57 Responses to “Pinkcast 2.24: This is what you should do when you arrive in a hotel room”

  1. That is quite the artwork on the wall.
    I like to carry a ziploc 1 gallon zip bag for the same purpose: added bonus: it’s waterproof when sealed!

  2. David says:

    Love your tips. I do the first one, but the second one was new. Another tip that I find invaluable: Unpack immediately, no matter how long the stay. This means that I don’t have to spend a ton of time digging around my suitcase to find things. Where did I put my toiletries? What happened to my underwear? Big time saver. And if I’m going to be in a place for a few days, I’ll even rearrange the furniture to my liking!

  3. marcia says:

    So, thanks for the tip. It is easy to get disorganized when in a different place.
    My first thing? I wipe down everything I would touch using Clorox sanitizer wipes.
    Second, thing is I NEVER use the glasses (saw a documentary on Dateline once and had you seen that, you would not either…guaranteed).

    Otherwise, like your idea, saves going frantic last minute to search for keys.
    – mh

  4. Joe Booth says:

    The first thing to do on entering a hotel room is to be sure you know the fire exit route. Do this by studying the plan on the back of the door then (and this is the important bit) walking the route.

    • The fire exit route is an awesome idea! The first thing I do is check the windows to see if they open, how they open, and then I open them to make sure they’re not painted shut. I want to see what is outside my window and get oriented too. Is there something to jump on or help me climb down in case of a fire? I try to get a room on the second floor when possible. Maybe it’s paranoid, but I’ve worked rescue and fires in hotels – even the best ones – are more common than you’d think. I too walk the fire route and orient myself to the ice machine, snack machine, stairwells, fire extinguishers, and elevators. I keep my important papers in my daypack which doubles as a “bug out bag” in case of a bomb, shooter, fire, natural disaster etc. I know that all sounds really prepperish and what all, but then remember the Las Vegas hotel – if you were forced to leave because of a shooter and didn’t have the presence to grab your wallet, car keys etc. If you have children or travel abroad – it’s even more important to be prepared. I like the towel idea. I just clear the top of one area in the room (usually the desk) and put everything on that corner – except keys/room key/wallet etc. That all goes into the bag so it’s ready 24/7.

      • Caroline says:

        Love it will do this from now on!

      • M.M.Sheehan says:

        When I check in to a hotel, even before I get to the room, I check the fire exits. Then, I walk the hall to the fire exit, with one hand lightly brushing the wall to count the doorways to the exit. If the hall is dark or smoky or if you are disorientated you can easily count the doorways to find your way out.

    • Daniel de Vries says:

      As the fire prevention chief for the city of Montréal, I can only agree with M. Booth. You can always say that your recommandations are in the top 3!

    • Safehands says:

      Ditto, I also always check the fire exits and walk the routes.

    • Mikael says:

      Agree, checking the fire exit route and the smoke detector in your room should be main priorities.
      I like the inbox idea though.

    • Thanks for bringing this all up Daniel. And thanks Joe for the fire exits…I forgot about this one but it’s very important to know. I also bring a FIRST ALERT light that I plug into an outlet (also bring an outlet strip) so that if the power goes out that light will come on. LOL

  5. Marilyn Murry says:

    Wow, as much as I travel, these are two tips I will incorporate on my next trip. Thanks!

  6. Barry I Leibner says:


    Keeping your wallet in the back pocket is very bad for your spine and back. Switch to the front pocket or a folio wallet in your jacket. Do it! Your body will thank you for it. Love your stuff.

  7. So good!!! At first I though “nah i don’t need that. I have a purse for an inbox!” BuT then I remembered losing not just one room key but two last time I was at a hotel. Purse is too damn big to be an inbox. 🙂

  8. Don Sturgill says:

    Good call on the inbox, Dan.

  9. Kevin says:

    The “inbox” is a great idea- and one I’ll be adopting immediately. Also love the clearing off the top of the desk suggestion. I believe most people don’t do that because these items (glass, menu, etc.) does not “beIong” to us. And we’ve all been taught to not touch other people’s belongings- thus we leave it where it is. But actually, it is “ours” for the length of time we’ve rented the room, so it is O.K. to touch/move as we see fit.

