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Survival Tips for “Hotels on a Budget”

Amy Reese grew up in Southern California in a family of six kids in a noisy household with lots of music, listening to anything and everything from Duke Ellington to Led Zeppelin.  She now lives in Northern California, just outside of Sacramento, with her husband and two sons.  In her blog, she  writes some stories, anything that strikes her as relevant for the day, and hopefully, you’ll laugh along the way.

Please visit her at Amy Reese Writes.

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With spring break and summer vacations around the corner, you might be surprised to learn that you are not the only one on a budget. It turns out hotels are on a tight budget, too. If camping is not your style, then following these tips will ensure a pleasant stay at any hotel on a budget.

Consider these amenities:

Pillows

A cramped sleeping space can be compensated with a fluffy pillow. In the case that you have extra guests or the pillow is too flat, an additional pillow will solve the problem, easing your way into restful sleep. Logic tells you to simply ask for another pillow.

Precious.
Precious.

Be prepared for this scenario:

Guest: Would it possible to get an extra pillow?

Clerk: No.

And don’t ask again. It’s important for the hotel staff to be on your side for the reminder of your stay. Just be happy you received the allotted pillows designated for your room . Unless you want to sneak into your hotel neighbor’s room, let this one go.  Tip: Bring your own pillows.

Cable TV

A broken remote can easily be remedied by calling the front desk. They will have a box of remotes to fix the problem, as this is a common occurrence at many hotels on a budget. The hotel staff may even let a guest choose a new remote. Note that the guest may need to make additional trips down to the lobby to get a working remote. Tip: Unless you’re looking for an excuse to leave your room, bring your own AA batteries.

Free Breakfast

Hotels on a budget abide by a strict breakfast schedule, which is typically finished by 9:30 a.m., and not a minute  later. Arriving too close to the end of breakfast service, and undoubtedly, the watery egg patties and shriveled sausage that await you will be cold and nearly gone. Should they run out of paper plates or cups, plan on eating out of your hands or off the table. There ain’t no more cream cheese either for your stale bagel at 9:30 a.m. That’s a specialty item and they will run out of that for sure. Tip: Book at a hotel in close proximity to a fast food restaurant.

This view from your window will never look so good.
This view from your window will never look so good.

Cups

Cups. Tip: Be prepared to wash them for reuse.

Don't throw these away.
Don’t throw these away.

Coffee

There is nothing finer to ease the transition from your bed to your feet on the floor than a hot cup of coffee in the morning . With hotels on budget, however, the luxury of coffee in your room cannot be taken for granted. Don’t expect the caffeinated coffee ration to be restored if the decaf coffee is unused. Housekeeping service might make the assumption that decaf is all you need. Tip: Remove all decaf coffee rations to ensure that caffeinated coffee packs are restored before housekeeping arrives.

Hide this decaf pack if you ever want caffeine again.
Hide this decaf pack if you ever want caffeine again.

Towels

Towels are at a premium and should be treated as sacred. Avoid throwing towels on the floor into a corner. The hotel may have a spa or a pool  as well, and staying during a busy weekend may require your bathroom towels to double as pool towels. There’s no telling how long you will wait for clean towels. Tip: Keep the towels for drying your body separate from towels for cleaning up messes. 

Unless you want to drip dry, you will want to hang these up.
Unless you want to drip dry, you will want to hang these up.

Following these tips will make all the difference between an enjoyable trip and one where you wished you stayed at home. Happy travels.

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About Amy Reese (2 Articles)
Mom, dancer, boot camp enthusiast, coffee addict, old soul. I like to write fiction and about life's unpredictable moments. Come visit The Bumble Files.

66 Comments on Survival Tips for “Hotels on a Budget”

  1. Thanks. I hope this has been helpful to you.

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  2. Reblogged this on Amy Reese Writes and commented:
    I’m guest posting at Long Awkward Pause with some Survival Tips for “Hotels on a Budget.” Come on over!

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  3. don’t forget to dig deep with at least a couple bucks for the staff who cleans up your room.

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  4. Which is why I like a nice B&B!

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  5. Oh my goodness, you are smart! That coffee advice is going to save me some headache problems in the future 🙂

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  6. Seriously, why do all hotel pillows have a funky smell? Also, BYOB: bring your own blacklight.

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  7. It sounds like a lot of work to go on vacation. Usually, we tip the cleaning staff the first day and we get what ever we want for the rest of the stay.

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  8. I was in a hotel recently where the bed was too short.
    Nice place, other than that…

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  9. I’ve logged thousands of hours for our Army travelling and sleeping in shitty motels, so I can say that sadly, this is true. @Katie – no… there are some things I simply prefer to remain uninformed about… and as for the food, yeah. Because botulism, and also because there are no naturally-occurring substances being served, no matter how much they look like a snausage patty.

