How to Avoid 7 Hotel Headaches

Frequent travelers know better than anybody that hotel living is not all it’s cracked up to be. Between the hidden charges and less-than-ideal amenities, a night in a hotel can become more trouble than it is worth. However, with a little bit of time, research and preparation, the seven biggest hotel headaches can be easily avoided.

1. Wi-Fi Costs

Many hotels offer Wi-Fi to guests for an additional charge. While this low-speed, high-priced option may be easiest, it is nowhere near the best. For those who need better connectivity than Smartphones allow, investing in a data card or USB key may be a smarter choice than paying for hotel Wi-Fi.

Data cards use 3G or 4G technology to access the Internet the same way cell phones do, but allow the user to connect using a laptop or tablet computer. For frequent travelers, these devices pay for themselves, as the average monthly data rate is equal to the price of one Wi-Fi enabled weekend at a hotel.

Not interested in a long-term investment? Most hotels are within walking distance of restaurants and coffee shops offering free Wi-Fi to customers. Though you may have to buy a doughnut, you won’t have to share the connection with 500 hotel guests, making it a faster, more delicious alternative.

2. Room Service Costs

The hungry traveler has no easier dining option than room service. When ordering room service, there is no need to give a name, delivery address, or billing information; just pick up the phone and say “hamburger.” However, since some room service hamburgers top out at $18.99, the extra steps may well be worth it.

When you factor in delivery charge and tip, ordering food from an outside source is still cheaper than room service, and takes just as long. Many guests falsely believe that ordering outside food is faux pas, but in reality, guests do it all the time.

In fact, if asked, most concierges have local dining and delivery menus on hand for their guests, making the process of ordering outside food even easier. While it may require an extra 20 seconds of brain power, ordering from an outside source, or bringing snacks from home, is well worth the effort.

3. Parking Costs

It seems to make sense that parking would be free for guests of the hotel; after all, you are paying a large sum of money just to stay there. However, in many cases, parking is extra.

The solution to this problem comes down to a simple math equation. Many people like to rent cars while staying at a hotel, or to drive their own car if staying locally. However, much to the surprise of travelers, the cost of parking at hotels, gas, and/or rental cars, is often MORE expensive than the cost of taking cabs.

While transportation should be decided on a case-by-case basis, the overwhelming majority of travelers will find that having an automobile on hand is not as cost effective as they may have assumed. And, cabbies are a great resource for entertainment options.

4. Theft & Disturbances

Though most housekeeping employees won’t risk their jobs in exchange for a few hundred dollars worth of goods, sometimes the temptation is too great. If you are traveling with a suitcase full of Coppertone and flip flops, this section may not apply. However, for those high rollers, businessmen, and secret agents among our readers, take heed.

Using the deadbolt whenever in the room is a good idea to prevent unwanted disturbances, as the “do not disturb” sign seems to act as a mere suggestion. When outside of the room, take advantage of the in-room safe. Many of them are free, easy to use, and ensure valuables are safe.

For hotels without safes, luggage locks are a great idea. Be sure to keep the luggage locks IN your luggage while traveling, as TSA will cut them off in the name of national security. Once you have arrived at your destination, lock up and be safe.

5. Pay-per-View Costs

The movies worth watching on hotel televisions are anywhere from $10-$15 per view (and that’s for the NON-adult only sections). However, modern technology has rendered those costs a thing of the past.

For tablet and laptop owners, DVDs and streaming movies are an excellent alternative to paying for rentals. Travelers with more than one set of eyes to provide for need a simple set of RCA cables to hook up a portable DVD player or computer to the room television.

Need another reason to avoid hotel TV? Try going to a local movie theatre. It’ll cost the same, but it offers newer releases. Are you afraid of looking like a weirdo, going to a movie alone? You’re out of town, nobody knows you, so get over it.

6. Mini-Fridge & Mini-Bar Costs

Oftentimes, the inclusion of a mini-fridge in a room can add up to $20 per day to the price of the room. Unless that fridge facilitates an all-you-can-eat buffet (which it does not), that price is NOT worth it.

For $7, travelers can get a fold up insulated cooler that fits easily in their luggage. With complimentary ice machines in every hotel built after 1930, all it takes is a trip down the hall for that homemade refrigerator magic to begin working.

By bringing beverages from home or a nearby convenience store, travelers can have all of the perks of a mini-bar without the cost. BYOB savings could add an extra day to your vacation.

7. Cost!!!

Hotels are freaking expensive, even when you aren’t staying in the most expensive hotel in the world, which is currently in Beirut. However, if travelers know where to look, they can find huge bargains without risking getting stabbed in their sleep.

Hotel websites like Priceline ®, Orbitz ® and Travelocity ® offer discount rates, compared to booking the room directly through the hotel. While each website operates differently, there are perks to each one for specific types of travelers.

Those who know exactly what hotel they would like to stay in can save big money with Orbitz and Travelocity, while those with a more flexible trip can roll the dice with Priceline. Whichever website you use, there is never a reason to pay full price for a hotel room.



Hotel trips are expensive, but with just a little bit of ingenuity, research, and time, travelers can easily enjoy their time, without worrying about breaking the bank. Better yet, travelers can avoid hotel headaches completely by seeking out alternate types of accommodations (like vacation rentals!) instead of putting up with the hotel chain experience.


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