Ultimate Hotel Guide : Essential Tips for Staying in a Hotel

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Last Updated on July 3, 2022 by Christine Kaaloa

Tips for staying at hotels, hotel tips, hotel etiquette
Important Tips for Staying in Hotels

 

Sometimes, staying in hotels can give me a little  anxiety. While travelers appreciate the pampering and the privacy their own hotel room, some travelers experience stress about where to book their accommodations and hotel etiquette. To take the stress out of the hotel experience, I want to share tips for staying in hotels.

Essential Tips for Staying in Hotels (video)

Here’s important tips for staying in hotels, so you can enjoy your future stay without the stress!

Travel Guide to Staying in Hotels

 

Ultimate Hotel Guide: Tips for Staying in a Hotel

1. How do you choose your hotel?

•  Location, location, location.. stay in the city.

Like many travelers, I like to navigate the city quickly and easily. I don’t want to stay somewhere far outside of the city, where I have to take taxis to get into the city. Aside from convenience, I often stay out late filming and staying away from public transportation means costly dollars spent.  Instead, I like to be located in the city. I like to walk out on the street and the town is right there.

• Research hotel reviews.

Always check hotel reviews and the hotel website. Happy or angry customers will certainly have their opinion and this is helpful. Most of my Asia travel, I used to book with Agoda. In the past, they’ve been handy for booking guesthouses for Asia and Southeast Asia countries as I think the commission rates are lower than western hotel aggregators. However, Booking.com is my favorite hotel search engine as they do not charge a cancellation fee, so you can reserve multiple hotels and then cancel them before your cancellation window expires.

Tip: The no cancellation fee aspect is handy when you need to provide proof of a hotel stay when you are still deciding or hoping to make your final decision after you arrive at your destination.

Read: 46 ways to travel for cheap

• Convenience to public transportation and sightseeing landmarks.  

Having a metro station or bus stop located five minutes away is ideal to me. When I arrive after a long flight or bus ride, I just want to go straight to my hotel. The last thing I want is to be walking around the city for an hour, dragging my luggage around.

2. What is your security tip for staying at a hotel you feel unsafe in?

Obviously, I would not book a hotel I do not feel safe in. But let’s say I book a hotel whose security is questionable. If my room has a chain lock on the door,  I’ll use that when I’m hanging out in my room or sleeping.

Definitely check the hotel reviews of the hotel you book to see if anyone has had unsafe experiences and how they handled it.

3. Do you use a doorstop?

I  take a doorstop with me for guesthouses. For most of the hotels that I’ve stayed at, I’ve not needed to use a doorstop however.

4. Do you leave your stuff in your room?

Do you unpack your clothes, keep it away or toothbrush or other item so that it wouldn’t get stolen? Once the cleaners get an idea that you’re staying alone will they steal from you? Should I fake that someone else is staying with me by having an extra pair of shoes maybe men’s shoes. What if my suitcase gets stolen with all my clothes, what should I do?

• A thieving maid is more the exception than the rule.

Having worked in the hospitality industry for a brief stint, I know that workers are very dedicated to the work that they do and they try their best to create a good experience for people. Nobody wants to lose their job. Nobody wants to be accused of stealing.

• Do not leave your valuables lying out.

I will not leave any valuables hanging out. Money and valuables like your laptop or YouTube camera equipment are best packed in your bag before you leave your room. If you are staying in a hostel, store them in your locker.

• Take valuables with you.

If I’m staying at guesthouses or hostels, where I feel like the doors feel a little flimsy and easy to open or the hostel locker doesn’t feel stable… I will take all my valuables with me (that includes my laptop!). I will pack it in my daypack and take that around with me sightseeing. Some travelers like to leave their valuables in their hotel vault. I recommend that only if you can remember that you’ve hidden it there.

Read my essential tips for staying at a hostel

 • DO put your  “Do not disturb” sign on your door.

When I used to worked as traveling camera crew, I stayed in hotel rooms from days to a month. As I had a lot of expensive equipment in my room, I didn’t want the maid to tamper, clean or organize. I also I didn’t want to pack everything up my belongings every day, before I left for a shoot. So I put out the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.

• Always do a once over of your room before checking out.

I always go through all the closets, drawers and look under and on my bed to make sure I don’t leave any personal items behind.

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How much of your stuff should you leave out when you leave your room?

5. Are hotel room safes safe?

Using the hotel room safe is a matter of personal preference. I personally do not like using hotel safes, so I would not know how safe it is but other travelers swear by them. I like to keep my stuff organized and in very visible sight so they are accounted for. I don’t like to put things in spaces where it can be concealed and I can forget them!