  10. Les Sinclair says:

    First thing I do when I enter the hotel room is clean the remote control. Everything after that is a bonus.

  11. Mary Baker says:

    First, know the fire exits! Inbox idea doesn’t work if you bring kids. That’s what my bag is for. (I am female, so I have a backpack purse.)
    Wipe off the surfaces such as the t. v. remote. Handles and bathroom sink with a disinfectant wipe.
    I never lie on the bedspread. Others are like my dh and hoist their suitcase up on the bed (which he doesn’t do when I am with him) and possibly they aren’t the cleanest, either. Bedspreads are not changed between guests.

    Check around the bed and in drawers to make sure the room has been properly cleaned. I found a pair of women’s underpants in the bedding of one hotel room, for example.

    Once these things are done, take a tour of the property to see where everything is and what amenities you are paying for in person. (Most likely you have taken a virtual tour already.)

  12. KIM WENNERBERG says:

    I unpack my suitcase and use the large, numerous and spacious drawers in the dresser. I hang up clothes as appropriate. Then I tuck my suitcase out of the way. I take a moment to “move into” the room, putting everything away, including my stuff into the bathroom.

    • Justine says:

      I also unpack right away and it doesn’t take long at all. I started using Amazonbasics packing cubes (great quality, less expensive than name brands) to pack my clothes (rolling them is a big bonus, minimal wrinkles). I hang up what is needed and just put the packing cubes in the drawers. Although I never thought of it as an inbox (and I don’t use a towel) I designate a specific area for my important things and hide what I don’t own as well!

  13. Jim says:

    And speaking of the Glass…I just cant bring myself to use the glasses provided in the room–I have this fear that the same cloth that cleaned the bathroom sink cleaned the glass… The first two things I do when I check in are run the hot water to see if I have any, followed by seeing if the shower works (*yes I have had the shower head not work and just dribble water over me…not fun) SECOND thing I do is turn on the T.V. if it doesn’t work, I move rooms. I normally don’t watch T.V. until after dinner and it just kills me that I have already unpacked, ironed, etc and then have to move rooms.

    another GREAT Tip – you don’t have to use the safe in the room or if you don’t have a safe, just put your valuables back in your suitcase and lock the TSA approved lock on your suitcase to ensure everything is secure–yes you could steal the entire suitcase and run…but it gives you piece of mind that your laptop is locked up…and you can still run the charge cord between the zipper.

  14. Walt C. says:

    I love this idea. It beats my current practice of performing a quick last minute perimeter walkthrough to make sure I haven’t forgotten to pack something back up. Nothing worse than to wonder when you’re at your home airport, “now where did I put my car keys?” Oh yeah, I’d stowed them in the hotel safe so I wouldn’t “lose” them.

  15. I keep everything you took out of various pockets to put in your hotel “in-box” in my purse, as most women do (and men who carry bags or backpacks, I guess).

  16. Pete says:

    There’s an existing hotel inbox, it’s called the safe! Thx for all you do and share.

  17. Bruce Claver says:

    The first thing I do is an in-box modification in the bathroom. I lay a face cloth on the sink. Next I remove everything i will use from my dopp kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, shave cream, razor, medication, etc.) I place the dopp kit somewhere away from the sink. Now I have a nice little organized “inbox” on the sink and no more digging through the Dopp kit. I like that my stuff is not on the counter considering I do not know what’s been there and my dopp kit remains organized rather than a mess of stuff.

  18. Margie Kensil says:

    Some great ideas. I always know where the fire escape is but have never walked the route. I’ll start doing that. I find that habit saves me-I put things in the same spot in the room each time. And I unpack in the same order each time. And things get packed into the bag in the same place. That way, I miss things if they’re not in their proper places.

