My 5 Hotel Habits Every Time I Check-In

Staying in hotels quite frequently, I have a series of routines I tend to go through after check-in that are somewhat second nature to me. It’s like living at home, but needing to be adaptable on the road to making the experience as comfortable as possible.

While I know these “to-do list” items won’t be the same for everyone, it shares a bit of insight into how I tend to travel, and perhaps suggests things for your routine as well. I’d be curious to see your routines as well.

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Extending Check-Out Time

If you have hotel elite status, you’re almost always offered a late check-out option depending on availability. Because that availability can change over time, and often gets worse closer to departure, I always request a late check-out time, regardless of my intended departure, since I never know if plans will change, or I’ll need it. If I can end up checking out earlier, that benefits the hotel, but by making sure I’m secured an extended departure, I’ll have a comfort zone knowing I can store my bags somewhere.

Unplug the Alarm Clock

I never use the hotel alarm clock, and instead rely upon my phone. I’ve encountered way too many hotels where an alarm is still set on the clock for an absurd hour that wakes you up, when all you wanted to do was sleep. I find hotel housekeeping never check or turn off these alarms, and it’s something that’s happened to me on more than one occasion. If I can unplug the alarm from the wall, I’ll avoid this problem altogether.

Check Restaurant Operating Hours

Travel plans can change, and since eating is an integral part, I always want to get an idea of the operating hours of the hotel restaurant, if there is one, to ensure I’ll have a backup place to eat, should other plans fall through. I’ve been on several trips where I wanted to eat somewhere else, but due to a late arrival or other circumstances, was forced to eat in the hotel restaurant…only to find that closed, too. By having a general idea of the hours, I’ll know that this is a backup plan should I need it. Along these lines, if breakfast is included in my stay, I find out the hours of that, too.

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Check Lightbulbs In Room

Okay, so this one seems a bit crazy, but I seem to have this “curse” of arriving into hotel rooms with lightbulbs that are burned out. I always turn on all of the lights to see if they work, and then report issues to maintenance for proper fixing. For some reason, I seem to always end up in a room with a broken light fixture, and when you really need the light later at night, it’s annoying as anything to not have it because it’s not working.

Find Nearest Public Transportation

I tend to use public transportation more than Ubers, and especially more than Taxis, since they’re often times cheaper and less prone to being effected by traffic. If there’s a nearby train station or subway stop, I locate it first, having a good idea of the schedules so I can use it if need be. When I’m wanting to go out, or to the airport, I want to be able to know my options of public transport vs. being stuck with an option that’s overpriced.

What habits do you have when checking in to a hotel?

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  1. says

    I always take a few pictures first thing 🙂 You never know if you are going to want to write a review later on, and I don’t like having my personal items or used towels in photos. Best to do it while the room is still “pristine”.

    Then I unpack my clothes. I don’t like living out of my suitcase, and the sooner I am unpacked the sooner I can relax. If it is a super quick stay (get in late, leave early), I probably will just tough it out of my suitcase.

  2. Ash says

    I always check if the hair dryer is working or not! Don’t want to deal with a hair dryer not working in the morning when I’m rushing out for work (reason for my travel)!!

  3. Thomas Zook says

    If there are three-way lights with one-way bulbs, I ask for three-ways in them. I usually need more light for reading than the hotel provides.

      • says

        And, I forgot – check for emergency exits by reading the plastic “map” on the back of the door. We once had two small children in a hotel room when the fire alarm went off at 4 am. I was glad to know which direction to turn.

  4. usap1 says

    When I was a kid, the first thing my dad would do at a hotel was walk thru the fire escape plan. We thought he was weird but what did we know? When we were older, my mom told us he did it because his sister died in a fire when they were kids. Now I do the same thing.

  5. maxbcat says

    Always need to check the shower- housekeeping loves to turn the showerhead directly towards you, so that in the morning when you are dead tired and not paying attention, you get awakened by a burst of water coming right at you.

