Use the Ironing Board
The ironing board isn't just for ironing; every hotel has one, and their shapes lend them well for a variety of uses. Need a table to hold your laptop to attend a Zoom or watch a movie? Whip out the handy dandy ironing board and adjust to your perfect height.
If the countertop has limited space in the bathroom, consider unfolding the ironing board in there, and viola—instant table. It’s also great to eat a meal if you have a couple of kids to feed; just line them up on the bed with the ironing board at the right height.
Pack Your Favorite Snacks
Always travel with a few of your favorite snacks and beverages. You’ll find that you'll stick to your normal dietary intake if you have your favorites on-hand to nosh on. Hotel ‘pantries’ are notoriously expensive and limited in variety. Don’t be afraid to empty out the minibar to stash your stuff; it’s your space for the time being. Just line their stuff on the end table or other space you’re not using.
You can even purchase mini bottles of wine or spirits. Also, don’t forget that you can use your hotel room coffeepot to heat up water for ramen, EasyMac, or soup mixes; it’s not just for beverages.
Perform a Quick Cleanup Upon Entry
A small bottle of rubbing alcohol, a couple of small plastic baggies, and some baby wipes will help you feel safe and fresh around your room. The rubbing alcohol will quickly sterilize most hard surfaces as well as the bedding for bedbug precaution—it kills them dead on the spot. Place a plastic baggie or the hotel’s shower cap over the hotel remote so you aren't picking up all those germs.
And make sure you don’t heave your suitcase onto the bed; you’ve been rolling it behind you and don’t want all that bacteria around. A simple five-minute routine upon entering will ease your mind and erase any lingering germs.
Get it Smelling Good
A small bottle of essential oil, your favorite air freshener, or even a scented candle can help wipe away that sterile smell after you do a quick clean or revive the stalest hotel room and transform it into your space. It’s really great to dab some on a damp wash cloth and drape in front of your hotel heater or air conditioner.
This will serve two functions: avoiding that drying hotel room air and aromatherapy for your hard day’s work. Throw a couple of drops in a glass of water in your bathroom as well to invoke some peace.
Rearrange the Furniture
Hotels are notorious for having some in-room furnishings, but sometimes they’re poorly arranged. If you want a footstool, move a table or chair. If you can’t find a laundry rack, move some things around. Is the TV in front of the bed, but you want to watch from the little loveseat? Turn the TV around or scoot it down until it's at an angle appropriate for you.
Even moving a desk chair into your bathroom creates a vanity space that you may be missing from home.
Unpack Your Clothes and Toiletries
Unless you’re only at the hotel for just one night, there’s no reason not to unpack a little bit and hang up your clothes. Arrange your personal items the way you like and how it makes sense to you. (Remember that you have extra table space with the ironing board hack mentioned earlier.)
Just because you’re travelling for work doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personal preferences. Unpacking a few things makes your room seem a bit more like home. Don’t forget to grab that paper cup and poke a hole in it to hold your toothbrush upright.
Create a Little Peace and Quiet
Hotels are the worst for extraneous noise, so make sure you have a nice set of earplugs with you. As tiny as they are, they’re one of the most powerful items you can have to help ensure a night’s rest.
You might also download a white noise app if you’re used to a ceiling fan or enjoy the sound of rain. You could even take a towel, roll it up, and stash it by the bottom of the door to help muffle sound. You’ll be glad you did.
Self Care is Key
Being confined to your hotel from your home is a great time for self-care. Pack your bougie face mask, nail kit, or a fun bath bomb. You can turn on your favorite tunes on your phone, place your phone in the hotel coffee cup, and have a readymade speaker while you have some ‘me’ time by pampering yourself.
Just think: No one will be knocking on the door to tell you to hurry up, and you’ll have the bathroom to yourself without worrying about using all the hot water or doing the dishes instead. You can grab those little packets of honey, sugar, and water near the coffee service and make yourself a quick facial scrub.
Pack Your Pictures
If you’re missing your family on the road, nothing brightens up a room as quickly as a couple of your favorite pictures. Luckily, they don’t weigh a lot, and plastic frames are abundant at your local dollar store.
Carry a few of your favorite snaps with you and rotate them out every few months. You’ll be happy to see a few familiar faces even when the décor doesn’t match—and they're lightweight, so you can pack them in your carry-on!
Don't Forget Your Favorite Slippers and Loungewear
So many of us focus on what we need for business wear that we forget about our loungewear. You don’t want to pad around barefoot in your room, so throw in a pair of comfortable slippers and bring your comfiest lounging clothes as well.
After you’ve spent a hard day of traveling or meetings, nothing feels quite as good as slipping on a pair of your favorite yoga pants or sweats with a soft t-shirt. If you don’t have slippers, bring a pair of your favorite socks; they’ll help keep your feet clean from the hotel carpet and allow you the opportunity really sink into clean sheets.
Use the Hotel Hangers
Every hotel room provides them, but they’re not just for hanging clothes. Use the hanger with clamps to help hold your curtains shut by turning it sideways. You can also use that hanger to help close a snack bag, hold a set of cords in the bathroom, or hand something to dry.
Use a regular hanger to hold your bathroom reading; you can place your magazine or book over the middle of the hanger. But the best use for a hotel hangar is to hold open your door, as your closet is normally right behind the door. Simply use the corner of the hanger to grab the door arm.
Pack Your Pillbox with Jewelry
A small pillbox is a great way to organize; it's not just your medicines. Those cheap little plastic containers are perfect for organizing jewelry to coordinate with your outfits. Your chains and earrings will benefit from being individually stored instead of thrown into a tiny bag, where they form a clump that you’ll have to spend time entangling later.
And don’t forget to include a couple of safety pins in there, because we never need them until we’re on the road.
Snag Those Free Toiletries and Shower Caps
One thing you do receive at hotels are free toiletries. And while you may already be traveling with small sizes of your favorites, don’t neglect these free items. If you travel a lot, you’ll know that you end up with a pretty substantial collection—which is great for organizations like Samaritans Purse or your local homeless outreach efforts.
And shower caps are fantastic for packing shoes, covering the remote if you forgot your plastic baggie, or stashing dirty underthings for the ride back home.
The Blow Dryer Has More Than One Purpose
If you have a blow dryer in your bathroom, use it to create a clothesline. It’s a great way to air out some dirty items you may be traveling with.
You can also heat up foods with your dryer—so even a prepackaged blueberry muffin tastes better with coffee. Feeling a chill? Use the dryer to heat up a towel or some socks to snuggle in.
Use the Hotel TV As a Monitor
Pack a simple HDMI cable (or lightning HDMI converter if you’re using Apple) and use the TV as a monitor for your laptop. You can see your work in large format and also stream your favorite media without logging into the hotel’s system. This will protect your passwords a little better and you can start and stop without losing your place by using your laptop.
Also, look on the back of the hotel TV and you’ll likely find a USB plug, which can be used as a charger if you forgot your little plug!