There's no place like home. But when we have no choice but to leave for a hotel, there are some tips and tricks that can make our stays a bit more pleasant. Here are some of the top hotel hacks out there.
Keep Those Hands Clean
Our hygiene and toiletry products aren't the only things that need to be kept clean while we're traveling. And there's one place in the hotel room filled with germs that some of us might not even think about: the television remote control. The little thing is packed with bacteria.
And since it's not exactly comfortable to wash our hands each time we touch a button, this little trick can save the day (and our health). Just wrap the remote control in plastic, whether it be a plastic bag or saran wrap. Anything clear that can be put around the device should work.
A DIY Nightstand
Ever come into a hotel room with family and friends and end up on the not-so-great side of the bed? Yeah, we're talking about that side of the mattress in hotels that sometimes don't have a nightstand for our cell phones and other 21st-century devices.
Things can get annoying leaving the phone on the floor or having to get up to check the time. So this DIY nightstand alternative might be the perfect fix. How's it done? Untuck the top end of the sheet and make a horizontal pocket for a cell phone and whatever else fits.
Keep That Toothbrush Clean
Even with enhanced cleaning regulations and hotels promising to keep things sparkling, the truth is, we have no way of knowing what exactly is on those bathroom counters. So, where should guests put their toothbrushes?
Some risk-takers might just leave it lying on the (possibly germ-filled) counter, while others might go through the hassle of putting it back in their toiletries' bag after every use. Our solution? Grab one of those disposable hotel cups, flip it over, punch a hole through it, and voila: a toothbrush stand.
It's no secret that hotels across North America boast a fabulous array of breakfasts. From all-inclusive continental breakfasts to lighter portions, some accommodations seem to have endless choices for guests: waffles, cereal, eggs, pancakes, and more.
But sometimes, all one wants is a plain ol' slice of toast with butter. And that's where this little hack comes in handy. Not in the mood to spread out cold, thick butter onto those warm pieces of bread? No problem. Just place a few butter packets on the toaster to warm them up and melt a bit!
Shampoos and Soaps Galore
Sometimes, it's what's inside the hotel room that really eats away at the travel budget. One bite from that snack bar or one wrong click on the remote control for a pricey movie, and suddenly the bills are racking up. But one thing that's nearly always included?
All those free shampoos, conditioners, soaps, and lotions, of course. The truth is, these aren't really free. These products are included in what guests pay for general service and room, so they might as well enjoy the fruits of that payment. This hotel trick: take all the free (and useful) stuff possible.
A DIY Bath Plug
Sometimes, after a long day beaching away by the sea or an exhausting 9-5 during a business trip, all we want is to come back to the hotel and r-e-l-a-x. That might mean a nice, hot bath with bubbles and music for some of us. And then the unexpected happens...
There's no drain plug in the bath. Fear not - we have a solution for this, too. Put a plastic bag - there's usually one lying somewhere around the hotel room - over the drain with a couple of coins to hold it down. And that's what we call a DIY bath plug.
More Counter Space, Please
Sometimes the storage and table space in a hotel room just doesn't cut it, especially when it's time to get ready for a day out in the town in the early morning. While some of us surrender ourselves to living out of our suitcases, there's actually a better solution.
There might be more counter space than it seems if we just get creative. An ironing board, often found in a hotel room's closet, can be used for extra counter space in the bathroom. Now, all the makeup, medications, and whatever else we need can all be laid out for use.
A Keycard Alternative
Plenty of hotels require a guest's keycard to be in a particular slot in order to make the electricity in the room work. This innovation not only helps inns save plenty of money on bills, but it also helps the environment by making sure unused electricity isn't going to waste.
But what happens when one person wants to stay in the room, possibly keyless? Or it's a scorching day, and guests want to leave the air conditioning on while out and about? No problem: just stick any card in the slot - we mean any - and it will work! No hotel-specific card is needed.
Turn the Music Up
Nowadays, it's not totally uncommon to travel with a portable Bluetooth speaker. But for those of us who just aren't on that bandwagon yet or for the unfortunate times when we just forget to pack that necessity, there's another easy trick that can get the music turned up.
Place the phone inside a hotel coffee mug, and the cup turns into a DIY speaker! It's not exactly the best of its kind, but it'll do the trick during a hotel stay. And since those neighbors probably don't want music blasting anyway, it's a good compromise.
Shutting Out the Noise
Sometimes, we're the ones making noise and possibly disturbing neighbors (especially if we're playing music from a coffee mug). But other times, it seems that all the rest of the hotel wants to do while we want to sleep is party. And those thin doors just don't always cut it.
So if there's too much socializing in the hallway, people keep on entering and exiting the elevator, or there's a ton of light streaming in, this hotel hack provides a temporary fix. Just place a towel under the door to block noise and light coming in through the crack.
