10 Tips to Hoteling

Posted on: 05/9/13 3:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m in a hotel 6 to 10 nights a month (like next week I’ll be in a hotel for three nights while I teach at Azusa Pacific’s FAM Conference). Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks of the trade that have helped me get the most of the experience, taking advantage of the perks… and getting a better night’s sleep!

Frequent Traveler Tips to “Hoteling”

  1. Stick with one hotel chain: I used to jump around finding the best deal. But, in the long run, I lost out. Pick one chain, sign up for their frequent traveler’s program, and you’ll get all the perks (if you travel enough, you’ll often get free upgrades, free nights, free breakfasts…). This still works even if you don’t travel a lot. It will take more time, but you’ll earn rewards.
  2. Set air conditioner colder that you would at home: Don’t pay attention to the number on the thermostat, just turn it to AC and then crank the temperature down. Men, tell your wife to pack some warm PJ’s. They’ll always say, “The room is too cold.” Then they’ll be kicking off that thick duvet drenched in sweat about an hour later! Which is why I always…
  3. Ask for a blanket: Forget the big thick duvet that is made with the feathers of about 200 geese. That thing is an oven! The rooms are never cool enough. Get an old school blanket to throw on top of the sheet. Keep the duvet at your feet if you absolutely need it.
  4. Spend the extra 14 bucks: I remember early on trying to save $7 here, $14 there on a cheaper motel. The truth is, by morning I wish I had anted up. I’ve had it all at the cheap motels: baby’s crying, dogs barking… loud lovers! Upgrade to the Hampton down the street and you’ll get thicker walls, a money back guarantee and all the perks (I just stayed at one for $79 last week).
  5. Set three alarms: Never trust the wakeup call. They’re only about 90%. If you have an important meeting in the morning (or Disneyland opens at 8AM), then use the wakeup call, but also set a backup alarm, and one with a battery. (Do I sound a little OCD?)
  6. Get a room on the top floor: Once when I was checking in at a hotel, I noticed about 40 teenage girls wearing jackets that said, “Marlene’s Dance Academy.” Yeah… they were practicing their routine in the room above me all night. Ask for the top floor whenever possible. You never have to worry about pounding above you.
  7. Make sure your room is away from the elevator and ice machine: Elevators and ice machines tend to draw noise all night long. But it’s impossible to avoid all hallway noise, so…
  8. Set the fan to “on”: After I turn the AC down low, I always turn the fan from “auto” to “on.” That way I have some white noise all night long, which is better than hearing the loud tipsy couple in the hallway searching for their room key at 2AM (it happens even in the best hotels).
  9. Don’t turn on the TV without a plan: Hotel TV’s are just porn traps. The main menu has an option for “Adults Only.” If you avoid it and click “Movies” then you’ll be greeted with another “Adults Only.” If you avoid it again and click current releases, sometimes it will ask you again, “Do you want an Adult current release.” And if you start flipping the channels, it isn’t much better. Most hotels come with HoTime or the other one… and they all have more eye candy than any man needs while in a hotel alone. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to “flee” porn these days.  Avoid the TV.

And my last tip…

10. Tip the maid: This might not do much for you, but it sure brightens up their day. Leave $2 or $3 on the pillow with a note saying, “Thanks.” They work hard for little.

(tomorrow I’ll give my “airline tips”)

What about you? What tips do you have?

2 Replies to “10 Tips to Hoteling”

  1. Good tips … here are my adjustments / additions … that I’ve learned over the years, and especially after one year where I spent one of every four days on average in a hotel room.

    Re #10 … Yes leave a tip for the maid … NEVER leave it on the bed or night stand. That has another meaning that you don’t want to leave. So grab the pen and paper near the phone that the hotel provides, and write a note that simple says “thank you” and leave the $2-5 tip and note on the DESK. And do it each night, since the staff may change during your stay.

    Room temp … lots of room temp tips … here’s my addition to all of those tips … keep the bathroom door closed. Hotel bathrooms have ventilation systems that are always on (even if you do not hear them … if the door to the bathroom stays open … any hot or cold air you pump into the room will get sucked out through the bathroom. Keep that door closed and the AC will work less and maintain a more constant temp throughout the night.

    Completely agree with the hotel loyalty … I’m leaving on a trip next week and have layover nights on the travel there and back … hotel covered both ways because of loyalty points … reducing the cost of this vacation trip.

    And one more tip … toiletries … do you have a shampoo or soap brand that you prefer? Check the travel size aisle of your grocery store or Wal-Mart / Target and see if they have them. They take up little to no space in your luggage, and what space they do use is gained back as you use the products and dispose of the empties. And for those who fly, it’s easy to use a small zip lock bag to hold that shampoo, soap & mouthwash.

    Oh, and one in advance … for the flyer’s next week since I’ll be on vacation. All liquids packed in luggage … are themselves in their own ziplock bags. No more leaking all over the clothes you want to wear the next day. I’ve got more, but I’ll let JM take the next shots …

  2. Sometimes my husband leaves the maid a $5 tip in a little pocket Gideon Testament with a note of thanks.

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