Home » 31 Amazing Hotel Hacks / Hotel Tips Business Travel Pros Use All The Time
31 Amazing Hotel Hacks Travel Pros Use all the Time

31 Amazing Hotel Hacks / Hotel Tips Business Travel Pros Use All The Time

by Jeremy B

Level up your hotel experience with 31 hotel hacks and hotel tips that business travel professionals use all the time.

So, what’s a business travel pro? Great question. They used to be the weekly road warriors before the pandemic. These were the folks traveling for work every week. The ones who flew out on Monday and back on Friday, staying in an endless repetition of hotels. Sure, the pandemic has slowed them down, but many of them are still traveling and quite a few of them kept traveling during the pandemic. And although the business travel landscape has changed, these are still some of the savviest travelers around.

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They know how to pick the right hotel by just looking at the picture. They never waste time or money on silly things like an expensive hotel breakfast. They almost always get upgraded to a nicer room and they always earn more bonus points than you!

Here are the 31 Hotel Hacks / Hotel Tips brought to you by seasoned travel professionals and designed to help you level up your hotel game. If you are a newbie business traveler, these tips will probably help. If you are a leisure traveler looking to improve your hotel game you will benefit from these tips too; just pick and choose what works for you and discard the rest.

31 Hotel Hacks & Hotel Tips

We’ve divided this list of hotel hacks and hotel tips into the following categories:

  • Hotels Hacks for picking or booking your hotel
  • Hotel Hacks for checking in / out
  • Hotel Hacks for staying safe
  • Hotels Hacks for the room or stay itself

Let’s jump in!

Hotel Hacks for Picking a Hotel

Here are some practical hotel tips or hacks for picking / booking your hotel.

Stick with a single hotel brand

Generally speaking, sticking with a single hotel brand will yield a better experience over time. This is less important these days with the dilution of many loyalty programs and the ease at which mid-tier status can be achieved using credit card benefits, but nevertheless, loyalty to a brand can still be worth its weight in upgrades.

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You can accumulate points status quicker this way. For example, I stay at Hilton properties 99% of the time. Hilton offers a variety of privileges including free breakfast, room upgrades, access to the executive lounge, bonus points, snacks, etc to their higher-tier members. Marriott has a similar program as do most hotel chains.

I have literally lost track of the number of times that having Hilton’s Diamond status has helped me sort out an issue with a stay or booking and I know many people share similar stories with other hotel brands.

Use a credit card that will allow you to maximize your points

Your company (if traveling for work) is likely reimbursing you for your travel expenses (if they are not…quit and find a better place). If you can, use your personal credit card and start racking up the points.

It might be easier to use a completely separate card for this so you can track your expenses. Ideally, use a cobranded credit card from the hotel itself and watch the points awarded explode.

All of these points start to add up and you can use them to get cash back, free vacations, and more.

For example, my family and I took a week-long trip to Hawaii (5 person family at the time) and the only thing I had to pay for was 2 rental car days, food, and entertainment. And we got upgraded to a SWEET suite.

  • Pro Tip: The savviest travelers know how to really work the points and reward systems. The use of the right credit card at the right time can earn you hotel reward points. Mix that with maximizing your use of the hotel’s rewards program itself (and any special incentives they have going on) and throw in the extra rewards you often get by booking directly with the hotel itself.

Always see what’s around the hotel before you book it

I stayed at a Hilton near some train tracks once. They issued earplugs to guests and it nearly cost me the chance to be a part of the birth of my 4th child. Do a quick once over on Google Maps to see what’s nearby. Make sure it’s safe.

Stay close to the airport for those early morning flights home

Make the early morning, pre-coffee trek w/ a few extra minutes of sleep. It’s not uncommon for me to switch hotels for the last night of my trip just so I can ease my morning slog.

That said, I generally try to avoid staying at hotels near the airport. They are often in not-so-great areas, and you have planes flying overhead. But the last night, no problem, those extra minutes of sleep can pay off.

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Price isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing a hotel

Cleanliness, proximity to your destination, reviews, age of the hotel, whether you want breakfast included or not, etc all factor in. While your company’s travel policy may force you into the “cheapest” hotel, chances are there is some actual wiggle room there as long as it’s within reason.

Orbitz and Travelocity are usually pretty good about giving you reviews of these hotels which can be very helpful.

Book Direct to Save Money

It’s likely your company wants you to book through their travel portal, but if they don’t have one you can likely save money by booking directly w/ the hotel. Try the online portal first (e.g. Hilton.com) or even call them direct.

