Essential room supplies – stocking up on local wines ūüėČ

I’ll never forget my first time in a fine hotel. The linens were so soft, like a waterfall of silk, gently scented with cinnamon. The bathtub was so deep I could literally swim in it, aided by the generous assortment of imported Italian toiletries. From the delivery of savory nibbles to the fancy stereo system, there wasn’t a flaw in the room. There really is something about beautiful hotels that appeal to all five senses.

And it‚Äôs no wonder this hotel made such an impression on me ‚Äď when you travel on a shoestring,¬†anything with indoor plumbing really stands out! For every gorgeous 4 or 5 star hotel I‚Äôve experienced,¬†I‚Äôve had dozens of stays in a 1, 2, or 3 star hotel/hostel/hovel. There have been times when I‚Äôve had little¬†choice and a basic hotel was the best option available. And sometimes I‚Äôve made the conscious choice¬†to select more humble accommodations in order stretch my budget to cover an extra week of travel. No¬†matter what your reason for staying in modest digs, there are lots of ways to make it feel more upscale.¬†So take a page from the luxury hotel‚Äôs playbook and be sure to appeal to all five senses.


Create a hotel playlist of beautiful, relaxing music. When you book your room, ask to be placed away from the construction, the elevator, and the visiting school group. Bring along high quality ear plugs to ensure a sound sleep and never be shy about calling the front desk if someone is being noisy in the halls.

Stocking up on goodies at a farmers market
Stocking up on goodies at a farmers market


Chances are there will be no welcoming fruit basket so why not take care of it yourself? Visit a deli to grab a wedge of cheese, some baguette, a decadent desert, and a nice bottle of wine. Pop into a local bakery and ask to have some delicious pastries wrapped up to enjoy for breakfast. Ditch the hotel room instant coffee in favor of Godiva hot chocolate and a dark roasted, freshly ground coffee.


There‚Äôs nothing worse than a stale, musty hotel room. Do whatever it takes to get a room with¬†a window that opens. I always wrench open the window for an hour after check-in to air the room out.¬†When booking your stay, make a point of asking for a room away from the smoking and pet section.¬†Request a freshly laundered bed spread. If local regulations allow, light a travel safe candle ‚Äď just be very¬†careful!

If you're in a bad hotel room, at least request one with lots of natural light.
If you’re in a bad hotel room, at least request one with lots of natural light.


When you’re dreaming of endless white linens it can be a bit of a jolt to see the finest of 1980s nylon quilted flower bedspreads. Ask the housekeeping department for a freshly laundered blanket (it will likely be unpatterned) and some extra pillows to turn your bed into something fresh and pretty. Pick up some fresh flowers for your windowsill and buy a bar of pretty, homemade soap for the bathroom.


There’s not much you can do about sheets that have been washed with industrial cleaners until they’re stiff and scratchy. Translucent, undersized towels are equally depressing. Traveling with your own sheet set isn’t always practical but there are silk ones on the market that pack up very small. Bring your own special pillowcase, which takes no space at all. Invest in some lovely travel pajamas and bring decadent bath bombs to make the bedtime routine a little more luxurious.

Like many budget travelers, I often claim that all I need is a clean bed and a safe room but of course I want so much more! Chocolates on my pillows with turn down service and massive fluffy bath towels are always on my wish list! But until I win the lottery, I’ll have to content myself with a few creative travel hacks to bump my basic hotel up a star or two. What are some of your handy hotel hacks?