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Hotel reception with bell
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11 Travel Secrets I Learned Working in a Hotel

SmarterTravel

I haven’t traveled the same since working in a hotel. Seeing the inner workings of a hotel was eye-opening to me, and taught me a number of tips and tricks to make my personal travel life better. 

Although I didn’t work in an upscale hotel, practices across hotels and hotel chains tend to be pretty similar, so my advice can help you out no matter where you’re going. 

White Sheets Look Cleaner (and They Usually Are)

Person placing folded white sheets on white bed
papzi | Adobe Stock

The sheets are white so they can be bleached out. If there’s evidence of body fluids, hotels soak them in a solution overnight to disinfect and remove the stain. Treatments like this are fairly common and sheets wear out quickly. They typically don’t last more than a year and are frequently replaced. Also, housekeepers replace all linens in the room, even if one of the beds doesn’t look like it has been slept in. When I stay at a hotel, I usually feel pretty confident the sheets are clean. 

Odds Are Good You Can Get a Last-Minute Deal

Hotels don’t fill up as often as you would think. It always seems that way when you’re a traveler and you get to your crowded hotel on a holiday weekend, but there’s almost always a room. What this means is, if you’re looking to save money on a hotel room, odds are good that you’ll be able to get a last-minute deal on it, especially if you don’t go during peak travel dates. 

Don’t Sleep With the Bedspread

Bedspreads are almost never washed between guests. In fact, if I see a patterned bedspread in the pictures of the hotel online, I won’t book it. I look for a hotel room with all-white linens—something that has to be cleaned between guests. If you do get a hotel room with a bedsheet or anything else decorative on the bed (like pillows), take it off before you sit or sleep on the bed. 

Bring a Bleach Wipe

Woman sanitizing remote control
papzi | Adobe Stock

The TV remote is one of the grossest things in the hotel. You can wipe it down with a bleach wipe or put one of the plastic bags from the ice bucket over it. Microwaves, fridges, coffee makers, ice buckets, phones, and other high-touch areas of the room are also culprits for germs. 

Be Wary of Booking With an Online Travel Agency

Online travel agencies (OTAs) can be one of the worst places to book your hotel. You’re not able to get an upgrade and you’re usually assigned the worst rooms in the hotel.

Did You Know These Discounts Exist?

Hotel employee @haleewithaflair says on TikTok that there are a lot of discounts hotels offer that travelers often forget to ask for. These include hospital rates, extended stay rates, corporate rates, attraction discounts, and university rates. 

Joining the Hotel’s Loyalty Program Can Pay off 

Two guests checking into hotel
Flamingo Images | Adobe Stock

TikTok user @plain_jane_aj says, “It’s a lot more than earning points for free night stays. Some hotel rewards programs will give you free upgrades to suites, free treats and water at check in, free early check-ins, free late check-outs and if you’re a member of the hotel’s rewards program, you’re more likely to get your request met. If we book up and have to walk a guest to another hotel, it’s less likely to be a rewards member.”

Bed Bugs Aren’t Common, but You Should Still Check

You can check for bed bugs in the back of the mattress by pulling up the sheets and searching between the folds. Fortunately, bed bugs aren’t very common, but they can be easy to bring home if they are in your hotel room, so you should always look for them before settling in.

Carpets Are Rarely Cleaned

Don’t walk on the carpet with bare feet. TikTok user and Las Vegas hotel employee @itsagracebigworld reveals hotel carpets get shampooed once a year, at best. Instead of walking on the carpet barefoot, you can ask the front desk for slippers or bring your own.

You Can Help Your Housekeeper Out

Hotel housekeeper making a bed
Yakobchuk Olena | Adobe Stock

So much of a housekeeper’s job involves repetitious, physical tasks that are hard on the body. @haleewithaflair says you can help out housekeeping by taking the sheets, pillowcases, and duvets off your bed. Making your bed actually makes the housekeeper’s job harder. You can also make a single pile of used towels on the bathroom floor to help your housekeeper out. And don’t forget to tip!

You Can Borrow a Cell Phone Charger From the Hotel

Forgot something? Call the front desk. They may be willing to lend out items from the lost and found. One of the most common items left by past guests is a cell phone charger. If you’ve forgotten yours, you may be able to get one from the hotel’s lost and found collection. 

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