When everyone is expecting a holiday season to begin (or maybe when someone is planning to travel any time they want to) the first thing they do is plan things out properly. If a person’s plan is to stay in a hotel the whole time during the travel (or if the goal is to make being in the hotel more comfortable regardless of the plans), there are lots of hotel room hacks that can be used to ensure that all the participants of the trip have a fantastic stay.
After doing some research on the Internet, we have found the best tips, tricks, and hacks to improve your hotel experience without going beyond the limits of your budget.
Here are 50 smart hotel hacks to help you make the most of your stay and keep you on a budget this holiday season.
Hotel WIFI Is Not As Safe As You Think
Use a hotel WIFI at your own risk. These hotel networks are usually built for accessibility with little to no security in place. That means anyone who connects to them is exposing themselves to malware, ransomware, cyber hacking, and identity theft. These are possible because when a user connects to the hotel WIFI, their information is shared across the network in plain text, which anyone can easily extract.
Also, there is no security preventing a cybercriminal from directly infiltrating your laptop or mobile devices. If you can’t use your mobile network, security experts recommend putting up your device firewall and using a VPN when connected to the hotel network.
It Is Okay To Bag The Items In Your Hotel Room
If you watched the TV show Friends, you should remember the episode, The One With Rachel’s Dream, when Ross and Chandler stayed at a hotel in Vermont and bagged everything in their room. We are not exactly telling you to take everything that is in the hotel room.
Only that it is okay if you take with you inconsequential items, like shampoo, mouthwash, body lotion, or conditioner. Most of these items are meant to be taken, and the hotel won’t question you if you do. But do not steal towels! That is not a nice thing to do!
If you’re one of those people that can’t sleep with the lights on, no matter how small, you may find it difficult getting your snooze on in places like New York, Hong Kong, and Miami. Not getting enough could leave you snappy and in a bad mood. You wouldn’t want to have that on your holiday.
Fortunately, there is a hack for blocking out lights entering your room through the windows. Take out the pants hanger from the closet and use the clips to hold the drapes together. This hack can also come in handy when you get back home from your holiday.
It is not all the time that tipping the front desk staff would get you complimentary upgrades or a nicer room. Sometimes, the staff might not even accept your tip. So, what do you do when the room that the hotel gives you does not meet your expected standards?
Ask the hotel to show you other rooms. It’s as simple as that. Most hotels are always looking to let out their worst rooms first. Depending on what time you show up at the hotel, you may be lucky to get the one that suits you at the same price.
Improvise With The Shower Cap
Despite its usefulness, a shower cap is one of the most underutilized items in a hotel room. Why? Because most people do not know its significance. You can carry out several hotel tips and tricks just by using a shower cap. For example, you can prevent your dirty shoes from staining your clothes by placing the shoes inside the shower cap before packing.
So, even if you pack your clothes beside the shoes, they remain clean regardless. An unrelated use for the magic shower cap is food storage. You can use the shower cap as a plastic wrap to cover leftovers and store them for eating later.
Plastic vs Germs
One of the last things you would want to touch with your bare hands in a hotel room is a remote control. Unlike the bedsheets and pillowcases, the remote control is hardly cleaned by the room cleaning staff and left to be handled by guests after guests.
There are two items you can use to avoid directly touching this “germ petri dish.” The first is the plastic ice bucket bag – if the hotel provides you one. The other is a shower cap, which you can find in the bathroom. Wrap either of these two around the remote control to keep your hands germ-free.
No Key Card Needed?
In most newly-designed hotels, you need to keep your room key card inserted in the key card slot for electricity to stay on in your room. Hotels have this energy function in place to reduce power consumption and save money. But that can be quite troublesome if you want your devices to keep charging or your room remains cool all through.
You don’t have to stay in the room. After all, you can’t leave your key card in the slot and leave unless you plan on getting robbed. But, guess what? Slotting in any card of the same size in the key card slot can keep your room powered on. Why is that able to work, you may ask. That’s because the card is simply holding down a switch at the bottom of the slot to keep on your electricity.
Corner Rooms Rule
Have you ever heard about the corner room? Like in office buildings, corner hotel rooms are almost always larger and usually, they have better views and bigger bathrooms. These make the corner room an equivalent of an upgrade, but for the same amount of money.
So, when checking in, request a corner room. Hopefully, the hotel might grant your request. There are hotels, however, where they know the difference between an ordinary room and a corner room with all the disadvantages of the latter. So they can ask you to pay extra. But it is worth a try, we think.
