Our Best Tips & Tricks for Hotel Stays

Hampton Inn Aachen Room

Many of our readers will have experienced hundreds of hotel stays, others just a few. Although a hotel stay is generally a very simple and standardized process, there are many little things that can significantly improve the stay. We have put together tricks and tips for you that will hopefully not only be of interest to travel newbies, but our more seasoned readers as well.

Quiet Room

To many, it is of great importance to get a quiet room. However, there are many factors to consider, as the noise could come from the car park, the street, the lobby, the hallway, or even the elevator. The quietest rooms tend to be on the upper floors, away from the elevator and not facing the road (especially on major streets with lots of traffic). In the USA, you should also be as far away as possible from the ice machine, because it is usually noisy as hell.

Fahrstuhl Hotel Eismaschine
Elevators and ice machines – just stay away from them if you want a good night’s sleep

Luckily, most hotels have no problem giving you an adequate room. Of course, there are exceptions, e.g. if the sea view costs extra, or if there are larger/better rooms on the higher floors – often the case at high-class hotels. In normal hotels, the chance of getting a quiet room is high – if you ask for it. And if everything doesn’t work, earplugs can always help.

Electricity without a Room Card

To save electricity and do something good for the environment (and their electricity bills), many hotels have a card slot next to the door. When you insert your room card, the lights turn on and the sockets start working. If you take it out again when you leave the room, not only do you leave the room, but so does the electricity – sometimes even the air conditioning. This is often annoying, e.g. if you actually had something plugged into a socket for charging.

What many people don’t know: it almost always doesn’t matter what kind of card is in the card slot. So you can go for a walk with your hotel room card and insert a gym membership card, a cinema loyalty card, a card from a previous hotel stay, etc. into the slot and your room will continue to have electricity. If you don’t have a card with you at all that you can easily leave in the room, then the alternative is to ask the front desk for an additional room card.

Forgot Your Charger?

If you have forgotten your cell phone charger, or simply the right adapter for the sockets in that country, there is usually a USB port that almost nobody thinks about: the USB port of the television. While it’s slow to charge your phone and usually requires the TV to be on, it’s not a bad option in such a situation, especially during the day when a muted TV won’t bother anyone.

If you only forgot the socket adapter, there is usually an international socket for the razor in the bathroom, which you can possibly use without an adapter.

One last socket tip: If you have enough space in your luggage, take a multi-socket with you. Then it doesn’t matter to you if, for instance, the hotel only has one socket, you only have one adapter or the socket is in an unfavourable position, while you want to charge 3 devices near the bed. With a multi-socket, you have control over the number (and location) of sockets in the room.

intercontinental warsaw
Only one socket by the bed, but you wanted to charge 2+ devices? A multi-socket would solve the problem

Correct Side of the Bed

Many hotels have very wide beds or double beds (King, Queen, etc.). When faced with having to choose a side to sleep on, most people select the side that is closer to the bathroom or next to the phone. That’s why you should take the other side. It will have been used less and will therefore also be less worn out. Accordingly, the sleep on that side should also be more restful.

holiday inn charleston room
Two beds, two sides each. It’s probably best to sleep on the side that’s the least popular

Closed Curtains

Hotel rooms with panoramic windows are fantastic – during the day and in the evening. However, if you do not want to be woken up by the early morning sunrise in summer, you must ensure that the curtains are closed perfectly. Most of the time, however, there are two curtains that you have to draw from the right and left. Both sides then meet in the middle, but a small slit often remains open.

With a clothes peg, you can clip both sides together and close this slit. If you didn’t bring a clothes peg (who does?), you can use the pegs that are often found on the hangers in hotel rooms.

Iron While Showering

No, please do not stand in the shower with an ironing board and iron. You don’t even need an ironing board or an iron for this trick. All you have to do is to hang your wrinkled clothes in the bathroom and then take a hot shower. The steam ensures that the wrinkles in your clothes are smoothed out.