Negotiate a better rate

If you are going to be staying at a particular hotel many times try to negotiate a better rate. Often the local manager will be more than happy to work with you.

Hotel Hacks / Hotel Tips for Checking in

When checking in to your hotel there are a few hotel hacks worth keeping in mind.

Be nice to the staff!

Always be nice to staff working the counter – it might even score you a free upgrade! Or at the very least, when your shower isn’t working the desk clerk might actually work w/ you instead of telling you that you are stuck with it. Be nice, show interest, and smile.

With your status, you can probably do a late check-in

With status comes the ability to do what’s known as a late check-in. Most hotels will give your room away after a certain time of night, but with status, you can keep your reservation no matter what time you arrive. This is helpful if you get stuck with a major flight delay or something. If you don’t have status, you will need to call the hotel and inform them that you will be checking in late.

  • PS, you can often do a late check out which can very handy too. It’s been my experience that when I am 1) nice, and 2) have status I often can get a very late checkout from the property.

Ask for the upgrade!

Doesn’t always work, but every once in a while you can get an upgraded room, car or even a boarding position. This happens more when you have “status” with the company, but it also helps if you are nice. Give it a try.

Hotel Safety Hacks

Travel safety is a major concern for folks these days – perhaps more so than ever. Use the hotel safety hacks below and sleep a little safer!

Keep your computer’s firewall on when using the Hotel Internet

No real explanation is needed for this one. Networks are not safe. You should know that by now.

Always flip the door latch in your hotel room

I can’t tell you how many times this has paid off. From another traveler who was given a key to my room by the front desk to the cleaning crew – you never know when someone will burst into your room. Also, it’s a good idea from a safety perspective.

Check out the alternate exit plan for the hotel

Just about every hotel has a sign on the inside of the door that shows the emergency exit route. Believe it or not, I’ve actually been rousted out of my room at 3 am because the hotel was on fire.

You will be one step ahead and if you really need it (e.g. 9/11 scenario) it could save your life. Also…grab your backpack on the way out (but skip the suitcase).

image of do not disturb sign on hotel room door

Put the “do not disturb” sign on the door when you leave the hotel room

I use this trick when I don’t want the staff in my room when I head down for breakfast or out for a beer. Obviously, if you want them to clean the room, take the sign down.

If I go out for a beer I am usually leaving my laptop in the room. No need to make it easier on the staff. The illusion that someone is room might be enough to deter them. You can also leave the TV on to further the illusion…

Don’t leave valuables in your suitcase (and make it hard to get at)

I don’t travel w/ too much valuable stuff anyway, but occasionally I have to leave my laptop in the hotel or something like that. But when I do, I employ a little trick I think works (although I have no idea).

In addition to burying it beneath a stack of clothes and zipping it up and sticking the suitcase in the closet, I throw a pair of underwear on top of it. Gross right? I figure they aren’t touching it! #LevelUp

Take your toothbrush with you during the day

Aside from being able to brush your teeth after the Philly cheese steak lunch, the maid can’t jack w/ it. Check out Travel Tip Tuesday #1 – Don’t leave your toothbrush in the hotel room to learn why!

Bonus Hotel Hack: Bring some wet wipes and hand sanitizer!

Germs abound while traveling and the hotel room is no exception. Wipe down that remote (or put it in a baggie) or any other surface you are concerned about.

Target sells these travel-size wet wipes for a very affordable price

Use a plastic baggie for the remote to keep away from the gross germs!

I don’t even want to know where that remote’s been and what it’s done. Bring a larger plastic baggie and watch as much TV as you want without getting pink eye.

By the way…if you are looking for Hotel Hacks for you and your kids…

You have may have landed here looking for some hotel hacks or hotel tips for your next family vacation. While some of what we talk about below will be useful, you might be better served to check out this video which gives you some hotel hacks for moms.

Hotel Hacks – The Stay

Once you actually get to your room there are a few hotel hacks you can employ that will make your stay go a little smoother.

Have a good routine and stick to it once you get to the room

I always unpack immediately after I get to the Hotel Room. I hang my clothes and take care of any ironing that may be needed. I also lay out the rest of my stuff (socks, etc).

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I also set my toiletries out and on especially early mornings I go so far as to lay the towel out on the floor next to the tub, physically move the shampoo into the shower, hang my towel next to the shower, and get the coffee pretty close to ready.

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I will even lay out my Allergy pill and partially open it. I am usually in a different time zone and know I will be running on fumes in the morning.

