6 Tips for Hotel Livin’ for NOOBS!
After being on the road all my life and most recently doing lots of cons and living out of a “bug out bag” while traveling between home and work I have some good tips for hotel livin’ for newbies. Now this isn’t for long term hotel living. that’s probably for someone else to talk to you about. But if you’re on the road a TON or just trying to travel to cons and not spend a mint and make it home easy here are a few really key tips I’ve learned in my questing. NOTE: this is advice from an older adult who travels with friends with health issues and special needs. So this advice might be overkill for ya. If you want a tutorial on room packing for cons and living on ramen….ugh yeah not the tute for you!
1.) Make friends with the folk at the front desk
Making friends with the staff at the front desk is key even if you’re just staying a night. One should always treat everybody with kindness and respect, but being “that asshole” to the staff, especially if you have to check in late, will not suit you well. Ask ’em how they’re doing, say please and thank you (omg do I have to say this?!). On my latest trip, Ravi the night desk guy became quite the big help as he called to check in on us when we were late, helped us find a place to fix the car, made sure we got to our rooms ok when we rolled up at 3am, and made sure we were all set. During my time on the road in 2012 becoming buds with the desk ladies at the hotel I frequented made it much easier to get that extra roll of TP or a little later check out if needed. NOTE: this is really eky in small hotels that may only have one staff member per shift. At bigger hotels like ones down in Orlando befriending one person doesn’t have you much pull, but annoying one person will make you not so popular during your stay.
2.) Survey your territory ahead of time
Google maps man, this is a life saver! I suppose it does take a little bit of adventure out of it, but checking out ahead f time to see where the hotel is, where is food (not just fast food but food food), where is a pharmacy, if you have health needs where is the nearest hospital (You crazy LVAD having travelers you!). The big things I look for: GAS and nearest RITE AID/CVS/WALGREENS and or grocery store. It also helps to check for weird one way streets because some GPSes just don’t get it. Downloading the map to your phone or sending a jpg to your device helps when you’re like “crap, somebody in my party needs imodium/needs to fill an RX/our car needs gas etc. Don’t expect the hotel to have anything close by, and don’t assume it will even have vending.
3.) Staying for more than a night? Pick a place to decent reviews
Just crashing for a few hours before hitting the road again? You can probably stay at the proverbial roach motel. Stash your bug out bag (see our other tutorial) on the counter, leave most of your gear in the car, and stick a chair infront of the door. Going to be spending some time in your room? Maybe skip the $40 a night special. If this is going to be your base, you don’t want to be miserable and dealing with CSI, or bed bugs, or whatever.
4.) Check in ain’t always 3 and out ain’t always 11.
Read the fine print; check out isn’t always at 11. At many resorts it’s earlier. The Kalahari chain is 10am.
5.) Don’t use the dressers!*
THe only people who use the dressers are long term stayers like for weeks. Just…don’t. It’s far too easy to lose things. Now: you can stash gear in bags such as your makeup kit, your chow bag, your armor in a dresser drawer but don’t put your clothes in there. These aren’t cleaned. Like ever. Put your gear on TOP of the dresser and pull it out a tiny bit from the wall.
6.) Avoid taking any bugs home with you!
Your bed bug avoiding kit…because just because a hotel is expensive doesn’t make it wildlife free: pack lavender oil and a thick black trash bag that your bag can fit in. Bed bugs HATE lavender oil so dabbing a bit on yourself and the bags makes a bi difference. Also if you can pull the bed away from the wall or dresser do it. Do not put your clothing bag on the floor! Put it on a chair, the other bed if you can, a bag stand, and put it in the trash bag. The slickness of the bag helps prevent any vacation or con 6 legged bugs from going home with you. Now this doesn’t mean that they won’t. It’s best to clean out your bag after the con. Check for bed bug reports about your hotel and if it tested positive a good dusting of Diatomacious Earth on your bag kills ’em. At our last Colossal con we saw quite a few people who had bed bug infested rooms at their hotels (The bites are obvious at a water park). So learn from Rusty Needle’s fail and plan ahead. However: if you are the poor fool who has to sleep on the floor at the con, you’re bug bait if the hotel is infested. Pack anti-itch cream. You’ll thank us later.