The $10 Cheap Hotel Survival Kit


The $10 Cheap Hotel Survival Kit$10 Cheap Hotel Survival Kit Made From Dollar Store Items
Mike Bowman  

Hotel stays can be very expensive and are usually the biggest part of a vacation budget. The cost of accommodations is obviously a huge deal to travelers because there are so many sites dedicated to finding lower hotel prices.

My family and I recently went on a beach vacation and suffered a case of "you get what you pay for". The room we had was big enough to accommodate us all, allowed us to stay right on the beach, and was $60 less per night than other available rooms. However, most of the basic conveniences you would expect in a hotel room were missing. We were excited to have saved money, but once we took a look around the room, we decided to make a quick trip to the dollar store.

Cheap hotels stay cheap by keeping their costs low. You will pay a lower room rate, but you are probably going to miss some of the amenities. The room may work for your family, but a quick stop at the local dollar store can make the experience much better. We bought the items listed below at the dollar store, and they made our time at the cheap hotel much more enjoyable.

Soap and Shampoo
I really don't know how much those travel-size bars of soap and tubes of shampoo cost the hotel, but the cheap hotel provided 1 skinny bar of soap and 1 little bottle of shampoo for a family of 4. By placing a regular bar of soap and bottle of shampoo in the bathroom, we kept the entire family clean during our stay!

Trash Bags

The cheap hotel provided one small garbage can. Four people who were buying souvenirs and eating most breakfasts and lunches in the room made significantly more trash than that little garbage could accommodate. By having our own garbage bags available, we were able to keep the room tidy and clutter free. Additionally, the garbage bags served as great places to keep wet or dirty clothes.

Yes, there were a few outlets in the room, but most were in difficult to reach places. The couple that were accessible had a lamp plugged into it. (No, the cheap hotel did not have those lamps that also have an outlet on them.) We had 4 people in the room, all of whom wanted to keep their devices charged. The multi-plug outlet we bought at the dollar store allowed us to keep more devices plugged in at a single area.

Air Freshener
Lets face it. Cheaper hotels are often times older buildings, and there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of families in that room before you. Wet towels, cooked food, perfumes, etc., are smells that can be hard to get out of any room, especially an old room. A couple quick sprays of air freshener each day can make those odors more tolerable.

Disinfectant Wipes
The price of our room was low and allowed us to stay right on the beach, but we had to wonder if the quality of housekeeping would also be low. Based on the lack of basic conveniences, we chose to give the bathroom and sink a quick go-over with the disinfectant wipes we bought at the dollar store.

Bath Mat
Towels seem to be an issue at cheap hotels, and our cheap hotel was no different. The room we rented had two towels in it, but even if there would have only been two of us, two towels wasn't going to cut it. One concern was the slippery bathroom floor. When you stepped out of the shower, you really needed a towel on the ground to stand on so you didn't slip and fall. However, do you really want to give up one of your two towels? A $1 bath mat from the dollar store solved that problem.

Night Light
Our cheap hotel had two lighting options: Lots of light or no light at all. With two kids in the room, we wanted to have at least a little bit of light on at night so they could find their way to the bathroom if needed. A small night light from the dollar store gave us just the right amount of light.

Plastic Cups
In some hotels, you find a tray that has things like an ice bucket, cups, coffee, etc. In order to save money, we often buy larger jugs of pop and water, instead of single servings, and use the cups provided by the hotel to serve the drinks. (We learned a long time ago that if your kid tells you that he is thirsty and you buy him a $1.50 bottle of Pepsi, he will take a five-cent sip of it and not want anymore. So now we use plastic cups!) Our cheap hotel did provide an ice bucket, but no glassware or plastic cups. For $1 at the dollar store, however, we got enough cups to last during our stay.

Even if you are not in a cheap hotel, the power can go out or there can be other emergencies. It happened to us once. Sure, you can use your phone as a flashlight, but honestly when you are on vacation and the lights are out in the hotel room, you don't want to use up your phone's battery. For $1, you can get a small safety flashlight that already has a battery in it. Kids can also use the flashlight for reading their books in the car if you are traveling home at night.

Have you ever stayed at a cheap hotel? What else would you add to the list?

About the author Mike Bowman
Mike writes for, a website that makes small business ownership and personal finance fun and entertaining through the stories of real people. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter @TheQuarterRoll

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