Those extra few seconds seem to add up and give me a little buffer if I am running slow. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Use the Hotel Shower to Steam Out Wrinkles

If you do have some minor wrinkles and don’t want to get the ironing board out try this. Shut the bathroom door, hang the pants or jacket on the back of the door and start the shower. Wait 5 – 10 minutes and let the steam pull the wrinkles out. The wrinkles will usually fade away. Also, some travel-size Downy Wrinkle Releaser works great to make quick work of wrinkles.

Buy wrinkle-free clothes

I hate ironing. Seriously. I really hate it. I did a ton of it in the USMC and came to despise it. But with the life of a business traveler, it’s hard not to do it sometimes. But, to minimize it, I invest in wrinkle-free clothing.

I’ve personally found that wrinkle-free dress shirts are hard to find (polos are no biggie) so I still have to iron them. But wrinkle-free pants are a technological breakthrough! Roll them, pack them, hang them up in the closet and you will be iron-free-ish.

My favorite winkle-free men’s dress pants are the Haggar Men’s Cool 18 Hidden Expandable-Waist Plain-Front Pant (click to see price). Comfort, style, no wrinkles…and they even expand in the event I forget to do those push-ups!

I’ve also been experimenting with Lululemon pants for men with great success!

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Use the Hotel TV’s HDMI cable (or port)

Most modern hotels have high-definition televisions (with HDMI support). Hook your laptop up and watch Netflix in all of its glory rather than hunched over your iPhone. If you don’t have an HDMI cable, get one and bring it with you. Or, if the TV supports it, “cast” it to the TV. Nowadays I usually travel with a portable Roku stick. Quite handy.

Set 2 alarms for the morning

I always set two alarms for the next morning. Usually, 10-15 minutes apart. This is especially important if you are dealing with a large time zone swing (e.g. West Coast to East Coast, or international travel changes). I usually don’t do the wake-up call, but it’s an option too.

Workout BEFORE dinner

This is one of those hotel hacks that’s been a real game changer for me. When I was really traveling hard, I let my health go. When I finally got it back under control, I started running. I had a rule. I would be happy to eat dinner “with the team,” but only after I worked out first.

I 1000% guarantee that you will NOT go work out after the team dinner, a few drinks, and a heavy meal. Not gonna happen. And in the morning it’s tough – especially in a different time zone.

So, get it done immediately after you get back to the hotel, but before dinner. #GameChanger. Speaking of healthy travel, check out my article The 7 Habits of the Healthy Business Traveler: How to Stay Healthy While Traveling for Business.

Pack your clothes as a set then layer them in your suitcase for daily access

Some people like to fully unpack their suitcase and use that dresser they provide you. I only do that if I am staying greater than one week.

Instead, I pack my clothes by day (or at least the pants and shirts – I can tuck my socks, underwear, and undershirts around things to get better storage). Then I can save a little time by leaving everything in the bag and pulling it out as needed and in order. The one thing I usually do pull out is the clothes that need ironed and hung up.

Avoid the Hotel Bar – and save money

Hotel bars might sound like a good idea, but they tend to be more expensive than a normal bar. Find someplace local and force yourself to get out of the hotel. You may also save some money too!

Never use the Hotel Dry Cleaning Service

It was crazy expensive. I mean, crazy! Like 4 times what you might normally pay. If you need dry cleaning, find a local shop and ask for quicker service.

Shut the blinds all the way (including the darkness divider) to get better sleep

Eliminate all external light to get better a better sleep experience in the room. Almost every hotel room has both curtains and a darkness divider that can almost completely remove any external light. You can also use the clips on the room’s clothes hangars to clip any remaining light gaps.

Use a cup or glass to get better sound

If you didn’t bring a portable speaker with you, no worries. Take your phone with you and drop it into the coffee cup or water glass. The acoustics of the container will amplify the sound of your phone giving you a richer experience.

Stuff a towel down the bottom of the door to reduce sound

This old trick can help mitigate a noisier hotel room. It won’t kill it completely, but it can be useful. It can also help a bit if you are in a hallway where people are smoking…

Bring a power adapter or surge protector

Although many newer or remodeled hotels have really amped up (pun intended…) the power options in a hotel, there are still an equal number of hotels that are stuck in the 90’s and simply don’t have many plugs. To address that, simply bring a small travel surge protector / power hub with you and maximize your output. It will also mean you are bending over chairs or crawling under desks fewer times.

Savvy business travelers always have a travel surge protector with them to deal with the unexpected.

Never leave your toothbrush in the hotel room…

Find out why here in our very first Travel Tip Tuesday posting:

Hotel Hacks for Checking out / Leaving the Hotel

When your stay is finished here are a few hotel hacks to help you get out a little smoother.

