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A few months ago, I did a post and video on my top 13 air travel annoyances. This is a continuation of that series, with this list focused on hotel annoyances and pet peeves. Whether you’ve paid a resort fee or been disturbed by a noisy neighbor, I’m hoping you can relate to some of these issues.

1. No safe in your hotel room:

Hotel room safe in Italy
Protecting your passport can be a challenge when you don’t have a safe in your hotel room

I always prefer to keep my passport in the hotel safe and a photocopy in my wallet when traveling abroad. This method works well until you check into a hotel that doesn’t have an in-room safe. Or even worse, has one that doesn’t work properly.

Non-TSA friendly brass luggage lock made by Brinks
If you’re locking valuables in your suitcase, I recommend using a non-TSA friendly combination lock

You usually have a few options in this situation. One is to ask the front desk to lock your valuables in their main safe. This works well but usually means that you won’t have access to your items until the end of your stay.

The second option is to lock your valuables in your suitcase, which isn’t very secure. If you going to lock your suitcase at the hotel, I recommend using a non-TSA friendly luggage lock since it’s possible to open TSA-approved locks with a special key.

The third option, which I prefer, is to use a portable safe. These are generally made from cut-resistant materials which should deter the basic or casual thief.

A portable safe (like the Loctote AntiTheft Sack 3L) can help secure your valuables when you don’t have an in-room safe

2. Lack of plugs in the hotel:

This drives me insane. Oftentimes, the only accessible plug is along the side of the bed or hallway. This is a horrible place for your phone or tablet, especially if you visit the bathroom when the room is dark.

USB ports on the backside of Samsung TV
USB ports on your room TV can often charge your electronics

There are a few ways to get around this issue. One is to use USB ports on devices like the alarm clock and TV. Some TVs have to be on in order to power the port, while others provide a constant charge even when off.

Another method is to charge devices using a large USB battery pack, then charge the battery pack during the day. I did this during a homestay in Vietnam when six people in my travel group shared one outlet.

Also, I do have two gadgets that help with addressing a lack of plugs or those in inconvenient locations.

Orbit iPhone Charger on outlet charging an iPhone X
The Orbit iPhone Charger allows you to charge your iPhone at the outlet (and off the ground)

I recently got a cool device that allows you to charge an iPhone on the outlet. It’s called the Orbit iPhone Charger, and it’s made from a company called Hip Product Factory. I think it’s a sleek and compact solution, especially if you’re worried about stepping on your phone at night.

Anker PowerPort Cube
The Anker PowerPort Cube is a great device when dealing with limited plugs

The other device is the Anker PowerPort Cube. It’s a portable power strip that’s shaped like a cube and includes three main plugs and three USB ports with their proprietary PowerIQ system.

3. Noisy hotels:

Elevator lobby in hotel
Rooms near the elevators can often experience more noise

This has been an issue for me on many occasions, even at fancy hotels. I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night by drunk hotel guests yelling in the hallway. I’ve also had situations where I stayed in a hotel and could hear the elevator passing by my room from the wall. Since I’m a light sleeper, it felt like torture!

Mpow pack of earplugs and keychain carrying case
Earplugs are inexpensive, easy to pack, and can save the day (and night) when traveling

If you can’t get a new room or don’t want to bother with having to move, I suggest a low tech solution: earplugs. I bought a large pack from Amazon and they work great. In fact, I currently have a noisy neighbor living in the apartment below mine that wakes us up at 5 AM. We now keep a few pairs of earplugs on our bedside table and always carry a pair while traveling.

Room and bed preferences in IHG Rewards Club account
Recommend setting up your room preferences in your hotel profiles to be away from elevators

Also, when given the option of specifying room preferences, I recommend requesting a quiet floor or a room away from the elevator. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll get a quiet room, but it’s worth trying.

4. Erroneous charges on your hotel bill:

Reviewing paperwork at a hotel front desk
I would avoid signing any invoice or receipt if you disagree with the charges

Hotels are notorious for adding all sorts of charges to your stay. Newspapers, tourism taxes, and parking charges are just a few examples. If you find yourself in a situation where you are disputing the charge, and the hotel is unwilling to work with you, I suggest NOT signing the receipt or invoice. By doing so, the hotel can still charge you, but you can work with your credit card issuer to dispute the charge.

Chase helped us to dispute the additional resort fees on our Chase Sapphire Reserve

This happened to us last year in Mexico. We only stayed one night at our initial hotel and checked out early due to unresolvable issues with the room. The hotel insisted on charging us five days of resort fees. I was willing to pay for one day, but not the remaining days. Luckily, I filed a report of my situation with Chase and they were able to adjust the charge on my Sapphire Reserve card.

