Don’t worry, this isn’t another list of toiletries. You’re a savvy traveler — you already know that most hotels will provide you with shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, a comb, and even shaving cream and a razor. And it’s not another list of things you wouldn’t want anyway (do you really want to keep your keycard?).
Here are 7 things that you might think you have to pay for when you travel, but you can probably get for free at your hotel.
Just because you booked the cheapest room available doesn’t mean you have to stay there. If your hotel isn’t full, you can often get a free upgrade just by asking nicely. Your chances will be better if you booked direct (as opposed to on a discount site like Expedia) and if you’re a member of the hotel’s loyalty program.
Transportation around town
Many luxury hotels are upping their game and now provide car service around town. Even some less luxe hotels are jumping on the transportation bandwagon, providing Zipcars or bikes that guests can use for free. Note that with Zipcar, you have to be a member of the program and the discount usually takes the form of free driving credit.
Free happy hours are becoming standard at many hotels. For example, Kimpton has an evening wine hour that often includes appetizers, and Embassy Suites has a cocktail hour where you can get all kinds of beverages.
Free breakfast is pretty standard, but did you know that you can often get a free dinner as well? Look for this on weekdays at extended stay hotels. For example, Homewood Suites has an evening social Mondays thru Thursdays that offers small plates. If you’re ravenous, it might not be enough, but if you’re looking for a light dinner, it will do in a pinch.
Exercise classes and gym access
Forget the tiny fitness center with one treadmill and a handful of weights. Many hotels now partner with local gyms to provide guests with free access to a full range of exercise equipment. Some even offer free fitness classes. And don’t forget to check your closet for a yoga mat!
Forget your headphones? Ear buds? Phone charger? Many hotels keep a stash of tech accessories on hand for just such an occasion. You can’t always keep them, but at least you won’t have to purchase extra accessories when you have perfectly good ones at home.
Books to read? Games to play? OITNB? Check! IHG Rewards Club offers members free Kindle Singles and Kindle Books from Amazon Publishing — some swanky hotels will even provide the Kindle. Candlewood Suites has board games. And Marriott lets you stream Netflix. You might never leave the room!