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  10. I travel so infrequently, that I make it an absolute priority to stay at the better hotels. I need a good bed and a great cup of coffee with a decent breakfast. I have previously traveled with my own coffee and coffee pot though. I am an admitted coffee snob! lol Oh, and by the way, what’s a vacation??

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  11. I’m so with you on the breakfasts. Having breakfast always seems like such a perk, but in reality we never make it down in time, me because I’m in the fitness center (which usually comprises one treadmill, one stairmaster, and an exercise ball coated with left-over sweat) and my husband and kids because they’re still sawing wood. Usually my husband or I have to rush down right before closing and see what we can grab. As you point out, it’s rarely pretty…

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  12. Amy, you have no idea how many towels a family of five goes through during a hotel visit . . . It’s kind of like the number of napkins we need when we go out to dinner. There’s never enough!
    As for the gourmet coffee, I can’t get myself to use the hotel coffee maker. I just pack my own. Things get scary if I don’t start my day with a strong cup of coffee.

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    • Oh, but I do have an idea! I get it. So many towels, and trying to the cost saving, water efficient deed and not get new towels every time just doesn’t happen. I’ve tried. They are always so small, too.
      Anka, you are the coffee queen! I’ve never considered doing this until today. Someone else made this suggestion. Good to know.

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  13. This was all excellent advice! In fact, with three teenagers, my wife and I are going to immediately put these practices into effect at home! The transition to traveling this summer will be seamless…

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  14. Hey Amy! Great to see you here and spreading your wings girl! Thanks for the tips, these are why I stay home. haha! I did know about the coffee one though, not every one does so glad you included it.

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  15. If I’m able to afford it, I prefer LaQuinta. They have free breakfast and I love their waffles. I can take bread, hard boiled eggs, and a few packets of mayo back to my room to make a sandwich for lunch. Also some fruit and a muffin to have for dinner. What I save on lunch and dinner pays for a better room and a microwave and fridge can come with it. I stayed an entire week at one. It’s cheaper by the week and only ate 2 meals out.

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    • I am very impressed with how efficient you are with your meals, etc. It’s so clever of you to stretch them out. It sounds like you got it down to a science. You are very clever. Good waffles make all the difference!

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      • Waffles….mmmmmm….

        Most of the time I can’t afford more than a place with a bed and bathroom. But I do draw the line at places that rent by the hour. 🙂

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        • I’m actually thinking of places are typically “nice.” That’s a good call! But, you know, if they have waffles that’s all we need.

          The last place I stayed at, I swear I saw a roach crawl under the refrigerator. Yikes! That kind of spoiled my stay.

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  16. For breakfasts I try to locate a coffee shop or cafe in the area (not fastfood — eww!). You are on a trip, likely in a new place. Go support the local economy and experience the place you are visiting.

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  17. In the event your hotel has a pool or gym and there are towels there, bring a gym bag with you and stock up. In the event your hotel has a pool and no additional towels there, walk through the lobby dripping wet, and take your time about it.

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  18. Ah Amy, that is a bang on truth. I’ve been in so many dang hotel rooms… you know they stop supplying moisturizer in some of them now? What gives? And the coffee… that life-sucking, soul-draining, bathroom-tap-filled concotion in a filter bag… I have to have it. I know I do. But I feel very dirty afterwards, like I just slept with a mechanial barista. This reminds me of how glad I am that I don’t have to hit the road much anymore.

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    • No. No more moisturizer! What is this world coming to, Trent? Must we bring everything? I’m usually so desperate for the coffee, I just drink it. The stronger, the better. It’s never strong enough! Lately, I’ve been traveling more with my son who is on a team and sometimes requires hotel stays. We usually just book the room with the team and hope for the best.I’m glad you get to stay close to home. What a relief. No more dirty coffee.

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      • Ugh, yeah, dirty coffee and icky stuff. One of my clients gave me a massive upset a while ago, he explained to me how you check for bedbugs in hotel rooms… he’s found them before, and promptly left the room and hotel. So now I check every time, and it just feels gross.

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        • Okay, Trent….I’m never traveling again. I hear of these bedbugs. I’m just not going to think of it. I have to put it out of my mind!! Gross. Yuck.

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  19. A Tip of high added value much more of bail out. I can not argue, how I feel going through this. But certainly, it’ll contribute in no more means to burst my hiding curiosity to learn.

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  20. Great tips Amy! Another suggestion is to take either your own sheets or a sleep sack. REI has a great silk one, it is also easy to make your own. Just buy a flat sheet and sew it up, with or without a pocket for your pillow. My husband travelled for five years as a consultant and found this to be a necessity. Even high end hotels have varying cleanliness issues in different parts of the U.S.

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    • I didn’t know such things existed. A silk sleep sack! What could be better? You could sleep anywhere with that. Wow, thanks for the tip. Then, you would be prepared for anything.

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  21. Well done, Amy!
    And trust me, I know what I’m talking about…

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