So you've had a long flight or drive to the hotel. You may be exhausted and just want to take a quick nap before your holiday adventure starts. It is quite common for hotel guests to just throw themselves on top of the bed as soon as they get into their room. Er, for your own sake, we highly recommend that you don’t do that.
Why? Well, not to alarm you or anything, but this room has probably just had a visitor and truth be told – you just don’t know what to expect. Although most hotel staff will prepare the room as best as they can to make sure that it’s in perfect condition by the time you arrive, at the end of the day, they are human beings and they may have missed some things. You certainly want to check that out before you get comfortable.
It’s not just about cleanliness though. There are plenty of other things you should take care of before you dive into that lovely hotel bed that seems to be calling your name. Read down below to find out the 20 things you should definitely do as soon as you check into your hotel room.
20 Sanitize Spots where People tend to Touch
It is a good rule of thumb to always travel with sanitizing wet wipes. Sure, the hotel staff will clean the room as they prepare it for your arrival but cleaning a room and sanitizing it are two different things. You want to wipe down all the common areas where people tend to touch a lot – light switches, tv remotes, ac unit controls, door handles and everywhere else where it would be expected for people to touch. While doing this wipe down, make sure that you don’t touch your face. This will only transfer the germs to you and that will defeat the whole purpose of this exercise.
19 Check Bed for Bedbugs
This is a little unfortunate and perhaps even annoying but trust us when we say that you’ll be sleeping a lot more peacefully once you know that there are no bedbugs in your sheets. By now, we’ve all heard about how bedbugs can live and breed on beds, couches, and even hitch rides in our luggage bags.
You, therefore, want to make sure that you check for them as soon as you enter your hotel room. Pull back the sheets and inspect them carefully. You can even lift the mattress and use a torchlight to see properly. If you spot anything, chances are, there are plenty more so the best option would be to alert the hotel staff and request a different room…and of course, you’ll repeat this step as soon as you arrive in your different room.
18 Get Rid of the Comforter
This may come as a bit of a surprise to you because you aren’t going to be sleeping on the comforter, you’ll be sleeping in the sheets. What could possibly be the problem with a simple comforter? Well, loads actually. Hotels tend to focus more on changing and cleaning sheets than changing and cleaning comforters. This means that while your sheets may have been changed for your arrival, the comforter might not have been. You don’t want to be sleeping on something the previous guest was using. You don’t even know them. It is, therefore, best to remove it from your bed.
17 Check All Hiding Spots
Your hotel room doesn’t belong to you. Sure, you may have booked it for a few days but you’re the outsider walking into a room that is basically going to be your home for the next few days or so. You want to sleep comfortably in your room with knowing that there’s nothing lurking in it that shouldn’t be. So check under the bed, check the bathroom, check the closet, check any hiding spots that hotel staff may have not been able to get to, to make sure that everything is spotless. You certainly don’t want any creepy crawly sliding into your sheets while you’re trying to catch up on some much-needed rest.
16 Reset your Alarm Clock
Oh boy, this is a big one. How many times have you taken a long flight, arrived at your hotel and headed straight for your bed to catch up on some much-needed sleep? Everything is fine…until your alarm clock goes off 5 in the morning. Okay, like who wakes up at 5 in the morning while on holiday? Clearly your previous guest. You don’t know what they might have had the alarm on for. Maybe they enjoyed an early morning jog. Whatever the case may have been, the hotel staff that cleaned your room was there to do just that – clean your room. Most of the time, alarm clocks are simply just forgotten about.
15 Figure out How to Use the Safe
This is another point on the list that should definitely not be taken lightly. Sure, you’re on holiday and the last thing you want to do is think about anything bad happening to your belongings but the truth is, you just can’t trust people these days. Most hotel rooms will have a fairly simple safe system printed out for you that details how the safe works. Try it out and see if all is functioning. If not, it may be a good idea to call hotel reception about either helping you with it or requesting a new one. There are a few things in life that can totally ruin a vacation – you definitely don't want to have it be ruined by missing valuables. So do yourself a favor and sort this one out as soon as you can.
