When you’re planning a trip and choosing accommodations, you want everything to go as smoothly as possible. Your goal, of course, is always stress-free travel.
With that in mind, the following are some of the best hotel hacks that every traveler should know and use.
Stay With One Hotel Brand
When you can, traveling and staying with one hotel brand can help you save money eventually. If you stick with a brand that has a loyalty or rewards program, you can start to accumulate points and then free stays or other perks pretty quickly.
If you get the highest status the brand offers, you know that you’re going to get high-level customer service, and if you face any issues while you’re booking or traveling, the company will take extra effort to sort it out for you.
You might also consider using a travel credit card when you book hotel stays, which can also help you maximize points and get rewards.
At some chains, you can also avoid paying for WiFi just for signing up for their loyalty program, even if you haven’t accumulated any points.
Change Your Dates If You Have to Cancel
If you had a period of time for your hotel reservation where you could cancel for free, but that’s passed, and you have to make a change, change your travel dates. You can potentially adjust your dates within the cancellation window, and then you can cancel that without paying the penalty.
This will only work if you’ve booked a refundable reservation.
You might even be able to change your dates and type of reservation from one that’s non-refundable to one that is.
If you can’t cancel a reservation you’ve already made, there are apps that will let you resell it to other people at a discounted price, so you at least get some of your money back.
See If You Can Add Parking To Your Stay
If you’re staying at a hotel near the airport before an early morning flight, you might be able to leave your car in the hotel’s parking lot for a lower cost than parking at the airport. There are websites that will source packages that include the cost of your hotel and parking.
Order Takeout Instead of Room Service
Room service is notoriously expensive, but you can get food delivered to you without paying the exorbitant amounts they charge. You can order delivery food to your hotel, and they’ll bring it to the front desk, or maybe even to your door if you ask.
Call the Hotel When You’re Booking
We sometimes forget about how valuable having a conversation with an actual person can be. When you’re thinking about booking a hotel, give the front desk a call. You can learn more about the best rooms in the hotel, any special deals they might have going on, and if you’re nice enough, you might even be able to get an upgrade.
You can also let the staff know if there’s a special event you’re going to be celebrating during your stay, and they might arrange a little surprise.
If you have to cancel your reservation for any reason, and your deposit or cost of the hotel isn’t refundable, you should also call the front desk. They do have leeway in their ability to help you, so it’s worth a try.
Use a Car Air Vent Clip
If you’ve ever seen those clips that go on the vents in your car, you know they can make the interior of your vehicle smell a lot better. They’re also a good way to tackle funny smells in your hotel room. Just clip one to the A/C unit.
Restock Your Minibar
If you’re staying in a hotel that has a minibar and you decide to sneak into it during your trip, you might end up paying a hefty premium. If you can’t resist the temptation, you can visit a nearby drug store or liquor store and refill it yourself, saving a lot of money.
This won’t work if the hotel uses sensors, though, which is most common in places like Las Vegas. Some hotels will automatically charge you if you touch a snack tray, even if you don’t actually eat or drink anything.
If your hotel does have sensors, you should check your bill carefully to make sure there aren’t false charges.
The hotel should provide information about whether or not they use sensors. It’s usually listed on the unit or a menu card.
Use the Ironing Board As a Desk
If you’ve ever tried to work at a hotel desk, you know the chairs never seem to be the right height. You can use your ironing board if you’re working in your room since it’s adjustable. If you don’t have a room with an ironing board, call downstairs, and they may be able to bring you one.
Another work-related hack is to bring a LAN cable and plug your laptop directly into the wireless router if you’re worried about the quality of WiFi.
Fill Your Sink with Ice
If you visit the hotel bar or onsite restaurant, again, like so many other things in a hotel, you’re going to pay a lot more money than you would otherwise. That’s why people like to bring their own drinks to their hotel room and then chill them in the mini-refrigerator.
If there isn’t a mini-fridge or it’s stocked with other items, there’s a solution.
Use your bathroom sink as a cooler. Just fill it with free ice.
You can also use an empty trashcan with a liner to achieve the same thing.
Use a Credit Card to Keep the Power On
Finally, when you go to a hotel that requires a room key to be inserted to keep the power on, it can be a pain if you need to charge your devices while you’re gone. You can add any type of card into the holder, and it should keep the power on so your devices don’t stop charging.