Cheap Hotel Survival Kit Made From Dollar Store Items
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
About the author Mike Bowman
Mike writes for TheQuarterRoll.com, 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
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