14 Don't forget the Fire Escape Map
While we're on the subject of safety, you certainly don't want to forget about studying the fire escape map. Sure, you’re there on holiday and you certainly don’t want to think of anything bad happening while you’re there but hey, you just never know. There may be an unexpected fire alarm or plenty of other reasons that might require a hotel evacuation situation. If that were to happen, you will be glad that you know exactly where to go. Make sure to study it while you’re still fresh and have the energy to figure out the map. This is because trying to figure it out when that alarm suddenly goes off is sometimes a difficult thing to do.
13 Unpack Immediately
Okay, we understand that you’ve probably just traveled far to get to your destination. You want to either fall into your bed and sleep or get out there and explore the exciting new city or town you find yourself in. Opening up your luggage bag and sorting out your outfits is the last thing you feel like doing. We get it but trust us, you’ll be thankful that you took care of this tedious task right away.
Elle highlights how unpacking immediately can help make the room feel a little more like “’home”. “Living out of your suitcase is the surest way to feel transient. Unpack bulky items, whether camera equipment or your body weight in shoes that you use frequently so they’re easy to see all at once. Hang clothes or utilize dresser drawers too. It’ll help keep things from wrinkling and make getting dressed easier.”
12 Make Sure Temperature Controls Work
Ah, so you checked into your room earlier and then decided to quickly go to get lunch. You then arrive back about 4 hours later because you were either lost in this new place or you just couldn’t resist exploring this beautiful town or city you find yourself int. As you arrive back at night, you realize it’s hot and you may need to sleep with the ac on. But when you reach for the remote to try to put it on…it doesn’t work. You try to call the hotel reception and you’re told that the technician is not available and you’ll have to wait for tomorrow morning. This means that you’ll have to sleep through the night in scorching heat. Yeah, don’t do that to yourself. Just check that the temperature controls are working as soon as you arrive so that if they aren’t, it gets sorted out during the day while technicians are available.
11 Check that the Phone Works
Checking out the phone line to reception as soon as you arrive in your hotel room will help you when you least expect it. Anything can happen while you’re in your room – you may need help, you may want to ask a quick question, there may be something not right in your room, or whatever else that may need you to communicate with hotel staff about, checking that your hotel phone works will actually help a lot. While you’re at it, you may also want to check how much it costs to dial outside of the hotel. You don’t want to get unexpected bills when it is time for you to return back home.
10 Connect to Wifi
We’re in the digital age and being connected is an important part of our everyday lives. Before you even book your accommodation, it is important to always check if your room will have a free Wifi connection or if you’ll have to pay a little extra in order to get it. If your room comes with free wifi, make sure that as soon as you arrive, you check the password, connect to your mobile or whichever other devices you’ll be using to see if it is working.
If you have to pay a little for it, then speaking to the front desk about it as soon as you check in will be the answer. The whole point is to sort this out sooner, rather than later when you’ve settled in and trying to catch up on some emails but then get frustrated because you can’t connect.
9 Hang up the "Do Not Disturb" Sign
Remember that you have just checked into your room and you never know how long the room was unoccupied for. Maybe there hasn’t been a guest for a few days and one of the staff members, who forgets to check by reception if there’s anyone, still thinks that the room is unoccupied. If you’re planning on taking a shower before you go out to explore, you certainly don’t want to exit your bathroom to find anyone opening your hotel room door. Putting the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door is, therefore, a must as soon as you get into your room.
8 Assess All your Amenities
This is, perhaps, one of the most important items on this list. Assessing the amenities will help you have a better overall trip because, from the get-go, you will know what you have available to you and what you may need to go purchase from the store. This is, of course, better to do while it is still light outside.
You may also find an item or two that was on the amenities list may be missing from your room by mistake from the hotel staff. This is when it is perfect to bring it to the hotel staff’s attention instead of staying for a few days before highlighting this point as some places may have a hard time believing you if you bring this to their attention only a few days later.
