5 Gadgets to improve your hotel stay

When it comes to staying at a hotel, there are plenty of ways you can improve the comfort in your room. Some of these come with the room – things like the view, or a decent air conditioning unit.

Others can be brought along with you, and even the simplest gadget can make your stay just a little bit more enjoyable. Here are 5 gadgets that can help make your stay a little more comfortable or entertaining:
The Air-O-Swiss portable humidifier

Ever woken up in your hotel room with a dry mouth and eyes that feel like someone sprinkled sand in them? If you have a tiny bit of spare room in your bag, consider the Air-O-Swiss portable humidifier. This $50 device takes water from almost any small water bottle, and is powered using a compact (international) AC adapter.

Check out my review of this device here.

The Chip Clip

Hotel gadgetry doesn’t get much easier than the chip clip. In fact, any clip will work for this purpose. The purpose? Blocking annoying sun light from waking you from your deep sleep.

The hotel is probably the one time and place you can sleep in without worrying about heading to work or getting the kids ready for school.

Anyone who has spent some time in a hotel will know how annoying it can be when the sun shines through the drapes and wakes you up, often hours before you had planned to be awake.

A $2 clip can clip the curtains together, and prevent you from being woken up by the bright sun.

Of course, if you are anywhere with the kind of tourists that like to grab themselves a lounge chair by the pool at 5am, then being awake extra early may not be such a bad thing!

The MP3 player AV kit
The best cure for hotel boredom? Movies! Instead of suffering through the horrible selection of hotel TV channels, bring your media player (filled with movies) and hook it up to the hotel TV.

Most players can be equipped with an AV cable kit for about $20, and more and more hotels are equipping their TV’s with the line-in jacks required to add some of your own content.

You’ll of course need access to some movies on your device, but that isn’t too hard with online stores like the iTunes movies store.

The pocket projector

Are you regularly stuck in a hotel in the middle of nowhere? Does that hotel block the use of the line-in jack on their TV’s? Then consider spending $300 on your own pocket projector.

Simply hook the projector up to your computer or media player, and point the projector at a wall. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy your new pocket big-screen TV.

Sure, you’ll need a dark room, and anyone entering the room will probably think you are a nerd of the highest order, but you’ll end up with the last laugh.

Check out our review of a pocket projector here.

The Kensington laptop lock and USB power adapter

Two of my favorite gadgets on the road are the Kensington 4 port USB mobile device charger and the Kensington MicroSaver keyed retractable lock.

The 4 port USB charger is perfect for those hotel rooms with just one spare outlet hidden behind the desk. With just one charger, you can charge 4 devices at the same time.

The MicroSaver keyed lock is what you’ll need when your room does not come with a safe. Sadly more and more rooms lack a safe nowadays, and theft is not decreasing. The keyed lock allows you to attach your laptop to something sturdy.

When you are done with the lock, the steel cable simple retracts into the device, making it nice and compact.

Product review – Air-O-Swiss ultrasonic travel humidfier

No amount of luxury at a hotel can help prevent me from waking up with a dry throat in the middle of the night – for some reason, the climate control at most hotels seems to keep the room a very unpleasant 30% humidity, and for some reason, I am very sensitive to dry air.

Last year I mentioned the Air-O-Swiss “AOS 7146” ultrasonic travel humidifier. I finally ordered one and am happy to report that it really does work as advertised. The humidifier itself is small at just 4.5″x2.5″x3″ and at tad over 0.7lbs it will barely take up any room in your bag.

Included in the box is the humidifier itself, a bottle adapter, a carrying pouch and a power supply with a set of international prongs.

To use the humidifier, you simply grab a water bottle (no larger than half a liter), insert the adapter in the bottle, and place the bottle in the humidifier. On the back of the unit is a knob to adjust the humidity level. On the bottom of the unit are 2 folding stands, which should prevent a heavy bottle from tipping the humidifier over.

The unit produces a very fine mist of cool water, which is easily absorbed into the air. The unit does lack a hygrometer, so you’ll either need to keep it on “high” all day, or adjust it when you feel things are getting too humid.

For my test, I brought along a pocket digital hygrometer. When I entered the hotel room, the meter read 34%, which is usually too dry for me. After about an hour with the travel humidifier the humidity level had reached a comfortable 46%.

The Air-O-Swiss AOS 7146 ultrasonic travel humidifier retails for $59.99, but can be found for at your local Bed Bath and Beyond store, which means you can pick one up with one of their easily obtainable 20% off coupons. I ended up paying a little over $48 for mine, which is quite a good bargain.

Dry and uncomfortable in your hotel room? Bring a humidfier!

While strolling through the aisles of the local Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday (which is a bad idea this time of year), I came across this fantastic little ultrasonic humidifier.

The Air-O-Swiss “AOS 7146 TRAVEL” is a tiny box, with a water bottle screw thread on top. Instead of relying on a gallon sized water container, you simply attach a regular water bottle to the top of the unit, plug in the power adapter, and it instantly starts blowing out nice humid mist.

The humidity (or lack of) in most hotel rooms has always bothered me, and I’d often wake up in the middle of the night with a dry throat, so this device just went on my Christmas list.

The AOS 7146 costs $59.99, but most people will probably have a large stack of 20% off coupons for Bed Bath and Beyond lying around, bringing the price down to a very reasonable level.

The unit comes complete with an international power adapter with foreign plugs as well as a travel bag. At just 0.7lbs, it is small and light enough to accompany you on your next trip, and hopefully make things a little more comfortable. If you don’t have a store in your area, you can order it on the Bed Bath and Beyond web site,