5. Expensive drinks and snacks:

There’s nothing worse than opening a water bottle in your room and finding that the bottle costs $5. I recommend checking or asking before opening any drinks in the room. Also, many hotel minibars use sensors to detect when something is consumed. The problem is that the sensors can be tripped if you happen to take out drink to examine it or move things around.

Beer bottles in a refrigerator
You may want to think twice before pulling a drink out of your hotel minibar!

This happened years ago when I got a small bottle of prosecco and wanted to chill it in the room. I put in the minibar and moved a few items around in order to make space. Though when I was checking out, I noticed several charges on my account.

There are a few solutions to this issue. A lot of hotels will allow you to get the minibar locked which is useful if you have curious kids. I’ve even heard of people taking photos of their minibar to document what they’ve used or haven’t used. If anything, be careful with moving anything in the minibar and look for any extra charges on your final bill.

6. Resort fees:

Resort fees added to the total price at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Report
Resort fees are a tricky way for the hotels to charge you more (outside of the base rate)

I find resort fees to be ridiculous. It’s essentially a mandatory fee that’s charged separately from the booking rate, making it seem lower than the actual cost. You can sometimes get the hotel or resort to waive the fee, especially if you’re not using the services that are supported by it (e.g., parking, golf course, pool). Though in most cases, there is no way around it.

7. High prices for basic services:

When I traveled to Southeast Asia, I had the hotels wash and fold my laundry every other day since I had packed lightly and it was so affordable. The cost was around $1 per bag of laundry. At that rate, it made more sense than washing my clothes in the hotel sink or bathtub.

However, the low laundry prices at hotels did not last when I arrived to Hong Kong. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency in TST. When I inquired about laundry, I was told that it was going to be charged per item and the prices were extremely high.

Small and local clothing cleaners
Local laundry shops are often more affordable than larger hotels

I decided to do a quick Yelp search online and found a local cleaner a few blocks away that had good reviews. After venturing down the street, I found the shop. It ended up being only a few dollars to have my clothes washed and folded.

Line of white taxi cabs in Europe
Arranging your own transportation from your hotel to the airport may be less expensive

I had a similar experience with transportation to the airport. When I was in Costa Rica at the Andaz Papagayo, I asked about getting a taxi from the hotel to the airport. Based on my online research, many local operators were charging less than $30 per person for the ride. I was surprised when the Andaz concierge quoted me $50 per person for the ride to use their preferred driver. I decided to arrange it myself and save money.

8. No iron in the room (or dirty irons):

This is an issue that I used to encounter when traveling for work. I would be rushing in the morning to get ready, only to find that there wasn’t an iron in the room, or even worse, it was dirty. I remember getting marks on my uniform when I was in the military due to starch residues on the iron.

Light denim being pressed by a green Philips iron
Irons can sometimes be hard to find or in bad shape at hotels

A good tip for dealing with wrinkles is to hang up your clothes in the bathroom when showering. The steam and humidity should help with removing the wrinkles. You might be able to avoid ironing all together with this technique.

Hardvark Everyday merino wool dress shirt
Hardvark’s Everyday Shirt is my new go-to dress shirt for traveling

Also, I recently discovered merino wool dress shirts. I got one from Hardvark that’s lightweight and wrinkle resistant. We did a post/video on merino wool clothing a while back and discussed why it’s a great fabric for travelers. I never thought about merino wool dress shirts, but it makes sense. My Hardvark merino wool dress shirt is now my go-to formal shirt when traveling. I like that I don’t have to worry about wrinkles and creases (as I do with my cotton dress shirts, even those that are non-wrinkle). Hardvark sells a lot of other merino wool clothing and accessories, so I’ll be ordering more items from them soon.

9. Low water pressure:

I hate to sound high maintenance, but this one drives me crazy. I’ve been to some nicer hotels where the water seems to sprinkle out of the showerhead, extending my time in the bathroom.

Shower head spraying water in bathroom
Low water pressure can be extremely annoying

There isn’t a realistic solution to this problem. My only recommendation is to shower during off-peak times. For example, if you notice that the water pressure is low in the morning, it’s likely that other guests are also showering at the same time. This contribute to lowering the overall water pressure at the hotel.

10. Pitches for timeshares or vacation clubs:

We did a post/video on this topic a while back, but it’s honestly something that annoys me. I’ve been to many hotels where I’m told that I’ve been selected as a “VIP”. It usually follows with instructions to stop by the concierge to pick up a free gift. I’m given a bag of swag and goodies, but then I’m told that I need to take a tour of the “VIP properties and services”.

