Staying in hotels while traveling can feel like the ultimate luxury, but before you do, there are many things you should know. This list isn’t intended to scare you or turn you off from that posh king suite in your favorite getaway location, but it will be eye-opening.
When you think about it, it’s fantastic that hotels maintain any modicum of cleanliness, given that hundreds of people pass through them every day. Hardworking staff members do their best to keep each room up to snuff, but with that kind of volume, things sometimes go unnoticed (and, more disturbingly, uncleaned).
#13 is shocking. Below are some tidbits of information that can help you protect yourself during your next hotel stay. All told, there’s no reason to be afraid to stay in a hotel — but you should be aware.
01. One study showed that the television remotes and bedside lamp switches are the least cleaned –, but they’re also the most touched places in the room. In other words, it might be a good idea to bring some hand sanitizer if you plan to watch TV.
02. Fox News reveals that many hotel maids do not wash the bathroom glasses out with soap before the next guest arrives. Try to use bottled water, or ask the hotel clerk for plastic cups to be safe.
03. White duvet covers at hotels are only washed when there are apparent stains. In other words, there are a lot of hidden stains that go unchecked. Yikes.
04. Just because a hotel lists something as “free” doesn’t mean you can take it with you. Before heading out with that pair of fuzzy slippers, ensure the hotel provides complimentary service.
05. A study done at New York University’s hospitality school found that “restocking fees” from the minibar costs an “extra two percent in revenue, and most of that money is pure profit for the hotel.” In other words, staying away from the hotel fridge might be a good idea.
06. If you do decide to have a drink from the minibar, check your bottles first: One hotel worker discovered that a guest had tried to avoid the minibar bill by refilling the little bottles with urine.
07. One investigation revealed that cleaners won’t always wash the coffee pot; in a hotel in Cincinnati, Ohio, the pot was found to be cleaned with a bottle of Lysol mildew remover, and a made was captured on video using the same cloth to clean the coffee maker as she had used to clean the bathroom floor.
08. There are high rates of suicide in hotel rooms. People who commit suicide in a hotel room often live nearby.
09. Hotels take fastidious inventories of their towels and robes, so don’t try to steal them. One Miami company has been sewing tags into clothes and towels that alert the hotel when they go missing.
10. Bed bugs run rampant in hotels, and you often can’t tell you’ve gotten them until you’ve checked out. Always check your hotel mattress for signs of these critters before staying the night.
11. In July 2003, a man checked into the Capri Motel in Kansas City and slept on the bed for three nights before checking out because of the stink. When cleaners entered the room, they lifted the mattress and found a male corpse (inexplicably wearing a nun’s outfit). In other words, that urban legend you heard once is true.
12. Bathroom surfaces are full of germs, a result of bacteria like E.coli surviving despite routine cleanings.
13. Hotel carpets are full of allergens; unfortunately, daily vacuuming isn’t enough to clean them up. Bodily fluids, mold, food, and allergens can all hide out in the fibers of the floor.
14. Don’t drink water from a hotel sink. Recently, CBS News reported that “three guests of the EPIC hotel in Miami had come down with Legionnaire’s disease (one later died from the infection). The hotel’s high-powered water purification system filtered chlorine from the city water supply, allowing bacteria to grow.” In other words, sometimes hotel water can be TOO purified — so drink bottled water instead.
- Try packing a few extras like anti-bacterial hand sanitizer, zip lock bags, and maybe even your cup and pillowcase.
- Pack a bug-treated sleeping bag if you’re worried, and don’t put your luggage on the bed, as you could take them home if there is an infestation in the room.
- Take a small pack of sanitizing wipes and give your facilities a wipe-down to be sure you’re bacteria-free. Wash your hands regularly and use sanitizing gel for double measure. Flip-flops can also be a good idea for showers.
- Avoid direct contact with your carpet by always wearing something on your feet, and don’t drop clothes on the floor. You can always request a deep clean if you see dust.
- Rinse glasses under hot water for at least two minutes
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