I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to go to a couple of different conferences over the past few months. In August there was BlogHer in New York and more recently, I was in Pennsylvania for Relevant. In both instances, I was staying in the hotels and in both hotels I got thirsty. Now I’ve seen my fair share of news reports that talk about hotel maids using Windex to clean the glasses, so paranoid or not, I bring my Contigo water bottles with me so I can drink out of something that I know is clean. The only problem is that after the first day, I’m usually out of water and need to refill.
Of course the hotel will kindly sell me a bottle of water from the top of the dresser or from the vending machine for $2.00 but seriously, $2.00 for water? Theoretically I could drink the tap water, but I suppose I’m a little bit of a water snob and try my best to only drink filtered water. So how does one get filtered water while on the road without having to pay an arm and a leg? I have two words for you: ICE MACHINE.
You read that right. Here is how I was able to refill my water bottles with filtered water for free while staying at the hotel.
Step One: Locate the nearest ice machine and look behind the machine. You are looking to see if they have a water filter on the back (which most do.) If it doesn’t, then stop reading – this won’t work for you. Ideally you also want a filter that has been recently changed – something the good hotels SHOULD do, but probably not all of them DO do. At that point, it’s a gamble as to how filtered (or not) your final water will be.
Step Two: Assuming the filter is G2G (good to go) then fill your water bottles and ice bucket (using the plastic liner) with ice. One of the reasons the Contigo water bottle is so great is that it has a nice wide mouth, allowing ice cubes to easily fall into it.
Step Three: Let the ice melt! There are a couple of ways you can go about this. First you can plan for the next day by letting your ice melt overnight. Or if you are in a rush, you can use the hair dryer (found in most hotel rooms) to hurry along the process. To use the dryer, just let the hot air blow onto your water bottle, making sure to move the ice around as you heat it up. I do NOT use the hair dryer to blow air into the bottle.
With respect to time, it’s better to plan ahead and let your ice melt overnight, but just to show that this method works, here’s proof that the ice will melt (duh!) for you to drink. This is my bottle after a few minute of heating. Since cubes of ice take up more space than water, you can expect that your ice will melt down to be less than a full bottle of water, which is why I recommend using the ice bucket to melt additional ice cubes for water.
After the ice has melted, you can sit back and enjoy your bottle of filtered water, courtesy of your hotel’s ice machine!
Do you have any other tips for how to get free water from your hotel?