Hacking Hotels and Inflight Entertainment

This section we’ll continue to talk about how you can improve your quality of life while you travel, particularly with hotel amenities and inflight entertainment. Just because you’re in coach or at a hostel doesn’t mean you can’t have the trappings of luxury.

You can find previous posts on nomadic travel tips here:

Part 1 – Planning your trip

Part 2 – On the Road

Part 3 – Strategy

Part 4 – Reducing Errands


Airlines and Hotels Often Have Toiletries Available

These Aesop toiletries will come in handy at your Thai beachside bungalow with outdoor shower!

These Aesop toiletries will come in handy at your Thai beachside bungalow with outdoor shower!

If you travel for more than a week, chances are you are going to run out of toothpaste, shaving cream, or have all of your liquids confiscated by an overzealous bag checker (or have them explode because the cabin is pressurized at 8,000 ft). In comes your points and miles hobby. When flying premium cabins or staying at mid-range to full service hotels (think Holiday Inn and up), most will stock your basic toiletries and don’t mind if you take them as you leave. In fact the savvy ones see it as an important brand touchpoint. If you like the toiletries so much that you take them, they’re probably doing something right.

Sure, or you needed soap for your upcoming stay at the hostel… Po-TAY-to, Po-TAH-to…

You Don’t Need to Check Out of Hotels

These cost about a penny to make, don't feel too bad if you don't turn it into the front desk.

These cost about a penny to make, don’t feel too bad if you don’t turn it into the front desk.

I thought this was a no-brainer, but it shocked a friend of mine that works a hotel front desk in a major US city.

Checking out is strictly a formality, and only necessary if you want to review the bill or give the cleaning staff a head start. You already provided your card at check in and the bill will either be forwarded to your email or updated on your credit card’s recent activity page. Those plastic keycards are worth about a penny or two.

Generally, I’ve only had a problem with this once, at a relatively new hotel in Thailand. I was late for a flight and about to hop into a cab when the front desk guy nearly chased me out and demanded my card. I told him it was already on file but he insisted. Kind of a customer service lose, but I still made the flight.

BYO Entertainment

This guy brought his own entertainment for the trip!

This guy brought his own entertainment for the trip!

All right, you just settled into an 11 hour flight and thought you’d check out some of the movies on the IFE. Aaaand it froze. Oh, now it’s back but there’s no sound… Time to binge watch that last season of Breaking Bad on my laptop.

For this exact reason, I almost always carry paper entertainment as well, whether it be a copy of the Economist, New York Times or a crossword or sudoku book (particularly useful during takeoff and landing).

Lastly, with airlines that offer inflight Wi-Fi packages, it’s worth noting that many phones and tablets can broadcast their own ad-hoc network (often called “tethering”). So you don’t need to buy a package for each device (or anyone that has your ad-hoc network password…)

What are some things you do to reduce needless errands on the road or keep yourself sane during travel?

6 Responses to “Hacking Hotels and Inflight Entertainment”

  1. I also like to bring a puzzle / logic book to do on flights either during takeoff / landing or when / in case the batteries run dry

    • You’ll find a lot of FAs are pretty huge crossword fans for the same reasons. Great way to strike up a conversation “What’s a six letter word that starts with S that describes - ‘Taped tartan’?”

  2. Although with most devices the adhoc WiFi is to share your mobile data connection. If your only data connection is the WiFi on the plane then you can’t then re share this over WiFi as it would mean your phone was simultaneously connected to two APNs

    • Bluetooth, or USB to laptop and rebroadcast no? Though I agree the bandwidth will suffer if done too much

      • Ah OK, I was thinking more of someone using a tablet as their main device and the built-in WiFi AP sharing. Agree Bluetooth may be an option although I’ve found network sharing over BT to be much more flaky than WiFi network sharing.

  3. These are hacks? Really?

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