Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies, but the cost can quickly add up. It seems like the price of transportation has taken off, the cost to dine out for almost every meal will take a huge bite out of your budget, and the then there are the activities. Just those three things will already put a damper on your budget, but those costs don’t include any of the necessary accessories, clothing, or toiletries. By the time it is all said and done, your budget-friendly family vacation could cost you more than you expected.

I previously wrote about ways to save money while taking a trip on Spring Break, and a lot of those rules still apply here, but one thing I didn’t highlight was the fact that hotels will give you more than just a room. Sure you know that they give you the basic items like shampoo and soap, but there is much more available. Most of the time, you will have to stay in a  So if you find your budget tight, consider skipping the toiletries and taking advantage of these products the hotel has to offer:

Shampoo & Conditioner

Shampoo and Conditioner tend to come standard at most hotels. You won’t get high-quality product here, but it does a good job. I tend to bring my own, but I take the samples for future use or for guests that stay at my house. More luxury hotels will have better quality shampoo & conditioner.

Soap or Body Wash

You will almost always find soap or body wash in your room. In recent hotel stays, I have had both products. Talk about a bonus.


Leave so quickly that you forgot about enamel care? Instead of running to a drug store or supermarket, contact the hotel and see if they provide toothbrushes.

Toothpaste & Mouthwash

Toothpaste was almost always in the bathroom of the hotel room, but recently I haven’t seen it as much. That doesn’t mean it isn’t available. The hotel may also travel size mouthwash as well.

Body Lotion

Maybe it is just me, but it seems like toothpaste has been replaced with body lotion. I haven’t been in a hotel recently that hasn’t had some. I usually take the bottle with me at the end of my stay. These travel size lotions are perfect for your purse.

Disposable Razor

I can’t tell you how many times I forget a razor at home. It’s crazy because it is something a girl always needs. I’ve had to request a razor, and while they aren’t the best quality, they get the job done. A free razor is better than nothing.

Shower Cap

You may not need a shower cap for your hair, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t useful. Consider using the shower cap to wrap your shoes, wet toiletries, items that may leak, or even use them to cover up leftover snacks. These things are handier than I thought in the past.

Blow Dryer

I have a bad habit of always bringing my hair dryer, but I really don’t need to. I’m trying to convince myself to save the luggage space and use the hotel’s blow dryer as often as I can.

Curling Iron or Flat Iron

I didn’t know that you could borrow a curling iron flat iron

Sewing Kit

Wardrobe emergencies happen, so if you lose a button or bust a seam, call and request a sewing kit.

Notepads & Pens

When you walk in the room, you will often see a notepad and pen near the telephone. These are great for taking trip notes, important addresses and phone numbers you might need, or even travel plans. Carry them with you when you are out and about just in case you need it.

Phone Charger

Not having a phone charger, I think, is one of the worst things to forget at home. To get a replacement isn’t very cheap, and you have to have one. Luckily, hotels are starting to carry them. Some rooms even have iHome systems that will charge your phone.

Tea & Coffee

One thing I love is the personal coffee and tea brewers in the hotel rooms. You will often find both caffeinated and decaf coffee options, and usually tea. Most of the places I have stayed recently provide Starbucks coffee and Tazo Tea. Yum!

Extras to look into

Some hotels may offer you more than just room items and toiletries. When you check in, find out if your hotel offers you any of the following for free or a discounted rate:

  • Free food or drink: Some hotels will offer you free food and drink items. A lot of times you are offered breakfast, but sometimes there are other meal perks. Don’t hesitate to ask.
  • Maps & Fliers: Looking for something to do? Maybe you are worried you are going to get lost in a new city? Hotels often have racks of leaflets and maps for free. The fliers usually have discount coupons also.
  • Beach Towels: Hotels around beaches will often charge you a rental fee for a beach towel. Before you leave to put your feet in the sand, check with the hotel about towel rentals. They will likely be cheaper or maybe free since you are staying at the hotel.
  • Kids Activities: Sometimes you will see puzzles and things on the flier rack for children. If they aren’t there, you should ask the front desk if they have any available. Fun activities will keep your kids busy.
  • Travel Adapters: If you are going abroad and forgot your adapter, you might be able to get one from the front desk. One thing I love about hotels is they are always prepared for travelers that forget things.


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