Ingenious Hotel Hacks, According to Twitter

DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images
DragonImages/iStock via Getty Images

In addition to being a forum for arguments sent across the world, Twitter can sometimes be a source of helpful information. For travelers, this was illustrated recently by Twitter user Rick Klau, who passed along a helpful hotel hack garnering over 400,000 likes. The trick? To close stubborn hotel room curtains letting in light and disrupting your precious sleep-in time, use one of the industrial-strength clothes hangers from the closet. Their clips will pull the fabric together and keep it shut.

This doesn’t work in rooms with hangers permanently affixed to the coat rack, but that’s OK. Users who caught Klau’s post provided a number of other tips that can be deployed by hotel occupants to make their next booking more comfortable, according to The Washington Post. Among them:

1. Use the USB port on the television.

If you can’t find a free outlet or one within easy reach, there might be a USB port on the hotel room set to use for charging electronic devices. (@MichaelHeide)

2. Isolate remote germs with a shower cap or ice bucket baggie.

If you’re apprehensive about touching the TV remote—long considered one of the most germ-infested surfaces in any hotel room—wrapping it in the shower cap or plastic wrapper for the ice bucket might ease your concerns. (@mshilary)

3. Use your ironing board as a desk.

Hotel desk or chair too low? You can break out the ironing board and adjust its height to make a temporary workspace. Keep it high enough and it’ll act as a standing desk. (@acroll)

4. Use the shower steam to press out clothes.

Take advantage of the steam from your shower by hanging your suit, shirt, or other wrinkled clothes from your suitcase on the back of the shower door. The steam will loosen the wrinkles. (@DrCSpencer)

5. Put the dry cleaning bag to good use.

Got dirty clothes? Grab the dry cleaning bag from the closet—apparently an endless MacGyver resource for hotels—and stuff your used attire inside so you know what to wash when you get home. (@ohmercy_me)

[h/t The Washington Post]

Driving This Thanksgiving Holiday? Here’s the Worst Time to Leave, According to Google Maps

Marcos Assis/iStock via Getty Images
Marcos Assis/iStock via Getty Images

For many people, cooking the turkey correctly or dodging political arguments with family members aren't the most stressful parts of Thanksgiving. It's having to share the road with millions of other travelers on the way to Thanksgiving dinner. If you're hoping to make this element of the holiday a little more tolerable in 2019, plan your day with data from Google Maps.

As Travel + Leisure reports, Google Maps recently published a roundup of Thanksgiving travel tips, including the absolute worst times to hit the road. You may think that leaving the day before Thanksgiving will give you a head-start on traffic, but according to Google, Wednesday is the busiest travel day of the week. Congestion peaks between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Wednesday in many parts of the country. If you have no choice but to travel on November 27, plan to leave earlier in the day before roads get too crowded.

It pays to leave the house early the day of the actual holiday. Around 6 a.m., roads will be clear in most major cities, with traffic gradually increasing throughout the morning and peaking as early as noon.

As people who regularly travel for Turkey Day know, getting to dinner on time is only half the headache. Traffic can be just as brutal on the way home. To make the journey as painless as possible, plan to leave first thing in the morning—ideally on Sunday, when most travelers have completed the trip.

Traveling for Thanksgiving is rarely as simple as driving to and from dinner. If you plan on making pit stops along the way, Google has travel information for that as well. According to Google search trends, "ham shops" are busiest at noon the day before Thanksgiving, and outlet malls reach peak traffic around noon on Black Friday. Here are some more stress-free travel tips for the holiday season.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Journey to the Monarch Mosh Pit

iStock/Spondylolithesis
iStock/Spondylolithesis

Each fall, millions of migrating monarchs return to Mexico to wait out winter. The gathering makes Woodstock look like a business conference. Here’s how they get there.

Mosh Pit

In the mountains of central Mexico, the butterflies crowd on the branches of oyamel fir trees. The trees provide a perfect microclimate that prevents the butterflies from getting too hot or cold.

Texas Toast

After winter, the butterflies fly north to Texas in search of milkweed, where they lay their eggs. Many adults will die here; northbound monarchs generally live only three to seven weeks.

Juice Cleanse

One of the reasons monarchs love milkweed? Protection. As caterpillars, they absorb the toxins in the plant, which makes them less tasty to birds.

Connecting Flight

Eventually, a new generation of butterflies will make its way north to Canada. It takes multiple generations of butterflies to reach their final, most northerly destination.

Dine and Dash

On the way, butterflies will eat practically anything. Sure, there’s nectar—but they’ll also slurp the salts in mud.

Catching Air

When fall returns, a new generation of monarchs rides the air currents more than 3000 miles back to Mexico. They navigate by calibrating their body clocks with the position of the sun. (An internal magnetic compass helps them navigate on cloudy days.)

Latitude Adjustment

Monarchs “are one of the few creatures on Earth that can orient themselves both in latitude and longitude,” The New York Times reports—a feat sailors wouldn’t accomplish until the 1700s.

Southern Charm

Miraculously, each generation of southbound monarchs lives up to eight months—six times longer than their northbound descendants. Their longevity might have something to do with a process known as reproductive diapause (which is a fancy way of saying that the insects won’t breed until winter ends).

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