17 Things You Should Never Do in a Hotel Room

12 Things You Should Never Do in a Hotel Room

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12 Things You Should Never Do in a Hotel Room
Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn

From soaking in bubble baths to sipping bubbly, there are many things to love about hotel rooms. But while they may present a pristine and inviting environment at first glance, appearances can be deceiving. In reality, not all hotels adhere to strict cleaning and sanitizing protocols — especially in areas that are less obvious to the casual observer. 

Hotels may also offer unsecured Wi-Fi networks that can compromise sensitive data such as login credentials and financial information. Here are 17 things you should never do in a hotel room — and the reasons why may surprise you. 

Hotel room

1. Never, Ever Use the Bedspread

While that plushy bedspread or duvet may look nice and clean, the truth will shock you. Unlike pillow cases and sheets, which are washed after each guest, bedspreads are often seen as decoration and aren't regularly washed or cleaned (at least not after each guest). If you want to avoid cuddling up with germs from past guests, fold up the bedspread as soon as you can and put that nasty thing as far away as possible. 

Remote Controls for Wireless Smart Television, DVD, DVB-T2, K1, KI Plus, KII Pro, DVB-S2, Android TV Box, Set-Top Box, HDTV, Satellite Receiver, Media Player on wooden TV stand against TV background
Yevhenii Podshyvalov/istockphoto

2. Avoid Touching the Remote Control

Frequently touched objects like remote controls are often overlooked, and can harbor a high level of microbes and germs. Think of it like a doorknob — touched by everyone but not cleaned enough. So before you start flipping channels, wipe down the remote with a sanitizing or disinfecting wipe to mitigate the risk of germ transmission. 

Using Safe Box
aquaArts studio/istockphoto

3. Never Leave Valuables Unsecured

While hotels generally provide some level of security, they can't always guarantee the safety of personal items and valuables kept in rooms. For instance, if someone breaks into your hotel room and steals your belongings, there likely won't be much that the front desk can do to help. As such, it's advisable to always keep important items such as IDs, cash, and jewelry in your hotel room safe (or carry them with you) to prevent theft or loss. 

Just don't forget to take your valuables out of the safe when you leave (trust me, I've done this before and it's a real pain!). Some travel pros recommend leaving a shoe in the safe to ensure that you don't forget your valuables there.

Related: How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off (or Worse) When You're on Vacation

motel door lock

4. Don't Forget To Use the Door Lock

While we're on the topic of safety, it's advisable to always engage the clasp or deadbolt while in a hotel room. This simple action can significantly increase security by serving as an additional barrier against unauthorized entry or break-ins. This is especially true at night, or if your hotel room is located in less frequented or more isolated areas of the property. 

For even more peace of mind, consider investing in a portable door stopper (you can snag one on Amazon for less than $15) to further enhance your room's security. These devices are sometimes also equipped with alarms that emit a loud noise if someone attempts to force the door open — adding another layer of security to deter thieves.

Related: How To Stay One Step Ahead of Pickpockets and Scammers While Traveling

two bottles of mineral water in the hotel room, as well as clean glasses on a tray
Vladimir Razguliaev/istockphoto
Men Standing on the Floor

6. Avoid Walking Barefoot

Have you ever walked barefoot in a hotel room (don't do it!), and found the carpet to be sticky? Just like bedspreads and duvets, hotel carpets are rarely given a deep clean. This means they can be laden with dust, germs, food leftovers, and all kinds of bodily fluids — posing a hygiene (and barf) risk. As such, it's advisable to always pack a pair of flip flops or slippers in case the hotel doesn't provide any. Also, don't sit on it. 

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Hand making Espresso by Coffee Machine with capsules on wood table
Panuwat Dangsungnoen/istockphoto

7. Don't Use the Coffee Maker Without Cleaning It First

Just like with the glasses and remote controls, the coffee maker might not be cleaned properly, or as often. If you want to use it for your morning brew, consider rinsing it out first with hot water to avoid any leftover germs or old coffee taste.

Related: Would You Pay $400 for the Most Expensive Coffee in the World?

mini fridge

8. Avoid Using the Mini-Bar

While convenient, drinks and snacks stocked in hotel mini-bars are typically priced much higher (think a 1,300% markup!) than if you were to buy them at the grocery store or gas station. To avoid getting slapped with a hefty bill when checking out, consider buying snacks and beverages from a local store, or bringing your own favorites from home. 

