There are numerous reasons why we end up staying in hotels. Some choose their stay in other places for work while others make an investment in travel time for leisure. Either way, you’ve got yourself a brand new room to call home during your short stay when you go off to your next adventure. Whether it’s a five-star luxurious place or a quaint little inn, you’ve got to make it home for the time you’re there. For your comfort and peace of mind, let us share with you some tips and tricks to make your hotel stay a better one!
AVOID THE LOTION EXPLOSION
Have you ever opened your bag to find all your stuff wet with your shower gel or gooey with your hand cream after a long flight? That’s fine. Don’t be embarrassed because we’ve all been there. We’ve also been in the tedious and totally avoidable cleanup process as well. Protect your credit card, hairbrush, passport, and phone from explosions through plastic bags! Take a piece of it and place it underneath the bottle cap of your toiletry jar or container. The plastic will make sure that what should be inside will stay inside.
SECRET KEY CARD
You have already left the room and have thrown your key card inside your bag for later when you remember that you left something back in your room. You run back upstairs and dig through your bag, trying in vain to fish for that key card just so you could turn on the lights. You just wasted 15 minutes! We’ll let you in on a little secret. In the case of turning on the lights and the rest of the room’s electricity, you don’t really need that card. Any card will do! As long as it’s the same size, it will work just as well!
WHAT CLOSES ONE OPENS ANOTHER
Sounds like a riddle doesn’t it? Think of a scenario when you would like to have a drink inside your hotel room but you don’t have any bottle opener in sight. You could try to call room service, wait an extra fifteen minutes, or look around and see what you’ve got. In every hotel room, there is always a door. How will a door open if you drink, you say? Look up toward your roofing and lo and behold! Your door closer (or that metal thing attached to your door that opens and closes) can double as a bottle opener as well!
CONTROL THE GERMS
They say that a hotel room’s dirtiest item is the trusty old remote control. Why? Well, think of hands. Hands from anywhere and everywhere – washed or not – touch that remote control. Do you think the hotel staff changes that as they change towels or sheets? Nope, we didn’t think so. So before you hop into your nice newly-made bed, grab the remote and tune in to your favorite flicks, it’s best to wrap your remote in a plastic bag or shower cap first. There’s almost always one in the bathroom anyway. Remember that your health will always be your best investment!
GET THE PEACE AND QUIET YOU CAME FOR
One thing we look for in every vacation is always the peace and the quiet. We leave the busy city to go on a trip and relax for a bit. This is always ruined by noisy neighbors who are just generally loud outside. You could try to switch rooms but this isn’t always possible. Besides, what are the odds that it won’t be loud there either? If you can’t get away from the noise, use your towel and stuff it in the crack between the door and the floor. Trust us on this–you’ll thank us and give us credit after.
NO DOOR HANG-UPS
Sometimes, getting settled gets a little busier than usual if you have a lot of stuff with you, or if you’re traveling with a lot of people. You come in and out and luggage goes to and fro. During times like this, an open door would be helpful to a huge degree. How do we do this with a simple hack? Take a hanger from the closet and use it to keep the door open. Simply hang it on a door latch and then on a nearby rail or closet rack. It will save so much time and energy on your end.
BEWARE THE MINIBAR
That stocked minibar sitting quietly at one corner in your room does not call onto you until you take notice of it. We tell you this, though: do not heed its call! We know that it’s so convenient to have food and drinks right there but some hotels actually have sensors that charge the second you move something in the minibar. Even though you put the item back, the additional expense on your bill was already automatic. They’ll return it if you can prove otherwise but why go through so much trouble? Don’t touch it or t take it out on your credit card bill!
I SAID TURN OFF THE LIGHTS
When you’re in a hotel room, the degree of darkness or brightness of the place isn’t always something you can adjust, so even if you can only sleep in pitch black, the hotel doesn’t always accommodate that. If you need the room to be darker than it is when all the lights are out, the problem is usually with the curtains because they can’t be drawn shut all the way. If this is the case, take your pants hanger from the closet and clip the curtain ends together. That way, your sleep will be as peaceful in these soft sheets.
