If you are a budget traveller, you might have experienced the odd horror hotel room. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. There have been times when 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 and a used 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.
So here are our top tips for surviving dirty hotel rooms:
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.
We have also found great discounts on the site…….one from memory was 80% off……our room in Jaisalmer India where we got a lux AC room for $10! You can research accommodation prices and reviews for your upcoming trip here >>link to booking.com
If your options are limited and you are stuck with a terrible hotel then follow these next steps:
Use Baby Wipes
We always travel with babywipes, they can be so handy while travelling. If you find yourself in a dirty hotel room, use baby wipes to wipe surfaces like the toilet seat and the TV remote! Aaaah thats better.
Take a Sleeping Bag Liner
No one wants to lay their head on a dirty pillow or fall asleep between dirty sheets! 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.
Wear Flip Flops
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!
Bed bugs do not discriminate between budget and lux hotels, these stubborn things they can show up anyhwere! So….if you are worried about bedbugs, check your bed for bedbugs as soon as you arrive at your accommodation. If you spot them, let staff know and ask to change rooms! But spotting bedbugs isn’t always as easy as peeling back the sheets.
These little critters hide during the day. They are often hiding not too far from the bed, places to check for bedbugs include the bed frame, curtain rails, skirting boards, door frames or anywhere near the bed that the bugs can hide.
If your unsure if your bed is infected, make sure you travel with some bedbug spray to help stop those critters from enjoying their next meal! There are a few options fortravel sized bedbug spray on amazon that you can check out.
The Hard Bed
After years of travelling through Asia, we have become accustomed to hard beds. Believe it or not, having a hard bed while travelling Asia for a year actually did wonders for Retis back! 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, but they are a common occurance for travellers. So to avoid a terrible nights sleep we always travel with ear plugs. These little beauties will have multiple uses like aiding your sleep during overnight train or bus travel. Plus ear plugs are so tiny and light there is no issues around them fitting 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.
As budget travellers theres two things we get pedantic with, our sheets & our towels. We always travel with our own towel as many budget hotels just wont supply them.
If they do and your room is already a bit of a dump, then I wouldn’t trust the towels anyway. So its best as budget travellers to pack a small travel towel for these sticky situations. You can find small travel size towels really cheap on amazon.
It’s Ok to Complain
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.
Adjust the Attitude
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!
Cheers, Native Travellers
INTREPID & OFF THE BEATEN PATH TRAVEL STORIES, GUIDES, TIPS & HACKS