Related: America's Most Extravagant and Luxurious Hotels

Social media, connection and woman typing on a phone for communication, app and chat. Web, search and corporate employee reading a conversation on a mobile, networking and texting on a mobile app
Delmaine Donson/istockphoto

9. Be Wary of Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

While using the hotel's Wi-Fi can be super convenient, it's not always secure. If you're using an unsecured network, remember to never share personal information like passwords, credit cards, or other sensitive financial data. When in doubt, exercise more caution or consider using a secure VPN connection for your internet needs. 

Related: 10 Clever Hotel Hacks That Will Save You Money

dog in transport box or bag ready to travel

10. Don't Sneak Pets In

If you're traveling with Fido and the hotel isn't pet-friendly, think twice before sneaking him or her in. Some hotels have strict pet policies, and, if discovered, can slap you with steep fines, or even eviction from the hotel. Sneaking undisclosed pets into rooms not designated for animals can also cause allergy issues for future guests and hotel staff.  

To avoid all this stress, look for pet-friendly hotels, or ask the front desk if they can accommodate your pet for an additional fee.  

Suitcase on wooden luggage rack
Try Media/istockphoto

11. Avoid Putting Your Suitcase on the Bed

Your suitcase goes through a lot — airport floors, sidewalks, dirty surfaces, etc. During your travels, it can pick up germs, dirt, or even pests like bedbugs. To keep these out of your bed, put your suitcase on a luggage rack or a hard surface instead.

Guest Tipping Hotel Staff

12. Don't Forget To Tip

An often-overlooked aspect of hotel etiquette is the practice of tipping, especially if you feel like the staff is doing a good job. For hotel staff, including housekeepers, bellhops, and concierge services, it can mean a lot for guests to recognize their hard work. Tipping is not just a gesture of appreciation but also an acknowledgment of their dedicated service. 

Generally, you can expect to tip housekeeping about $3 or $5 each day, bellhops for helping with luggage, and concierge staff if they go above and beyond like helping you secure hard-to-get reservations. 

small cleaning bottles in hotel bathroom
necati bahadir bermek/istockphoto

13. Don't Steal Things From the Room

While certain things are built into the price of the room, such as toiletries and maybe bottled water (though some hotels still charge for this), other things are not meant to be taken home. Items like towels, robes, hangers, and electronics are there for the convenience and comfort of guests, and stealing them can result in serious consequences like fines or even legal action. 

As Ross in "Friends" says, you must "find the line between stealing and taking what the hotel owes you." So remember to take only what is intended for your use during the stay or items clearly marked as complimentary. These include individual toiletry bottles, tea, coffee, and maybe stationery with the hotel's branding. 

Covid Party

14. Don't Leave a Giant Mess

This one should go without saying, but throwing a party and trashing your hotel room is disrespectful to the cleaning staff and can lead to hefty cleaning charges. This is especially true if the room incurs severe damages like broken furniture, stained carpets, or damaged electronics. 

While normal wear is acceptable, leaving an excessive mess is frowned upon and could even result in you being banned from future stays at the hotel.

Man installing smoke detector

15. Don't Tamper With Smoke Detectors or Fire Alarms

Tampering with smoke, fire, or carbon dioxide detectors is not only a violation of hotel policies, but also a serious safety hazard. Since smoke detectors are designed to alert guests in the event of a fire to help them evacuate, disabling or damaging these devices can compromise the entire safety structure of the hotel.

Most hotels will take the safety and security of their guests very seriously, and any tampering with safety equipment can be met with strict consequences. This can include immediate eviction from the hotel or being held liable for any damages or legal costs associated with the tampering. Definitely not worth it. 

Overturned glass and spilled red wine on white carpet indoors, space for text
Liudmila Chernetska/istockphoto

16. Lie About Damages

So you spilled a glass of wine and now the carpet is ruined. We totally get how tempting it can be to cover it up with a towel and hope for the best. But when it comes to damages, honesty is the best policy — especially when it comes to damages incurred in a hotel. Attempting to conceal or lie about any damages can lead to more severe consequences than simply coming clean in the first place. 

Hotels have comprehensive processes for inspecting rooms before and after stays, so most discrepancies will be found. If damages are discovered after your departure and linked back to your stay, the hotel will charge you for the repairs — likely at a higher rate than if you had just been honest to begin with. Plus, lying about damages can lead to you being blacklisted by the hotel and its affiliates. Not worth it. 

Non smoking hotel room

17. Smoke in a Non-Smoking Room

Smoking in a non-smoking room is not only a breach of hotel policy, but can also have far-reaching consequences beyond a fine. Hotels designate rooms as non-smoking for the comfort and health of all guests. Violating this policy can lead to significant cleanup costs — including deep cleaning and deodorization — which the hotel will charge to the offending guest. 

Plus, smoking can trigger smoke detectors, which can trigger a hotel-wide alarm and emergency response. Talk about an unnecessary panic.