Not A Single Drop
Have you ever been in a situation where you packed your toiletries in your bag, only to open it and discover that the content has exploded everywhere – inside your bag, clothes, books, and even shoes? That definitely can ruin your day.
Fortunately, there is a small trick you can use to prevent that. Get yourself a small plastic bag, completely unscrew the cap of your soap or shampoo bottle, place the bag on the mouth of your toiletry, and screw the cap back on. Just like that, you have prevented future toiletry leaks.
Be Creative With The Doors
After a long and tedious – maybe exciting – day, you finally got yourself comfortable on your hotel bed. But right before you hit the haystack, you decided to get yourself a cold drink. You looked left and right, no bottle opener. What to do now?
You don’t want to head down and request a bottle opener from the receptionist. Stress yourself not. Your door closer can do exactly what a bottle opener does. We haven’t yet figured out whether the door closer is going to like it or not, but if you are too bored to use a lighter or an edge of a table, why not this?..
Towels Will Block It All
The summer and Christmas seasons are the two of the busiest holiday periods in the year. If you find yourself traveling during these periods, it may be difficult for you to get some alone and quiet time in your hotel room.
You can block out the noise by wedging a towel inside the opening under the door. That will make your room a little bit more soundproof and definitely minimize the amount of light filtering into your room from the corridor.
Stop It From Closing
It is nice not to always have to close your hotel room door, as it closes automatically – due to its sturdiness. But that can be a problem if you’re checking into your room with loads of luggage. If you can’t find a door stopper and the door is near a closet, keeping it open will not be a hassle.
Open the closet and use one of the hangers to prop your room door by hooking it with the latch or top lock. That will keep the door wide open while you take your time to bring in your luggage.
Staying For Longer, Saving Some Money
Are you planning on staying for more than a week? Call hotels in advance before finally placing your booking. Let the hotel know how long you are planning to stay there and check if you can get discounts on the room.
Experience has shown that hotels are willing to budge and give discounts to guests who plan to stay longer. That’s because hotels find it easier and cheaper to keep a guest than to get a new one. Note that you may need to call more than a few hotels to get the right deal.
While it is perfectly fine to ask for information from the hotel owner or employees about where to get the best restaurant, shopping, and fun deals – especially if you’re new to the city –, it is always best to do your personal research.
Why? Because what they consider the best may not actually be the best. They might simply be recommending places where they’re bound to get commissions for directing new customers. So, you can go ahead and ask them for recommendations, but always fact-check it by doing your own research.
Does the air in your room feel a little dry? That is usually the consequence of having the radiator or air conditioner running at the highest level – if it’s not the weather. Very often it’s AC or radiator. And you don’t want to crank it down.
You can get your room humidified using a wrung-out wet towel. Set up the luggage rack in front of the radiator or air conditioner and drape the towel over it. Again, make sure the towel is wrung out to avoid wetting your floor.
The Front Desk Is Your Friend
The only times most people communicate with the front desk in a hotel are when they are checking in and checking out of the hotel. That’s because they don’t know what a valuable resource the people at the front desk can be.
If you forget one or more items that you use daily, you can call the front desk and ask. There is a high chance that they would have what you want. The item could be a phone charger, a hair straightener, or a nail clipper. You can even ask for plates and dishware if you brought in food or extra pillows and blankets.
A mistake that almost everyone makes after entering their hotel rooms is placing their bags right on the bed. That is a wrong, wrong move, and it might make your stay in the hotel extremely uncomfortable. Even if you put it on the cover, not on the sheets.
But why shouldn’t you? Because if you have bed bugs in your luggage, they could very quickly move from it to your bed. And you don’t really want to know what it feels like to sleep on a bedbug-infested bed.
It is always recommended that you book your flight with universal miles. That’s because whenever you book in miles, the airline or travel agency rewards you with points. This is extremely profitable for you, of course, and also for the company itself.
You can redeem and transfer those points and use them to book a hotel at a lower price or free of cost. Moving reward points for hotel booking is easier with airlines or travel agencies offering flight and hotel bookings.
Breakfast Butter Advice
When you book a hotel room, you are almost always guaranteed breakfast. However, most of the time, the butter that comes along with your breakfast is too hard to spread. Some people like it like that, but others like to be able to spread it.
So, how do you get that nice butter spread you paid for and deserve? Soften that butter up by placing it on top of the toaster when you’re toasting your bread. That would make the butter melt and warm enough for a delicious spread.
Remember To Tip
There is a saying, “money makes the world go round.” That is 100% true most of the time, and a hotel is no different. According to Ovolo Hotels, slip a $15 or $20 together with your card when you are about to check-in, and ask if any room upgrades are available.
