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The cleaning staff (usually) do the best they can, but hotel bathrooms can be full of bacteria. If you’re uncomfortable putting your toothbrush on the bathroom counter (and you should be), consider this DIY solution.
It’s easy — just cut a small hole in the bottom of a paper cup. That’s it, you’re done! By placing the cup upside down on the counter, you can now stuff your toothbrush through the hole and you won’t have to worry about the brush end touching the countertop.
Hang your clothes in the bathroom
Bunching your clothes in a suitcase will get them severely wrinkled, but ironing clothes is just one extra chore no one wants to do. Fortunately, with this helpful hack, you won’t have to worry about it.
Hang your clothes in the steamy bathroom after you shower for five minutes. Afterwards, move them to the drying rack. Absorbing the steam will naturally get rid of most — if not all — the wrinkles.
Nice and dark
Get jet lag? Changing time zones will sometimes have you nodding off in the middle of the day. However, it can be tough to fall asleep when it’s bright out, no matter how tired you are. Pulling the curtains helps, but still lets in some light.
Most hotels will leave a coat hanger with clips in your room. Use it to clip the curtains together — you’ll be amazed at how much darker the room gets.
Conditioner works as shaving cream
Maybe you forgot to pack some, or maybe you just ran out. But now you’re stuck without shaving cream and you’re starting to look like Grizzly Adams. Should you buy a whole new can, only to have to throw it away when you pass through customs? No! Use the conditioner your hotel provides.
Unlike shampoo, which opens your pores, conditioner closes them up, making it ideal for shaving without irritating your skin.
There’s nothing worse than trying to spread cold, hard butter on your toast. Actually, we take that back, there are lots of worse things. That said, it is annoying. Lucky for you, there’s a hack.
Just put the packaged squares of butter on top of the toaster while your toast cooks — it’ll melt inside the package and be perfect for spreading by the time your toast is done. Just be careful you don’t drop it in the slot of the toaster.
Hair dryer also works as an iron
Most of the time, your hotel will provide you with an iron. But if they don’t, and you don’t have time to steam up your bathroom, a blow dryer will work in a pinch.
Just hang your clothes on a rack and point the hot air at the wrinkles. You’ll be surprised how well this works!
Add some moisture
We all know how dry hotel rooms can get — but there’s an easy way to fix that. Just drape a wet towel over the radiator by putting a suitcase rack next to it. This makes sure all the air that circulates your room is properly humidified.
If it feels dry in your hotel room, give this trick a shot. Your nose and throat will thank you when you wake up in the morning. You can even add ice to the towel if it’s too hot in there.
Keep your shampoo from leaking into your luggage
It seems that no matter how hard you screw the caps onto your bottles of shampoo, face wash, conditioner, etc., some of the contents inevitably leak out into your bag. There’s an easy way to fix this.
Unscrew the cap and place a plastic bag over the top of the bottle — make sure you leave a little slack — then screw the cap back on over the bag. Now you don’t have to worry about your toiletries ruining your clothes.
No bottle opener? No problem!
You might think you’re out of luck if you want to enjoy a bottled beverage but have no bottle opener. You’d be wrong! Most hotels rooms now are equipped with fire doors — the door closer doubles as a bottle opener.
Just put the cap of the bottle up just above the “elbow” of the door closer arm and slowly pull the door closed. When done right, the cap should pop right off. Nifty!
Does your favorite beverage come with a cork instead of a cap? Don’t worry, we’ll get to that later.
Clothes hanger doubles as a doorstop
In most hotels, the doors automatically close as soon as you let go of them. This can be annoying if you’re bringing in a bunch of luggage in at once, or if you have multiple people with you and they don’t all have key cards.
If the clothes rack is close enough to the door — or if you can find something else to hang it on — you can use a coat hanger to hold the door open. Just put the swinging arm door lock through the coat hanger. Now hang the hanger on the rack like you normally would.
Sick of leaving without your charger?
Make it impossible to leave without it! With this simple trick you won’t get far without your phone charger. It’s easy, just loop the cord through your key chain and tie a loose knot.
Now, if you check out without your charger, you’ll remember it when you get to the car and don’t have your keys. It’ll be annoying returning to your room, but it beats leaving your stuff behind.
Bring an HDMI cable
The whole point of travel is to get out and explore. But doing that all day and night will wear you out — that’s when it’s time to flip on the TV. If you’re in a foreign country and can’t speak the language, the local television stations will get boring fast.
