Welcome to Friday’s Lists and Links!
When we travel, we are on the lookout for seedy-looking locals that might mug us, cabbies that might charge us too much or items we’re erroneously charged for on our check-out ticket. But how closely do we ever look at our hotel room?
I do look for ugly rug stains and dirty toilets. I never walk through the room barefoot or sit on chairs in just my underclothes. I wonder who sat there last. I know they don’t shampoo rugs and upholstery or vacuum under beds or wipe down doorknobs after each guest checks out.
In even the most upscale hotels with the most attractive rooms, there are dirty little secrets hiding.
Don’t let a clean-looking room fool you. The toilet paper folded to a point, the paper covers on top of glasses and a perfectly made bed are deceptive. According to AOL Travel News, ABC News, Atlanta Fox News and others investigated and the following tips are the results of those investigations.
1.Those bathroom glasses aren’t as clean as you think. You may be thirsty, but beware. Before you drink from that paper-covered glass in the bathroom, wash it out with soap and water. “As was frighteningly revealed in a recent Atlanta Fox News expose, some hotel maids don’t even bother to use soap when “cleaning” drinking glasses.” Hidden cameras in a major hotel revealed a potentially dangerous situation when a hotel maid wiped a “room’s glasses with a blue glass-cleaner clearly labeled “do not drink.” No soap was involved, but some potentially toxic liquid was.” They don’t take the time to sanitize them in a dishwasher. At best they simply wiped with a rag or rinsed them with plain water. Yuck!
Protect Yourself: Don’t drink from glassware in your hotel room. Instead ask for sealed, plastic glasses at the concierge desk or go with bottled water.
2. Bedspreads rarely get cleaned. It has been reported that bedspreads are cleaned every couple of weeks, if that. Since hotel rooms have little seating other than the bed, sitting, eating, jumping, and any number of (eew!) intimate activities can take place on top of the bedspread. Some parents even change diapers on the beds. Remove the bedspreads and throw pillows before using the bed.
Aol says, “you also can’t be sure the sheets and towels are clean either. According to The Bedbug Registry, since bed bugs are easy to transport and hard to get rid of, they’ve become a problem for hotels, which have hundreds of potential infestees coming through their doors each day. According to the site, infestations have been reported recently in hotels in San Francisco, Allentown, Pa., Auburn Hills, Mich., Daytona Beach, Atlantic City, Portland and elsewhere. Also don’t assume that the bed is the only place you’ll find these critters. They can live in any cracks and crevices in headboards, floorboards, carpets and furniture, etc. And bad news for four-star hotels: Bedbugs don’t discriminate.”
Protect Yourself: Check the hotel’s guest comments on the hotel’s website before booking your room. We have been steered away from hotels that were not up to our standards thanks to the folks who take the time to leave a comment. You can also check reports of cleanliness on TripAdvisor.com or infestations at BedbugRegistry.com. Aol recommends, “When you arrive in your room, pull off throw pillows and comforters and set them aside. Then check the room, bed and especially mattress seams for critters and signs of their excrement (small red or brown dots).”
3. The most touched places are the least cleaned. You know what they are: light switches, doorknobs, toilet handles, clocks, lamps, faucet handles, the TV remote. “The bad news is that only the most conscientious maids would think to clean them.” Beware of viruses that can live longer than you’s imagine on these types of surfaces.
Protect Yourself: Bring disinfecting wipes such as Clorox or Lysol and give the room a once-over. Assume your hotel room is no cleaner than a gas station’s unisex public bathroom: Wash your hands frequently.
4. The water might not be safe either. I usually drink bottled water on trips, but we travel to my hometown, I never worry about drinking hotel water. Now, I’m going to be more careful, even back home. There is such a thing as water that has been “too” purified.
On December 14th, CBS News reported that “three guests of the EPIC hotel in Miami had come down with Legionnaire’s disease (one later died from the infection). It turns out the hotel’s high powered water purification system was filtering out chlorine from the city water supply, which allowed bacteria to grow. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 8,000 and 18,000 people are infected with the bacterial, Legionnaire’s disease each year. It’s spread through contaminated water vapors.”