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH
Never come unprepared when you’re going somewhere new. Sure, locals are almost always welcoming and more than willing to help out and give you some tips but remember that they may also have their own biases as well. You never know the hotel you’re staying at also owns the next restaurant or the tourist spot that they’re referring you to. They may overhype these establishments as well. It’s best to do your own research and just ask the concierge for logistical advice or even more details about places you already know instead. Put your investment money on experiences that will be worth it!
IT PAYS TO CALL AHEAD
One thing to take note of is that if you’re planning to stay somewhere for a while, it always pays to call ahead. When we say it pays, we mean you can get discounts. Never underestimate talking to your billeting establishment before you come to stay with them. Remember, it is better for them to service the same guest for one long stay rather than look for different guests for shorter-term stays. This information is backed by Erin Bender from Travel with Bender. You might just do your credit card bill a favor if you remember this one bit.
While your hotel might involve wonderful room service, luxurious room decors, and bedding with a thread count so soft that you feel like you’re sleeping on flooring made from the softest clouds, it can still happen that the humidity inside isn’t quite to your standards. If you’re feeling a little too dry inside your hotel room, take both your suitcase rack and a towel and place them near your room’s radiator. Moisten up your towel and place it on top of the suitcase rack. This way, your room will be more humid and therefore more comfortable for you.
KEEP THE BED BUGS OFF THE BED
Bed bugs are these little creatures that give you unrest and discomfort at night. What you should know is that they latch on to your luggage. They can ride your bag from who knows where to your hotel room and even straight back home. So one thing that you should avoid doing is putting your bags on the bed! Indeed, it would be best to keep luggage on the flooring of the hotel bathroom to keep them out of reach. Better yet, check the couch and chairs inside the room for these pests as well, even if you’re at an expensive place.
THE FRONT DESK WILL HAVE YOUR EVERY NEED
You have got to stop panicking! You may have forgotten to pack some of your essentials from home but you should know that most hotels have everything you could possibly need anyway. We’re not talking about the free basic toiletries that you get when you check-in. We also mean that the average hotel loans stuff like hair straighteners and video game consoles. All you need to do is ask. Before you go on a panic spree at the nearest overpriced store, look around and ask the front desk first. Chances are, they’re ready to save you from your worries anyway.
CALL AHEAD (EVEN WITHOUT THE DISCOUNT)
We can never underestimate the power of calling ahead before checking in for your stay. There are a few reasons behind this. First of all, you get the feel of the staff, and they will be available to answer any questions you may have with regards to the services or the facilities that they have. It’s also a good time to have worries or concerns addressed. This is especially great with smaller businesses as the owners have put a lot of investment into training their staff because they want to make sure their clients have the best experience possible.
CONSIDER BOOKING A SECRET ROOM
Let us introduce to you the concept of a secret room. We know it sounds a little bit sketchy but it’s actually not that complicated. Rooms that have lower rates from the regular ones, and are not listed on the usual list are secret rooms. They are there because hotels don’t want to have any room empty, as much as possible. It’s still business after all. They are, to some degree, offered “secretly” at 20% to 50% discounts, but you won’t know which hotel you’re staying in. We recommend you check out LastMinute.com and Hotwire.com to discover these rooms. With the savings you’re in for, they’re worth the try!
LIMIT THE ROOM SERVICE
We know that part of the hotel experience is the concept of room service. As fun it is to call up and expect your orders ready at your door, you might be overlooking your credit card bill. If you use room service too much, you might be surprised at how much your end bill might have ballooned. It’s better to bring instant food with you if you don’t really want to go out to eat. Noodles can be cooked in boiled water and this can be done in your room. Using the coffee maker there is also an idea that might suffice.
