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17+ Hotel Hacks That Will Save You Money While Traveling

Hotel stays may not be cheap, but they offer a unique opportunity to explore new places and cultures. Whether you’re traveling for work or pleasure, taking advantage of hotel stays is a wonderful way to broaden your horizons.

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In fact, according to some news outlets, the average cost of a hotel room is continuing to increase. The average daily rate for a hotel room is now $180.12, and that’s only in non-populous cities. If you want to stay at a hotel in a more populated city, be prepared to shell out some cash – the average daily rate for a hotel room in New York is now $392.95.

You may be surprised to learn that there are hacks that could save you precious time and money when it comes to going out for dinner every night at restaurants like Darden’s Olive Garden. Replacing exploded toiletries, paying for the laundry service, or shelling out for expensive dinners can all add up quickly. However, with a little creativity, you can easily find ways to reduce these costs.

1. DIY Humidifier

A hot, dry hotel room can really ruin your trip. If the room is dusty too, it’s even worse. A humidifier might make your stay a little more comfortable, but it can be expensive to use in a luxury hotel. If you’re traveling on a budget, you may not be able to afford to stay in a 5-star hotel.

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Hotels are often known for their dry air, which can be a problem for many people. Allergies and dry eyes are common complaints, but with this easy hack, you can turn the air conditioning unit from a problem into a solution!

You can make your own humidifier for just a dollar by using a wet flannel and sticking it in front of a fan or AC unit. In less than a second, you’ll have suitably moistened air so you won’t have to waste money buying a travel-size humidifier on Amazon.

2. Custom Nightstand

If you’re looking for a place to rest your head and keep your belongings safe and sound, nightstands should be a standard piece of furniture in any hotel. However, this doesn’t mean they are always present – in fact, some lower-priced places may not have them at all. If you’re staying in a dorm, your best bet is to find a safe place to keep your things.

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You don’t have to squirrel your Apple iPhone away under your pillow, only for it to fall on the floor during the night. All you need to do is get creative by folding a t-shirt onto the corner of the mattress to create an instant easy-to-reach slot for all your gadgets – perfect for when you’re in bed!

The next time you’re packing for a trip, make sure to fold your shirt in a way that creates a pocket at the corner of the mattress. This will ensure your phone stays safe and sound during the night, without having to worry about losing it or having to fumble around in the dark. Plus, it’s a great place to store your car keys, wallet, and other important belongings!

3. Curtain Sealers

Some people can happily while away the hours dozing in the sun, but for most of us normal human beings, darkness is necessary to get a good night’s sleep. There’s nothing like struggling with uncooperative curtains in the middle of a work trip.

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Though many hotels choose to splurge on luxurious blackout curtains, what good are they if they don’t close all the way? Hotel guests are often subjected to the bright lights of the parking lot shining in their rooms. However, we have a hack to help you solve that problem.

Unless you’re lucky enough to get heavy curtains that seal as standard, you might know the pain of this particular battle all too well. What if we told you there’s a tool in most hotel rooms that could remedy this situation? Take a hanger, clip the curtains together, and hey presto – you’ve got a room dark enough to binge-watch Netflix in without feeling the sunlight creeping in.

4. “Clean” Remote

Some say that cleanliness is next to godliness, but travelers know that even the cleanest of places can have a lingering smell of past guests. No matter how hard a motel or inn tries, it’s impossible to get rid of all the evidence that hundreds of people have passed through. Even the best cleaning staff in the world can miss a spot.

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You wouldn’t believe the number of bacteria that can be found on a hotel light switch. According to USA Today, the University of Houston found that the main light switch is the dirtiest place in the room, often containing a lot of germs and bacteria.

One of the germiest spots in a hotel is the TV remote. Between the buttons, bacteria can easily get in and make you sick. However, you don’t have to worry about it, because there is a simple solution. Just get a pack of sandwich bags from Walmart and slip one over the remote for bacteria-free viewing.

5. Bottle Opener

If you’re not in a spot that has a free minibar or its own kitchen with utensils, you may want to head to the store and pick up a six-pack. After all, who can afford mini-bar prices, anyway? There’s just one thing standing in your way of that lovely cold beer: you didn’t pack a bottle opener.

Hotel doors are a traveler’s best friend. Not only are they great for keeping out the cold, but they can also help you open up a bottle of wine in no time. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be able to enjoy a nice glass of wine while watching your favorite show on Amazon Prime.

If you’re still having problems with this hack, Delish came up with a list of alternative ways to open bottles, including using a metal fork or spoon, keys, lighter, tree branch, and even a ring (though hopefully nothing too expensive or easy to damage, depending on how stubborn your bottle is). Why not try using your teeth?

