Wanting to learn smart travel hacks to deal with those rare but unfortunately possible dirty hotel rooms? Then read on fellow travellers to discover how to survive horror hotel rooms while budget travelling!
If you are a budget traveller, you might have experienced the odd horror hotel room. Sometimes it's unavoidable. A few times we have rolled up to small offbeat towns and there has been no decent accommodation available. Weird little border towns will usually do the trick!
If you have ever experienced the horror hotel room then you will relate, if not then imagine this…(true story disclaimer). You walk into your accommodation after a long day (or two) of bus travel on dusty roads. You are welcomed by the comfort of a dark, musty room, with sheets that definitely don't look clean. You don’t want to touch the bed let alone sleep in it! There is rubbish and used soap left in the bathroom from the previous 5 guests along with a dirty ashtray on the table. The walls have very interesting marks all over them, could be hmm lets see….mould? The toilet is a brownish tinge and you notice a few cockroaches lingering. Your worst nightmare? Ours too! But hey, we have some smart hotel room hacks and tips to help you deal with a situation just like this.
Avoid if Possible
Our first tip is preventative rather than corrective. As a general rule of thumb we use popular booking sites like booking.com to book our accommodation and avoid hotel duds. Make sure you check hotel reviews thoroughly before booking. Things to look out for when scanning reviews are reports of bed bugs, bad smells, untrusting staff and dirty sheets. Booking.com is great in that you can filter your search results to show hotels within your budget and and review score preferences. Generally any review score lower than a 6 rating is a no go zone for us. We usually try and stay above a 7 when possible.
If your options are limited and you are stuck with a terrible hotel then follow these next steps:
Use baby wipes to wipe surfaces like the toilet seat and the TV remote! Aaaah thats better.
Sleeping Bag Liner
I am a bit of a germophobe so I actually travel with a sheet and a pillowcase (yes I am strange). I am not saying you need to pack a full set of double sheets. However, a simple sleeping bag liner will provide protection between you and the dirty sheets. You could even use a sarong if you don't have a sleeping bag liner handy.
Avoid dirty shower floors & possible fungal infections and always wear flip flops when showering and heading to the toilet. I actually wear flip flops in all hotel rooms, you just never know how thorough the cleaning job has been done, and I bet the shower floor isn't a priority job during fast hotel room turnarounds!
Check your bed for bedbugs as soon as you arrive. If you spot them, let staff know and ask to change rooms! Luckily we have never had to sleep with bedbugs - phew!
The Dirty Towel
Many budget hotels wont supply towels. If they do and your room is already a bit of a dump, then I wouldn't trust the towels. So its best as budget travellers to pack a small travel towel for these sticky situations.
The Hard Bed
After years of travelling through Asia, we have become accustomed to hard beds. But for those who like a softer bed, a nice little travel hack is to ask for extra blankets. Just lay the blankets on the mattress for extra cushioning.
Thin walls and noisy streets are not a good combo. So avoid a terrible night sleep and bring ear plugs. These beauties will have multiple uses like during overnight train or bus travel and they are super small and light to fit in your bag.
We travel with our own padlocks and will definitely use them if we feel the accommodation is a bit on the dodgy side. Some hotel rooms use a padlock system to lock the doors, in this case we just replace the hotel padlock with our own, that way we are the only ones with the key! If we can’t lock the hotel room door with our own lock, then we usually lock our bags as an extra level of security. Bonus tip: check that your windows lock properly and if not ask to change rooms.
Sometimes it's just good to let staff know that your not happy. If the sheets are dirty, then ask for fresh ones. If the fan is not working, then ask for a replacement. You can even ask to see another room, it might just be that little bit better. This approach wont always work out, but usually staff can be pretty helpful and it's worth a try.
As a self proclaimed germophobe this one is hard for me to do. But at the end of the day if you are stuck with a dirty hotel room, you just have to make the best of it. Usually it's just a one night stay & hey….at least you are prepared with all these hacks and tips we have shared with you. Plus it will make for a funny travel story in hindsight!
So we hope these dirty hotel room tips and hacks were helpful! Even more so, we hope you don’t have to deal with a horror hotel room in the future!
We are Reti & Bianca a couple of adventure seekers from Aotearoa New Zealand. Welcome to our travel stories hub, we are super happy you are here! We share our experiences and provide travel guides, tips and inspiration for anyone who wants to get intrepid!
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