BOOK FOR ONE PERSON
Some of us are a little wary about dishonesty when booking a room. One user of Reddit however, said that as a hotel manager, he advised people to book for one person only. Most hotels charge for the number of people that use the room but the truth is that the hotel staff won’t really care when you arrive and have someone else in tow with you. Not only will they not notice, sometimes, they also won’t even know. They never enter the room when occupied anyway, so we think the chances are good. You will be able to save on your credit card bill.
USE YOUR CREDIT CARD REWARDS
Remember all the points you’ve been fretting about getting every time you swipe your credit card? They have been accumulating so much you’ve lost track. Where will you use them then? It is worth looking at your universal miles particularly travel rewards in your credit cards. Converting your points to airline and hotel points can help you avail free rooms. These are some perks that are worth inquiring about and exploring. With all the rewards you’ve got in store, what will you do with them? It’s best to put them into good use because otherwise, what is the point of those rewards?
DISCOVER THE MANY USES OF A SHOWER CAP
Ah, the shower cap – the most underestimated item in every hotel room stay. We never use it, but it’s always there. You have to give the piece of plastic more credit, however, as there are plenty of hacks that make use of it. It’s a handy tool especially in keeping stuff clean. Dirty shoes can be placed in them so as not to dirty the rest of your things. You can also use this to wrap your remote control so as to keep the germs from touching you. Of course, you can use this in the shower too but we’ve already established we don’t really do that.
When the degree of coldness inside your hotel room plummets, it will follow that the butter inside your refrigerator will become as solid as a rock. The problem of spreading butter on toast in the morning is actually a tasking one. How in the world are we going to get that buttered toast without the butter? It’s simple! While you pop your bread in the toaster, put the butter on top of the toaster. That way, when your toast is ready, your butter will be soft enough to lather all over the bread. Help yourself to a delicious breakfast!
BE FRIENDLY WITH A $20
Now, this next one is a literal gem of an idea that will sweeten your hotel stay. It may not be the best for savings in terms of money management but there’s a good chance that it will make your experience better. Slip in a $20 bill with your ID when you present it to the front desk upon checking in. The extra splurge might just win you an upgraded room and better service, too. There is also a fair chance that the tip won’t be accepted by the staff but no harm will be done by then, so we say it’s worth a try.
PRICE GUARANTEES ARE GEMS
Nomad Wallet’s Deia Bong shares that benefits are present in price guarantees when you get enough loyalty points. “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,” said the travel contributor. Through finding these you can make sure that the services you are availing of are credible and have been tested already. At the same time, you also see the same competitors that are at the same level. If you use your credit card’s perks wisely, you might get more than what you pay for.
LET THEM IN ON THE CELEBRATION
Part of calling ahead (like we’ve stressed a few times too many already) is telling the hotel or inn exactly what you’re there for. Be it a personal milestone, a birthday, an anniversary, a religious event, or a honeymoon, chances are the establishment may extend some kind of perk to you that will end up lowering your credit card bill. Letting them know in advance gives them the chance to cook up something nice for you, such as a deal with lower rates or additional services or meals. Just make sure you are nice and courteous and they will be more than happy to assist you on your big day.
MAKE A TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER
The problem of where to place your toothbrush inside a hotel room is a universal one. We know the frustration you feel when you don’t find the perfect spot to ensure that your toothbrush won’t touch anything. Since the hotel won’t give loans in the form of containers to use, you won’t have anywhere to place it. A paper cup, however, may be a handy hack for this one. Cut a hole in the middle and place your toothbrush through or you could just place it on top. The toothbrush will be away from any surface, free from anything unhygienic. Now you can go clean up your pearly whites in peace.
COMPLAIN IF YOU HAVE TO
When the eventual bad service happens, it will always be a good idea to file a complaint. We can be forgiving but not to such a degree that will lead them to think they can get away with it. Complaining isn’t always the easiest, we know, but more often than not, the outcome will be better if you say a word or two. There’s no need to shout or make a scene, but letting the manager know what happened might get you a discount, or at least a proper apology. Either way, constructive criticism is always helpful for any establishment.