And then watch and see what happens. Even casually tipping the front desk staff or the bell boy could get you the best services the hotel has to offer and access to facilities that might otherwise be inaccessible to you.
Keep The Hotel Staff Informed
Letting the hotel know about any special event you may be having during your stay could get you something special from them. It doesn’t matter what you might be celebrating, be it a birthday, honeymoon, an anniversary, or a christening.
Simply let the hotel know in advance, and they might compliment you by sending chocolates or champagne to your room or even give you a free upgrade. So, if you plan on celebrating any special occasion while staying in the hotel, remember to use this tip to get something nice for yourself.
It’s OK To Complain A Bit (But Only A Bit)
If you feel the services rendered by the hotel is not the best it can offer, you can proceed to file a complaint with the hotel manager. It’s maybe that the room wasn’t kept clean, your beds don’t get made, or you had no hot water in your room.
If you found the services unsatisfactory, approach the manager and deliver your complaint politely and respectfully – offer constructive criticism. Depending on the hotel, they might compensate you by giving you a discount or an upgrade. Through your complaint, you would also be helping the hotel improve the quality of its services.
A Simple Tip For Avoiding Bed Bugs
You can never be too overcautious about hotel rooms. Since you don’t live there, you have no idea what kind of insects or pests the room might be harboring. The rule of thumb for hotel rooms, especially the low-cost ones, is to avoid hotel beddings.
Go with your own beddings and put the hotel’s bedspread in the corner. If you can’t, check reviews of the hotel online for comments about the room conditions. Based on the reviews, decide whether to go ahead with the hotel or to find another one.
Fix Your Foggy Mirror
It is annoying when you are trying to use the mirror, and it keeps on getting foggy. That could be when you want to shave, do your hair, or apply makeup. A quick way to defog your mirror is to lather it with shaving cream or rub it down with a bar of soap, and then wipe it clean with a dry cloth.
That would clear the fog and keep the mirror fog-free for several weeks. If you have a hairdryer, you can also use it to defog the mirror quickly. Set the hairdryer at low heat and aim it directly at the mirror to get the best result.
Keep Your “Do Not Disturb” Sign On The Door
The “Do Not Disturb” sign has several other uses aside from the “obvious” one. Keeping the sign on your door would make people assume you are in the room, even when you’re not in there. And things are not as obvious as you think.
That can prevent people from intruding on your privacy, keep out the housekeeper, and deter thieves from trying to enter your room to steal your possessions. Generally, the “Do Not Disturb” sign would help ensure your personal space remains yours and maintain peace and quiet.
Be On A Lookout For Better Hotel Deals
When you are planning to stay in a hotel, you have to keep your options open. Depending on how hard you search, you may find hotel deals that are much better than the first one that caught your eye. There are many hotels deals and booking sites on the internet. Take advantage of them to get free perks or hotel rooms on the cheap or for free.
Even after booking a hotel, you can still keep searching. Hotels are always willing to give a refund; so far, you haven’t checked in. So, if you find a better deal, you can ask for a refund. If not, you can settle for the one you have already booked. Regardless of the situation, you won’t lose anything.
Cooking In Your Hotel Room
If you are traveling on a budget, you will be looking for ways to shave how much you spend on food. Fortunately, food like ramen or instant noodles, or bread and eggs do not cost much. But the problem is how do you cook them? Two instruments are readily available that you could use for cooking. They are coffee pots and iron.
You can use the coffee pot for cooking your ramen. Simply boil water with the coffee pot and add your ramen. The iron works well for cooking eggs and warming your English muffins. Place a piece of tin foil over the hot iron and put your eggs on it.
Are There Bonuses?
Hotel credit cards can unlock access to upgrades and benefits that are usually reserved for top-tier guests. Hotels issue these cards upon request and are willing to offer incentives if you use them to make purchases from them.
You could get hefty welcome bonuses, automatic elite status, and VIP perks, including complimentary room upgrades and late checkout. Experts like Matt Kepnes, who has been traveling worldwide since 2006, agree that hotel credit cards are worth it. So, give it a try and reduce the amount spent on hotel rooms and services.
Take Care Of Your Valuables
One thing you should avoid while staying in a hotel is leaving your valuables, such as mobile devices, PC, wallet, or keys, behind when you leave your room. There are many cases of people who did the same, returned to their rooms, and discovered their valuables were missing.
It can be depressing to be in such a situation. You should try as much as possible to prevent that. So, whenever you leave your room, go with your valuables and make sure your luggage is locked, if possible, with padlocks.
