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Hotel rooms typically include a bunch of free amenities that travelers never put to good use. It’s a pity.

Instead of rolling your eyes at the tiny bars of soap and miniature shampoos, get creative with them. After all, you’re surrounded by a treasure trove of hotel freebies that can be used to serve new purposes.

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To inspire some on-the-road innovation, here are eight ways to maximize the value of those in-room goodies. Think of it as being one part frugal road warrior, one part MacGyver.

1. Tiny shampoos and gels

These bottles definitely meet the TSA regulation of 3–4 ounces for liquid carry-ons. Dump out the contents and save these plastic bottles for future trips (or, alternatively, save them and use them, then reuse those bottles). It’s always handy to have spares at home so that you can fill them with preferred shampoos, liquid soaps, etc., before your next journey.

2. Laundry bags

Most travelers don’t even realize that a sturdy, plastic laundry bag is likely hanging in their hotel room closet. These bags rock, people. Instead of stuffing it with clothes for the hotel to launder, use it as a personal storage for your dirty laundry, dirty shoes, etc. (Then you’ve got it all in one place for the return home, and it won’t co-mingle with the rest of the clean stuff in your luggage.) Hotel laundry bags also double as excellentmakeshift shower caps when one isn’t provided in the hotel room (see above).

Flickr CC: Harsha K R

Flickr CC: Harsha K R

3. Shower cap

When shower caps are provided, turn them into storage compartments for receipts while on business trips as it helps keeps everything in one place. Also consider using them as covers for the bottom of dirty shoes, so they don’t get the clothes in your suitcase dirty on the return trip home. (It’s OK to ring up the front desk and ask for more shower caps, FYI.)

4. Soap

Transform unused bars of soap into luggage potpourri. Just break it into two or three pieces and place it in the suitcase after packing. Voila! It helps to keep clothing smelling fresh on the journey home.

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5. Towels

When you get the urge to practice yoga or do sit-ups in the privacy of your hotel room, don’t sweat on the floor, which may or may not have been vacuumed recently. Just grab some towels and spread two on the floor. Boom—you have a DIY yoga mat.

Flickr CC: John

Flickr CC: John

6. In-room coffee/tea

Save yourself the $5 on Starbucks and make your own damn coffee in the room. If you bring a thermos, even better: Fill it up so that it lasts the entire morning.

7. Ice (from the ice machine down the hall)

Most hotels have ice machines. Use them to keep your water COLD. Bring a water bottle or thermos and delicately shovel small ice cubes into these containers so that you have cold water for the day and night.

8. Toilet paper

Hotels abound with toilet paper, and chances are your hotel room bathroom has several rolls to spare. It’s worth tucking one into your backpack, especially if you’re doing an outdoor day-trip or traveling with kids—you never know when that spare roll will come in handy for wipes, sneezes and spills.

Tagged: Cheap Tips, FREE!, Tips & advice

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