9 hotel room hacks you didn’t know you needed

by Сашка

How clothes hangers and duct tape can help you create a cleaner, safer room

Although hotels are meant to be oases of rest and relaxation, they can easily become sources of anxiety. The showers can be impossible to work, the curtains may not close and randomly blinking lights may keep you awake at night. Considering the germs, the constrictive spaces and the potential for break-ins, the supposed havens may offer more stress than stress-relief.

Unified by these fears, social media users around the world have come together to share their best hotel room tips. We scoured online suggestions and also spoke with PBS host and entrepreneur Samantha Brown about her best advice. Here are some ways to help your next hotel stay go smoothly:

Use the ironing board as a suitcase stand

This hack will help you avoid crouching on the floor over and over again and provides more support than the small luggage racks that come with your room. Brown takes this a step further by using the ironing board as a table wherever she needs it. She has even used it as extra counter space in the bathroom when there was nowhere to put her toiletries.

“The great thing about the ironing board is it’s four feet more counter space, and it’s something that everyone can use in the hotel, especially if you’re sharing it with anyone,” Brown said. “I often use it as a stand-up desk as well. I’ve also used it as a TV tray for my kids when they were watching a movie.”

Use a hanger to clip your curtains shut

This trick for eliminating light leakage went viral in 2019 and is beloved by people who can only sleep in pitch-black darkness — or those who just want some extra privacy.

Ward off intruders with common items

Speaking of hangers, you can use them to create a secondary lock on your door. Slide the door handle and the latch into the center of the hanger, or, if they’re too far apart, link two hangers together by putting the hook of one into the corner of the other, then putting the free hook over the latch and the opposite corner of the other over the door handle. This can help you feel more secure while you sleep and prevent criminals from breaking into your room by unlatching the locks on the door.

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For added protection, tuck a washcloth or small towel into the latch. This will prevent anyone with a wire or any other device that can slide through the crack in the door from doing so, keeping you safer while you sleep.

You can also put a lint roller at the base of your door; the friction against the carpet will help prevent potential intruders from opening it. In the morning, peel off the layer of paper that touched the floor and use it for its original purpose.

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Make your own toothbrush holder

In the bathroom, punch a hole through the bottom of a paper cup to hold your toothbrush. Keep germs away from your mouth with this hack. Plus, it solves the issue of the cup tilting over and your toothbrush spilling out onto the even germier floor.

Look for charging ports on the TV

If you’ve forgotten your charging block at home, plug your charger into the USB port on the back of the hotel TV. Be careful with this one, though, as some public charging ports can be tapped by criminals to download personal information from your phone or insert malware.

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Use a shoe as a reminder to pack your passport

If you’re prone to leaving your passport and wallet in the hotel safe when you check out, try putting one or both shoes in the safe as well. You won’t be able to leave without your shoes, and you’ll be forced to remember your valuables.

Travel with a soapy sponge

It can be a challenge to keep reusable water bottles and other containers clean while in a hotel room, and no one wants to pack dish soap as part of their precious 8-ounce liquid limit. Brown suggests soaking a sponge in dish soap and letting it dry before you leave the house. Then, cut it into several smaller pieces and put them in a plastic bag. When you want to clean your containers, wet the small sponge and the dish soap will reactivate.

Childproof your room with duct tape

Another favorite tip of Brown’s is bringing a roll of duct tape, especially if you’re a parent. Tape over an outlet to protect younger children or stack layers onto sharp corners to prevent injuries. Plus, you can use it to tape over those pesky flashing lights or repair any damaged objects. Brown also recommends gaffer tape, though it may be more difficult to find than duct tape.

Use the coffee maker to cook meals

If you want a snack but your room doesn’t have a microwave, you can use the coffee maker to boil water for instant noodles or oatmeal. Another advisory here: It’s hard to know how often these machines are cleaned, so it’s a smart idea to clean it thoroughly yourself before you chow down.


A previous version of this article misstated the TV channel where Samantha Brown currently appears. It is PBS, not the Travel Channel. The article has been corrected.

More travel tips

Vacation planning: Start with a strategy to maximize days off by taking PTO around holidays. Experts recommend taking multiple short trips for peak happiness. Want to take an ambitious trip? Here are 12 destinations to try this year — without crowds.

Cheap flights: Follow our best advice for scoring low airfare, including setting flight price alerts and subscribing to deal newsletters. If you’re set on an expensive getaway, here’s a plan to save up without straining your credit limit.

Airport chaos: We’ve got advice for every scenario, from canceled flights to lost luggage. Stuck at the rental car counter? These tips can speed up the process. And following these 52 rules of flying should make the experience better for everyone.

Expert advice: Our By The Way Concierge solves readers’ dilemmas, including whether it’s okay to ditch a partner at security, or what happens if you get caught flying with weed. Submit your question here. Or you could look to the gurus: Lonely Planet and Rick Steves.

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