If you have a laptop and an HDMI cable, you can plug in your device and watch all your favorite shows from whatever streaming service you prefer. This can be a life saver!
Hotel walls are sometimes thin, and people like to party on vacation. If your neighbors are keeping you up, stuff a towel under the door to muffle the noise. You’ll be surprised how much this simple trick will help you get to sleep.
It also comes in handy if you anticipate you’ll be making some noise yourself. Why not be considerate to those in the rooms next to you?
Practically every hotel provides ice, but not every room has a refrigerator. And if they do, it’s usually full of those vastly overpriced snacks and drinks. Never take stuff from the minibar! The lack of a fridge can be frustrating when you want to enjoy a cold beverage — but have no fear, there’s a workaround.
Fill your sink with ice and stuff your drinks in there to keep them cool. It works just as well as any fridge and it’s really simple.
Ironing board as a table
Feel like ordering takeout or would you rather just eat some snacks in your room instead of going out? That can be annoying if you have a big family and the hotel room only has a small desk. What are you going to eat on?
The ironing board comes to the rescue! Fold it out and place it between the bed(s) and the seat(s). You’ll find it’s a bit narrow for a dinner table, but it’ll do the trick. Just be sure to put a towel or something over the ironing board to avoid staining it.
Turn it up!
Packing light is essential for any experienced traveler. That might mean you don’t have room to take a Bluetooth speaker with you. If you find your cell phone isn’t giving you the volume you need, here’s a simple hack to help — it’s one that cooks and dishwashers likely already know.
Simply put your phone in a cup or bowl. When the sound is focused in one direction it’ll be louder — sort of like when you cup your hands around your mouth to shout during a sporting event.
The shower cap has other uses
You might not think you need the shower cap the hotel provides you with, but trust us, it’ll come in handy. If you want to be comfortable on your trip, you’ll likely want to pack a couple different pairs of shoes. But do you really want your muddy running shoes rubbing against your nice suit?
That’s where the shower cap comes in. Simply stretch it over your sneakers and voila! Your suit is safe and you’re good to go.
You can also use your shower cap to hold a wet swimsuit in your luggage, and to cover your leftover food.
No need to go to the laundromat
If you’re traveling light, going to the laundromat and paying for a full load of laundry just seems like a waste of money. Luckily, there’s a simple trick that costs nothing, though you’ll still need some coins.
It’s simple, just wash the clothes in the sink.
But wait, you say: “Hotel room sinks rarely have plugs and all the water just drains out. It’ll take ages for me to clean one pair of jeans.” Fear not. Just put a piece of plastic — like a sheet of cellophane or a plastic bag over the plug hole. Place some coins over the plastic to keep it in place. Now get to scrubbing.
Cook your own ramen or oatmeal
Just because you’re on vacation or a business trip doesn’t mean you have to eat out every meal. Save some money by making some food yourself. That can be tricky without a stove. Fortunately, you don’t need one boil some water.
The coffee pot in your hotel room doesn’t just make coffee or tea — it can make food too! With some creativity you can make a number of delicious dishes with just a coffee maker and a bowl.
Dryer sheets keep your clothes smelling fresh
Ever notice how when you travel, your clothes start to smell like the inside of your suitcase? If you don’t like spraying your clothes with a deodorizer, consider packing dryer sheets with your clothes.
They’ll keep your clothes smelling fresh, no matter how long you keep them scrunched up in your luggage.
Also, leaving a dryer sheet or two in your shoes overnight will keep them from smelling like feet.
Ask to borrow a crock pot or a blender
Want to eat more than just cup noodles or oatmeal but don’t want to pay to eat out. Try asking the hotel to provide you with some supplies. You’ll be surprised what they have on hand.
It’s not uncommon for the hotel to have a crock pot or blender they are willing to loan out to guests. If not, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Trust us, it won’t be the weirdest request they’ve ever heard.
Take the cummerbund off your bed
Not all hotel beds have this, but many do: It’s that 2-foot band of thick fabric wrapped around the foot of your bed. That’s called a cummberbund, and it is rarely cleaned, so you’ll want to discard it immediately.
In fact, you’ll probably want to take the comforter off as well. Many hotels don’t wash their comforters between customers. Yuck. This isn’t true of all hotels, but it’s true of enough hotels to give you pause. The reason is simple — cleaning bed sheets is easy, but comforters take more effort. Some hotels that do put the extra effort in will leave a note or tag the comforter with the date it was last washed.