A DIY Humidifier
There's hardly anything worse than walking into a hotel room, ready to end the day, to just encounter a rush of completely dry air. And let's be honest, most of us aren't packing our humidifier for a few days out of town. And that's where this DIY humidifier can help.
Just get a towel real wet and leave it next to, or even partially on top of, the air conditioning unit. Want to up the humidifying game even more? Add some ice on top of the towel. No, we're not joking. This hotel hack is used by travelers all over the country!
Hide That Money
One of the top things guests worry about when staying at a hotel? Accidentally leaving something behind, losing something, or, in the worst-case scenario, getting something stolen. But we also don't want to walk around new places carrying loads of cash.
So while things like laptops and tablets might be harder to hide, we've got an excellent trick to at least make those bundles of bills challenging to find. All one needs is a good-sized hairbrush: just slip the money between the item's frame and the bristles.
A Secret Laptop Stand
Today, many people travel with their laptops in hand, regardless of whether the trip is for business or pleasure. Some people need to work, others study, and most of us just want to watch a good Netflix show before hitting the hay. Luckily, hotels now offer laptop stands.
Okay, so that's not exactly true. But, plenty of accommodations do offer an ironing board. And this sturdy home good can easily double as a laptop stand that has a perfect height for working on the computer from bed. The board can even be angled to hang over the mattress partially!
Don't Pack Dirty Shoes
Shoes are probably some of the dirtiest items in our closets: they ordinarily don't get washed as much as our other clothes, and they step on everything. That's why it's always a good idea to pack shoes separately from the rest of the items one takes on vacation.
But when it's time to leave the hotel, those plastic bags our shoes came in on the way there might be long gone. An easy hack for that? Use the hotel's free shower caps to wrap those sneakers before putting them inside the suitcase with other (clean) valuables.
Completely Shutting the Curtains
Some of us lucky travelers fall asleep almost instantly at any random hotel. But for others, it's a teeny bit harder. Whether it's raucous from noisy neighbors or elevator doors opening and closing, there can be lots of distractions preventing our sleep at a hotel.
But this hotel hack can help eliminate at least one of those possible issues. Ever noticed how the curtains just never seem to close all the way, leaving a little crack for light to stream in? Just grab a clothes hanger and use the clamps to keep the cloth completely closed.
No Cold Pizza Here
Sometimes there's nothing better than waking up after a long night of partying and eating the leftover pizza from dinner the day before. But when at a hotel, we're unlikely to have an oven, and sometimes there isn't even a microwave in the room! But there's no need to eat that slice cold.
Check if the hotel has an iron and a blow dryer available (if there isn't one inside the room, reception can usually provide one). Then, place aluminum foil on the iron and put the pizza on top. While one side is heated by the appliance, use a blow dryer to warm up the other side.
Hanging Clothes to Dry
Let's be honest: getting laundry service at a hotel is usually not very cheap. That extra accommodation can throw us off the budget and mean the loss of a delicious meal out. So instead, travelers might opt for washing a few essentials - like underwear and socks - in the bathroom sink.
It's an easy (and affordable) alternative to paying the hotel to wash our clothes. But what to do with all those pieces once they're ready to dry? It's unlikely the hotel stashes clothing drying racks in each room, so just hang them on the blow-dryer's cord.
Where Not to Put the Luggage
We've likely all been there: walk into the hotel room after a long flight, exhausted and ready to unpack and take a nap. But guests might want to think twice before setting up their suitcase for unpacking. After all, those travel bags have been in some... dirty places.
A traveler might've just wheeled the suitcase all over the city or had their bag dragged on the ground by airport personnel. So the last place that germ-infested case should be is on the mattress where one plans on catching some Zs. Plus, unpacking elsewhere avoids the risk of bedbugs getting into clothes.
The Tiniest Kitchen
Some of us are balling on the tiniest budget and eating out while traveling just doesn't fit into it. Others of us are just hungry all of the time. And some of us might have little ones traveling with us who are, let's just say, a little picky. In any case, being able to make food in-room can be a game-changer.
But what happens when there's no kitchen in the hotel room? Chances are there's still a kettle lying around somewhere. If that's the case, then the little appliance can do much more than just boil plain water. Guests can get creative and use it for cooking food!
No More Spills
Packing liquids, whether it be shampoo, conditioner, or face gel, in the same bag as the rest of our clothes is a considerable risk. The odds of the bottles spilling onto everything else are high, so it's best to pack these in a separate container or wrap it in plastic bags.
But even when clothes don't get dirty, it's no fun dealing with slippery bottles and dirty bags. That's where this little hack comes in: grab some plastic, open the bottle, place the plastic over the top, and screw the cap back on over the plastic. This should stop the contents from spilling out.
