I remember when my friend Will heard I was taking off for my first Locum job, he was so excited about the idea of staying in Hotels all the time. Well, it’s not always glamorous and sometimes it gets old, but here are a few of my favorite little tips, tricks and “hacks” for your next stay. Now, you can google exhaustive ridiculous lists that sometimes have some useless advice, or really overall advice not specific to staying in a hotel, but this is just my short list of things I like myself!
- Make-shift Mocha = It’s pretty simple, but a lot of hotels have those little Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate packets (I even saw one place that had the Marshmallow one 😮), so just mix it with the free coffee and wah-lah. (Source: My Photo!)
- Free Food = If you’re staying at a traditional Bed and Breakfast, well, hopefully they have the ‘Breakfast’ part. But, even within larger chains like Hilton and Marriott, there are some of their brands that routinely have free (well, included) breakfast, some that require a voucher and some that you have to pay for. Check ahead and find out! (Eg: Hampton Inn and Fairfield Inn = Free continental breakfast; Hilton Garden Inn = Usually continental breakfast you have to pay for, unless you receive a voucher) (Source: My Photo!)
- Tax Exemption = For those of you that do REALLY long stays, did you know that in some states (eg: Texas) if your stay exceeds 30 consecutive days, you can get it tax-free. I haven’t found this in other states yet, but I also haven’t looked. (Source: Gov. Texas)
- Credit Card/Extra Points = A lot of people are astounded when I tell them that within 6 months of working Locums, I accrued well over half a million Hilton points and also some Marriott points. My trick? 1) Take advantage of credit card sign-up offers to double or triple your points, 2) Pay attention to 2x point offers or exchanging continental breakfasts for extra points, 3) Stick with a single chain to maximize those points. For some this may be important, for others not so much, but let me tell you, I’m on track to getting up to 1 million points in less than 12 months – Eurotrip anybody? (Source: American Express, Chase)
- Discounted Rates for Special Situations = First of all, I’m highly against booking through 3rd parties, for most US stays at the least. Calling the hotel directly has been more successful. Even if you look up the 3rd party rates first and then present them to the hotel, sometimes they can work with you. Also, especially during 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic, many hotels started giving discounts to First Responders/Front Line Workers. These are NOT routinely listed on their websites, but even there you may find AAA, senior or military discounts. I always call to ask about discounts as a healthcare worker and have sometimes saved up to $30/night. (Source: Hilton)
- Maximum Room Prices = Although this is pretty rare, it was something pointed out to me lately that I had never appreciated before. In times of need, hotels are known to increase their prices due to occupancy and demand, which makes total sense from a business stand point. Sometimes, these prices can seem exorbitant; but, before you call to fight the system on ‘price gouging’ (which is an actual thing), check the back of the door where many hotels will put the Maximum Rate they can charge. Maybe not a total hack, but at the least will make you look less silly or frustrated if this problem comes up. (Source: My Photo! Location un-disclosed.)
- Clothes Hanger on the Curtains = I don’t remember who posted this years ago, but it has revolutionized hotel stays for me, especially as a light-sensitive sleeper. I haven’t had a non-blacked out hotel room since. (Source: My Photo!)
- Makeshift Cooler = This may one may not be super savvy, but if you don’t find yourself with a refrigerator or a freezer and want to keep things like drinks cool (especially say, for a tailgate or bachelor party) fill your sink with ice! This will keep things chilled for hours. (Source: https://theroamingpint.com/beer-tarvel-tip-makeshift-coolers/)
- Germ-free Remote = Pre-COVID-19, I highly doubt that most places were ever sanitizing the remote controls. For this reason, I know my mom would always clean them off with a lysol wipe when we arrived. In the time of COVID-19, may chains have claimed to clean them, but who really knows. Just to be safe, use the bag that comes with the ice bucket to cover the remote and keep those cooties off your hand! (Source: My Photo!)
- Pretend You’re Always There = So, this one I picked up years ago, and I’m not actually sure about it sometimes. But, every now and then if you’re worried about someone breaking in and begin robbed, here are a couple of things that I think can help. First, and this isn’t exactly environmentally conscious but if it’s between that and my stuff getting stolen i’ll do it, leave the TV on so it sounds like someone is watching it (a side hack in itself – if the room has one of those card insert things, any card should do). Second, put the do not disturb sign outside, always. Third, according to my friend Eryn (supervisor at a hotel that remains unnamed), when you ARE there, if you’re really paranoid, apparently you can just put the ironing board up against the door….. But I dunno, if you’re doing that, you probably have bigger issues. (Source: Reddit)
There’s a lot more, but I’m really liking just keeping my posts to 10 things. My attention span doesn’t fit the 22 or 25 tricks posted in my ‘references’ below.