Practice good remote control hygiene
You may have heard that the remote control in your hotel room is one of the worst sources of germs and bacteria. This is true — mostly because of how often it gets cleaned (think about how often you clean your own remote at home).
If you neglected to bring some disinfectant but are still grossed out by the remote, you can put it in a clear plastic bag and tie it off. You’ll still be able to see the buttons, but you’ll pick up less germs (at least in theory).
If you must use the mini bar …
Hey, we get it. Sometimes you have a sugar craving that just needs to be satisfied. If that overpriced Coke or candy bar in the hotel mini fridge is just too hard to resist, there may be a way to fill your tummy without emptying your wallet.
Now this only works in some hotels — many fancy hotels will have specialized snacks you can’t find elsewhere, or a locking system you need to bypass to open the fridge door. But if not, just take a picture of the exact way the food and drinks are laid out, eat what you want, and buy the cheap version at a grocery store. If you replace the consumed items, no one will be the wiser.
Car air fresheners aren’t just for cars
Hopefully, when you get to your hotel room, it’ll be nice and clean and smelling fresh. But every once in a while you’ll find your room has a funky smell. If the staff won’t change your room, don’t fret, there’s an easy fix.
The air fresheners made for cars that clip onto your air conditioner vents will work on the vent in your hotel room as well. So, if you find your room has a musty odor, clip an air freshener on the vent and freshen the scent.
Duct tape to the rescue
Are your kids trouble makers that always get into things they shouldn’t? Consider packing a roll of duct tape or electrical tape to kid-proof your hotel room.
Use it to cover any exposed outlets and to keep pesky wires pinned down and out of the way of trampling little feet. Band-aids will also work as makeshift outlet covers.
Bonus tip: lots of hotels have outlet covers on hand — so call ahead and request them.
Misplaced your charger?
When you travel, it’s easy to leave something behind somewhere — hopefully it’s not your heart or your wallet! For some reason, it’s often a phone charger, something we all desperately need! The hotel may be able to help.
If the staff doesn’t keep one on hand they can loan you, there’s a good chance someone like you left their charger behind a long time ago. Multiply this by many different people over many years of business, and odds are the hotel has a charger that will fit your phone!
Open a wine bottle without a corkscrew
Most hotels will loan you a wine bottle opener if you need one, but if not, there’s a number of ways to MacGyver the cork out of the bottle. One of the simplest (and perhaps the least messy) is to use a key.
Note: you’ll want to either use a very solid key or one you don’t mind bending.
First, stab the cork with a key at an angle. Get it deep in there. Once it’s down deep, twist the bottle around the key. Once it’s loosened a bit, you begin lifting the cork while twisting the bottle until the cork pops out the top. Here’s a video demonstration of the technique.
Invest in a mini power strip
Unless you’re traveling solo, you’ll probably run into a situation where more than one person needs to charge their phone at once. If there’s a limited amount of outlets, this can cause serious problems — even ruin a friendship. Just kidding, but it is annoying.
That’s why if you’re traveling in a group, one of you should always bring along a mini power strip. Now, everyone can charge their phones at once, and everyone’s happy.
Tip your housekeepers
This one’s not a hack, per se, but it will build up some good karma, and that never hurts. For some reason, most people still tip valets and room service, but many neglect the housekeepers. It’s a difficult job, and some extra money from each room cleaned goes a long way.
Leave a note with the money so they don’t assume you just left it by accident.
On that note, consider not using the “Do Not Disturb” sign when you step out for the day: Housekeepers often get paid by the hour, so if there’s not enough rooms to clean, they may get sent home early with less money to take home.
Ask for a late checkout
Doesn’t hurt to ask.
However, given that the hotel industry is highly competitive, hotels are incentivized to build a loyal group of visitors (especially those that travel regularly for work). For that reason, they might be more inclined to give you perks than you think. It helps if you know what to ask for – and a late check out is a reasonable request.
As long as the hotel isn’t swamped (the weekend of Comic Con, for example, is not an ideal time to ask) and don’t have someone scheduled to come to your room that day, there’s a good chance they will let you have the late checkout free of charge.
Hey – doesn’t hurt to ask.
If you travel a lot, join a hotel rewards program
As mentioned before, the hospitality industry is very competitive. Hotels are eager to build a loyal following to ensure a steady flow of clients.
