Living life in hotels can be a little like spinning the accommodation roulette wheel every week or two. Some weeks you’ll get lucky, landing a killer room, a sweet view, and a stunning balcony that’s way inside the budget. Other weeks you’ll massively overpay for what is essentially a fan-cooled shed in the middle of the jungle. 

It can all be a bit hit-and-miss, especially when traveling on a budget—but it’s all part of the fun. No matter where you find yourself, whether it’s a five-star resort or a tiny home in the countryside, we’ve got tips and hacks to get the most out of your stay. 

From verifying the WiFi connectivity to avoiding the minibar, check out our top travel hacks for digital nomads living in hotel rooms around the world. 

READ MORE: 8 Airbnb Alternatives for Digital Nomads

Book and Extend In-Person 

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Try booking, or at least extending, in person for the best deals. If I’m planning on staying in a destination for a minimum of two weeks, I’ll often only book the first four to five days online at a hotel that I like the look of. If the hotel lives up to expectations, great, I’ll head to the reception around day three and request an extension at the best price they can offer. 

The key is not to be too cheeky here. Booking directly is a win-win: it’s good for you (you’ll get a better price) and it’s good for them (they’ll save on third-party booking fees). Often there will be no need for negotiation, just a quick chat and everyone’s a winner. Alternatively, if the hotel I’ve chosen proves to be a little on the disappointing side, nothing is tying me down for more than four to five days. I can use a portion of my third day to investigate alternative hotels, again booking in person for the best prices available. Check out the prices online for your desired dates to know what you’re up against. 

Refill Water Bottles at the Gym 

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Finished with your complimentary water bottle but don’t want to venture to find the nearest store for another drink? Head down to the hotel gym to top up your bottle with that cold, filtered good stuff. You should also travel with a reusable water bottle and refilling where possible. Not only is this a great way to reduce both plastic waste and your carbon footprint, but it’s also a fantastic money-saver.

The main problem with reusable water bottles for digital nomads is finding a safe place to refill them. Some remote work-friendly destinations offer drinkable tap water and clean fountains around the city center. Others will recommend against using the water for brushing your teeth. But, providing that your hotel features a fitness center, refilling your water bottle at the gym is a wonderful hotel hack that’s a real win-win.

Check the WiFi Speed

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Hotel WiFi is usually notorious for its shockingly low signal and poor performance. We can rarely do anything to rectify it once we’ve checked in, so that’s why it always pays to double-check before booking. Call the hotel ahead of time and ask to check them to check the speed, or make a special request for the room that gets the best signal. This is also a good time to check if the WiFi is actually free, or if the hotel charges for a faster connection. If you can anticipate this ahead of time, steer clear of these hotels when you can. Some hotel chains do offer a rewards/loyalty service that throws in the good stuff for free—but if you’re really stuck in a pinch, it’s almost always better to purchase mobile data and a hotspot from your smartphone. 

Decline the Room Upgrade

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Offered a room upgrade at the check-in desk? The deluxe suite may sound pretty great, but it’s almost always best to decline. In a common last-minute attempt to maximize profits, hotels may offer a room upgrade when they’ve overbooked your preselected room. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have a place to stay, but you might receive the room upgrade without spending another penny.

Decline the room upgrade and see where you stand. If they’re able to “gift” you the room upgrade without further payment, you’ll be living a little more luxuriously at no extra cost. If not, nothing to worry about—you’re still checked in and ready to explore the city with your original plans. 

Pack a Doorstop

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Laptop, check. Toothbrush, check. Doorstop, check. It might come as a surprise initially, but a doorstop is sure to change your travel habits—and it’s not for the reason you may first think. In any hotel room, there’s one major concern that can make or break a stay more than the rest of the criteria—safety. Thin walls, a loud AC unit, and low water pressure can all be swept under the rug. Feeling safe in a hotel room can not be. In an ideal world, closing the door of a fresh hotel room would reveal (at least one) deadlock or security lock, but sometimes the locking mechanism isn’t sufficient enough to make you feel safe. That’s where the doorstop comes in.