6. Additional Table Space

Do you long for the day when you can afford a lavish suite like the ones celebrities love to post on social media? If so, you’re in luck! Standard hotel rooms may be a little short on counter space, but these luxurious suites come with all the amenities you could dream of. His and hers sinks, a separate dressing room, and a living area bigger than your apartment – it’s no wonder celebrities love them!

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However, most of them do have ironing boards tucked away in the closet in case we want to get real fancy and wrinkle-free. If you’ve never been a fan of ironing, you can open it up anyway and use it as a folding table. Take that, Instagram! With its extra-large surface, your ironing board can also double as a perfect place to fold your clothes.

If you’re someone who travels a lot and needs your clothes looking sharp—business travelers, we’re looking at you—you might consider purchasing your own ironing board for peace of mind.

7. Ramen Noodle Cooker

If you’re looking for a way to make your stay a little more comfortable, consider investing in a coffee machine for your hotel room. Having one can be a real-life-saver, especially if you’re not interested in going out to dinner every night. Plus, they come in handy for more than just coffee. A packet of ramen can be a great, cheap dinner option if you’re running low on funds.

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In a matter of minutes, you can have a piping hot dinner that can’t be beaten, without having to leave the comfort of your own home. It may not be a three-course meal at Darden’s Olive Garden, but beggars can’t be choosers.

The best thing about ramen is that it’s cheap. The average packet costs just thirteen cents, which means that you could, technically, eat three meals a day for under $143, though we’re definitely not suggesting you do that. (By contrast, the average U.S. citizen spends $6,372 per year on food).

8. Food Sealer

Hotel rooms can be tricky when it comes to keeping food fresh. After all, you don’t have a kitchenette at your disposal with all of the necessary storage containers. If you went a little hard at the complimentary breakfast buffet and want to save some for later, take a look in the bathroom. You might be surprised to find a few storage solutions there.

A shower cap can be a versatile tool in the kitchen. It can be used to cover dishes while they are cooling, or to store leftovers. The best part is that it’s easy to use – just pop it over the top of the dish and you’re good to go!

If you’re looking for an alternative to using Tupperware to store your leftovers, consider using a clean, dry-cleaning bag. This is a great way to keep your food fresh for a little while longer, but you’ll want to eat them quickly before they go bad.

9. Makeshift Stove

Basic accommodation might seem sparse in some hotels, but if you look closely at what’s in the room with you, you might be surprised to find that everything you need is right there. Didn’t think you could cook a hot meal in a Holiday Inn budget room? Guess again!

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If you’ve got an iron, you can make a delicious egg sandwich in minutes. Just crack an egg onto hot iron and place it on some tin foil, and you’ll be enjoying your sandwich in no time!

No need to worry about bringing the tin foil along, as cooking an egg directly on the iron’s surface can be a little germy and impossible to get off. Plus, you’d be stuck with the bill for replacing the iron if it can’t be cleaned by the hotel staff.

10. Travel Cooler

When you’re on the go with kids, a cooler can seem like the logical item to bring, especially if you’re planning on going to the beach. However, a decent one can set you back between $20 and $30. Is it really worth it to bother with a travel cooler when you’ve got a bucket and some ice, right?

If you’re looking for a place to store your snacks and drinks, look no further than your hotel room! With a bucket and an ice machine at your disposal, you can keep your perishables cold and your drinks cold.

Don’t know where the ice machine is? No problem! Just follow the directions on the handy map that’s posted near the elevators. If you’re feeling extra lazy, though, you can always call the front desk and they’ll tell you where to find it. But watch out, because there’s an ice machine on every floor, and they’re not always in the most convenient places.

11. Improvised Smartphone Speakers

If you’re looking for a way to liven up your evening routine or want to bring your music outdoors, travel speakers are the perfect option. However, a high-quality pair can be quite expensive. If you don’t use them often, it might not be worth the investment.

Tired of your phone’s sound quality? Well, all you need is an empty mug! Just put your phone inside the mug and prepare to be amazed. The ceramic shape will act as an amplifier for the sound, solving all of your problems in one fell swoop. Just don’t be surprised if the quality isn’t as good as actual speakers. After all, it’s still a mug!

If you’re looking for a portable speaker that doesn’t break the bank, check out the options on Amazon. For under $40, you can find a speaker that’s tiny and easy to take with you on the go. Or, if your laptop’s speakers are louder, you can connect your iPhone to your computer and play your music that way.

12. DIY Microwave

Sure, ordering takeout to your hotel room is the easy way out, but where’s the fun in that? If your pizza gets cold, don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to heat it up without a microwave.

If you’re looking to save money on your next pizza, don’t spend $30 on a whole new warm pizza the next day. Instead, get the iron and the hairdryer. The iron will warm up the base while the hairdryer will breathe new life into the toppings, creating a dream team that every traveler should know about.

