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  • Margaret Page

The Art of Sharing a Hotel Room: Three Essential Tips

Hotel prices are high enough to give even seasoned travelers pause. Even roadside chain hotels in smaller cities can command prices over $200CAD, and the sticker shock rises the closer you get to a large city.

What’s a traveler to do? It seems a pity to cut travel short simply because of lodging prices — so these days, my plans always involve buddies. It’s the best of all worlds: I get to share my experience with a friend and we both save money!

There is an art to sharing a room with another person, even if that person is someone you know well. Travel can throw all sorts of curve balls like delayed flights, long layovers, and extended stints in a car or bus. Tempers can be short when frustrations get in the way. Even in paradise.

These travel hacks will help eliminate common, annoying stressors so you can relax and refresh yourself between outings rather than quibbling over who gets to use the tiny in-room closet.

Prep early. You learn an awful lot about a person when you share a room … and sometimes, the learning curve can wreak havoc on an otherwise pleasant trip. A quick, 15-minute conversation about how each of you handles down time can go a long way toward smoothing things over. Here are a few questions to get you started:

• Are you a morning person or an night person? What time do you like to wake up, and what time do you like to sleep?

• Do you like to read or watch TV before bed?

• Do you like to fall asleep with the TV on?

• Do you like the room to be warm or cold when you sleep?

• Do you snore, talk in your sleep, or sleepwalk?

• Are you a light sleeper or a sound sleeper?

• Do you prefer a room on a higher or lower floor?

• Are you bringing a lot of clothes that must be hung in the closet?

I’ve discovered there are nearly always workarounds to common issues. If my roommate likes to read into the wee hours, I pack a sleep mask. If they snore, heavy-duty ear plugs go into my suitcase. I ask for extra blankets at check-in if I’m sharing a room with someone who prefers a very cold room. It’s amazing how just a few questions can head off conflict.

Pack smarter. Who wants to share a room with someone who spreads their toiletries all over the bathroom? A hanging vanity bag offers a neat and tidy solution. These folding bags can be hung from the hook on the bathroom door or on a towel rack so your toothbrush, mascara, and moisturizer stay organized and out of the way.

I also swear by packing cubes. These individual soft bags can sort your intimates from your walking clothes, keep shoes separate from clean clothes, and offer a way to haul dirty laundry back home without contaminating the rest of your luggage. Instead of unfolding your clothes and placing them in the dresser, you can simply place your packing cubes inside.

If you had your pre-trip conversation, closet space shouldn’t be much of an issue. But if you’re both taking quite a few clothes that must be hung up, be sure to ask the front desk for extra hangers when you check in.

Seek connection. Throughout the day, I make mental and physical notes about the MAGIC (Moments of Awe and Grace I See) moments I experience when I travel. At the end of every day, I love asking my travel partner about their magic moments.

This practice gives me great insight into the person I’m traveling with. I’m always amazed at how other people view the world, and these check-ins offer a way to meaningfully connect. Not only do I gain a new perspective, but I have more gratitude about my trip and what I’m experiencing.

It’s also helpful for making memories. Research has shown that speaking words out loud and hearing your own voice can help your brain cement a memory. And who doesn’t want to remember a well-planned, anticipated vacation?

I’d like to know your hacks for traveling with another person. Have you tried any of the tips above? What are your favorite essentials? Please share your insights in the comments — you may help someone have an even better trip.

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