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Travel Tip: The Evolution of Minibars

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Back in the day, the hotel minibar was basically a revenue generator for hotels. They relied on tired, hungry or bored travelers grabbing those overpriced M&Ms or sodas when nothing else was available. But that’s all changing.

For many hotels, maintaining those minibars just isn’t worth it—so they’re getting rid of the minibars in favor of selling snacks in the lobby or vending machines.

Many hotels are even introducing mobile apps and loaning iPads so you can order food without ever having to pick up the phone.

Of course, hotels are getting sneakier. Ever come across those with the infrared sensors? They detect when an item has been moved in the minibar and automatically charge you.

The good news: You have about 40-60 seconds before the charge goes through, and you can always dispute it at the front desk.

And then there are hotels that really try to entice you to buy from them. We’re talking baskets of treats laid out on the table, locally made goods, or healthy snacks.

Trust me, nothing is that good, so skip the in-room choices and head to closest store—it’s worth the schlep.

For more information, visit the Hotels & Accommodations archives.

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