10 Genius Hotel Room Hacks to Travel Like a Pro

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Based on that title, this post might sound like it is going to be totally weird.

hotel tips and tricks

I hope not – but….you tell me.


Do you guys remember MacGyver?  You know, the secret agent on TV who did stuff like use a coat hanger, tin foil and a cotton ball to make a hot air balloon that  helped one of the good guys escape from jail?   Seriously.

In each episode, MacGyver would use some ordinary household item to solve a complex life-or-death situation and basically save the world.  Duct tape and a swiss army knife were his go-to’s, and there was nothing he couldn’t accomplish with these.  Start a car?  Build a bomb?  Travel through time?  Done.

It’s been a while since MacGyver was on the air but his legacy lives on – and now that the early 90’s are far behind us, “MacGyver” is more like a verb – meaning to somehow ingeniously solve a problem using only the items at hand.

Of course this comes in to play ALL THE TIME while traveling.  As much as it would be great to have all of life’s little luxuries beside me when I’m on the road, I have learned to do some serious improvising when it comes to problem-solving.  I wanted to share some of my best hotel room hacks with you in case it helps next time you’re in a pinch!  Turns out that the things that are already in your hotel room can clean your jewelry, sculpt your arms, AND make sure you don’t get lost in a strange city.  MacGyver would be proud.


The water glass in the hotel bathroom: Previously known only as something to avoid drinking out of at all costs.  Instead, I use it to hold up my makeup brushes and toothbrush so they are easy to grab in the morning when I’m getting ready.

Laundry bag:  There is almost always a plastic bag in the closet of your hotel room.  I’m guessing you have never used it since hotel laundry prices are outrageous, but sometimes I will use it to keep dirty clothes separate from the rest of my suitcase, or for a wet swimsuit on the way home from a beach trip.  These are also great for putting your shoes into before they go in your suitcase.

Hotel shampoo:  Call me high maintenance but I always bring my own shampoo when I travel – I just have that kind of hair (dry, difficult, etc.).

For that reason, in the past, I always just ignored hotel shampoo – but on one crazy trip I discovered that shampoo is great for hand-washing delicates when you’re on the go.  You don’t really want to use the bar soap that has been all over dirty hands so the bottle of shampoo is perfect in a pinch.

Hotel desk chair: Otherwise known as a tricep-boosting machine!  As shown here.

Cotton balls: I usually bring my own to remove makeup but the cotton balls in a hotel bathroom can be used as an emergency air freshener for your purse.  What’s an emergency?  You will KNOW.  Put a little perfume on one and toss it in your bag.

Toothbrush: Yep, brought my own.  But the hotel-issued toothbrush makes for a great jewelry cleaning tool!

Hotel Stationary: When is the last time you wrote someone a letter from your hotel room?  I thought so.  I like to think of hotel stationary as my Plan B.

If I’m in a foreign city (especially one where I don’t speak the language), before I head out, I take a photo of the hotel stationary with my phone because it usually has the hotel’s logo, name and address.  If I get lost, a picture can be worth a thousand lost-in-translation-words – you can show the photo it to a taxi driver to get back to your hotel.


Toilet Seat Cover: I hate airplane and airport bathrooms just as much as the next person.  Thinking about them grosses me out, and I am not a germ-a-phobe.  But let’s face it: they are unavoidable.

The only saving grace about these restrooms is that you can soak up some extra shine.  Yep – toilet seat covers can be used as blotting paper for your face.  Try it!  I swear.  Sounds weird but it totally works.

So tell me – what did I miss?

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  1. Awesome tips! I didn’t think about these before. I deff tend to use hotel shampoo to wash my delicates in an emergency and use the glass cup to hold my brushes, but never thought about using the extra toothbrush for jewelry cleaning. =)

    1. Thanks Marissa! I think I probably spend way too much time in hotels unsupervised….have to entertain myself somehow! 🙂