What is the approximate number of nights you’ve spent in hotel rooms in your life? There are travelers that have spent over 1,000 nights in different hotels. This is more than enough time to learn what not to spend extra money on and how to make an ordinary hotel room feel and look cozier.
Especially for The Elite Indian, we are going to reveal the secrets of staying at hotels and hostels that we and other travelers have figured out. This information will definitely improve your travel skills for the next trip you are going to take.
- When checking into the hotel, ask them to show you all the available rooms: very often, the rooms with a bathtub, a better view, or that are more spacious rooms cost the same money. So, you will get a better room for the same money.
- Participate in loyalty programs, even if you don’t travel very often: a card can’t hurt you. For example, I have silver status at the Hilton chain, so every 5th night is free for me. I can also have a second guest for free. This is really cool when traveling as a couple. At Radisson, you can get a discount and 2 bottles of water a day. It’s not as much as at the Hilton, but it is still nice.
- In order to upgrade your stay, call the manager a couple of days prior to your visit. Tell them your name, the date of your reservation, and ask for a discount or a better booking (a high-floor room to hear less noise or a special diet menu). Your request will be redirected and you will get a better room. This trick works in 85% of cases.
- Aggregator websites often charge clients for using their services. This is why there are 2 ways to book hotel rooms for as cheap as possible: using the official website of the hotel and using cashback services. If you use one of them, you will get 10-15% back in miles or in money.
- On your first night, go for a walk to a restaurant for dinner. Don’t drive if you can avoid it. The walk is good for you, but more importantly, it will help you in orienting yourself and your hotel. You’ll never know when you need to find your way back without a GPS.
- Write meaningful reviews on TripAdvisor, and be sure that you have a reasonable distribution of star ratings. A few years ago, I stayed at a luxury hotel in Dubrovnik. It was a local Croatian chain, so I didn’t have elite status. Somehow we got upgraded to 2 huge, one-bedroom suites, both over 1,000 square feet, and one of which had a 1,200 square foot private deck that overlooked the sea. I was baffled as to why they treated us so well and later, I found out that it was because I have “a perfect TripAdvisor profile” with a great distribution of star ratings and lots of reviews, so my reviews were considered to be “of influence.”
- When I’m limited with money, I check out barter weeks. Hotels, hostels, and guesthouses offer travelers a free room in exchange for a service. There are numerous websites, but I usually use this one. This is not just useful for those who can make websites or develop apps: some hotels just need help with repairs or with taking care of their garden.
- The first thing you need to do after checking in is making sure all the appliances function properly: the hairdryer, the air conditioner, and so on. If something doesn’t work, go to the front desk clerk and ask for a different room. And you can ask for a bonus from the hotel.
- Open the hot water tap and measure the time it takes for the water to heat up. This will help you find out how much time you need for a morning shower.
- There’s sometimes a piece of fabric at the foot of your bed when you first arrive in your room. It’s usually about 2 feet wide, and drapes over the edges of the bed. Take it off your bed immediately and put it in a corner. They never wash those things and they’re disgusting.
- Check to see if there are bedbugs in the room. And it has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the hotel. Bedbugs travel well and they can even attach to soft luggage, so you could pick them up on an airplane. I work at a really nice hotel and we usually have 5 or so rooms out at a time waiting to be heat treated for bedbugs.
- For rooms that require your key card to turn your electricity on: If you ask for 2 key cards at the reception desk, you can save yourself some time. Leave one of the cards in the slot near the door when leaving the room. Leave your devices charging and leave the AC on: when you come back, the room will be cool and your devices will be fully charged.
- There is a way to get more of the conditioner, shampoo, or shower gel that you like. Write a thank you note to the cleaning lady and you will reap the benefits.
- Don’t use the cups that are in the bathroom if they aren’t disposable. They don’t get washed by the kitchen in a dishwasher, they get washed by hand in the bathroom sink by the maid. Often with the same rag she was just dusting with or cleaning the bathroom with. I was a maid most of my working life until recently. The reason it’s like that is due to a lack of supplies and a lack of time, thanks to unreasonable management.
- If you forget or don’t have essential items, most hotels will give them to you for free. This can include shampoo, conditioner, razors, shaving cream, and even lotion, among other things. In Asian countries, they offer big shampoo bottles and even face masks you can take with you after your stay.
- I always, as a rule, leave at least $5 a day for the housekeeping staff and I tip the concierge too. I have stayed in the same hotel every December for business for the past 4 years and have received a complimentary breakfast in their dining room because I am generous and pleasant and always tip graciously.
- A shower cap can be used in a better way: you can cover an unfinished meal with it. Also, you can put it on a pair of dirty shoes if you can’t wash them now.
- Keep a shoe in the safe. To prevent yourself from forgetting to remove items from the in-room safe, put one of the shoes you wear when you travel in the safe; when you get ready to leave, having to search for your other shoe will remind you to open the safe and retrieve your items.
- If you want the room to be cleaned, it is safer to call the desk clerk than to put out a special sign. Not only will the cleaning lady know, but also any potential thief will know that the room is empty.
- Use one of the pants hangers (the ones with clips) to clip the window curtains together, so no light gets through. Roll a towel up and put it at the bottom of the hotel room door to cover the crack. Use a washcloth to cover the LED lights on the alarm clock and other electronics.
© Yulia Davidovich/Shutterstock.com
- Dinner in the hotel restaurant is usually good quality. Breakfast… Not so much. We cut a lot of corners when it comes to breakfast. The argument is that you could end up serving 6x or 7x more guests at breakfast than in the evening.
- If you order food off the 24/7 menu, it’ll probably be heated up in the microwave. The argument is that you pay a high price for the ability to have it at 3 a.m.
- Some hostels have free parties with free food. This is not only a great way to save some money on food, but also a chance to meet new friends. This is especially cool if you can cook your own national dish.
- Most hostels don’t just have 10-16-people rooms, but they also have individual rooms for 2 guests. I choose these rooms most of the time because I sleep better in them. The price is a little bit more expensive, but still way cheaper than staying in a hotel.
- Many hostels charge very little for a city tour. And oftentimes, it is not just a boring lecture, but something like a walk in the evening or a trip to the rooftops of some buildings. The official website of the hostel may not have any information on the tour, but you should check out TripAdvisor or a similar resource and read the reviews from other visitors. If you find something that you like, go to the desk clerk and ask them.
- Many people think that hostels only offer free tea and coffee, but some of them also have a snack included in the price of the room: for example, cookies, cereal, or scones. In order to find out, check out the reviews. People usually share stuff like this. This is especially important for European capitals and other big cities where food is pretty expensive.
- If you want to leave a tip, do it when you check out of the hotel. The cleaning lady may think that you were just not focused enough and forgot to take your money.
What life hacks do you use to make your stay at a hotel as comfortable as possible?