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How to Get Hotel Minibar Items for 90 Percent Off

Who among us hasn’t fallen victim to the siren song of the minibar? After a long flight or late night, all those salty and sweet treats look so good—until we check the price list. But if you’re thirstily eyeing a $5 bottle of water, I have good news for you: There’s a trick that lets you indulge without overpaying.

How to Get Hotel Minibar Items for 90 Percent Off

[st_content_ad]Let’s say you check in and you’re super thirsty and you don’t feel like running back out to get water, but that standard-size bottle of Pepsi in your hotel minibar is $5. Drink it without regrets, and then the next morning (before you let in housekeeping) run down to the nearest grocery store or corner market, buy the same brand and size water for 90 percent cheaper, and replace the bottle in the minibar.

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You can do this with many common items (candy, alcohol, etc.) without issue, but there are a few caveats:

  • Don’t try this hotel minibar hack with specialty local brands that will be hard to find—stick to easy items that you can get at pretty much any store without effort.
  • Check first to see if your hotel minibar has an electronic sensor that will automatically charge you if you remove an item.  If so, this hack won’t really work unless you’re willing to work to get the charge taken off your bill at the front desk after you’ve replaced the item.
  • Pay special attention to sizes—make sure you don’t restock the hotel minibar with an item that’s smaller or larger.
  • Make sure you replace the item before you take off the “do not disturb” sign, as housekeeping is generally responsible for refilling the minibar.

Would you try this hotel minibar hack?

More from SmarterTravel:

Caroline Morse never uses the hotel minibar. Follow her on Instagram @TravelwithCaroline and Twitter @CarolineMorse1 for advice and travel inspiration.

By Caroline Morse Teel

Unfortunately for her bank account, Principal Editor Caroline Morse Teel is powerless to resist a good flight deal. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline.

Caroline joined Boston-based SmarterTravel in 2011 after living in Ireland, London, and Manhattan. She's traveled to all seven continents, jumped out of planes, and bungeed off bridges in the pursuit of a good story. She loves exploring off-the-beaten path destinations, anything outdoorsy, and all things adventure.

Her stories have also appeared online at USA Today, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Yahoo,, TripAdvisor, Buzzfeed, Jetsetter, Oyster, Airfarewatchdog, and others.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "Earplugs. A good pair has saved my sleep and sanity many times!"

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Hiking Mount Kilimanjaro.

Travel Motto: "Don't be boring."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Aisle (when the first class private suite isn't available)."

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