While bed bugs, as we have said earlier, can travel along with your luggage, another bed-related tidbit that you should know is that bedspreads are almost always not changed regularly. While we give hotels credit for changing the sheets and washing them periodically, bedspreads aren’t always part of the laundry game. Those without stains, especially, are typically not changed right away, if ever. We think you should just leave those out at one corner of the room so as to not get any of the dirt all over your body as you sleep. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
GO ROOM SHOPPING
We know that some of you just don’t have it in their personality to approach the front desk and ask for a better room so another alternative for the same goal is to canvas the other rooms. Instead of asking for an upgrade directly, you can ask to see the other rooms. They may vary in terms of view or size, or even just the environment. Some rooms may face the ocean, some may be a little roomier, and some may be less noisy. These little things will contribute to the degree of satisfaction you’ll have with your stay so don’t be shy to ask for options.
USE YOUR CREDIT CARD TO UPGRADE
Your credit card has perks and benefits that will help you get the best experience you can possibly get. According to Al-Nawaz Rajan, he checks in at luxurious and high-end hotels but only pays the price of lower-end inns. He uses his platinum card and makes sure to redeem all its perks. These cards may be pricier in terms of extra fees, but according to him, they’re worth it. If you’re the kind whose lifestyle requires you to stay in hotels for more than a few times a year, then maybe this is an investment you’d want to make.
Mirrors will always fog up after a good long shower, and this is something you can almost never escape in a hotel bathroom. One usually needs to wait for the fog to go away completely or at least get reduced to a degree that can allow one to see oneself. On the other hand, what most people don’t know is that polishing the mirror’s surface with a good bar of soap suffices to reduce fog build-up. After rubbing the entire mirror with soap, just buff it up all over and that will do the trick. Now you can shave in time for your meeting.
MAXIMIZE THE DO NOT DISTURB SIGN
There are several reasons why one doesn’t feel the same home security in the house compared to when one is at an unfamiliar place. Even in a place that’s as cozy as a hotel, there will be more than a few reasons to feel unsafe or uncomfortable. Sometimes, it’s the environment; other times, it may be some unpleasant experience with a hotel staff that will make you feel off. It’s a good thing that your room comes with a “do not disturb” sign. If you leave it on your doorknob, no room cleaner will come in. If you’re concerned about leaving your things inside, remember people usually presuppose the room’s occupied anyway.
LOOK AROUND FOR OPTIONS
A pro tip on booking hotels for your next vacation is always looking for as many options as possible. It’s always good to look around before booking something because there’s a big possibility that you can get a better deal for the money you’re spending. Wouldn’t you want to place your investment on something that’s worth your while? If you’re too scared that you might run out of options, we suggest you book a refundable room first before you browse through others. That way you have a fallback in case you don’t find anything better. Otherwise, refunding is easy if you do get a better deal.
MIND THE EMERGENCY EXITS
This one can be applied anywhere, not just hotels. It’s a precautionary measure to always know where the emergency exits are. Of course, we’re hoping you won’t need it during your stay but it’s better to be safe than to be sorry. Accidents happen when you least expect it so it’s best you’re prepared to know where to go when they do happen. Usually, fire happens in the middle of the night so you wouldn’t want to be frantic in the dark. Come on, you wouldn’t want to call up your insurance company in the middle of your vacation, do you?
MAKING YOURSELF A MEAL IS AN OPTION
Whether you’ve grown tired of the hotel’s redundant buffet, you’ve tried everything on the room service’s menu, or you’re just big on money management during your hotel stay, it’s always an option to make your own meal inside your room. Tourists, especially, often forget that they can eat in the comforts of their own hotel rooms and they can get it cheap by getting something from the convenience store and cooking up some instant meals. If you’re looking for savings or diet variation, it’s always a good idea to get out and look for something you’re craving for yourself.
USE POINTS TO CHECK IN LATER
Your credit card reward points are gems to use in a hotel. After mentioning using them to upgrade your room or your stay’s experience, you already have an idea about what we mean for sure. Another perk that you can use is that if you have enough points, these can be exchanged for late check-ins too. If your record with the hotel is wonderful, especially, they will be more than happy to accommodate this request as well. Accumulate your points and enjoy a hassle-free check-in later. Finally, you don’t have to worry about the time, or where to put your bags in the meantime.
USE THE HOTEL CREDIT CARD AND ITS SIGNUP BONUSES
Whether it’s for work, a lifestyle choice, or just a lot of traveling privileges, some people travel all the time. If you’re one of those who continuously hop from one place to another within a year a lot, then maybe a hotel credit card and all its bonuses are a good investment idea for you. According to Matt Kepnes, who has been a traveler since 2006, it’s a better option to avail of the hotel credit card and use their sign up bonuses. These aren’t the usual considerations of most travelers but it’s good to keep it in mind.
DON’T FORGET YOUR VALUABLES
Your phone, your keys, your credit cards, and your wallet are only some of the valuables you take with you everywhere you go. Unfortunately, they are also pretty easy to lose. For instance, when you’re trying to relax or when you’re late and in a rush, you can tend to forget about them. There are many simple ways to avoid missing these valuables. Taking them with you every single day as part of your routine will help you remember them. You can use some hacks as well like looping your charging cord in a keychain and taking that as well.
TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS FOR PRICE DROPS
Have you ever wanted to go on a vacation but you were a bit tight on budget? Or maybe you just wanted to save money and give your credit card a little break? Well, you’re lucky we live in a time where technology is so readily accessible and you have everything at the tip of your fingers. Many websites update their price lists constantly so instead of checking on them every day for that price drop you’re waiting for, just have the alerts turned on and get notifications on your phone or email. Check out sites like Hotels.com and Kayak. They won’t even flood your inbox!
Don’t you just love hotel breakfasts? The smell of coffee, the platters of food, pitchers of different drinks. There are so many choices you wouldn’t know where to start. One annoying little detail is the tiny cups for the juice! You have to get up so many times to refill it you almost need to call your lawyer for the injustice. Unfortunately, hotels often do this on purpose but don’t worry. There’s a perfect fix for that. Grab a large coffee cup and fill it right up with that morning orange juice. Some places even have lids for their coffee cups!
ONE BED FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY
Family vacations are just the best. Traveling together is one of the best ways to spend some time with your loved ones. One problem many families face is sharing a hotel room and well, sharing one bed. This can get pretty cramped and may bring up some arguments after a while. It’s never a bad idea to ask for an extra bed cot and use up some of the flooring. Also, try dividing one bed into separate spaces and assigning a space to a family member. This way, fights will be avoided, everyone has their own space and you will definitely save some energy.
BE AN AARP MEMBER
Well, not really. This is a pro-tip if you’re brave enough to earn huge savings. If you did not reserve a room prior to coming to a hotel, you can always tell them that you are an AARP or AAA member. Though it probably won’t be true in your case, a Reddit user shared that the hotel front desk almost never bothers to ask for membership or identification cards for proof. Not only will they book you a room, but you will also get discounts and will get to save on your credit card bill. It’s worth a try if you ask us.
CHARGE WITH YOUR TV
With modern technology at our fingertips, everything is so much easier. Given the investments you make for gadgets that make life easier, you might also need to carry extra chargers along to keep you on the go. What if you forgot them though? We know your natural reaction would be to panic but don’t fret. Through so many technological advancements in this day and age, USB ports have been used for practically anything – even the TV. You can charge your phone via the TV’s USB port and save yourself from the doom you will be facing without your handheld device.
CARRY A WATER BOTTLE
We know that carrying a water bottle around might not be the most practical thing to do but carrying an empty one might just be helpful when the need arises – and we tell you this: it will. If you’re staying at a hotel, you have to be mindful that potable water isn’t always available especially in the middle of the night. A suggestion is that you can fill up your empty water bottle once you come across a dispenser or water cooler. They’re usually located in the foyer or in the hotel’s gym. As much as we credit the tap for being great bath water, they’re not always safe to drink.
BE AN ACTUAL AAA MEMBER
Okay, we may have told you to lie about being an AAA member earlier if you’re not one but now we’re telling you that being an actual AAA member may actually be very beneficial for you! All the perks and benefits (including not having to lie about it) might actually make your stay so much better. Chris Guillebeau, the Travel Hacking Cartel founder says that AAA is very helpful when he doesn’t get to use his frequent flyer miles. If you’re a regular traveler and want to save on your credit card bill, then give this a go. It might just change your life!
USE YOUR STATUS SOMEWHERE ELSE
We know that you loyal clients may have chosen your favorite hotel chain and may have gained great status with it over the years. It is understandable if you want to stay with them for every vacation. You are not only familiar to them but you’ve also fostered trust in their service already. Unfortunately, there might come a time when this particular chain isn’t available in your next destination so what do we do about it? What some may not know is that you can actually get the same status from other hotels if you ask. Give them a call before you swipe that credit card. You may just save big.
GAIN STATUS AT LESS EXPENSIVE ESTABLISHMENTS
If you’re new to the whole status system, then you can start out by focusing on one hotel chain. Your choice does not need to be a five-star venue contrary to what others think. You need only to work on your stay here as the loyalty system is based on the number of days or nights spent and not the amount of investment money paid to the hotel. You can achieve your status easier because you spend less. If you’re thinking about short stays like only one night, this might be a good way to build the status and eventually earn all the perks that come with it.
READY YOUR BAGS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHECK OUT
It’s always a better option to stay organized, and nothing is more frustrating than forgetting something – especially in a hotel room abroad. Not only will you never get them back but you will also increase your own degree of stress all the way home. One way to fix this is to pack your stuff the night before you check out. This way, you won’t be pressed for time and you will have the proper headspace to think about where what goes to. What will be left for you to do the following morning is to look through the room again before you leave just to make sure you didn’t forget anything.
BUSINESS HOTELS ARE THE WAY TO GO
Business hotels are not only more accessible but are also, to some degree, cheaper. Even though they’re less expensive, they may actually offer better deals than the five-star commercial establishments. Oftentimes, the facilities and the kind of rooms that they offer are more or less the same with the bigger hotels but are priced at lower rates. If you’re planning on taking a trip to Europe, this may be a worthy option because a lot of billeting places are not that booked on summers or on weekends. Because they cater mostly to working travelers, they’ll have rooms for you and your vacations.
TALK TO THE GENERAL MANAGER
Being friendly with whoever is in charge is never a bad idea. With this in mind, creating rapport with the manager surely cannot hurt. A case with a bad experience can almost guarantee perks thereafter so as to ensure that you won’t cut ties with them. Loyalty and good reviews are very important to business owners so a hearty conversation with the right person may just be the right investment to get the right deal. If something goes wrong, such as an unaddressed request or discomfort of any sort during your stay comes up, emailing the manager is a good idea.
THE BEST CURRENCY IS THE COUNTRY’S CURRENCY
Traveling abroad? Did you look up the currency exchange between your country and the one you’re going to? Some people recommend using the country’s currency when you’re booking so you can get discounts to a certain degree. Addis says “Sometimes looking at booking engines specifically geared towards Australia, for example, can result in savings if you are booking in Australian Dollars. If I’m using a travel credit card that doesn’t charge fees for foreign transactions and has fair rates for currency conversion, it can be a great way to save some money on a room.” Well, you know what to do next time.
WATCH OUT FOR PRICE GUARANTEES AND PERKS
Have you been using one hotel chain’s loyalty program? Do you think this hotel chain deserves the credit? Deia recommends going on booking sites and looking for price guarantees and benefits instead. She says “If you don’t like the idea of sticking with one hotel chain’s loyalty program, use booking sites with lowest-price guarantees instead. I personally like the loyalty program at Hotels.com, which gives you one free night for every 10 nights you book through the website — this goes for the 100,000 eligible.