Just like with airlines, staying loyal to one hotel chain or brand has its perks. Many offer free nights stays, upgrades, complimentary meals, or room service to their rewards members.
If you travel regularly for work and know you’ll be checking in a lot in the near future, passing up on loyalty rewards is literally leaving money on the table.
Just make sure the hotel chain you pick has location at your anticipated destinations.
Wrap the remote
One surface that may or may not get a lot of love from the housekeeping crew is the TV remote. Yet, if you think about it, there are several reasons the remote might have some especially questionable cleanliness.
When people are watching TV, they are comfortable. No one is around – imagine all the Cheetos fingers that have pressed that exact button.
Don’t worry: there’s an easy work around. Grab a basketliner from the hotel bathroom and wrap the remote in it. Problem solved – questions you don’t really want the answer to don’t need to be asked. If only all of life’s problems were so easy to resolve.
If you’re hotel room doesn’t have a fridge, but you have some cold ones you want to keep…well, cold, don’t put that wastebasket away after you’ve wrapped the remote. That wastebasket has more gifts to give.
Use a liner to keep your trash in (outside of the basket). Use another liner in the basket.
If you can get some ice from a nearby convenience store or better yet, if the place you’re staying at has an ice machine, get some.
Fill the wastebasket with ice and drop whatever you want kept cool in there for a makeshift cooler that works for hours.
This pillow is juuuuust right
Ever get stuck in that weird place where one pillow is a little too low, but two pillows is a little too high? Don’t despair – humanity’s collective wisdom has come up with answers.
A towel is the perfect answer to these pillow height problems. Fold it so it provides the amount of height you’re looking for and viola!
The towel can do double duty. If the pillow the hotel provided you is a little too soft for your liking, you can put a smaller towel into the sheet to had a little more firmness to your pillow.
No wonder a towel was the most important thing a universe traveler could bring along with them in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe.
Got kids? Lighten your load
Many people don’t know this, but it’s fairly common for hotels to offer strollers, baby tubs, and other large, cumbersome items parents have to lug around the airport, train station, long car ride, etc. Especially if the hotel in some way panders to kids or family experiences, such as Disneyland Resorts.
Spare yourself the trouble: Leave the loads of baby stuff at home. Simply rent them from the hotel when you get there.
Many hotels list their rentable items on their website, but if you have trouble finding if a particular establishment has what you need, a quick call can spare you extra checked baggage fees and unnecessary baggage.
Did you bring your charger but forgot that little block thingy with a USB port and the prongs to fit a wall outlet?
Don’t panic – in most hotels, you have options. And one of those options is the side control panel of the room’s TV.
If you see a flatscreen, you’re in luck: Odds are it has a USB port. Unfortunately, these types of ports tend to charge at a snail’s pace. But a full night on the juice line should get you a full charge for your nest day.
Because home is where the internet and charged smartphone is.
Heading out the door for dinner, but need your laptop to charge? That could be a problem if your room’s power is controlled by your key card. Or is it?
When we see a mounted control panel with what looks like a card insert, we often assume the room’s key card is what activates power in the room. Trouble is, if you pull the keycard out, the power goes with it.
But what if we told you that card shaped slot is just an illusion?
In most hotel rooms, it is. It’s just a motion detector, so sliding a firmer piece of paper or even another card will have thee same effect. Now your devices can charge while you’re hittin’ the hotel bar!
But wait…is that true for the doors?
Uh….we hope not.
Improv hotel kitchen
Desperate times call for desperate measure.
To be honest, this hack is for experts only – and even for them, it looks like an accident waiting to happen.
But we have to admit, we’re impressed with the ‘hackiness’ of this set up.
The heat from the iron can certainly get to stove level temperatures, but you can’t just put anything on the surface of a hot iron. It must be able to with stand that kind of heat.
Enter: The coffee carafe. It was born for this moment. Together, the coffee carafe and hot iron make an unlikely, but successful, hotel kitchen hack.
Bring all your favorite products…next time
Are you particular about what toiletry products you use? Does the thought of using some mystery shampoo at a hotel make you feel….unsettled? You may be able to make that a one-time experience.
Next time you’re at a hotel and use up the shampoo and conditioner in the little bottles hotels often provide, take them with you. They are often just the right size to bring in your carry-ons, so TSA won’t make you throw it away. That way, you can refill them with your favorite products along without fear of confiscation.
Next time, nothing but the finest toiletries no matter where you are.