  19. Heidi says:

    First thing I do? A bed bug check. I rip off the duvet cover and sheets and check the mattress thoroughly. Next I take off the pillowcases. And, yes, I even pull off the headboard. That’s where they often hide. Most people don’t know this, but you can pull off most headboards by lifting them up and off the wooden cleat attached to the wall. If you don’t have a roommate, get the bell boy to do it. I’ve lied and said I dropped a piece of paper behind the headboard.

    Once you’ve been bitten by bedbugs and then had a terrifying two weeks at home, thinking you brought them home with you, you’ll do this too!

  20. I make myself a cup of tea. I use the cup but give it a rinse first. Set my alarm for the next day. Check fire exit. Unpack toiletries. Hang up what I need de-creased in the bathroom. It will get steamed as I have a bath or shower. I think Dan’s suggestion of putting everything necessary on a white towel in the same location is a great idea. So many chargers and desks are black or dark and thus difficult to see.

  21. Preston Gibson says:

    Daniel – Tip for a better back: Don’t carry a wallet in your hip pocket. Sitting on a wallet (or anything in your pockets) of any appreciable size puts a potentially painful twist in your spine. Just don’t do it. Your back will thank you.

  22. Lori H says:

    This is fantastic! I’ve never thought to define the area with a towel. It does make it easier to put it in one place. One thing I always do is make sure that the toilet flushes and doesn’t keep running. To listen to a toilet run all night is not fun! Thank you for your podcasts.

  23. Once I have moved into a room I put the do-not-disturb sign on the door and leave it there whenever I leave the room. In addition, I will turn on the TV to make it sound like someone could be in the room. I take the sign off the door only for the room to be serviced or room service to be delivered.

    I happen to be in an industry that requires extreme vigilance when traveling. If you carry valuables you can use the hotel safety deposit boxes. There is usually no fee involved. Request your safety box be reserved for you when you make your hotel reservation.

  24. Joan Eisenstodt says:

    Oh Dan, tell us that the door we saw open was to a suite parlor and not the hallway! Then tell us that what you REALLY do when you arrive is to count the doors from your hotel room to the emergency exit, put your flashlight by the side of the bed, and read the safety instructions. It’s all well and good to be organized (and you could, in an emergency, pick up your ‘in-box towel’ as a way to have all your important stuff to exit) but not to be safe?

  25. Karen says:

    I liked Dan’s ideas . . . But I like the comments even more. I’m going to take more control of my environment on my next trip. Thanks everyone.

  26. David Antol says:

    Dan, I started to chuckle at the idea, but then realized I do 90% of the things that you mentioned. Of course, what I like about the “little inbox ” is it a target for me to place thinks on. Otherwise, I just put things down.
    Thanks for the good idea and the smile!

  27. Dear Dan Pink – You are a riot! That you for keeping your tips 100% real and relatable. Your authentic delivery, advice and opinions are so refreshing. Finally, a smart guy who doesn’t take himself entirely seriously. I remain a huge fan. Stay humble.

  28. Pam T. says:

    Most important..cover the TV remote with the shower cap!!! Do not touch it.

  29. Anita B says:

    This video clip was a little silly, although I am a big fan of yours. I take time to read/review your periodic newsletters looking for meaningful insights.

  30. Wendy says:

    Great tips! But before anything else, as soon as I walk into a hotel room – doesn’t matter if it is a luxury hotel or modest hotel – I pull back the corners of the sheets and check for bed bugs. It can happen anywhere, and believe me, you don’t want to unpack anything before you check. (Bed bugs will tend to be found in the crevices of the edge of the mattress, either bugs themselves, or small brownish dots.)

  31. Raghav says:

    I always worry about the safety of leaving my passport on the table – especially, when you travel to new places. I guess the locker provided in the hotel rooms are a better bet in that case? But great tip, Dan! especially for the less orderly, like me!

  32. Paul Sewell says:

    The great thing about the towel idea is that you can quickly wrap it up and throw it in the safe or your suitcase when you head out for the evening or day.