If I’m running late for my plane, but I forget that I’ve left stuff like my passport, in the safe… it means I’m definitely making a trip to go back.

6. What’s a good time to be off the streets?

If you feel like you know the place is sketchy or you don’t feel confident traveling at night,  a good time to be off the streets is 7 pm-9 pm. If you’re comfortable then maybe 10 pm.  There are other travelers, who will suggest not going out at night. I personally don’t return to my hotel until it’s midnight because filming YouTube travel videos is my job!

As a solo traveler, if you want the freedom to move around as you wish, you need to be proactive and on your toes. Practice travel street smarts often. I dress down, don’t walk in dark alleys and have my guard on high alert. I pay attention to my surroundings, especially if they’re foreign.

Read Important Safety Tips for Solo Travelers… it could save your life!

There are many things to enjoy at night even if you are a solo traveler. To completely remove evening activities from your itinerary is removing a part of the culture and lifestyle of that city. When I was in India, I was in Darjeeling the streets are lit and people roam the streets as if it were a street festival. Shops are open and tourists are buying souvenirs. Families are going out for dinner. It’s really up to your comfort level.

7. Tipping Etiquette in Hotels

I feel tipping should be a personal preference, based on budget and cultural etiquette.  In the U.S., tips are expected. Americans believe in tipping in hotels, cafes, restaurants, deliveries, apartment doormen, a lot of places!  It’s a social etiquette and practice that turned grossly into an expectation and horrible societal practice enforced by bad employment practices.

Generally, being American, I tip on a sliding scale depending upon the country’s dollar value. I know that house cleaning work is effort and it’s not fun to clean after piggy travelers.  Sometimes, when maids see they’re being appreciated, they give a little extra effort or leave extra toiletries.  Some travelers tip daily, whenever they request their room cleaned, while others tip a lump sum at the end of their stay.

If I’m going to Las Vegas, I  tip about a dollar a day to the hotel maid; if it’s a nice hotel and there’s a lot of pampering or extras they bring, I might tip a little more.  But a hotel in Cambodia, I might tip what’s considered a dollar in their currency.

There are no tipping countries, like Japan where tipping is considered offensive or is already included in the final bill and is not expected.  Asians coming from Asia, will stay at American hotels and don’t tip. Australians might be taken aback by the idea, as companies pay a high minimum wage. In the end, it’s up to you as to how you enjoy the hospitality staff and how generous you feel.

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8. What if you don’t have the budget to tip every single day, but you feel pressured.

I put out the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on my door and I don’t let the cleaner clean my room.  I also believe in being an eco-friendly traveler and avoiding waste. I don’t need fresh towels, my bed to be fluffed or new toiletries and soap every day.  That Do not disturb sign is the one fix for everything.  A safe room, no excessive waste and I don’t have to tip every day.

Read my ecofriendly tips for travelers

Watch my Hotel Routine

This is the standard hotel routine I go through when encountering a new hotel room. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a budget guesthouse or a luxury hotel.

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If you were writing a travel guide to staying at hotels, what would some of your tips be?

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8 Comments.

  • Thanks for reminding me to check hotel reviews first before booking with them. I need to attend a wedding in Anchorage, AK, and since accommodation isn’t included, I need to stay in a hotel room overnight. I’ll try to look online as you advised and check my lodging options that are filled with 5-star reviews.

  • My boyfriend and I are looking for advice to choose a good hotel we can stay at when going to Seattle. I like that you recommend staying as close to the city as possible, and if possible in the actual city, as well as reviewing the hotel reviews. I will definitely make sure that I do deep research so that we stay in a decent place.

  • Rosie Beckett
    July 22, 2020 7:52 am

    My husband has been really stressed with work for the past two months, so I’m planning a surprise trip for his birthday coming up in October, and I want to make sure that we find the perfect hotel to stay at! Thank you for explaining that most booking websites have a section for reviews from their customers. Looking at reviews is vital for me to make sure we find a hotel with the best customer service and amenities.

  • I would take a photo of how I leave the room and my personal belongings in the hotel room. I would take the same many photos using my camera. Upon my return, I would discard the photos when my items were not interrupted.

  • I never thought about how you should stay in the city when finding a hotel. My sister was telling me last night how she’s wanting to plan one last summer trip and was struggling with finding the right place to stay. I’ll make sure to pass these tips along to her as she searches for hotels!

  • I have been a very bad experience of Hotels, You have mentioned some useful points here that can help to overcome from such an aweful situations.

  • Great advice… I’ve ended up in some shocking hotels and it can really ruin your travels! So true about being travel street smart! xx

  • where tips are expected, they are a part of your cleaner’s salary. I put the door not distrub sign out AND tip too.

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