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This happened when I stayed at the Sheraton at Black Rock in Maui. I ended up giving back the bag and told them I wasn’t interested. I wasn’t trying to be rude, but I’ve been to too many presentations to know that there’s always a catch. Since I feel like my vacation time is so valuable, I hate wasting my time being pressured to buy a timeshare or vacation club membership.

Honeymoon giveaways at a Los Angeles Bridal Show
Free giveaways often have “strings attached” in the form of timeshare or vacation club presentations

Also, have you ever won a free hotel night or vacation, only to find out there are strings attached? Just like my earlier point, don’t fall for it! Fiona and I recently went to a local wedding show that was hosting a giveaway for a free vacation to Hawaii. Guess who won? Both Fiona and I received separate calls saying that we were one of the winners, even though we entered separately. It was obvious that everyone that entered was a winner. More importantly, it was a ploy to get people to go to lucrative presentations during their trip.

It’s like the old economic saying: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

11. Late check-out fees:

When we traveled to Las Vegas for our Death Valley trip, I was surprised that our hotel didn’t have any flexibility for a late checkout, even with our Hyatt status. They did offer some options, but all were pricey. Since our flight wasn’t until the late afternoon, we opted to have the hotel hold our bags instead. Most hotels will offer this service without any extra charge, so it’s worth asking if you’re unable to get a free late checkout.

Late checkout options at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas
We were given late checkout options at the New York-New York Hotel, but all were fairly pricey

When requesting a late checkout, it’s better to ask on the day of your departure. The front desk won’t know with certainty if the hotel is fully booked until the day of your checkout.

Additional tip: I recently heard a story about a couple that checked out of their hotel by simply leaving their keys in the room. They were surprised to get a bill a few weeks later for additional nights of stay. They found that someone broke into their room after seeing them leave and was able to use the keys. Rather than checking out, they were charged for extending their stay.

Woman holding a hotel room key in her hand
It’s best to return your hotel keys to the front desk during checkout rather than leaving them in your room

I always assumed that the keys would deactivate, but apparently, they don’t. Make sure you are officially checking out of the room. And instead of leaving your keys in the room, leave them at the front desk. It’s worth reviewing your final bill at the front desk too in case there are any discrepancies.

12. Confusing policies:

I dislike it when hotels have policies that affect some guest but not others. An example is the Hyatt Place policy for breakfast. I love the Hyatt Place brand, and I’ve been able to find great redemption rates at them. The hotel used to offer a basic free breakfast during your stay. However, in 2018, they changed their policy. Only members of the World of Hyatt loyalty program who book their reservations directly with Hyatt are eligible for the free breakfast. The hotel now has someone checking your eligibility as soon as you enter the breakfast area.

Overhead view of common breakfast items
Free breakfast at Hyatt Place Hotels means that you must be a member of the World of Hyatt program AND made your booking directly with Hyatt

Needless to say, the policy is confusing. For example, suppose you have status with Hyatt, but you used the Chase Travel Portal to book your stay. This means that you would not be eligible for the free breakfast.

It’s an extra hassle for both the visiting hotel guest and the staff that has to enforce the policy. I wish hotels would keep it simple and make these types of benefits and services inclusive for all guests.

13. Not getting the points for your stay:

This is for you points and miles enthusiasts. There is nothing worse than paying for a stay only to find out afterward that you didn’t get the credit. While you can often request the missing points, it can be a hassle and take a while to resolve.

Loyalty status cards, including World of Hyatt, Starwood Preferred Guest, Avis Preferred, Club Carlon, and ANA
Make sure to get credit for your stays by verifying that your loyalty number is on your booking

I recommend verifying during check-in that your loyalty number is listed in the booking. This is especially important if you booked from a third party site like the Chase Travel Portal or Expedia. The front desk will be able to confirm it. It might even remind or encourage them to give you additional perks or upgrades for your loyalty status.

Final thoughts

High rise hotel pool at sunset
While problems can occur when staying at a hotel, don’t lose sight of the big picture

While I probably sound crabby for putting together this list, I still love staying at hotels. Stuff happens and oftentimes, no one is at fault. it’s important to always keep your cool and treat people with respect, even when things go wrong. If anything, don’t let one or two bad experiences ruin your vacation.

What are you travel pet peeves and annoyances when staying at hotels? Do you have any other tips?

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Trip Astute has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Trip Astute and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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