National Consumer News

14 things a hotel will give you for free


By Constance Brinkely-Badgett,

Packing for a trip, be it business or pleasure, is rarely anyone’s idea of a good time. Add to it the frustration of knowing you’re going to have to fiddle with filling those usually awful travel containers with shampoo, conditioner and other personal products and… just ugh.

Instead of that, why not let your destination hotel take care of it for you? Plenty of hotels — most, in fact — provide a lot products for free, and it’s not just the soap and shampoo you always find in your room. Some hotels even go beyond the essentials, offering some pretty sweet perks to guests. But if you aren’t staying at one of those hotels, rest assured you can still get some freebies.

Here are 14 items you should let the hotel provide during your stay (and, when possible, take home with you when you leave) to make traveling easier and saving money a breeze.

14 things hotels will give you for free

1. Toothbrush and toothpaste

These items usually aren’t in the room waiting for you when you arrive, but most hotels have toothpaste and toothbrushes on hand and will bring them to your room for free. And when you leave, you can take the typically small tubes on the plane with you to ensure you have a fresh, gleaming smile when you arrive home.

2. Extra pillows and blankets

It’s not a good idea to take these home with you. That would be stealing. But asking for some extra blankets and pillows to make your stay more comfortable is perfectly fine, and most hotels have a range of pillow options available, so even if you’d just like a different firmness (or need extras for a pillow fight), go ahead and ask.

3. Shampoo and conditioner

A lot of hotels these days provide good quality shampoos and conditioners in their rooms. These little bottles come in super handy at home for guest baths as well as for future travel, so stick them in your luggage every day so you keep getting fresh ones from housekeeping all throughout your stay.

4. Soap and moisturizer

Same goes for the soap and moisturizer. Get fresh ones for each day you stay at the hotel.

5. Wi-Fi

You definitely can’t take this home with you, but you should certainly ask for complimentary Wi-Fi if it doesn’t already come with the room.

If it isn’t offered to all guests, you might want to see if your plastic entitles you to some free web-surfing. A few hotel rewards creditcards entitle their account holders to free Wi-Fi in their rooms and even beyond. (But, if you’re thinking of applying for one, you may want to check your credit because a good score helps you qualify for cards with the best perks. You can view your two free credit scores, updated each month, on

6. Shoe shine kit

Any complimentary shoe shine kits your hotel may offer are great for keeping in your purse, desk drawer or briefcase for quick, away-from-home touchups for scuffed or dirty shoes.

7. Coffee and tea

If you have a coffee maker in your room and you like the quality of the selections available, pack up the ones you don’t use every day and take them home. Grab the sweetener and creamer packets as well, if you’re so inclined. They’re often great for keeping in the car or for house guests who might use artificial sweeteners when you don’t.

8. Razor and shaving cream

Just like the toothbrush and toothpaste, these aren’t in the room, but they’re available for free at most hotels. Not only is it easier to ask the hotel for these items than it is to pack them, you can take the free toiletries home with you.

9. Slippers

If your hotel offers complimentary slippers, by all means take them home with you. No one else is going to use them. And if you don’t use them at your hotel, take them home anyway, as they can make a nice treat for your house guests.

10. Dry cleaning bag

These things come in so handy on your return trip home when you want to keep your dirty clothes separate from the clean ones, or if you have anything damp like a swimsuit or gym clothes that will foul up everything else in your bag.

11. Note pads and pens

It’s just great to have extra pads and pens on hand, so grab away. And if they’re customized with the name of the hotel they’re not just practical, they make a nice memento of your stay.

12. Breakfast (and snack)

Take advantage of the free breakfast, if offered. Even take it back to your room where even a bowl of cold cereal can feel a bit more special than in a room full of other travelers. While you’re at it, be sure and grab an extra muffin, banana or cereal bar as a mid-morning or afternoon snack. Grab a few of the cereal bars to take home with you as well.

13. Cocktail hour

A lot of hotel rewards programs offer upgrades and special events for guests. Some hotels offer a free cocktail hour or a complimentary glass of wine or beer for guests in the afternoon, and it can be a nice way to meet some of your fellow travelers. If it isn’t mentioned at check-in (or during booking), ask the person at the front desk if it’s available.

14. Maps and restaurant guides

Most hotels offer these freebies through the concierge or front desk. They can be very practical and handy during your stay, but also can serve as a reminder of some of your favorite spots for return trips, so keep them in a file at home where you can refer to them easily.

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