Desk Alternative

If you still want a trick WITH an ironing board, then we have one for you – but it has nothing to do with ironing: If your room doesn’t have a desk (or you need another one), you can use the ironing board as a desk.

The ironing board is not only a good replacement for a desk, but can also be used as a luggage rack, dining table, etc. Or just as an ironing board – that’s also possible.

Room Service Alternative

Dining out is a nice part of the holiday, a highlight of the evening. But there are also evenings when it pours so heavily outside that you really don’t want to leave the hotel. But what if the hotel doesn’t offer decent food or the choice is very limited? It’s worth using apps like Uber Eats, which deliver food to your hotel, sometimes even straight to your room. Of course, you can also google for restaurants that deliver.

Dirty Remote Control

According to the University of Houston, the dirtiest object in a hotel room is the remote control. While I doubt anything serious would happen to you, if you do want to take this fact seriously, a good solution is to wrap the remote control in a shower cap. The buttons will still be visible, but you avoid direct contact with the germs that have accumulated over weeks and months.

Fernbedienung Duschhaube
Definitely “over the top” for 99% of people. But if you see the germs as a problem, this is probably the simplest solution

Streaming Netflix, Disney+, etc.

Let’s stick to the TV topic. Anyone who likes to use Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, or other streaming platforms at home and does not want to do without this content in the hotel can connect their laptop to the television. All you need is an HDMI cable. There are a few hotels where the TV’s HDMI port is blocked, but most of the time it works fine.

Laptop Fernseher Hotelzimmer
Laptop, HDMI cable, and you’ve got complete control of what you’ll watch on the hotel television

Those who are more technically advanced can also try setting up Chromecast or Apple TV. This is of course much more comfortable, but also much more difficult to set up, since it does not work very smoothly with a hotel Wi-Fi. Might be worth the effort for longer stays, but not for one night. The solution: use an Amazon Fire TV stick instead – those can be set up using the hotel Wi-Fi without any problem, as it can load the authentication page.

Breakfast Despite Early Departure

Depending on the hotel, breakfast usually starts between 6:00 and 7:00, but often you already have to be at the airport around 4:00 or 5:00 to catch an early flight. It’s worth asking the front desk if they offer a to-go breakfast. Occasionally you’ll get a paper bag with a few little things, e.g. a sandwich, a croissant and/or yoghurt. You can also often get a drink (e.g. juice or coffee).

To Go Breakfast
Filling? No way. But better than nothing

Late Departure

In most hotels, you have to leave your room by noon at the latest, but many hotels offer a late check-out. All you have to do is ask politely, preferably on the last evening of your stay. Often you can stay 1–2 hours longer in the room without extra charge (if you are lucky, maybe even longer).

Storing Luggage

If your flight or train leaves late in the evening, you don’t have to drag your luggage through the city all afternoon. After checking out, you can leave your luggage at the reception of most hotels and pick them up later when you leave for the airport/train station. This is (usually) free of charge.

You can also do this if you arrive well before the check-in time. You probably won’t get to your room yet, but at least you can get rid of your luggage.

Can’t Go? Reschedule instead of Cancelling

If you have to cancel a stay at short notice, but your booked rate cannot (any longer) be cancelled free of charge, it is worth asking the hotel whether you can postpone your stay. Possibly also for a small surcharge. Many hotels are much more accommodating because they won’t lose any money. If rescheduling your stay is not an option, you can also ask for a voucher. It costs nothing to ask.


As you can see, every part of the hotel stay can be optimized – from check-in to check-out. Of course, you don’t have to follow every trick on this list and charge your phone using the room’s TV while you shower to iron your clothes. But I’m sure many people thought of a previous stay when reading the list, where one of these tips would have been of great help.

There’s definitely more to improving a hotel stay than just these tips. What else would you suggest? Please leave a comment!

Cover Picture: Ditmar Lange

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Comment (1)

  1. Nicolas says:

    Thank you very much for the above amazing tips & tricks!

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