15 Effective Ways to Make Hotel Travel More Relaxing
Let’s face it. A large number of us spend many of our days on the road for work. Total numbers certainly vary by industry and job type, but a hundred nights a year isn’t uncommon at all among road warriors.
Those days inevitably turn into nights spent at hotels, often different hotels in different cities. There are several things you can do to make those nights less unpleasant, and possibly even bearable.
I don’t travel as much as I used to, although I still rack up more than I’d really like most years. And, anymore, flying hurts. Not the irritating muscle aches from badly sized non-ergonomic plane seats, but migraine-inducing, bone-crushing hurt. The kind that makes airline travel a nightmare and that can start a week of travel off on the wrong foot.
So, rest assured, I definitely try most of the travel tips I have come across in the last fifteen years, and these are the ones I’ve found to be most helpful. Some I’ve culled from other places; some are my own drawn from experience. Try them and keep what works for you.
- Reminder of home. Take a photograph from home for your bedside table. Get an attractive wooden or plastic frame with break-resistant “glass”
- Stay connected. Establish a family ritual that you can practice daily, or as often as timezones permit. Some of mine are prayer time with my wife and children, and reading from one of my son’s favorite books with him.
- Personalize the space. Carry a non-aerosol air freshener so your myriad hotel rooms have a consistent, welcoming scent. I prefer cucumber or melon because of my migraines.
- Create a calming environment. Create a relaxing playlist of at least two hours length on your portable music device. You may not have two hours to sit and listen to it, but you don’t want to have to listen to the same three tracks repeatedly. Put the music on when you arrive, while you unpack, and while you’re settling in.
- Eliminate distracting sounds. Find ambient noise tracks you like (red/brown noise is better than white, and/or get some nature sounds) and put them on your music player. Smartphones are great for this. They reduce the amount of electronics you have to manage.
- Promote good sleep. Make the hotel room cold when you first arrive. It will serve the dual purpose of invigorating you and, at bedtime, the lowering of your body temperature will induce sleep faster. Enhance this effect with a warm shower. If you can’t sleep in the cold, adjust the thermostat to warm the room when you go to dinner or upon your return.
- Form relationships. Get to know the hotel managers, front desk supervisors, and front desk staff at hotels you visit often. It helps to know someone by name and prior conversations if you need something, especially something unusual or difficult, and it’s a great mood enhancer to be recognized when you return. Frequent visits will earn you face recognition, and maybe name recognition, but even the occasional couple of sentences exchanged about each other’s lives goes a long way toward showing that you value the service they provide and moreso that you value them as people.
- Know your hotel. Visit TripAdvisor before you select a hotel, or even if you’re stuck in the one your company picked.
- Protect your health. Learn how to do a 5-minute inspection for bedbugs. And do it. Put your shoes on the desk at night. Don’t use the luggage rack. Ever.
- Make returning stress-free. Unpack when you arrive, even if you don’t feel like it. It’s depressing to return to a hotel room on the first day of a trip and have to unpack.
- Show good manners. Be gracious to the housekeeping staff. Tip them. Every day. Especially on check-out day. They aren’t going to get a tip that day from the person checking in. In the U.S., tip the housekeeping staff at least $3-5/day. Leave it on the bed. If you put it on the bedside table, many will leave it in case you simply forgot your money.
- Show more good manners. Leave thank-you notes for hotel managers and front-desk supervisors who go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Conversely, if you have a serious problem, leave them a note and ask them to contact you to discuss it during your stay. Don’t rant on online review sites if you haven’t talked to a manager. It’s just not nice.
- Simplify staying in touch. Get a unified messaging number or a follow-me number. Travel is hassle enough without having to check multiple voicemail services or making people hunt you down. Google Voice is one popular option, but there are plenty of others.
- Take care of your body. Find a reliable, reputable massage therapist in every city to which you travel. I prefer Massage Envy because the monthly membership fee is a steal, and you can use the membership in any city where they operate. The reference checking is done for you, saving you a lot of hassle.
- Be prepared for an emergency. Learn where the best emergency room is in the cities to which you travel. Research them online. They are reviewed often. Unless you’re literally dying, take a cab to that ER. An ambulance will either take you to the closest or to the one where their contract specifies if there’s a non-life-threatening choice.
- Be overly health-cautious. Get a prescription for a Z-pack from your doctor and keep it with you. Don’t take it for a virus! Take it if you’re absolutely certain you have a bacterial infection and can’t get to an urgent care center. Have the doctor give you written instructions for when and how often to take it (including rest intervals). Having this with you is especially important for frequent international travel.
Have your own tips? Share them below. I’d love to hear from other travelers.
This article is one of a series on tips to make travel less stressful and more productive. See the first article here:
Safe travels, and enjoy life,