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Travel hack: five hotel room staples you can repurpose in a pinch

By John Walton     Filed under: Hotels, travel tips, travel hacks

When you're on the road, sometimes you just can't get your hands on various key toiletries or personal necessities you need.

Your shoes need a polish, your hair needs styling or you need a shave, but you forgot to pack the right kit -- or, worse, it's in your lost luggage.

Get ready to unleash your inner MacGyver as we reveal some standard items in any hotel room which can double-up on what you need.

1. Use body lotion as shoe polish

If your shoes need a little bit of a touch-up, wipe them off and apply a coin-sized squeeze of hotel moisturiser to them, rubbing it in with a rag or a piece of cloth.

Give it a bit of a buff to get it shining and you're good to go.

2. Use a toothbrush as shoe brush

Need to actually get your shoes clean before you polish them? You might have cut through a park or got them muddy at a cocktail reception, but you probably didn't bring a shoe brush with you.

Try the hotel toothbrush as a smaller version -- it's especially good for getting dried mud out of the crevices that a larger shoe brush wouldn't even reach.

3. Use hair conditioner as shaving cream

If you suddenly discover that your shaving cream is empty and you haven't time to call down to reception to get some, hair conditioner will do in a pinch. Slather it on and make sure to work it into the hairs, and then shave as normal.

4. Use moisturiser as hair product

Run out of your styling stuff? If you're worried about stopping your hair looking like a fluffy, freshly-washed puppy, try the very tiniest dab of moisturiser or body lotion in the palm of your hand, teased through your hair to tame the worst of the frizz.

Top tip: blowdry your hair as dry as you can first so that you can see how you're getting the spread through your hair.

5. Use a teacup as sinus clearer

Sometimes you can't avoid travelling when you're congested, and flying can be a quite literal pain as the ultra-dry air reacts with your sensitive sinuses.

If your sinuses are still blocked on arrival, try this trick: pop a teacup on the hotel desk, pour some nearly-boiling water into the cup and drape a towel over your head.

Inhaling the steam does wonders for your poor dried-out nasal passages, and you may well end up coughing up some of the gunk as well.

(Note that this also works on planes. Try getting a cup of herbal tea from a flight attendant, covering the cup with your hand and funnelling the steam into your nose.)

What are your handy hacks?

What's your favourite hotel room repurposing hack? Share it with your fellow readers in a comment below, and read on down for helpful options from our business traveller community.

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter -- we're @AusBT.

About John Walton

Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


Have something to say? Post a comment now!

1 on 18/10/12 by kikoenaivoice

The teacup yes I can vouch to that... but the rest... hmmmm.... questionable

2 on 18/10/12 by kel0210

The teacup trick to clear the sinus is brilliant. I'm gonna try that the next time I'm in the air. I haven't really tried the other tricks, except the one using moisturiser as hairgel. It doesn't have the same hold as actual hairgel, but it's the next best thing.

3 on 18/10/12 by Brett

I find that the plastic bags used for hotel dry cleaning/laundry are great for putting dirty clothes or wet bathers in, if you have to repack them in your suitcase. It separates them from your still clean and pressed shirts etc.

1 on 25/10/12 by John

Yep -- but in fairness, that's kind of what the bag is for, so it doesn't really count as "repurposing"!

4 on 19/10/12 by 521303

You can buy a bottle of fess frequent flyer nasal spray at every major city airport in Australia.

1 on 25/10/12 by John

Sure, and I try to keep some on me, but this is an article for when I've run out/left the bottle behind/had it confiscated.

5 on 20/10/12 by watson374

I find toothpaste a tolerable deoderant as its alkalinity counteracts the acidity of the secretions causing BO.

1 on 25/10/12 by John

Now that's one I didn't know! Note to fellow travellers: if you think I'm smelling minty fresh, that's why...

1 on 25/10/12 by watson374

You don't need to use that much at all, either; diluting it before rubbing it in makes a small bit run quite far, actually...

6 on 14/12/12 by jasonsmith

Got wet socks (sweat or walking in water)

No problem, get that "fresh sock feeling" by connecting your sock onto the hairdrier. 


Also works in airport lounge showers


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