Visit your hotel websites before you leave home, regardless of whether you made your own reservations or they are included in a tour. If there is no in-room safe, leave valuables at home. While my Rimowa luggage has built-in combination locks, I suspect that it is quite easy to obtain a TSA key. Certainly, it is easy to break the lock, as TSA has shown me more than once. While an in-room safe is not foolproof—and hotels make clear that they are not responsible for items kept in safes—it is at least harder to remove from the room than a suitcase.
Because weight is a prime consideration for me, I never travel with a lot of bulky fashion jewelry. I decide on silver or gold; travel in classic casual, daytime jewelry; and store a pair or two of dressier earrings and possibly one necklace in a small jewelry pouch in the zipper compartment of my purse. If I have no in-room safe, I carry my jewelry at all times. If a piece of jewelry is irreplaceable because of sentimental or monetary value, I leave it at home. Beautiful scarves are feather-weight alternatives to necklaces if I want variety.
Hotel robes and other amenities
Why pack a robe, slippers, hair dryer or other toiletries if the hotel furnishes them? But I have been caught without a robe, and I feel vulnerable when I have to answer the door in my nightgown. When Lev and I traveled together, I could hide under the sheet or in the bathroom while he got the door. Knowing the White Elephant furnishes robes, I did not bring one on this trip. Not a problem here when the room was about 65 degrees and I had to call maintenance. But it was a problem at the D.C. airport hotel when I needed 6 a.m. room service before my flight.
If I were choosing between two similar hotels, I would be influenced by things like free wifi and coffee pots in the room. If there is a shower but no tub—which happens more frequently today—I need to pack a shower cap. I can usually pre-determine room size and have some idea of the counter space in the bathroom.
In Europe, hotels that don’t have a significant number of American guests may not furnish washcloths, and wifi may only be available in the lobby.
As the old Holiday Inn advertisements said, “The best surprise is no surprise.”
Photos: Top, my hotel room at the White Elephant, Nantucket, June 2015; luggage thumbnail is a link to the full list of 14 travel tips.
What amenities do you want in a hotel room when you travel alone?