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8 Crafty Ways to Make Your Hotel Room Feel Like Home

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After a long day spent exploring a new place, nothing feels nicer than coming home to a spacious, comfortable hotel room. But that’s hardly the case for travelers on a budget, who instead get stuck with small bathrooms, thin walls, and old mattresses. For those times you’re not lodging in luxury, a little preparation is all it takes to transform your hotel room into a cozy haven. 

1. LIGHT A CANDLE.

It's hard to get comfortable in a place that still smells like the last people who slept there. Consider picking up a scented candle that reminds you of home to personalize your otherwise bland room. Just make sure to check with the front desk before lighting it, and be careful not to set off any smoke alarms when blowing it out.

2. PACK YOUR OWN COFFEE. 

Even hotels with bare-bones amenities understand that caffeine is a basic human right. Instead of brewing the generic, individually packaged stuff provided by the hotel, pack your favorite blend in a plastic baggie. The familiar scent of your go-to coffee will make waking up in a strange place a little more tolerable. 

3. STREAM YOUR FAVORITE SHOWS.

When staying at a hotel, pass on the pay-per-view and instead take advantage of the streaming services you're already paying for. If your room's television has an HDMI port, all you need is an HDMI cable or a cordless media streamer to set yourself up for a night of binge-watching—without the surprise bill the next morning.

4. BYOB (BRING YOUR OWN BLANKET)

Hotel bedding is often bulky, starchy, and tucked too tightly—and that's a best-case scenario. Forego the provided comforter and pack some of your favorite items from home for an easier night's sleep: Your favorite pillow and your softest blanket can make all the difference. And if you only have room for a single stuffed animal, we won't judge. 

5. THINK AHEAD BY BRINGING A POWER STRIP.

The bane of every modern traveler's existence is finding places to plug in all their devices. Instead of performing impromptu feng shui to utilize every available outlet in your room, simplify your life by picking up a power strip. No one should have to choose between charging their phone and keeping it by their bed.

6. KEEP YOUR FAVORITE DRINK ON HAND.

When returning to your hotel room after an exhausting day, nothing sounds better than relaxing with your favorite nightcap. This is the same reason why so many hotel guests succumb to high mini bar prices. If you pick up your preferred drink beforehand, that $14 mini bottle of vodka won't seem as tempting.

7. INVEST IN A WI-FI BASE.

This is a smart move for frequent travelers who end up paying hotel Wi-Fi fees on a regular basis. With a portable Wi-Fi base of your own you will no longer be at the mercy of unfair charges and elusive passwords. A life of guaranteed free Wi-Fi is definitely one worth living. 

8. ASK FOR DISHES. 

Most hotels are more than willing to provide dishes to guests who ask for them. This is a smart way to encourage yourself to eat the leftovers waiting in your mini-fridge instead of going out. It might even trick you into feeling like you're eating a home-cooked meal. 

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The Little Known Airport Bookstore Program That Can Get You Half of What You Spend on Books Back
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Inflight entertainment is a necessary evil, but the price can quickly add up without the proper planning. Between Wi-Fi access and TV/movie packages, you can run into all kinds of annoying additional charges that will only increase the longer your flight is. Thankfully, there is one way to minimize the cost of your inflight entertainment that’s a dream for any reader.

Paradies Lagardère, which runs more than 850 stores in 98 airports across the U.S. and Canada, has an attractive Read and Return program for all the books they sell. All you have to do is purchase a title, read it, and return it to a Paradies Lagardère-owned shop within six months and you'll get half your money back. This turns a $28 hardcover into a $14 one. Books in good condition are re-sold for half the price by the company, while books with more wear and tear are donated to charity.

If you haven’t heard of Paradies Lagardère, don’t worry—you’ve probably been in one of their stores. They’re the company behind a range of retail spots in airports, including licensed ventures like The New York Times Bookstore and CNBC News, and more local shops exclusive to the city you're flying out of. They also run restaurants, travel essentials stores, and specialty shops. 

Not every Paradies Lagardère store sells books, though, and the company doesn’t operate out of every airport, so you’ll need to do a little research before just buying a book the next time you fly. Luckily, the company does have an online map that shows every airport it operates out of and which stores are there.

There is one real catch to remember: You must keep the original receipt of the book if you want to return it and get your money back. If you're the forgetful type, just follow PureWow’s advice and use the receipt as a bookmark and you’ll be golden.

For frequent flyers who plan ahead, this program can ensure that your inflight entertainment will never break the bank.

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A New Law Could Make It Harder to Access Your Favorite Florida Beaches
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Florida boasts roughly 8500 miles of coastline—the most of any state in the lower 48 [PDF]—but some of those sunny beaches could soon get a lot harder to access. As Coastal Living reports, a state law passed in 2018 gives private landowners the right to close almost the entirety of their beaches off to the public.

Florida law once required the state to "ensure the public's right to reasonable access to beaches." That policy left the state free to sell miles of coastal land to big tax generators like condos and hotels, while still keeping the waterfront accessible to local beach lovers and the millions of tourists who visit the state each year.

Sixty percent of Florida beaches are now privately owned. Under the new law, tides will turn in favor of those private landowners, allowing them to restrict access to any part of the beach above the high tide line. Starting July 1, they will be able to decide who does and doesn't get to set foot on their oceanfront property.

An online petition campaigning to keep those beaches open to all has already garnered more than 52,000 signatures. If that effort doesn't succeed, local governments will still have the power to remove restrictions from privately owned beaches, but they will need to petition a judge to do so. Any city ordinances about beach access passed prior to 2016 will also stay in effect.

Florida isn't the only coastal state where the question of who owns the beaches is up for debate. Wealthy homeowners in California have been known to hire security guards to remove people from the beaches in front of their houses, despite the fact that beaches in the state are public property. The courts have largely sided with the masses, though: In 2017, a billionaire landowner in northern California was ordered by a state court to restore public access to the beach in front of his property, which he had previously closed off with a locked gate.

Even with the new law, the portion of Florida shoreline that falls within the tide will always belong to the state. But that may not help anyone who has to traverse private property to get there.

[h/t Coastal Living]

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