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We’ve all been there: you’re in the middle of a road trip and everyone agrees to stop and spend the night somewhere. Or, you miss your flight home from a vacation and have to stay at the nearest hotel. In situations like these, if you haven’t planned ahead you may find yourself with less than ideal accommodations. 

The next time you find yourself pulling off the highway and up to a hotel that looks like it hasn’t been updated since last century, follow The Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook to make your one star room feel at least like one and a half star one.

How to Survive in a Cheap Hotel

· Request a room with a quiet location – Avoid rooms near elevators, vending machines, the ice maker, the parking lot, or a noisy bar. Ask for a room at the end of the ahll so there is less foot traffic outside the door.

· Check the mechanicals and plumbing – Before unpacking, check air conditioning, heat, television, lights, and water pressure. If any are not working properly or are otherwise unacceptable, request a new room.

· Remove the bedspread – Cheap hotels do not regularly clean bedspreads. Use towels for warmth. Call the front desk to request extra towels if there aren’t enough in the room.

· Clip the curtains closed – If the curtains do not fully close, secure the two sides together using whatever you have on hand – paper or binder clips, tape, or pins and needles from a sewing kit.

· Check the mattress firmness – If the bed is too soft, place the mattress on the floor.

· Check the clock – Make sure the alarm is not set to go off in the middle of the night. Avoid the wake-up service – it is notoriously unreliable in cheap hotels. Set the alarm clock, or carry a travel clock with an alarm.

· Avoid the morning shower rush – Cheap hotels may run out of hot water anytime between 7 and 9 A.M. Shower earlier or later.