The idea of checking into a hotel should fill you with joy, but sometimes your stay can be hijacked by small annoyances. Luckily, the majority of hotel problems can be solved with a little forethought.
Let’s start with the light. We all know how terrible jet lag can be. Unfortunately, curtains that leave a gap for the sunlight to stream in can make it much harder to get the necessary sleep in the first few days of your trip. To combat this, you should pack three lightweight binder clips in your suitcase and use them to cover any gaps and make sure you get a full night’s sleep. If you aren’t that organised, a trouser hanger from the wardrobe will serve the same function.
If you’re keen to get on the right sleep/wake cycle as soon as possible, an east-facing hotel room gives you a natural dose of light in the morning. If you do leave a gap in the curtains, you get a natural dose of light in the morning, waking you gently and decreasing the sleep-inducing melatonin levels in your body.
One thing I never travel without is a lump of Blu-Tack or some sticky notes. These are perfect for covering those irritating blue or red lights emitting from the TV, microwave or mini-fridge.
If noise is your pet peeve, wise up to a few key considerations when searching for a room. To begin with, always ask about the location of the room when you’re booking or checking in. Then if possible, request a room on the upper floors, away from lifts and ice machines. Rooms at the ends of corridors tend to be the quietest and may even be extra pleasant as they’re often slightly larger in size.
A rolled-up towel along the bottom of the doorway blocks both the noise of passing guests and the light from the hallway. If you don’t have a spare in the bathroom, ask housekeeping for an extra one.
Also, keep in mind that you should ask about pillows. This simple thing can make a world of difference and upmarket hotels may actually have several different types on offer. If they don’t, you can fix a too-thin pillow by adding a folded-up towel to the pillowcase underneath the pillow. Too-thick pillows, on the other hand, could potentially be solved with cushions. Check for any cushions that could be placed in the pillowcase to act as a stand-in.
If you have plenty of space in your luggage, or you’re on a road trip, bring your own pillow. Just make sure it’s in a bright pillowcase so you don’t forget it in the morning!
When you enter the room, take a few minutes to create the perfect ambience. Tourist brochures, in-room menus and bathroom clutter you won’t use can go into a drawer. Any occasional furniture you won’t use can be shifted to create more space where you need it.
You can even make you hotel room healthier. If you suffer from itchy, dry skin due to the constant air conditioning in hotel rooms, or cruise cabins, try putting together a makeshift humidifier. Drape a wet towel over the suitcase rack, leaving one end dipped in an ice bucket filled with water: as the water evaporates more will be sucked up. Or you could try hanging a damp towel on a hanger and hooking it onto or near the air conditioning vent.
Some other travellers have shared their favourite hotel hacks:
- Total travel cheat code; grab free waters at the hotel gym. – Nate Williams
- Best hotel tip: instead of touching the disgusting TV remote, wrap it in the shower cap! – Melissa Morales
- My hotel tip is to hang your shirt up on a coat hanger on the back of the shower door. The steam will help remove the creases from it being in your case. – Chris Spencer
- Loop the cord of your phone charger around your car keys (assuming you have some) and never leave a charger behind again. – Chuck Doherty
- Carry an HDMI cable to use the hotel TV as a second monitor for your laptop. It is the greatest when working in spreadsheets or databases. – Brian Sutton
- My favourite hotel trick is to use the laundry bag for ice. Clean the sink and fill it in one go. Place your beverages in the ice and top off with water, it’s physics. – Jonny Wizard
- I’ve taken nearly every bar of soap or bottle of shampoo that I don’t use and given them to homeless people. Everyone should do the same. – Jason
Do you have any other hotel tips to add to this list? What’s the first thing you do when you check into a hotel? Let us know in the comments section below.