Free tastes good and in this case – smells lovely! I travel a lot in my work, I’m a musician, and ergo: I stay in hotels ALL THE TIME that is either payed for by whoever is employing me, my business (for auditions and is deductible when you do your taxes as travel expenses), or by me (if I’m on holiday). I always take these stays as a way to save money on hygiene essentials that I need at home like: shampoo, body wash and hand soap. Sometimes the hotel put out complimentary teabags, coffee pods, sugar, a cookie and hot chocolate. These things are money makers for me and they are paid for by the price I’ve (or employer) paid to stay at the hotel. So it’s NOT like you’re stealing anything from them.
In a lot of hotels they put complimentary soaps, little shampoo & body wash bottles and amenity kits in the bathroom and I always take them and put them in my vanity bag on the first day of my stay. I always make sure to bring a large bag and take out stuff like my normal shampoo, body wash, toothbrush and toothpaste and put them in their places. This creates more room in the vanity bag for the free stuff you’re going to get during your stay – this is especially important if you’re staying at the same place for a week or more. If you don’t make room then the things you’ve taken and put there will overflow the vanity bag which the housekeeper will see and stop giving you those daily amenities. One more reason to bring a large enough bag to not run into that problem, plus all your other things must fit in it at the end of your stay.
I usually put the free little things in one of those IKEA bags with Ziploc, and I always separate soap bars and the small bottles of shampoo just in case one of them brakes when I’m travelling home. If I hadn’t done that then all the hard soaps would be ruined, but if I separate them then I just have to clean the other bottles under the tap and throw away the one that broke. No big deal, it’s just a cheap insurance against any mishaps.
The same thing goes for teabags, free cookies, coffee and hot chocolate that some hotel gives you. I put them in a Ziploc bag of its own just so it won’t be contaminated by the soaps. For this one you must try and restrain yourself a bit. The housekeeper won’t believe that you’ve drank four teas, five coffees and two hot chocolates every single day – it’s just not credible – and they’ll stop giving you those things after two days. I’d recommend that you take two or three drinks per day and on the last day you take everything. Otherwise you’re just a cheapskate and not a savvy saver.
What do I use the soaps, shampoos and body washes for then?
The hand soaps I use in my everyday life in my bathroom, they might not last me long but I’ve got a few months’ worth of soaps – I usually use them when I’ve run out of other soaps and can’t find a good deal and coupons on the soap I usually buy at the shop. The same thing goes with the little bottles. Those I take with me when I travel and have them in my Emergency Bag. There will be a separate post about what an Emergency Bag is at a later date. Sometimes I have guests and I always tell them that they don’t need to bring shampoo and body wash if they don’t want to, I’ll provide it, or they forget to bring those things. That’s when it comes in handy to have all those extra bottles from the hotels. You can just give the guest a couple of bottles and then show where they can get more as they need them.
I thought that this would be a short post, but it turned out to be quite long anyway. These tips are just the basics of how I get some of my stash of free stuff, feel free to use them and to expand them with your own insights.
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