Hotels are supposed to be designed with guests in mind, but sometimes the masterminds behind hotel planning miss the mark. You will discover these flaws when they're annoying you from your bed at midnight. It's the air conditioner that blows too forcefully on your head or the WiFi router blinking brightly. When hotel-room frustration strikes, turn to easy hacks to fix your problems.
Twitter became a helpful resource for travel-hack discovery after user Rick Klau posted a trick he saw on the site years ago that he says has improved every night he has spent in hotel rooms since. The hack: using a hanger to secure light-leaking curtains in your room.
The post by Klau, who is a senior operating partner at GV (formerly Google Ventures), resulted in more than 1,600 replies. Some gave other creative answers to Klau's same problem, such as using binder clips or pen caps or old-fashioned clothespins to secure curtains together. Many of the responses addressed other hotel-specific issues with equally ingenious patches. Here are some of the best they offered.
Block blinking lights with electrical tape
Hotel rooms are filled with electronics that entertain us, provide us WiFi and protect us from fires. Although they're helpful, they can also be incredibly disruptive if they are flashing lights when you are trying to sleep. They blink and blink and blink, driving you to insanity. The fix? According to multiple tweets: electrical tape. Keep a roll in your suitcase so you can cover any and all light pollution quickly and efficiently without having to unplug all of the electronics in your room.
Combat dry air with a wet towel
Hotel-room heating and air conditioning systems can be intense. You may wake up feeling like it's been years since you had any water, your mouth and skin begging for moisture. Hack a humidifier to fight the dehydration. Twitter user Aaron B suggests soaking a towel with water, wringing it tightly so that it's not dripping, then hanging it over an ironing board in front of your room's vent or heater.
Score free phone chargers at the front desk
Left your phone charger at home? Lose it in a taxi cab? Head to the front desk. One Twitter user's ethically questionable Band-Aid is to ask hotel staff if any chargers have been turned in to the lost and found. If you're lucky, "they have a box full," @Vinylrabbit wrote.
Override the hotel thermostat
For those who find the temperature options of a hotel room too limiting, this hack is for you. Jillian Hurley cited a Lifehacker story in a tweet about overriding the hotel thermostat. Step one is to hold down the thermostat's "display" button, then press the "off" button simultaneously. Keep holding the display button down, but let go of the off button and press the up arrow. Once you release all of the buttons, you'll have free rein of the temperature controls.
Avoid the germs of the remote control
If the thought of grabbing the same gadget used by the countless customers that stayed in your hotel before you freaks you out, cover it up using other items found around the room. One Twitter user recommended using the plastic bag of an ice bucket, while another suggested a shower cap.
Keeping the power on without using your room key
In an effort to conserve electricity, hotels sometimes require guests to put their key card in a slot near the front door of their room to turn the power on. If you leave, you'll need your key, therefore preventing you from wasting energy while you're out. But if you need power for something even if you're not in the room, try Twitter user Jay Harris' recommended hack. "Not many people realise you can use any card to keep the power on," he wrote.
Unfortunately, not all hacks will work in all hotel situations. Some tweets lamented hotels that don't allow guests to remove hangers from the closet, or windows with such bizarre placement and drapery that no hanger could ever stand a chance to help. Or that some key cards are different sizes than a standard credit card, so you won't be able to hack the power in your room after all. But overall, the fixes are helpful to keep in your back pocket in case of emergency.