Gone are the days where we have to pack our entire livelihoods into just one suitcase. These days, more than ever, people are adopting the clever minimalist mentality - this means packing light, only taking the essentials, and being ready to buy anything for which a need comes apparent while on vacation.
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Often, however, we don't even have to buy these things. If you're low on shampoo, forgot your phone charger, or just need a bike to ride around the city, most guests are pleased to discover that majority of hotels actually offer these, plus a number of other amenities, at absolutely no cost. Here are 10 free things that you can get at hotels if you only ask.
10 A map
No matter whether you’re staying in a 12-bed dorm room in a low-budget hostel in Amsterdam or the 5-star Ritz-Carlton where bellboys carry your bags for you, the concierge at any accommodation will always be willing to give their guests the local insight. All you have to do is ask, and nine times out of ten, the hotel will be happy to provide a map of the local area.
Since the hotel staff usually live in the city, they can easily point out the best nearby restaurants, hottest nightclubs, most-popular tourist attractions, and the lesser-known local favorites.
9 Room upgrades
That’s right, you can actually get upgraded to the penthouse suite absolutely free of charge. How exactly? Just ask! The worst thing that could happen is that the concierge says no, due to a prior booking or because they just don’t feel like being unnecessarily nice today.
However, if you don a smile, be polite, and ask nicely, there’s a fair chance that the staff can bump you up into a fancier suite, free of charge. It might not be the king suite at Caesars Palace but you might be gifted a room with a better view or a comfier bed - can’t say no to that, right?
8 A hairdryer
Time and time again, (silly) travelers pack their heavy, bulky hairdryer in their suitcase already overstuffed with far too many identical outfits and wildly unnecessary nik-naks (do you really need that yo-yo?). Not only does this add extra weight to our luggage, but it’s also something that almost certainly won’t be used nearly as much as you envisioned.
Plus, pretty much every hotel on the face of the earth has hair dryers on hand. If they’re not already provided in your room, head down to the concierge and they’ll be able to arrange one for you.
7 A bigger (or smaller) bed
More often than not, hotels are decked out with plenty of almost-identical rooms, with the only difference being the type of bed. Some offer double beds, usually intended for couples, while others offer two twin beds, for those who want to snuggle with nothing but their own pillow.
Often when booking a hotel room, however, guests aren’t given the chance to choose between the two options. The solution is easy though - if you know what you want all you have to do it, of course, ask! Assuming that they have the other type of room available, it should be no issue swapping.
6 a Phone charger
If you’ve galavanted across the Southern USA, only to have realized that you’ve left your phone charger on the bus from New Orleans to Memphis, fear not! Odds are that your hotel will have a handful of spares lying around for you to use (or if they’re really nice, to keep).
Similarly, many hotels also have international power adapters ready for guests to use. So if you’ve arrived at your destination only to discover that New York and London don’t use the same plugs, all you have to do is ask.
5 An Umbrella
Rain, rain go away, come again another day. Sometimes, whether we like it or not, the warm, sunny weather we hoped for on vacation just doesn’t come out to play, no matter how nicely we ask. In cities like Melbourne, London, Vancouver or Seattle, just to name a few, the weather can be rather temperamental. Nobody wants to pack an umbrella, though. Thankfully, it's hotels to the rescue yet again!
Inclement weather shouldn’t ruin our vacation, and even though the idea of room service to our fancy hotel room three times a day sounds enticing, it’s not why you’re we’re on vacation in the first place. Grab an umbrella from the front desk and power through!
4 Extra pillows
There’s nothing quite like the comforting feeling of sleeping in our own bed. When we’re traveling, however, we have to make do with the unfamiliar. If you’re the type of person who needs four pillows to sleep (two to rest your head on and two to use as cuddle buddies, perhaps), then the hotels will be happy to oblige.
Their aim is for you to have the most comfortable and pleasant stay possible, so that you’ll either A) recommend the accommodation to your friends and family, or B) come back again.
3 A disposable razor and shaving cream
No matter if we’re going on a beach retreat in Florida or an ultra-romantic honeymoon getaway in the Bahamas, there’s always one thing we forget to bring on vacation - more often than not, it’s the sneaky disposable razor. Hotels are well aware of this, and considering that the basic razors cost next to nothing for them to have on-hand, they are more than happy to offer them to their guests.
If you’re content with heading to the beach with a little extra hair, then by all means, by our guest. If smooth baby-like skin is what you prefer, however, just ask the guy or girl at the front desk for a throwaway razor.
2 Shower products
This one should come as no surprise - those teenie-tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner and shower gel are iconic with hotels around the world. But just because they come in a cute bottle that looks like it was made for a smurf, it doesn’t mean that that’s all you have access to.
If you run out after hiking up through the Adirondacks and need a little extra shampoo for your long, blond locks, simply head down to the front desk and ask for a couple of extra bottles - they have thousands on hand, so it’s not a worry in the slightest.
1 A Bike
When we’re galavanting across the world, trying to explore each inch of a city in the span of just a few days, it’s seldom possible to fit it all in. One way to maximize your time is by ditching the walking shoes and hopping on a bike. It’s faster than walking and cheaper than driving or taking public transport and is generally the best way to explore relatively small cities.
A number of small, independent accommodations offer free bikes included with your room stay. In places like Amsterdam, Tulum, and Copenhagen it’s commonplace - in cities like Los Angeles, for example, don’t even think about biking.