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The 3 things I do before every hotel stay during the pandemic

Dec. 24, 2020
3 min read
The 3 things I do before every hotel stay during the pandemic
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For most of March, April, May and June, I stayed at home, avoiding any and all travel, doing whatever I could to limit my exposure to COVID-19.

As we learned more about how the virus spreads — and after I was able to get my hands on some N95 masks — I decided to begin venturing out, with several house rentals and even a hotel stay within driving distance from home.

Eventually, I even felt comfortable enough to book an international trip, and, last month, my first domestic flight, traveling from Newark (EWR) to Albuquerque, New Mexico (ABQ) via Chicago (ORD).

With short stays at a total of 10 different hotels, that last trip really helped me refine my check-in routine, letting me prepare each room before removing my N95 mask. To some, it may feel like overkill, but I consider it to be a very important element of my mid-pandemic travel approach.

It's clear that airborne transmission presents the biggest risk of contracting COVID-19, and droplets can linger in the air in a poorly ventilated space. Certain masks can offer protection, but that isn't a practical solution for anyone hoping to enjoy an overnight stay.

So, to limit my chances of exposure, I've been taking the below precautions at each hotel — the only indoor place I'd consider taking off a mask outside of my own home.

  1. I book rooms with balconies or windows that open all the way, or window AC units, so it's clear that ventilation isn't shared between rooms
  2. I call the front desk and ask the hotel to keep the room empty for 24+ hours prior to check-in, if occupancy allows
  3. I open the window as soon as I arrive, turn the air on high and leave for an hour or so, usually to pick up a takeout meal

Then, on the surfaces front, I work through the room with disinfecting wipes, catching all light switches, door handles, bathroom fixtures and anything else I might come into contact with.

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

While this last step may be less of a factor when it comes to COVID-19, wiping down surfaces can help keep you safe from other germs, and may add some peace of mind.

In total, it takes me about five to 10 minutes to prepare a new hotel room, even with larger suites, such as the one-bedroom condo I booked at Embarc Palm Desert.

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You might also consider avoiding using elevators (ask for a room on the ground floor, or use the stairs), limiting yourself to sealed cups and utensils and declining housekeeping and other services by keeping the do-not-disturb sign on your door for the entire stay. Checking for bedbugs is never a bad idea, too.

Bottom line

Admittedly, this process does take some of the fun out of staying in a hotel. In fact, we ended up cutting this trip short by a night to avoid dealing with another room, choosing to take a redeye flight home from Los Angeles (LAX) to Newark (EWR) — the fact that most other passengers would choose to sleep instead of removing their masks to eat also added some appeal.

I'll definitely keep up some of these practices even after the pandemic — while I'll be less concerned about ventilation once COVID-19 is no longer a threat, wiping down surfaces has always been a priority, and will continue to be in the future.

Featured image by If you test positive, some hotels may be willing to let you continue your stay for a proper quarantine. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023