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I’ve written about this a few times before but I wanted to update it since something new happened to me just this morning. And this one little tip can really make or break your trip. Seriously. RELATED: VIDEO: The Travel Hack Hotels Don’t Want Guests to Know About

If you travel often, chances are you’ve been awakened at an obscene hour when your hotel room’s alarm clock went off because the last guest checked out and didn’t turn it off. When this happens and you’re in a sound sleep (and especially if you’re jet-lagged), it’s so frustrating and disturbing; especially if you have an important meeting, a big speech, or a long day of sightseeing or driving ahead.

RELATED: The Sleep Hack Every Traveler Needs to Know

Getting back to sleep, at least for me, is difficult so when I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m up for the next few hours. I used to just toss and turn in bed but I’ve finally learned to be productive and work for a few hours before falling back to sleep. But even if I can get back to sleep, I still feel groggy after being so abruptly disturbed. How about you?

So the first thing I do when I check into a hotel is make sure the alarm clock is turned off. And if I can’t figure it out or it takes too long, I just unplug it. I almost always unplug it so there’s no messing around. And I use my phone as my alarm if I need to set one.

Unfortunately, some alarm clocks can’t be unplugged or the plug is so far out of reach it’s not worth crawling under the bed or trying to throw your back out moving it.

That’s what happened to me earlier today. The alarm clock was off but it has a really dumb activation button where if you just press the top once it sets it and it doesn’t make a noise so you can’t really tell unless you look at the bottom of the screen. That must have happened sometime yesterday because this morning, it went off at 6am. I was lucky the last person set it for 6am and not 3:45am, as has happened to me before.

If you can’t unplug the clock, then at least check it every night as you (or the housekeeper) might have accidentally set it.

Good to know: If you’re a deep sleeper or have a difficult time hearing, then consider getting the Sonic Bomb alarm clock. It vibrates so you will never miss an alarm again.

By the way, if you ever stay at an artsy hotel and they try to be cute with one of those round, old-fashioned alarm clocks that you can hear with each second that ticks by, then I immediately bury it under pillows, ask the front desk to remove it or throw it out the window. Okay, I don’t do the latter but there have been times when I wanted to.

The only thing worse when it comes to hotel alarm clocks is when the alarm in the room next door goes off and the walls are so thin or there’s a connecting room door so it sounds like it’s in your room but you can’t find it. Ugh! Most of the time, there are no guests in that room so you have to call down to the front desk and have security go in and turn it off, all of which takes time.

Unfortunately, all of the above scenarios have happened to me numerous times and it’s not only really frustrating, but it can make or break your trip depending on how important a good night’s sleep is for you.

One thing I’ve learned from all my travels is not to count on the housekeepers to make sure the alarm clocks are switched to the off position so always double check or just unplug it to be entirely sure.


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9 Comments On "The First Thing I Do When I Check Into a Hotel Room to Ensure a Good Night's Sleep"
  1. Gretchen|

    The first thing we do when upon opening the door to our room is TURN OFF THE A/C! It is always WAY too frigid! (Once we had to crawl into bed to get warm!) The A/C in in the adjoining rooms is always enough to keep us comfortable for the night!
    Traveling this last month made us realize how hotels are cutting back. No fridge, no extra towels, minimal toiletries. No phones, no clocks, It’s fine with us—Covid times have been hard and we wish hospitality a swift return to normal!

  2. Dan Nainan|

    I go through a process when I checked into a hotel room. I unplug the clock radio or whatever for that exact reason you described. I also unplug TV because I don’t watch it and it’s a waste electricity, and I unplug the refrigerator because it makes to much noise. I also I unplug all of the telephones or let the front desk know that I don’t want to be disturbed.

  3. Dan Nainan|

    I go through a process when I check into a hotel room. I unplug the clock radio or whatever for the exact reason you described. I also unplug the TV because I don’t watch it and it’s a waste electricity, and I unplug the refrigerator because it makes too much noise. I also I unplug all of the telephones or let the front desk know that I don’t want to be disturbed.

  4. Patricia Johnson|

    I always put my luggage on the luggage rack or counter (not on the floor) and check the bed for bedbugs. It was a big deal years ago and I never got out of the habit. To check for bed bugs, start with a thorough examination of your mattress, bedding, bed frame, and box spring, as well as nearby hiding spots like crevices in your headboard, bedside cabinets, dresser, floorboards, wall trim, picture frames, and drapery folds. Here’s what to look for:

    Dark spots. Bed bug excrement is about as small as the tip of a pen and may bleed like a marker onto your bedding.
    Rusty, reddish stains could be crushed bed bugs or blood from a bite.
    Pale yellow eggshells and husks which appear hollow and super-tiny in size (think: one millimeter).
    A musty odor.
    And, of course, bed bugs themselves.

  5. Barbara|

    Me too! I would rather wake up to an alarm rather than bites all over my body. I have been lucky my luggage goes straight into the bathroom while I check. I have had friends that weren’t so lucky and ended up miserable on their vacation. I usually unplug the clock radio and move it because I need the space .
    p.s. Don’t forget to check the pillows and any soft cloth furniture. Bed bugs don’t much like plastic because they can’t burrow in.

  6. Don Smith|

    I always take several large “paper” clips. Great to hold curtains closed.

  7. Jess|

    This is the FIRST thing I do as well! I roll my luggage into the bathroom while I do my inspection!

  8. Patrick|

    For those of you that unplug various pieces of electronics / appliances… Do you plug them back in after your stay is over? If not you are just making more work for the cleaning staff.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Sometimes but I tip well.

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