While traveling, expenses always add up. Staying in a hotel will be the biggest drain on your wallet, along with flights and dining out. So, here are crafty and money-saving hacks that you can use to get the most out of a hotel stay.
First off, room service is mediocre at best, and the prices are jacked way up. You’re better off ordering in. You can use a food delivery service like Seamless or Uber Eats to get an endless amount of food options at your fingertips.
Experienced budget traveler Rhoni Speed of Living Our Life, says she always asks for some dishes for her room. The hotel shouldn’t charge you anything, and now you can eat that delivery pizza off a nice plate instead of straight out of the box.
If you can boil water, you can make a variety of simple meals right in your hotel room. Most hotel rooms come equipped with a coffee pot. Just don’t put in any coffee in the filter and you can make as much boiling water as you need. Now you can make that instant ramen, or even make some breakfast oatmeal.
You were going to get your coffee at a nearby Starbucks, anyway.
If you’re sharing a room with another person or your kids, eating on the floor or in bed may not be an ideal solution. If you want to keep everything a little tidier, you can make a dining table out of an ironing board. If your hotel room doesn’t come with one, you may have to ask. It wouldn't hurt to have one anyway, since getting your shirts pressed by the hotel will be expensive.
Once you’ve got that ironing board up there, you may as well make use of the iron itself … to make a grilled cheese. Don’t place the iron actually on the cheese, you’ll ruin your iron and you're better than that. But, wrap the sandwich in tin foil and then place the hot iron on the foil, flip and repeat with the other side. You can learn how to do it here.
If you want to play your music but you forgot your portable speaker, you can easily make one in your hotel room. Well, you’re not physically making it unless you're a tech wizard, but a cup from your room will serve as a replacement. Placing your phone in glass or coffee mug will amply the sound of your phone. This is also good if you want to make sure you don’t miss your morning alarm.
While this might remind you of something from your college dorm, it’s not just for keeping the smell of pot out of the hallway. If you want to block some of that noise and light, just place a towel by the crack in the door. It’s not a good idea to smoke in your room anyway, the hotel might charge you for damaging the room.
Sometimes hotel rooms can feel really dry, especially if the heat or air conditioning has been left running. An easy way to get some moisture in the air is two wet a towel with warm water and place it in front of the air conditioner. You’ll be breathing easier in no time.
If one of you is totally insecure about sharing a bed with you while on vacation, you can make a bed divider out of pillows. Now you can go to sleep without someone else’s butt pressed against yours. And remember, you can always move them in case you two change your minds.
If you don’t have an iron in your hotel room and you don’t want to spend any money on laundry service, this simple trick will get wrinkles out of your clothes in no time. Just get your shower nice and steamy and hang whatever you need ironed on the outside of the shower curtain. You can get yourself ready while pressing your shirts at the same time.
If you’re hotel room has Wi-Fi and there’s an input for an HDMI cable on your TV, you can get all your favorite movies and TV streaming right on it through Google Chromecast. Just hook up the Chromecast to the back of the TV and you can stream video from your laptop, phone or tablet. The device might be a good investment if you travel frequently, and don’t want to get charged hotel prices for ordering movies.
In some hotel rooms, the electricity will only work if the key card is in the door signifying someone is in the room. But, sometimes you want to leave the room and come back to air conditioning and charged electronics. You can keep on the electricity on by sliding an old credit card or forgotten membership card into the slot.
If you’re staying in a four or five-star hotel, you really shouldn’t have to do this. But, if you are in a seedier hotel/motel, this is a good clean hack. Instead of placing it directly on the bathroom counter, you can use a clothing pin to prop up a toothbrush. But, again this is only if you’re really a germaphobe.
Don’t leave out the “service the room” sign on the outside of your hotel door. It lets everyone know that there is no one in the room. You can just tell the maid yourself. It also won’t kill you to go a day without getting a swan made of hand towels placed on your bed.
Ah, this may not be the most practical hack, but it is my favorite. Carry around a little black light with you to test how clean your sheets are. Sometimes, hotels fail to give new customers clean sheets and it’s pretty disgusting. Investigative journalists from ABC tested a bunch of hotels around the country by marking sheets with a special black light marker and then checking out of the room. They then checked back into the same room under a different name, and checked if the hotel staff changed the sheets. A handful of the hotels in the experiment failed.
So, you can test out this on your own and demand a free night if the sheets turn up soiled.