7 Check Mini Bar Items Prices
So you’ve had a good stay in your hotel room. The weather has been great. The people have been friendly and all you need to do now is to check out and head back home. You arrive at the front desk and are shocked when you get slammed with a ridiculous bill that you really hadn’t budgeted for. What was the culprit? Those tasty minibar items, of course.
Make sure that you check the pricing on them and if they are not displayed in your room, request the hotel to send you the pricing. Hotel rooms tend to overprice their minibar items so be sure you are sure that you don’t eat something that you can’t afford.
6 Figure out the Food Situation
Uh, yes. Food. Everybody needs food. Being “hangry” (angry as a result of being hungry) is a real problem, people. This is why it is important to understand what you’ll be getting at the hotel. Is it just B&B? Is lunch or dinner available? Most hotels also have a restaurant setup. Ask yourself what the pricing situation is. If you have certain allergies or other dietary requirements, you would want to let the hotel staff know this information as soon as possible because you certainly don’t want to be in a situation where it’s early in the morning, you’re starving and the restaurant doesn’t have lactose free milk for your coffee and you’re lactose intolerant. That would be a sucky way to start the morning.
5 Check for Interesting Places to Explore
You may already have your own itinerary planned out for your trip but it can definitely never hurt to see what else can be explored while you’re visiting. A smart thing to do, even before heading to your room, is to also check with concierge if they can suggest any places that tourists enjoy while they are in the area.
This can also be a great time to check if there are flea markets around so that you can get yourself some lovely souvenirs, and also ask where the best eateries in the area are. Sure, you may have already googled this information, but only the locals will know if there are any discounts available at a place or if there is a hot new club that has the best pasta in town.
4 Get a Plan Together for the next Few Days
We’ve already covered how important it is to ask the locals about interesting places that you can explore as soon as you arrive at the hotel. Now it is time to actually plan and prepare for all that you want to get done. Check how long it may take to reach some of your “must see” places or your “must do” activities. Ask the reception if they can recommend a reliable taxi service to help you get around. Sure, you just got there and you don’t really want to have a schedule that is too rigid as this will prevent you from exploring new places that pop up. But you also want to have a plan together about the places or activities that you just can’t leave without visiting.
3 Figure out Where those Light Switches Are
Anyone who has had their fair share of traveling knows that hotel light switches are not so straightforward sometimes. Nope, they can be unexpectedly complicated sometimes. Depending on the region, country, or city you find yourself in, you might have a hard time late at night either figuring out how the switch works or actually finding it, to begin with. This is why this item on the list needs to be figured out as soon as you arrive, while it’s still bright outside and you’re not trying to hand feel the wall for any signs of a light switch, while it is pitch dark.
2 Know the Rules of the Room/Hotel
If you travel a lot, then you definitely know that each hotel has its own set of rules. These rules are normally laid out to you in a little book or file in the room for you to peruse over at your convenience but most people don’t even bother opening that book. Why? Well, because you’re on holiday and want to enjoy yourself. The last thing you want is to have a hard look at what you can or cannot do while you’re there. Even though this can be a little boring, trust us when we say that this might be a lifesaver for you. For instance, if you return back to your room after a long day of exploring and want to smoke, you'll want to know if you're actually allowed to do that or if you have to go outside.
1 It's Okay to Speak Up
You would be surprised at how many people don't actually speak up when they find something isn’t okay in their hotel room. Don’t misunderstand us here. We’re not saying be difficult. We’re just saying that if you’re paying to stay there, you certainly want to be comfortable.
Besides reporting something that you’re unhappy with, some travelers find that hotel staff doesn’t help them as quickly as they require them to. To help with this situation, CN Traveler highlights that you need to be “specific about your complaint. Try to provide as many details with regards to time and place as possible. The more information you can give about what went wrong and when it went wrong, the more the front desk can help you.”