Protect Yourself: Don’t trust the water supply. Drink bottled water; it’s the only way to know exactly what water you’re getting.
5. The coffee maker and ice buckets have been around. Reconsider before putting ice directly into the ice bucket or brewing coffee in your room. Who knows what the previous guest did with them. A former hotel manager founds a variety of things, “including cigarette butts, vomit and urine, hidden in coffee makers and ice buckets”. He said that just because it was noticed “that doesn’t mean they do anything more than dump the contents out, rinse the inside of the pot or maker, and move on.”
“An ABC News investigation found housekeepers treating hotel coffee pots no better than they did drinking glasses. At the Millennium Hotel in Cincinnati, they discovered a housekeeper “cleaning” a coffee pot with a bottle of Lysol mildew remover. At an Embassy Suites in Cincinnati, a maid used a towel to wipe down the dirty bathroom floor; then she used the same towel to clean the coffee pot.” Yuck!
Protect Yourself: If you decide to use the coffee maker, clean the pot and filter portion thoroughly with hot water and soap. Even if it is clean but sits unused for a couple of weeks, the chemical residue in the pot can make the coffee taste stale or bitter. If you need to use the ice bucket, use the hotel’s plastic liners, but clean the bucket itself anyway.
A few precautions and bringing a few small items can give you peace of mind when traveling.
- Before you book your room, check with TripAdvisor.com and BedbugRegistry.com for any negative reports on your hotel choice.
- Bring your own bottled water.
- Bring a small blanket or throw to cover upholstered furniture and desk chairs if you use them while wearing shorts, a nightgown or your underclothes.
- Bring a small package of disinfectant wipes and do a quick cleaning over the most used surfaces.
- Wash glasses, ice buckets and the coffee maker thoroughly with soap and water if you choose to use them.
- Check beds, crevices of the mattresses, headboards for signs of bedbugs. Remove the bedspreads and throw pillows.
- Wear slippers or shoes when walking through the room.
Being prepared to spruce things up will give you peace of mind about your next hotel room. I know I’ll be prepared!
Before you go, check out these links I found for you over the last two weeks:
On Marketing and Publishing:
> Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn, has a podcast on her blog featuring Jim Kukral who is the author of 5 books and a serial web-entrepreneur, as well as a professional speaker and specialist in internet marketing. this is not your usual post about building your platform! This is a must read/listen for all writers. Jim talks about crowd-funding and how an author can develop a marketing mindset, the future of shorter books and the best ways to market on Amazon.
> C.J. Lyons’ three – part series on self-publishing will open your eyes to The Pitfalls of Indy ePublishing and the Nuts and Bolts of Indy ePublishing and will provide authors will resources to help you on your way to releasing your book into the world. Part 3-Resources is the next to be posted.
> You’ll want to read the article, ‘Why Julia Cameron Plays by Her Own Writing Rules’, where Julia Cameron’s (author of The Artist’s Way and dozens of others) own backstory is revealed and we find out about her addiction, her rejections and her self-critic named Nigel. Highly Recommended!
> Have you ever called yourself a Serious Writer? Then it’s time to learn how to inject some humor in your story. 10 Ways to Improve Writing While Thinking Like a Comedy Writer shows us how to use incongruity, misdirection and other elements of comedic writing to grab and hold onto your reader.
> Go visit Elana at Cartoons and Creative Writing. Take a look at her very clever cartooning and then pop over to her January 19th post to find out how her hits on her blog doubled in a period of 10 days!
> Now, don’t miss 366 Days of Photos by Clare. She was recently Freshly Pressed which brought her blog a lot of new attention. Well deserved, too. Her photos are gorgeous! Clare has another photography blog you may also enjoy, Photography by Clare.
You know we love hearing from you! We really do want to know what you think!
Have you had any bad experiences in a hotel room? Are they other precautions you would take before your next trip?
Have any link discoveries of your own to share?