The 2 Essentials I Never Stay at a Hotel Without (I Bring Them Everywhere!)

published May 22, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Opened door of hotel room with key in the lock
Credit: Dragon Images/Shutterstock

Traveling is no small feat for my family of seven. In addition to packing for myself, I need to make sure my kids bring everything they need (or if I’m traveling without them, that I’ve prepared my family for my absence). I need to get the home ready by completing tasks like taking out the trash, running the dishwasher, and making sure all the windows are closed, and I have to think about everything needed at our destination (and along the way!).

One thing that helps me keep track of all the variables is keeping checklist templates on my phone. (I usually use the Reminders app.) I have lists that I reuse for camping trips, airplane travel, and beach trips. Our list of necessities varies depending on whether I’m staying at an Airbnb or my sister’s house. For instance, I won’t pack any shampoo or conditioner if we’re staying with my sister, as she’ll have them at her place for us to use. Having these ready-to-go lists saves so much mental energy and drastically reduces stress. They tell me exactly what I need to pack based on where I’m going, how I’m getting there, and where I’m staying.

When staying in a hotel, two special items are at the very top of my hotel essentials list — disinfecting wipes and slip-on shoes — and I’ll never stay in a hotel without them.

The disinfecting wipes help me deal with the ick factor of staying in a space that’s been inhabited by so many people before me. Even with cleaning crews coming in, I feel much better if I have the tools to wipe down certain things myself. (The very last thing anyone wants is to pick up a bug while traveling!) Sometimes I’m able to toss the plastic canister of disinfecting wipes I’m already using at home into our luggage. But if space is at a premium, a thin pack of travel disinfecting wipes is perfect for the job and super easy to slip into a suitcase or bag. 

When I first walk into a room (after checking mattresses for signs of bed bugs), I take out my disinfecting wipes and quickly clean high-touch surfaces like light switches, lamp switches, door handles, and the remote control. I also wipe down faucet handles and the toilet. It takes no more than five minutes, gives me such peace of mind, and with any luck, helps keep me and my family healthy. 

Slip-on shoes are also a must. I do not like walking around hotel carpeting with bare feet because it’s so dirty.

I don’t like the idea of our feet getting dirty and then tracking them into our beds. I also don’t like walking around the carpet in socks because once those get dirty, they’ll make the inside of our shoes dirty, too. I always make sure that each of us packs some kind of slip-on shoe. Thin plastic flip-flops take up the least amount of space, but sometimes we have other shoes that are easy to take on and off, especially if we’re on a road trip. 

Disinfecting wipes and slip-on shoes are my hotel-stay non-negotiables. For me, they reduce stress and make me a much more relaxed and happy traveler.