    Depending on where you travel and if you question the hotel security, you can also take a photo of your room and showing where everything is in the room. When you return you can then easily see if anything has been moved or not while you were out.

  33. Always look forward to your pinkcasts! I also travel a lot and here’s my must do list:

    1. Check the fire exits and know how to find one in the dark. Make sure your phone is fully charged in case you need the flashlight feature.
    2. Clear the desk and other papers around the room…I always save a tent card to put in front of the digital display on the tv which lights up the room at night
    3. Check to make sure the safe works and put valuables in the safe
    4. Check the water glasses and if they are plastic they are okay…if they are glass I rewash them
    5. I keep all my work materials together in one place (so I can grab and go in the morning)..similar to your towel idea
    6. A tip from a lesson I learned the hard way….I never wear my work attire for the day to breakfast….I eat breakfast and then go and change before I leave for the day.

  34. Ray Henson says:

    First thing I do is take out some anti-bacterial wipes and start wiping, starting with the TV remote! Then door handles and other areas I’ll be touching frequently.

  35. Peter C says:

    Rather than leaving all those things piled on a towel on the desk where they can get knocked around or spilled on, I use the small drawer in the nightstand. It’s perfect for holding small stuff like passports, reading glasses, pens, etc. Best of all, if you don’t plan to carry all that stuff around during your stay, having it in a drawer keeps it out of sight and reduces temptation for the casual, grab-and-go thief.

  36. Paul Shultz says:

    I take a picture of my room key with the room # on it. Ditto on organizing the “inbox” and I do the same with my toiletries in the bathroom. I will iron pretty soon after arriving so I know that is done.

    Love the idea of checking the shower immediately. Will do that.

  37. Pradeep says:

    Not the best pinkcast I have seen. Though you could’ve mentioned about keeping them in the “safe” if the hotel provides it.

  38. Pete S says:

    Great suggestions, especially checking on the fire escape route. Thoughts:
    1. I never unpack into the drawers — too many bedbug stories! But I hang things and toiletries first thing.
    2. Glassware and coffee cups — I saw the same Dateline special! Yuck! I wash them in the sink before using.
    3. Inbox — great idea! I’ll use that!

  39. Mary says:

    This was a ludicrous waste of time! No value whatsoever.

    You must be losing it, Dan, to create such a trivial video.

    • Avatar photo Dan Pink says:

      If you think this one is lubricous and trivial, you should see the videos we’ve got coming up! Thanks for watching and taking time to comment!

  40. Lizz Robb says:

    The first I do s yo put the room access card in my phone case. That is a surefire way of not losing it. I always have my phone on me, even if I duck out of the room for a couple of minutes.

    PS – Apparently the room access cards are a haven for germs. So maybe I should wash it as soon as I get it.

  41. Hi Dan,
    I thought you might be amused by this response to a question we asked of someone whose job it is to buy hotel art.
    “What kind of art do you like to buy?” we asked.
    “Anything too big to fit into a suitcase” was the reply.

  42. Blanca says:

    Love the “inbox” idea and the others shared here.

    My procedure:

    1. Unpack toiletries and check glasses – if plastic, good. If glass – I use it to hold the toothbrush
    2. Hang up anything that needs to “unwrinkle”
    3. Set up the ironing board and iron (look for an outlet) in case the clothes aren’t wrinkle free the next morning
    4. Check the window (want to see the exit plan and also want to see the sunrise if possible)

    Will now be adding checking the fire exits which I sometimes do and sometimes do not

    Thanks for the tips, Dan and company!

  43. Dan – A question. Why do you need a passport for Chicago?:) Also purses are the inbox for us women.

  44. Well – I always carry my own inbox as it is a bag. A lady’s handbag. Everything you threw in the inbox is in my bag. Added bonus: you can lock it away.
    Third: bring a bottle (10 ml) of your favorite essential oil. Mine is the orange oil. Put a couple of drops on a tissue and put it in or next to your pillow. Smells wonderful and makes the room ‘yours’
    Hope this makes your plan even more effective!

  45. Mick says:

    Great word – detritus.

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