants guests to leave a review like TripAdvisor or Yelp! Often times, a savvy clerk will offer perks like free breakfast or a room upgrade to try and ensure a good review.

Check Your Reward Status

Most hotels offer reward points and upgrades to those who either are part of a loyalty program or use a certain credit card. Usually, the loyalty programs are free, and offer perks like late checkout, breakfast, Wi-Fi, and even room upgrades. Be sure to check your status before you go.

Do Not Disturb

If you don’t want housekeeping coming in to your room too early while you’e trying to sleep – or coming in at all throughout your stay – make sure to leave your “Do Not Disturb” sign hanging on your door. That way, hotel staff will leave you alone. Just remember to take it off if you do get to the point of wanting the room cleaned.

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