“Guests sometimes take home essential amenities that the hotel provides during their stay, like shampoo, lotion, and other vanity products,” says Ryazan Tristram, photographer and travel blogger for everythingzany.com. “However, people sometimes take home the bathrobes as well, which is a no-no.” You could be charged extra or fined for taking pricier items, including linens, artwork and electronics. Find out how to get the most of your hotel stay with these seven tips.
Accidents happen, but damaging something in your room and keeping it a secret can actually harm staff or future guests. Matthew, founder of thetravelblogs.com, says a guest once cut his foot on a shard of glass. “[Glass is] very hard to spot, even if you know it is there, so although the room was cleaned, there was one piece that the housekeeper missed,” he says. “We ended up comping that man’s night in the hotel all because the previous guest didn’t make the team aware of broken glass in his room.”
“We always want to save money when we travel,” says Tristram. “Some guests will bring their portable cooking appliances with them during their stay, and this can cause a few problems, primarily if the hotel room doesn’t have any kitchenette area.” These cooking appliances can set off a hotel’s fire alarm system or cause an actual fire, so stick with no-cook meals if you want to save a few bucks on food. To make sure you’re getting the best accommodation deals out there, find out 13 smarter ways to go for your travel.
Hospitality businesses can’t always stop thieves from putting their sticky fingers where they don’t belong, so don’t leave your precious jewels, wallets, or purses in your room, unless it’s in a hotel-provided safe, says a Farmers Insurance Group representative. Your homeowners or renters policy may provide coverage for your belongings while you are travelling, so it’s important to report any lost or stolen items as soon as possible. Check out these seven tips on how to keep your valuables safe while travelling.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a steamy shower at a hotel, but beware what the vapour can do if released into your room. “A hotel’s hot showers can cause a lot of steam, and as a result, can trigger the hotel’s fire alarm system inside your bedroom if you leave the bathroom door open,” says Tristram. Fancy travelling in style? Follow this advice on how to travel five-star on a three-star budget.
Certain hotels still allow smokers to smoke cigarettes inside their rooms. Despite this, some guests insist on smoking in non-smoking rooms. The biggest problem: Guests who do this cover the smoke alarm so they can smoke in bed, risking their safety and that of all other guests, says Bryony Summer, owner and editor of coastingaustralia.com. Another good reason to quit – if you need more incentive, check out these 15 mind-blowing ways your body heals itself after you stop smoking.
Even the finest hotels and housekeepers can’t keep creepy critters from making their way into bedrooms. “I always advise travellers to put their luggage in the bathtub until they inspect the bed for bedbugs,” says Mitch Krayton of Krayton Travel.
There’s no crime in enjoying a drink from the hotel fridge. After all, that’s their purpose. “But if you plan on taking a bottle of whiskey out of there, just accept that you’ll still be paying for it,” says Sophia Borghese, a consultant for La Galerie Hotel in New Orleans. “Don’t try to fake the hotel staff out by replacing the liquor with a half-sipped bottle of Diet Coke. This happens more often than you might think, and those who do it still get charged for taking that [expensive little] bottle of spirits.”
Funny? Yes. Disturbing? Absolutely. Has it actually happened? You bet. After 12 years of managing, Summer says the worst thing she came across was having guests boil their underwear in kettles, pots, or steamers to “freshen them up.” Think that’s weird? Check out these other odd things that travellers do.
“If you notice the throw pillows on the bed or the couch have no removable sleeves, you can be sure they are never thoroughly cleaned,” says Kashlee Kucheran, seasoned traveller and co-owner of traveloffpath.com. “After they get so stained or smelly that they become offensive, the hotel will just replace them. In the meantime, you can bet there have been many faces, bottoms, and other things lounging on those pillows, so steer clear!”
Closets are great for hanging clothes. Fire sprinklers are not. Bob Tupper, author of Drinking In the Culture: Tuppers’ Guide to Exploring Great Beers in Europe, says he saw people using the safety devices as coat hooks – a silly stunt that could not only set off a hotel’s fire alarm but also burst the pipes, causing water to flood into rooms.
“No one should ever, ever send any sensitive information or conduct any important business over hotel Wi-Fi – at least not without encryption,” says Harold Li, vice president of ExpressVPN. “Given how easy it is to hack public Wi-Fi hotspots, you might as well be yelling your passwords and bank details down the hall.” Travellers should use encryption to shield their Internet activity when sending important information. Worried about online security? Check out these 17 things cyber crooks don’t want you to know.
As a courtesy to the hotel, you might want to wait until you get home before you change the hue of your ‘do. “The ruined towels and bed linens are unrecoverable,” says Leslie Mulcahy, co-owner of Rabbit Hill Inn in Vermont, USA. If you have recently dyed your hair, avoid washing your hair – or bring your own towel or disposable sheets to wrap your hair until it dries.
Loud music and voices aren’t the only things you should keep in check when you’re in a hotel room. “In my experience, no matter how luxurious a hotel is, they are still built with materials that don’t allow a lot of soundproofing, especially from upstairs guests,” says Kucheran. Avoid walking around with weighty steps so you don’t become “that annoying guest”.
It’s tempting to bring your furry friends on trips with you, but don’t do it without asking if the hotels you’re staying in are pet-friendly. If the answer is “no”, don’t try to pull a fast one on the staff – animals leave trails of evidence, from hairs to prints to smells, and your cleaning fees will skyrocket if you’ve broken the rules.
Sign up here to get Reader’s Digest’s favourite stories straight to your inbox!