15 things you didn't know you could get for free at a hotel

Dragon Images/ShutterstockYou can get a lot of free stuff from hotels.

Vacations can be expensive, especially if you’re staying at a hotel. But there are some items and services you can get for free.

From fancier pillows to filling breakfasts, here are 15 things you can enjoy on the house ― if you know to ask for them.

Most hotels offer free WiFi.

Netgear/AmazonMost chain restaurants have free WiFi.

Wi-fi is a modern amenity we’ve come to expect when we’re on the go. Major chains like Marriott, Sheraton, and Hilton offer it for free, but policies vary. Some only offer it in lounges and shared spaces rather than in guest rooms.

In addition, luxury chains such as Ritz-Carlton and St. Regis might require you to sign up for a rewards program to gain free internet access.

Bottled water is usually provided gratis in guest rooms.

Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for FIJI WaterBottled water is usually free.

In-room coffee may not be free across the board, but bottled water is usually provided gratis at mid-range to higher-end hotels.

If there is a fee to crack open the H20, you could always take a cup from your room (which you’ll find by the coffee maker and/or by the bathroom sink) and trek to the water fountain.

Toiletries and personal-care items are useful freebies.

ShutterstockUsually you can call down and get free toiletries.

It may seem obvious, but free soap, shampoo, and conditioner are common hotel perks that come in handy if you forget to pack them. The small bottles are also travel-friendly, so don’t forget to grab them for later.

Some chains, like Kimpton Hotels, offer additional toiletries and personal-care items for free. You can ask the front desk for things like a toothbrush and toothpaste, men’s and women’s razors, and feminine hygiene products.

Request laundry bags to simplify packing.

Billion Photos/ShutterstockHotels usually have plastic laundry bags to spare.

Although you shouldn’t take the fancy mesh laundry bags from your room, chances are a hotel with laundry service will have plastic laundry bags to spare. Ask for one to simplify packing when it’s time to check out.

Sleep better with a pillow upgrade.

Shutterstock/Dean DrobotYou can find pillow menus at upscale establishments.

Not all hotel chains offer a free “pillow menu,” but you’ll find them at some upscale establishments. Conrad Hotels famously offer 15 varieties of pillows, ranging from contour latex to duck down.

Better yet, ask for a room upgrade.

Flickr/Kassandra Bay Resort & SPAIt never hurts to ask for a room upgrade.

It’s a known fact that hotels overbook rooms to avoid losing a profit on last-minute cancellations or no-shows.

But this protocol can actually be advantageous to travellers. If a standard room is overbooked, you might be able to get an upgrade just by asking ― especially if you mention you’re in town for a special occasion, like a wedding anniversary.

Stationery is a practical perk.

Paper SourceAlways grab pens and notepads.

Complimentary pens and notepads are another ubiquitous freebie. Whether you need to jot down a to-do list or want a memento from your stay, hotel stationery is a practical perk.

Branded coffee mugs are free ― if you ask.

Camila Damásio/UnsplashIf you ask nicely you might be able to get a free mug.

You’re not necessarily supposed to take home ceramic coffee mugs emblazoned with a hotel’s logo. However, hotels might give you these for free if you ask nicely, according to Michael Forrest Jones of the North Carolina-based Beechmont Hotels Corporation in a post on Quora.

If you forgot your phone charger, you can borrow a “loaner.”

PIMPAN/ShutterstockFeel free to ask to borrow a charger.

Check with the front desk of your hotel if you need a spare charger ― there’s a good chance they will be able to provide you with a free “loaner” for the duration of your stay.

There are free amenities just for kids, like toy rental services.

ShutterstockLoews hotel has a toy lending program.

Many hotels offer kid-specific perks. According to Family Vacation Critic, Loews boasts a lending program that allows young guests to borrow Fisher-Price toys during their stay. And at Country Inns & Suites, families can check out books through the Read It and Return It lending library program.

Put the pedal to the metal with free bike rentals.

Shutterstock/T PhotographyHotels all over the country offer bike rentals.

Cycling enthusiasts, rejoice. Numerous hotels from Portland, Oregon, to New York City offer free bike rental services.

Free yoga mats and accessories may be available.

Flickr/bradleypjohnsonLots of hotels have yoga mats for you to use.

Kimpton, which operates more than 60 hotels, equips its guest rooms with yoga mats. Travellers can also enjoy complimentary on-demand fitness programs thanks to Kimpton’s “Roll-Out Service.”

Additionally, guests at Omni Hotels can stay in shape with a free “Get Fit Kit” comprising a yoga mat, weights, a push-up bar, and more.

Learn a new skill by checking out a cooking demo.

PH888/ShutterstockTalk to the front desk about mixology or cooking classes.

While you might consult a concierge for restaurant recommendations, you can also inquire about cultural experiences, like mixology and cooking classes.

“Consider asking if you can see a cocktail or cooking demonstration,” Megan Eileen McDonough, founder of travel website Bohemian Trails, told Thrillist. “While some properties create actual events around it, others are more casual.”

Eat the most important meal of the day for free.

fitri.agung/FlickrMost hotel chains offer free breakfast.

More than 30 hotel chains offer free breakfast, according to the finance site Clark. And we’re not talking about paltry yogurt and cereal, either. From protein-packed breakfast bowls to freshly made waffles and pancakes, guests can start their day right.

And end the day with happy hour on the house.

The Palm/FacebookCheck out if your hotel has a free happy hour.

The only thing better than unwinding at happy hour after a long day is enjoying complimentary drinks, which are offered at some hotels.

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