Notifications For Discounts
It is a hassle constantly browsing through multiple hotel booking pages to stay informed on the price trend. Technology has eliminated such kinds of redundant actions. You do not have to go through all that just to keep on top of prices.
All you need to do is sign up for updates on the booking site or turn on notifications on the mobile app. That would ensure you get push notifications on your phone or mails whenever there is a drop or increase in room prices. The site will also notify about various discounts and limited offers.
Divide One Bed Into Two
Bed-sharing is one of the things that can cause a headache when lodging in a hotel with your family. Kids, most often, don’t want to share their bed and are willing to fight their siblings over who gets the bigger share of the bed. Also, if you have a partner that tosses around, it could prevent you from getting enough sleep.
All these can be settled by equally dividing the bed yourself. Get a couple of pillows and use them as a barrier. If there are not enough pillows in the room, you can call the front desk and request more.
Does your shirt or dress need to have a meeting with an iron? You can easily solve that by heading down to the front desk for an iron if you didn’t bring one. But what if you don’t have the time to press your clothes? A quick way to fix a wrinkled shirt or dress is by steaming it in the shower.
When you are about to bathe, hang the item of clothing close to the shower, increase the water temperature, and allow the steam to build up. Leave it for a few minutes, and the wrinkles will smooth themselves out. You can also work the same magic on your clothes by using a hairdryer. Just use it to rub the clothing item up and down. The same can be done using a steamer. Make a call downstairs to ask for the steamer.
Charge Your Phone With The TV Set
There are some places you travel to where their socket is entirely different from the ones you use back home. If you did not travel with an adapter for your phone charger, you might find it out of juice real soon, cutting you off from the internet.
Fortunately, most newer televisions have USB ports on the side or back, which you can use to power your phone. Just connect your phone to it using your phone charger cord. That should help you avoid spending money to buy an adapter.
Be Environmentally Friendly
When traveling for international trips, experts recommend always going with a water bottle. Depending on which country you are traveling to, the cost of water might be more than what you spend back home. You can easily avoid such expenses.
Carry your water bottle and refill it from a water cooler when it’s empty. Also, carrying a water bottle with you helps reduce your carbon footprint and prevents you from polluting the environment as you won’t have to buy packs of plastic bottled water.
The Perfect Time To Pack
It can be frustrating when you begin unpacking in your hotel room and discover that you have left some essential items back at home. The rule of thumb when you plan to travel is to pack the night before. Make a list of the things you would need and tick them off as you pack.
If you choose to do your packing the day you are traveling, there is a high possibility that you will forget two or three things. Besides, packing the night before traveling helps you stay organized, calm, and be on time for your flight, bus, or train.
Getting your clothes laundered by the hotel housekeeping service can be quite expensive and might ruin your budget. If you are out of clean clothes and desperately need some, get it laundered by using your bathroom sink or tub. It’s not so convenient, but better than nothing for sure.
Seal the drain using coins and plastic, fill the sink or tub with warm water and soap, and wash the clothes with your hands. That might be uncomfortable for you, but it saves you money and keeps your budget on track.
Look for Business Hotels
As you maybe know already, there are different types of hotels, and each type offers services that are tailored to its clientele. For example, a business hotel usually includes free WIFI in its price packages since its guests are mostly business people.
However, a regular hotel might not since it is primarily servicing guests that are simply passing through. Regardless of what type of guest you are, travel experts recommend booking at a business hotel to get offers that you might otherwise not get at a regular hotel.
Avoid Extra Fees When Paying By Card
This is one tip you need to keep in mind when traveling. Always ensure you get charged in the local currency. Why? Because when you pay in foreign currency, the service provider is likely to add a certain percentage to your bill, increasing the amount you’re supposed to pay.
And your bank will also charge you 1-5% to convert the money to the local currency. All in all, you might end up paying double the amount you would pay if you were charged in local currency. These apply for flight and hotel booking and eating at a restaurant.
It is worth talking to the hotel manager if you have stayed in their hotel and did not have a good experience. According to Wise Bread, a traveler once sent an email to the hotel manager about her first experience in the hotel.
Since then, she has consistently been upgraded to the king suite whenever she lodges there. So, letting the manager know about your experience may offer future advantages and upgrades. Don’t overuse this strategy, though, nobody likes the ‘Karen attitude’ that includes a lot of shouting and makes you look like a spoilt kid. Be as civil as you possibly can be.