  6. Andrew says

    I always make sure that the sink, toilet and shower are working properly. I’ve encountered issues after I’ve unpacked and had to repack and chance rooms.

  7. says

    I travel a lot. While I’ve never found bugs in a hotel, I always check under the mattress for that first. Keep suitcases on high shelves and zipped shut as soon as I’m done unpacking. I check for escape routes and I check to make sure I have at least one foam pillow (I’m allergic to feathers). I check to make sure the TV remote works. At night, I unplug the phone (I have a cell phone on with the ringer off in case of emergencies). Since I’m usually awake long before my husband is, I set-up my laptop in a corner away from the bed so I don’t wake him up.

  8. says

    part of my hotel check-in process is to FLUSH THE TOILET! Once, after a long day of travel, I arrived at the hotel rather late. Some questionable airport fare left me feeling a bit unwell, and It was only after some “urgent business” was attended to that I found the toilet was left clogged.

  9. says

    I always request 2 keys even when traveling alone as 1 always stops working. I also do a bed bug check with a flashlight and I never put my bags on the floor.

  10. Eli says

    Make sure toilet works.
    Bedbug check.
    Lysol the place down!
    Check HVAC.
    Find plugs for all electronics.
    Check water pressure in shower.

  11. Alicia grey says

    Yes I too check the light fixtures for out or even non existing light bulbs. Now, due to a recent experience, I check the shower curtains to make sure that they have been replaced with clean ones. I also don’t put my luggage on the floor but I use the racks. And my most annoying pet peeve of all lodging is the clocks NOT having the correct times or obscene wake up alarms in the middle of the night or early mornings. Why housekeeping isn’t made to keep a room up to such tedious standards is beyond my imagination, I guess not everyone is a go getter.

  12. Lin Martin says

    Bedspread off. Lysol doorknobs. Lysol remote control. Order extra set of towels, so can use to put in drawers bottoms. Never sleep on side of where phone is. Just to mention a few.

  13. Mark Walls says

    First thing I do is turn down the thermostat. I always sleep better in a cold room. 69 degrees or lower.

    Next is open the blinds. I want to see if I have a nice view.

    Then find good working plugs for my electronics. Some rooms are really plug challenged.

    I laugh at the germophobe comments. A few germs and some fecal matter won’t kill you, but stress from your OCD will. 🙂

  14. Kaye says

    The bed spread comes off and goes in the closet on the floor. Lysol everything. Check to make sure the sheets, glasses, and coffee pot are clean. Request an extra luggage stand because the suit case never goes on the floor.

    Locate ice machine.

    Before making reservation, I am already aware of restaurants, stores, mall, gas station…

  15. Odell says

    Wow! These are the FIRST things you do? Mine are much more cleanliness related.
    1. Check the bed and sheets
    2. Check towels
    3. Wipe any random hairs in shower and sink.
    4. Wipe TV remote. Perhaps the dirtiest part of a room

  16. says

    I always wondered why so many hotel rooms I stay in have the clock unplugged. Now I know. On the light bulbs you are correct. I also find many are burned out.

  17. says

    Antibacterial wipes for remote, door handles, mini fridge handle, & phone. Encountered hotel with lever-type flat door handles with a recessed back. Wiped down the back of the door handle and the wipes were GREEN. YUCK. Never drink out of hotel glasses or mugs.

  18. debraemarvin says

    There’s only one really important task learn to check for bedbugs. And, because your suitcases around. Learn to isolate it and your clothes when you get back home. Even high end hotels get bedbugs. It’s not about cleanliness, it’s about opportunity.

  19. says

    I bring a high watt lightbulb, and put it in the bed stand lamp so I can read, and of course take it back home. Then clear all hotel menus, reminders etc; put them in a drawer and clear all surfaces. Carry a power strip and plug devices all in one place- keys/wallet/purses go there as well. Check emergency exit on back of door for location of stairwells, especially on high floors( my favorite).
    5th habit most important: have fun!


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    My 5 Hotel Habits Every Time I Check-In – The Forward Cabin

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