When most of us think about staying in a hotel, the first thing that probably comes to mind is an image of luxury. Sleeping in a hotel bed is typically more exciting than sleeping in your own bed, because it's common to associate hotel beds with cleanliness, relaxation, and comfort. Hotels are hospitable by nature, after all. But, if there's one thing that I've learned in my extensive travels, it's that even the fanciest hotels in the world are subject to messy mishaps, and there are a few things everyone should be surveying in their hotel room before they get nice and comfortable. Knowing what things to check your hotel room for the moment you arrive is key to ensuring the cleanliness and safety of your stay.
The truth is, while all hotel rooms get cleaned regularly, the extent to which they're able to be scrubbed down varies. Some hotels might only shampoo their carpets a few times a year, while other hotels might do it more frequently. Some hotels might sanitize their bathrooms daily, while others might only wipe down the sink and toilet between guests. Just to be safe, you should always travel with antibacterial wipes, and check for the following as soon as you enter your room and before you open your bags. As long as you know what to look for, you're one step ahead.
Check For Bedbugs
Yes, even clean hotels with fancy sheets can have bed bugs — and that's because bed bugs have nothing to do with cleanliness and everything to do the fact they hitched a ride on some unlucky person's suitcase. Hotels can be a hot spot for these awful parasites — so, to avoid encountering bed bugs during your travels (or even taking them home with you), it's important to check your hotel room for them before you even place your bag inside.
When you first enter your hotel room, pull the comforter off the bed and check the corner seams of the sheets for signs of bed bugs or droppings. To be extra sure, pull the sheet off the bed and check the perimeter of the mattress and in the seams of the mattress for any dark spots (droppings), or bed bugs themselves. Use your phone flashlight to ensure that you're getting a good look. To be extra careful, check the seams of all furniture in the room too — the bed's headboard, couches, arm chairs, office chairs, and pillow cushions, it's all susceptible.
While hotel rooms are vacuumed, laundered, and wiped down in between guests, there are often certain surfaces that are neglected in the cleaning. To ensure that your room is spick and span, come prepared with some antibacterial wipes and spray and take matters into your own hands. Do not touch the TV remote, the desk, the sink or the bathroom counter without giving them a proper wipe-down. Spray down the headboard and the toilet while you're at it. The last thing you want is to get sick on your vacation because of your hotel room.
Make Sure The Mini Bar Is Stocked
Not just because you want your full mini-bar service, but also because if something is missing, you might get charged for it even though you didn't take it. So check and make sure that everything that is listed is there, this will avoid a headache at checkout. If you notice a that a few items are missing, simply call down to the front desk and let them know. They'll make a note of it an ensure you that what's missing won't land on your bill.
Certain quilts and comforters that require special washing don't get washed all that much in hotel rooms. To ensure you're not cuddling up in a dirty blanket, simply remove it from the bed upon arrival. Usually it's just for show anyway, you'll be warm enough with the duvet and other sheets. And remember, your suitcase that you just dragged through an airport is not clean either, so don't plop it on the bed! When unpacking, use the floor or a suitcase stand to rest your luggage on.
The Emergency Plan
Just in case of emergency, check out your room's fire and emergency escape plan upon arrival. The evacuation plan should be mounted on the wall or in plain sight, so it's always good to spend a minute looking it over and orienting yourself. That way, if anything happens, you know exactly what to do, which direction to go, and how to proceed.
Make Sure The Thermostat Works
There's nothing worse than checking into a room, getting all settled and snug into bed, only to find out that it's either too hot or to cold to sleep. Check your room's thermostat and make sure it's working properly before you even unpack your bags. Sometimes you just need a little help from the front desk to get it sorted, but if it's actually broken, you'll want to know early on so you can change rooms and get settled with all of the amenities you were promised.
Wash The Glassware
If you plan on using the cups and wine glasses that come with your room, wash them with hand soap and then rinse them under the hot water for a minute or two first. On the off chance that the cleaning crew missed the cup, or wrongly assumed the guest before hadn't used the cup when they had, you're better off safe than sorry! The same goes for the coffee pot. If you plan on drinking from it, wash it first.