Look for Price Guarantees on Booking Sites
Most travelers tend to overlook the best price guarantees offers because they contain many loopholes. However, understanding how price guarantees work could get you up to a 50% discount on your bookings. So you are probably going to go through some research process before booking your tickets.
Usually, what you need to do is book a room with a hotel booking site. Then look for another booking site that offers the same perks at a lower price, and report your claim to the first booking site. They would check and verify your claim and give you the difference as a discount.
Offer To Give The Hotel A Good Review
Announcing your intention to leave a review after your experience with the hotel might make them more likely to offer you a high-quality service. When checking in, ask the front desk staff if the hotel is available on TripAdvisor and you would like to share your experience.
That might probably encourage the hotel staff to offer you an upgrade or other perks that you will like a lot. However, do not let them think it is a ruse to get a discount, because it should not be one.
Binge-Watch Your Favorite Shows On The Hotel TV
Already missing your favorite TV shows and would like to watch them on a bigger screen? Connect any of your devices to the hotel TV and stream them. Check if the hotel TV has an HDMI port and the room has WIFI access.
Log in to your Netflix account on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and connect it to the TV using your HDMI cable. Just like that, you can start binge-watching your favorite shows on a bigger screen. If you don’t have an HDMI cable, you can ask for one from the front desk. There is a high chance they might have several.
Book Everything In Advance
Many people tend to go to the hotel directly and check-in without booking anything in advance. How wrong they are as they are missing out on discounts and perks. It is recommended to book a hotel together with your ticket when traveling.
Many booking sites would offer you great deals for booking through them, which you may not get when you check-in at the front desk. According to Ovolo Hotels, it’s best to book directly with the hotel’s website or call the hotel itself. Through these, you might get better offers or perks than if you go through a third party.
Put the Pressing Iron to Use
If you are planning to follow our advice of cooking your own food instead of using the hotel room service, several appliances in your hotel room could function as a cooker. All it takes is a bit of imagination that will provide you with a creative approach and save you some money.
One of those little tricks is using a pressing iron. Place a piece of aluminum foil on it and use it to make toast and warm your meals. It is quick, efficient, and, let us admit it, quite hilarious. Be careful, though, it is an electronic device, after all…
Ask for Dishware
Is it your plan to eat some snacks or takeouts during your stay at the hotel in order to save money? But at the same time, you might be wondering about how you are going to eat those snacks with dishware.
You can call the front desk and ask for some cutlery and dishes. They would take everything you might need from the hotel restaurant and deliver them right to your room in no time. It is much more convenient than eating your pasta from a plastic container.
Make Use of Virtual Private Network
When looking for cheap flights or hotel deals, the number one recommendation you get is to use a virtual private network (VPN). It’s quite an easy thing to do even for computer illiterate people, you don’t really need to be Neo from the Matrix to do this.
The Closer to The Airport, The Better
If you have an early flight, booking a hotel close to the airport could be a life-saver. It is rather pricy, though, yes, but there are times when this is pretty much the only solution available unless you are ready to spend hours sleeping somewhere on the floor in the middle of the airport.
Staying close to the airport would allow you to get extra sleep and give you ample time to prepare your luggage without having to rush. Also, hotels close to the airport are sometimes cheaper and could help you save money on transport.
Don’t Be Reckless
It is not enough to use the “Do Not Disturb” sign. You also have to lock your hotel room door. While the “Do Not Disturb” Sign may make people think twice about entering your room, it might not stop the cleaning staff from trying, especially if it is during the hotel cleaning hours.
So, locking the room from the inside would stop any effort to try and get in. And if there is an actual keyhole in the door instead of those card thingies that they use everywhere these days, the easiest solution ever is to leave the key in the keyhole from the outside.
Using room service frequently can bite hard into your budget, in case you are not aware. We all know how painful room service can be for our wallets. Of course, we understand pretty well that it was in no way already included when we booked the room.
Be your own room service and head down to the hotel’s restaurant to order your meal. If you have researched the hotel and discovered it doesn’t have a restaurant, bring along foods that you can easily cook in your room. We are not advising you to stop using room service. But you should use it wisely.
A Paper Cup For Your Toothbrushes
It is always expected for the hotel to have cleaned up after a guest before another one checks in. But can you really trust the housekeepers to have done their best, especially in the bathroom area? Most hotels do not provide a toothbrush, and you would not want to place something that goes into your mouth where you’re not sure it is clean.
To avoid that, get a paper or plastic cup, cut a hole on the bottom, and flip it upside down to use as a toothbrush holder. With that, you can ensure your toothbrush does not touch the bathroom surfaces and stays clean.