So, it’s summer and I’ve been doing some Facebook Live videos about traveling — and we’ve been getting excited about going on our Fresh Grounded Faith Cruise in February 2017! In all my traveling, I have noticed I have the same issues over and over whether I am in the US or abroad. The trip may be 24 hours or 3 weeks but the same stuff happens to me over and over! I leave my phone charger in the hotel. I lose my hotel key card and jewelry and all sorts of important stuff. I get all stuffy and my sinuses act up in almost every hotel room I stay in. And while I’m there, I forget my room number and have to go to the desk, show my ID, and admit I forgot where I’m staying!
Now, I’ve been traveling pretty much full time for the past 10 years! If I can find myself stumbling through the same travel trauma with that much experience, I have a feeling most travelers may deal with some of these issues too. So, here’s a quick, easy list of solutions to make your next get-away trip of non-issues!
1. How to stop leaving your phone charger in your hotel room when you check out
Can you imagine how many phone chargers are left in hotels? A house keeper once told me that in a normal month, their staff collects about 25! If you do the math, that can add up to over 300 a year! It’s such a common problem — both for the traveler and the hotel who has to shove it in a bin in the back room — that The Wall Street Journal wrote a whole article about the issues our forgetfulness creates! So, I have found a way to hold on to my chargers and since I started doing this one simple thing, I haven’t lost a phone charger in years!
Do not go to the bathroom. Do not drop it on the bed thinking you will put it in your bag after you shower. Do not do anything with that charger except place it in the bag it will travel home in! Otherwise, chances are it will not travel home with you because it will be still plugged into the wall behind the side table or curled behind the ruffled sheets on the bed where you dropped it thinking you would see it and remember to get it before you left! Now, here is the only way this works: do not plug your phone in on the desk across the room or in the bathroom. Always plug in your phone next to your bed even if you have to pull out the bedside table and dig through layers of dust and unplug the clock you won’t use anyway to plug it in!
If you make the decision, “I will plug in my phone by my bed and I will unplug it and pack it upon waking on check out morning,” then I bet donating phone chargers to hotels who don’t really want them will be a thing of the past!
2. How to keep up with the little stuff, like keys
Part of the reason we lose our stuff and forget important things in hotel rooms is because we’re out of our routine. At home, you probably have a place you leave your keys, so you know right where to find them. But, in hotels, we are out of kilter and without routine everything feels so random. I have left my wedding band in a hotel room before. I have spent many frustrating times trying to find where I put my… well, you name it and I have misplaced it in a hotel room. Now, my problem with this is on steroids because I’m blind, but believe me, my husband sees perfectly fine and is forever asking me for my key because he can’t find his!
So, the solution? Put all your important stuff in the same place every time. Even though every hotel room is different, there is one thing that is always the same in each hotel room… the drawer in the bedside table. With rare exceptions, every hotel room has one. And you can take advantage of that predictable little pocket to help you develop a travel routine.
When I arrive in a hotel room, I take out all my essentials right away and put them in that middle drawer. Hotel key, jewelry, wallet… whatever my must-haves are. Here’s the thing, if you walk into your hotel room, drop your key on the bathroom counter, your wallet near the TV and take off your jewelry before you shower and leave it sitting on that cute little round table by the window, then, when you’re hurrying and scurrying to get out of the room, you can’t find anything! And, even worse, when it’s time to check out, even if you check behind you, it is so easy to overlook something because you sat it down in a random place. It is so much easier to just open that drawer, scoop it all out into your purse when you’re stepping out for the evening or drop it all into your back pack when you’re checking out. Once I began to do this in every room I stayed in, I didn’t have to think as much and get stressed out wondering if I forgot something.
3. How to avoided sinus dripping and dryness
Sorry if that is gross but, girl, it is a reality! I noticed after traveling a while, that most mornings I woke up in a hotel room, I woke up sniffling or with a sinus headache or a stuffy nose. I also noticed that often, my nose was really dry. So, if this happens to you, I have found a way to help manage it and even prevent it and it doesn’t include a trip to the drug store. Often, the dryness and sinus reaction is because the hotel room is dry and/or the air filter needs to be replaced — it’s full of dust and is sending it into your room. So, I get a bath towel, wet it and then lay it over the air vent. This does two things. It serves as a make-shift humidifier and it absorbs the dust so your sinuses don’t. And, if you want to really make it spiffy, drip some lavender oil (or whatever essential oil you prefer) on that wet towel and suddenly your room smells like a spa!
4. How to make sure your sleep is restful and uninterrupted
One of my favorite things about traveling is not having to wake up to the sound of an alarm clock! But there have been times when the alarm was set by the person who stayed in the room before me, and waking up at 5:15 in the morning when you don’t have to is not fun at all. So when you are plugging your phone charger in next to your bed, check and make sure that alarm clock is not set. Or better yet, just unplug the clock altogether!
Also, I’m always sure to bring a travel oscillating fan with me. I set it up on the bedside table, and it provides just the right amount of white noise to drown out hotel noises you’re not used to hearing, it keeps me nice and cool while I sleep… it’s the best! You can find one like mine here.
5. How to remember your room number
Hotels don’t write your room number on your key card for security reasons, and I get that. They often will write it on that little packet the key card is slipped in. But, sometimes, they just write it on a piece of paper (that I lose as soon as I leave the front desk). So we, as good guests, take the hint because we want to be safe so we don’t write our room numbers on our key cards. But, then you forget your room number! Okay, well, I do.
Maybe it’s because it’s a different number each weekend, or maybe it’s menopause, but either way, I found a way to remember my number. I make every room number into a Scripture verse. Now, if you’re reading this and aren’t a Bible reader, you may think this doesn’t apply, but, maybe this can serve two purposes. You can always remember your room number and you will read the Bible — at least one verse! So, if my room is 113, I will associate it with a verse in the bible. It could be 1:13 or 11:3. I pull out my bible app on my phone and find a book and verse. Note that Psalms has lots to choose from! Psalm 11:3 reminds me that if the foundations are destroyed, what will the righteous do? So, if I make every room number into a verse, I can meditate on the verse and remember the room number. Get it? Last week I was in room 211. I made that into Philippians 2:11 and it helped me remember it and each time I walked down the hall to my room, I tried to quote the verse that every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord. Try it, it works!
Every traveler develops her own habits; these are just a few of mine. I would love to hear yours! In the comments, let us know what you do when you stay in hotels.