If you’re in need of a microwave to heat up your delicious, cheesy slices, consider calling down to the front desk. According to TripAdvisor, there are a good number of hotels that allow you to use the front desk’s microwave if you’re in a bind. It can’t hurt to ask!

13. DIY Sock Dryer

When you’re away from home for an extended period of time, doing laundry can seem like a daunting task. Heading to the laundromat and spending all your hard-earned cash on washing and drying can be costly, so some travelers have devised creative ways to dry their clothes without spending a fortune.

If you are a sucker for clean socks but don’t have quarters for the hotel laundry, try the DIY sock line. It’s an easy way to hang your socks outside and dry. You might be surprised by how many people will stop to ask you about it. Don’t be surprised if you are considered as an honorary member of the “Steve Jobs” fan club after this.

If you want to dry your clothes more slowly, consider putting them on a heat source in your hotel room. If you want to steam-dry your clothes and remove wrinkles, hang them up in the bathroom while you shower.

14. DIY Food Boiler

Boiling food on vacation is a lot harder than it sounds. Most of us don’t think about it, but this is a common issue for travelers. Making your own hotdogs at a Hilton might seem impossible, but this is a problem that can be solved with a little bit of thinking.

In a pinch, boiling water does the trick. All hotels have kitchens with kettles, so stick your corn and hotdogs in there and get ready to chow down. We wouldn’t necessarily say this is safe, but we’ll leave that decision up to you!

If you can get this boiling water trick to work, the possibilities are endless. Pasta, frozen vegetables, macaroni, and cheese – anything is possible with this pot. Consider this your dinner out on the town without the expensive drinks or appetizers.

15. On-the-Go Drain Plug

Bathrooms in hotels are strange places. Inevitably, you’ll go to wash your face and realize there’s no plugin in the sink. The good news is that we have a solution. You just need some plastic wrap from your travel kit.

If you’ve ever lost a hairpin down the drain, it can be an expensive mistake. When you install this simple solution, you won’t have to worry about your wedding ring or other costly items ending up in that dark abyss. The inexpensive wrap over the hole will stop any personal items from going down the drain.

You feel like you lost your wedding ring down a drain. What should you do? Brides.com says to never give up hope and never try to retrieve the ring on your own. The #1 thing you can do is call a plumber and avoid both damaging yourself and the pipe system by sticking your arm down the pipe.

16. Bedside Laptop Desk

In today’s TV-watching world, it’s not as simple as flipping on a TV. In most cases, hotels have upgraded to smart TVs with streaming services such as Netflix. If you’re determined to keep up with your favorite shows during your vacation, then a laptop is essential.

Everyone needs a perfect table to work with, and an ironing board is a perfect shape. To make the most of it, simply hang it over your bed and position it as a table. It can be difficult to find a place for it in crowded home offices, but with a little creativity, you can have everything at once.

In this new era, you might be able to stream your smartphone to your hotel’s TV. Many phones now have the capability to connect to the hotel’s TV screen. An app like Hotel Cast will help you figure it out. If you have a Roku stick or a streaming cable, you may be able to connect that way.

17. Book Directly Through the Hotel

Another useful hotel booking hack that can save you money is to book directly with the hotel via the hotel website or reservations line. This will lower your price and give you a better chance of getting a room upgrade. Hotels often give customers priority when they reserve directly rather than through a third party such as Booking.com or Expedia.

Not only does it lead to better customer service, but you can also swing free upgrades and perks as a full-paying, commission-free guest. You booked through the hotel with whom you’re staying, so you have no reason to pay commissions. This is a win-win.

18. Attach Keys to Phone Charger

Losing your car keys while traveling is a huge pain. When you’re out of your routine in a new place, it can be easy to forget where you left them. Hotels, in particular, can make this worse, since you’re likely to have less control over your environment than you do at home. As a result, you might put your keys somewhere and totally forget.

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Here’s a trick to avoid losing your phone charger. Use a carabiner, strap, or another type of cord to hook the keys to your cell phone charger. Your phone charger will be less likely to get lost since it is attached to your phone. You won’t forget your keys or cell phone charger if they are tied or clipped together.

19. Put A Red Cup Underneath Your Toilet Seat

There might be something strange about putting a red cup underneath your toilet seat while staying at a hotel, but hear us out. This one is aimed more towards the male side of the population. By placing a red cup in this position, you’re reminded to make sure you’re raising the toilet seat before going about your business.

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Remember, when you’re staying in a hotel, someone else will be cleaning the bathroom after you leave. Make it easy on them (and yourself) by setting a reminder to clean up before you go.