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I recently wrote about the first thing I do when I enter my hotel room to ensure a good night’s sleep. You can read that story here – it can really make or break your trip!

Reader, Don S. commented on the post that the first thing he always does is this: “I always take several large “paper” clips. Great to hold curtains closed.”

It’s funny Don should mention that because I had recently done a similar trick at my hotel at the Wailea Beach Resort (it’s a Marriott and here’s my review of the property.)

The curtains in the room were blackout but like many curtains, including those at my house, they don’t quite overlap so they leave just a little gap, enough to let light in and disturb your sleep.

Like many people, when I travel (and when I’m home), I like to sleep in a really dark room. I always either unplug the alarm clock or if it’s not able to be unplugged (don’t you hate those?), I either turn it upside down or block the light using a book or a t-shirt. This cool LED alarm clock that we have in our kids’ room not only looks great but can be easily dimmed at the touch of a button.

I even carry gaffer tape to block out the little lights on the tv and the flashing smoke alarm if needed. One thing that I really hate is when hotels don’t have blackout curtains or worse, curtains that are either too small or they’re old so they don’t overlap, creating a gap that allows plenty of light in.

It’s especially troublesome in place like Vegas or Times Square where bright lights are on all night and are usually flashing. Or in places like Alaska, Iceland, Sweden and Norway to name a few, where, in the middle of summer, the sun doesn’t go down. 

For anyone who’s like me and needs complete darkness to sleep, there’s a hack making the rounds on social media, which I think is clever. I think I’ve even done it before myself but forgot all about it so here it is…

If your curtains don’t overlap or have a gap, then go into the closet and grab one (or two) of the hangers with clips. You know, the ones used to hang pants and skirts so they don’t wrinkle. It sure does a fine job keeping curtains shut.

You can also bring your own chip clips from home, which I often do, though there’s a chance you might forget about them. We brought some but my wife was using them to keep bags of crackers and cereal for the kids closed. (BTW: Not all chip bag clips are strong enough for curtains or snacks but after a lot of trial and error, my wife swears by these ones that have great grip and actually work.)

If your hotel doesn’t have blackout curtains but you really need complete darkness to get a good night’s sleep, then check out this innovative product from Canada called the Sleepout Curtain.

The portable blackout curtain (designed originally to help one of the two founders with insomnia) installs in seconds to fit any window. It’s 100% blackout, certified non-toxic and thermal/sound-insulating.

If sleep is vital to you and you travel a lot, then try these hacks. And if you really want to be certain your hotel or house rental has blackout curtains, bring Sleepout with you. It costs $99 and makes sleep 10x easier and really helps with jet lag while it’s bright out. There’s also a much cheaper alternative on Amazon.

And if you really want a cheap way to block out light, then get yourself a soft and snuggly eye mask. Don’t use the cheap ones from the amenity kits on the airplane. Spend the $10 or so for a really comfortable one. This is the eye mask I always travel with. It’s so soft and always helps me drift off to sleep. Check out these other sleep masks for travelers that we recommend.


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11 Comments On "4 Hotel Room Hacks For Getting a Better Night's Sleep"
  1. Mike c|

    That’s great…but what if the gal is on the outside ?

  2. Sandra|

    Binder clips also work well if the clothes hangers aren’t removable

  3. MQ|

    The several old-fashioned spring-loaded wooden clothespins that I always pack have done the curtain-closing job for me for years.

    1. Johnny Jet|


  4. Michelle M.Winner|

    I have used the hanger trick for years. When you are desperate for sleep and have changed a few time zones – a lifesaver ( sleep saver!)

  5. Million Dollar Bill|

    I always ask for extra towels to place over things liek the microwave light and other light sources
    Plus who doesnt need extra towels

  6. Sharon|

    Blackout material is available at most sewing stores, such as JoAnn’s. You can buy a weight and size that works for you, and is very inexpensive.

  7. Stacey Wittig|


  8. D Campbell|

    I do all these things, but my #1 is requesting a room away from the elevators and soda kiosk. I usually end up way down the hall by the stairs but it’s so much quieter.

  9. ray|

    Redirect the air conditioner flow. Use two clothes pins or chip clips to hang a hand towel over the HVAC grate.

  10. Tina|

    What if the room refrigerator is so loud you can’t sleep? I’ve unplugged it, but I usually have food in there that isn’t any good without refrigeration!

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