Tip the Hotel shuttle drivers

For the most part, they work hard. Give them a buck or two per bag. My one rule though is you have to load my bag to get a tip. Some drivers won’t load bags. So no tip.

But, if you grab my bag, I will tip you. $2.00 a bag seems fair, $5.00 if the bag is large or crazy heavy or a set of Golf Clubs. This is a karmic hotel hack… 🙂

Skip the actual checkout process

No need to do that these days. You will get a receipt emailed to you and just leave your key in the room (or not, who cares, they are almost disposable anyway). If you must checkout, use the TV in your room – most offer in-room checkout options.

Pack the night before your flight/check out

I always pack the night before an early morning flight. Get a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning, and minimize any of my low-energy goofs (like leaving a $500.00 jacket in my hotel closet! UGH!).

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Final Thoughts on Hotel Hacks

What’s your favorite hotel hack or hotel tip?

We hope enjoyed this list of great tips and practical hotel hacks and hotel tips! I kind of lost count there…but I think we provided more than 31. You. Are. Welcome.

PS, did you know you can buy hotel bedding? Yup, much of it is for sale including:

Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I may also earn commissions from other affiliate programs as applicable.

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DaninMCI June 10, 2019 - 7:58 am

Some decent tips in all this but not all of them are for everyone of course. I will add that I have a TSA lock on my suitcase and when I rarely am forced to leave valuables in my room like a laptop I put it in the bottom of my suitcase and lock it. My theory is that a small item like a laptop, ipad, etc. is easy to smuggle out of the hotel by thieves or employees it’s not so easy to steal an entire suitcase. In other words it slows down a casual thief and they move on to the next easy target. I’ve worked in risk management for years and I’ve seen the loss claims for many hotels and resorts. 90% of them are ipads, phones, watches and other jewelry that are missing after being left out.

Carly Mckeen July 16, 2019 - 12:42 pm

Thank you for your tip on how you should always see what’s around the hotel before you book it. I am staying in a hotel for my first time on my trip in a couple of weeks. I will definitely take all of your great advice and information into consideration when staying in a hotel.

Faylinn Byrne July 30, 2019 - 9:36 am

I never thought about setting two alarms. I will be travelling for work soon, and I need a good hotel. I will have to look at the area I am staying and use these tips to make a good decision.

Bill August 14, 2020 - 2:02 am

I often use the room ironing board for a desk overses the given Hotel set-up. I find that adjusting the ironing board to the best height for comfortable typing is a plus after a long day.

P.S . This arrangement works equally as well doubling as a diner table.

Anonymous Weirdo April 14, 2021 - 9:50 am


Katherine K. August 16, 2022 - 12:07 pm

I almost never learn anything new from these kinds of articles but always read them anyway. Bill, your ironing board tips were great! I never realized how versatile and handy the ironing board can be.

Anonymous Weirdo April 14, 2021 - 9:34 am

I’m going to Universal with my family in a couple of weeks, and I will definitely use some of these hacks! Thanks! (P.S: I also like to bring a zip tie and lock it around the zippers of my bag, along with some bright colored paper/fabric around the handle for low-key security and easy bag identification. However, if you have extreme values in your bag, like laptops, phones, or jewelry, you should use something better than just a zip tie. XD)

Lynette November 20, 2021 - 7:04 am

Please don’t encourage people to run the water for 15 minutes to get wrinkles out of clothes. * “It’s not your water bill :-).” * Wink, wink, it is our water, it is our earth, it is our responsibility to not be flippant about wasting natural resources in a world of dried up reservoirs.

Lisa Caraway May 20, 2022 - 5:01 am

Great advice, but the comment about the female shuttle drivers was not necessary.

Caro August 17, 2022 - 10:12 am

One travel tip I like to add is if you don’t bring or buy bottle water-once you have checked into your room, go fill the ice bucket up and let ithe ice melt..while you are out-when you come back, there’s cold-water waiting for you in your room.

Also, when you walk into the hotel be the first to greet the staff member at the desk with “good day, good evening my name is- this way you are setting a positive mood. Small talk is good sometimes… be aware of the feedback from the staff member and that will let you know if it’s ok to have a friendly interaction. Hotel staff are people just like you. and this may earn you a perk.

Afton Jackson November 16, 2022 - 11:37 pm

I really appreciate you talking about all the different ways you can help the hotel staff work easier. I really want to be as considerate as possible when it comes to people who work for places like these, as they have a tough enough time dealing with so many people, and that can really stress them out. I’ll make sure that my family is taught about this before we book any hotels and lodging reservations for the Holidays.



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