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]

Why You Should Never Charge Your Phone in Public USB Ports Without a USB Data Blocker

Creative-Family/iStock via Getty Images
Creative-Family/iStock via Getty Images

The USB charging ports that have popped up at airports, coffee shops, and even outdoor stations around cities in recent years are definitely a lifesaver when your smartphone is down to its last bit of juice. A dead phone is annoying at best and downright dangerous at worst, so it’s totally understandable why you’d jump at the chance to revive it at your earliest opportunity.

However, those public ports might not be as benevolent as they seem. According to Afar, hackers can load malware onto those stations—or on the cables left plugged into the stations—which can then deliver passwords and other data right from your device to the hacker’s. If you have used a public port recently, don’t panic; TechCrunch reports that these cases are fairly rare. Having said that, it’s definitely better not to risk it, especially considering what a nightmare it would be to have your identity stolen.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office explains that the easiest way to prevent becoming a victim of this type of scam, often referred to as juice-jacking, is simply to abstain from using public USB charging ports. Instead, invest in a portable charger, or plug your own charger into an actual AC power outlet.

But unoccupied power outlets are notoriously hard to come by in public places, and portable chargers themselves can also run out of battery life. Luckily, there’s a small, inexpensive device called a data blocker that will enable you to use public USB charging ports without worrying about juice-jacking. It looks a little like a flash drive with an extra slot, but it lacks the two wires usually found in USB chargers that can download and upload data. That way, your device will charge without transferring any information.

You can get two of them for $11 from Amazon here.

[h/t Afar]

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Pitch Your Novel Idea on Twitter and You Could Win a Writer's Retreat in the British Countryside

Nomadsoul1/iStock via Getty Images
Nomadsoul1/iStock via Getty Images

Social media is usually a distraction for writers working on their novel, but in 2020, it could be a gateway to quiet and solitude. HolidayCottages.co.uk, a UK-based vacation rental site with a focus on quaint accommodations, is offering one novelist a free writer's retreat. All they have to do to enter is summarize their book in a tweet.

Whether you have an idea for a new novel or you're in the middle of writing one, you can pitch your story using the hashtag #WriTweet. The pitch has to be engaging enough to catch the attention of the competition's judge and brief enough to fit Twitter's 280-character limit. Elizabeth Macneal, writer of the book The Doll Factory, will read one entry per candidate and choose a winner.

The person with the best tweet will be treated to a week-long writer's retreat at their choice of three cottages. The options include cozy homes in the countrysides of East Sussex, England; Carmarthenshire, Wales; and East Scotland. At the end of the writer's stay, Macneal will provide feedback on up to 10,000 words of what they've written so far.

If you're interested in applying, you can pitch your story on Twitter using the hashtag #WriTweet before midnight on January 24, 2020. The winner will be contacted within 28 days of the contest deadline. Looking for inspiration? Here are some creative ways novelists have used Twitter as a medium in the past.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER