When you travel a lot, you fall into habits. One of my habits is getting into my room, dropping off my suitcase, and heading out to see the city I’m in. That first night is often the only opportunity to get out on my own. I love exploring, but I discovered that I need to spend about 10 minutes in the room before leaving.
Here’s what I do in those 10 minutes:
- Find the hair dryer, and try it out. You might have to push the “test” button, but if it doesn’t work, it’s better to find out early, so you can have it replaced. Yes, I’ve had to fluff out my hair using a plastic fork. It’s not nearly as funny when you have to do it.
- Figure out how to turn on the shower. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? You can stay in a dozen different hotels and each one will have a different way to turn on the water, get it warm, and make it come out of the shower nozzle. If it’s complicated (and I’m surprised how often it is), it’s better to try it when you are awake and wearing glasses.
- Run the sink water to make sure it drains quickly. You don’t want to have to call the front desk to send a plumber, then wait.
- Turn the temperature on higher, then lower, to make sure the HVAC it works, and works quietly. A roaring, clanking, wheezing air conditioner means no sleep. And fantasizing about ripping out the air conditioner is pretty exhausting.
- Turn on the TV. If the remote doesn’t work, you can exchange it before they run out of batteries at the desk. Small step, but I’ve run across more depleted remotes than I can count. I don’t think anyone checks them.
If all those devices work well, you can head out. I usually turn the HVAC on first, while I figure out the shower, and check the hair dryer while I’m letting the sink fill and drain. It doesn’t take long, but it has saved me hours of aggravation. If you do have to change rooms, doing it before you unpack is much easier.
–Quinn McDonald travels often. She is amazed at how many different shower controls exist, even in the same hotel chain.