An Emergency Manicure
Ever been on vacation when - bam - a nail suddenly breaks, leaving you with a jagged nuance at the tip of your finger? Or maybe your nails suddenly seem to be growing at ten miles per day during the one time of year when there's no nail filer or scissor handy?
Do not fear - there's a hotel hack for that, too. Sometimes, among the free shampoos and soaps, hotels will leave a book of matches around, as well. If that's the case, then the tiny product can easily serve as a makeshift nail filer for those manicure emergencies.
Don't Lose a Thing
There's so much to keep track of when traveling (especially for those of us traveling with company). Out of all of the things in our suitcases, it's sometimes the smallest - and most important - that can slip our minds. This little organizing hack can decrease the chances of things getting lost.
The best way to guarantee no item gets left behind? Keep all your valuables close together. Like in the picture above, threading a keychain through a phone charger is one clever way to keep things organized while on the go or chilling at the hotel during a trip.
An Unexpected Bottle Opener
Imagine this: you're traveling in a foreign country and buy some refreshing drinks to enjoy back at the hotel after a long day of walking around. Finally, after maybe a subway ride and some more walking, you arrive at the hotel and kick off your shoes. And then something horrible happens...
There's no bottle opener for all of those refreshments! The idea of going back out to buy one, or even going downstairs to the receptionist, sounds exhausting, doesn't it? No worries, this hack is here for the lazy in all of us: use the hotel room door as an opener!
An In-Room Dining Experience
Many of us have been there: an adventurous trip with the little ones or maybe a group of friends has us unexpectedly splitting a pizza on the hotel floor. Or perhaps it's that budget that's got you eating in while traveling abroad. Either way, say bye-bye to the floor.
It turns out that rarely-used ironing board in the hotel room closet has a multitude of uses. The one ideal for the situation mentioned above? Turning the board into a dining table! The set-up is perfect for the little ones, especially, and makes things feel more comfortable!
No Fridge, No Problem
Whether it's because you want to have a little party in the hotel, motel, Holiday Inn, are just enjoying some refreshments at the end of a long day, or are sticking to a budget, sometimes all you want is a place to keep some drinks cold in the hotel. But what happens when there's no fridge?
Don't rush out and spend tons of money on drinks at a restaurant, instead. If there's no fridge inside, there's an easy hack: turn the trash bin into a cooler. Just get some ice from the machine down the hall, fill up the can, and plump those bottles right in.
The Charging Hack
Sometimes the worst-case scenario happens, and a hotel that appeared great online somehow turns out to be a total hot mess in real life. These dumpsters might even lack an outlet, making it impossible to charge your phone. Or maybe the room is fine and there are outlets, but you forgot your charger.
Before you freak out that you won't be able to use GoogleMaps or rush out to buy an expensive (and ineffective) charger, check the back of the television. Plenty of TVs nowadays have a USB portal in the back that's the right fit for that charging cable.
Cup of Noodles, Anyone?
It's no secret that dining out for every meal while traveling can quickly add up to a lot of moolah. So there's no shame in wanting to make a simple meal at the hotel during the trip. But what happens when that budget doesn't allow for a full suite and we have no kitchen?
It sounds like a helpless situation, doesn't it? But wait, things in-room might be more useful than they appear. Like that coffee maker rarely touched except for early in the morning. The handy machine can be helpful in making a cup of noodles or even mac-and-cheese.
An Unconventional Door Stopper
When traveling with a lot of luggage, entering and leaving the hotel can entail a very annoying cycle of moving those suitcases around. Hotel doors are heavy, tend to slam, and require a card each time they need to be opened, making for an annoying few minutes of bringing luggage inside.
What would be pretty helpful in these situations? A door stopper, of course. Forget hearing the door slam and having to unlock it each time you bring in another suitcase. Find a spoon and place it under the door crack for a clever little door stopper, instead.
No More Third Party Bookings
This hack is a little different from the others. It doesn't involve a DIY or weird, unconventional use of hotel items. But one thing's for sure: it's almost guaranteed to save travelers tons of money. The next hotel hack: don't book through third-party sites.
While using the likes of Booking.com and other helpful websites makes finding accommodations easy, guests might be able to find a cheaper deal by booking directly with the hotel. And if the hotel's listed prices are higher, many establishments will meet whatever price is seen online through third parties.
A Big No-No
Ordering room service: the stuff of movie romances and luxury travels. But as glam as doing so might look on TV, it's actually sometimes not as fabulous in real life. The food on the room service menu tends to be overpriced when compared with local restaurants.
Plus, chances are that the goodies will lose their heat on the way to the room. So instead of ordering to your door, best to get dressed and go to the dining room downstairs or venture out of the hotel. Trust us - your wallet will thank you for this hack.