Travel Tips: How to Hack Your Hotel Room and Make it More Like Home

How to hack your hotel room with a light bulb, among other things

In a lifetime of traveling the world for business and pleasure, Tom and Joanne O'Toole of Willoughby, Ohio, have learned to pack one essential item to ensure a pleasurable hotel stay: light bulbs.Too often, they have found the bulbs in their hotel rooms were burned out or of such low wattage that working, reading or simply seeing was difficult.

The O'Tooles are not alone in thinking of rather unorthodox travel items to make a hotel room fit their particular needs. A public relations representative at Seabourn Cruise Line shares this story: "We have an occasional guest on Seabourn cruises who likes to bring balloons, inflate them and, after she hand washes her undies, she puts them on the balloons to dry in the bathtub. She says it works great, but it did prompt her suite stewardess to ask, 'Excuse me, ma'am, but exactly what kind of party are you planning?'"

Party or not, here are a few items you might want to throw in your bag to hack your hotel room and make it a lot more like home:

Clip clothes pins
Close those stubborn hotel draperies all the way. And you can use clothes pins to hang up clothes you've washed in the sink, in case you're all out of balloons.

Duct tape
It's an essential to resolve any of life's crises, so why not have it just in case? Repair luggage, shoes or whatever. Cruise passengers frequently report using duct tape to keep their verandah doors open for a fresh breeze. Use it to keep fitted sheets on the bed.

Extension cords
Yeah, we know that putting in lots of electrical outlets increases building costs, but, seriously, is there ever a convenient place to plug in the iron?

Surge protector with multiple outlet strip
While you're in the electrical aisle, add this item to make sure your electronics are charged and well-protected from forces beyond your control.

Suction cup hooks
Hotel bathrooms never seem to have enough hooks to keep all of your stuff off the floor, especially if there are several people in your room. Also, those who travel in wheelchairs cannot always reach the higher hooks, so sticking these at lower heights is really helpful.

Universal sink stopper/drain cover
How often have you tried to wash out your underwear and socks in the sink or tub only to discover there is no drain plug? That lack is a real problem for people changing their contact lens. This $1.50 item will take care of that problem and take up little space in your bag.

Rubber doorstop
And $2 will buy you a little safety and security. Place this on the inside of the door when you're in for the night and nobody else stands a chance of getting in.

For all of those creaks and squeaks that drive a sane person crazy but somehow go unnoticed by hotel maintenance staff. Buy the non-aerosol variety if flying by air. Aerosol sprays are banned by TSA.

Corkscrew and a bottle of wine
To alleviate all issues not addressed by the above.

More tips to help you travel better:
How to Find Under the Radar Travel Spots
Group Trips: How to Plan a Smooth Getaway
Flying With Kids: How to Avoid a Cataclysm in Seat 9B
How to Communicate Abroad When You Don't Speak the Local Language
How to Relieve Stress on the Road

How to Make a Hotel Room Feel Like Home
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