It’s a fantastic way to add just a little extra layer of security between you and the outside world. Simply slip the thin wedge under the room door and voila, a personal difficult-to-break lock that you can use in any hotel around the world. There’s no risk of premature housekeeping, no double-booking horror stories, and an increased feeling of personal safety that we could all use with a location-independent lifestyle. 

Use the Dry Cleaning Bag as a Laundry Bag

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One of the long-term troubles with living life between hotels lies in laundry and the constant struggles that come with finding, decoding, and operating laundromats around the world. Unfortunately, there’s little in the way of laundromat hacks out there, but how you store your dirty clothes before the big day can be just as frustrating. 

Often stashed away in the wardrobe, the dry cleaning (or hotel laundry) bag often comes with eye-water pricetags with single-item service. We’re talking $10 to wash a shirt and $15 for a pair of trousers. Using the hotel washing service week-in and week-out would quickly drain your travel budget. but we’re not planning on using the hotel’s services. The dry cleaning bag itself is a fantastic tool for keeping your laundry separate from your clean clothes. Take your “dry cleaning” to the laundromat and save yourself a big ol’ chunk of change with a convenient, although not very stylish, hotel-supplied laundry bag. 

Coat Hangers Make Great Curtain-Closers

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Ever turn off the lights in a new hotel room only to unearth a half-inch crack of blinding light between the curtains? Hotel rooms with those pesky curtains that don’t overlap are a painfully common occurrence. If you’re someone that suffers from light sensitivity, this can become a serious sleep-stealing problem. 

There is, mercifully, a hotel room hack perfect for closing those eye-searing street lights—the humble coat hanger. Your coat hanger selection does need to be specific. A wire-framed shirt hanger just won’t do. It’s the clip hanger, used for trousers and skirts, that you need to look for. The clips are great for dropping the creases out of your bottoms, but they’re even better at closing the gap between your curtains. Clip each sheet of fabric together to remove the exterior light and sleep like a baby!

Ironing Boards Double as Adjustable Desks

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Working from “home” on a project but can’t quite get comfortable on the bed, at the desk, or in the armchair? Why not try using the ironing board as a handy, portable, adjustable hotel room desk? The neat thing about using an ironing board as a desk is the adjustability. If you’re lucky, and find yourself with a good quality board, you’ll be left with a sturdy surface that you can customize to your preferred height Work from the floor, from the chair or even standing with the perfect surface to hold your remote working setup.

Shower Caps Are Multifunctional

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The shower cap is one of the hidden gems of any hotel bathroom amenity kit. Often neglected by digital nomads, the plastic bathroom garments come with a whole host of hidden hotel room hacks. Not looking forward to using the unsanitary TV or AC remote? Pop the controller inside of a shower cap for full functionality without grossness. Carrying around a second pair of shoes or sandals in your luggage? Pop each shoe in a shower cap to prevent your clothes from picking up any dirt. Traveling with toiletries that are prone to leaking? Wrap them in a shower cap to minimize potential shampoo disasters. 

Of course, the caps can also shield your hair when taking a shower—but it’s their alternative benefits that get us excited. You’ll never know when it may come in handy!

Use Any Card to Turn on the Power

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Staying in a hotel with a keycard-activated power switch? A little-known hotel hack will allow you to keep the power on when you’re out of the room. The keycard-activated power switch can be a headache for digital nomads. Whether you’re hoping to keep your AC running during lunch or want to charge your laptop during a day trip—keeping the power may be a necessity. Additional inconveniences come with traveling as a pair. Where one half may head out to see the latest movie, the other may be left without electricity for hours at a time. 

If you’ve only got one key to play with, it’s impossible to keep the power rolling and to let yourself back in. That is until you learn that any card can be used to activate the room’s power. Open your wallet and pull out a card of your choice to keep the power on and your room running nice and smoothly.  


With our digital nomad hotel room hacks you’ll never pack for a single trip without a doorstop again. Don’t forget to book and extend your stays directly, check the WiFi speed in advance, and avoid the minibar at all costs. There are many tips and tricks that we can use as digital nomads, but there’s nothing quite like learning from experience to know what works best for you.

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