PSA: You Don’t Actually Need A Hotel Room Key To Operate The Lights

PSA: You Don’t Actually Need A Hotel Room Key To Operate The Lights

At least half the hotel rooms I end up staying in these days require that you stick your room key in a slot beside the door in order to do things such as turn on the lights or use the power outlets. It’s a detail that I forget at least once a trip, which results in me spending a few minutes fumbling around, trying to determine why I can’t turn on the bedside lamp.

Image: Pexels

Last week a tip went around on Twitter that’s a game changer: You don’t need to use your hotel key in that slot. You can actually put almost any card in there as a replacement. For instance, an old hotel key you still had in your wallet or the rewards card for your local grocery store.

PSA: You Don’t Actually Need A Hotel Room Key To Operate The LightsScreenshot: Twitter

Screenshot: Twitter

Truth be told that little slot can be clutch for keeping track of your key while you’re in your room, but it’s nice to know that you don’t have to use it.

That means you could theoretically put a card in and leave it for your whole stay, or use a different card in a pinch if you want to step out for a while and leave something like your laptop or camera charging in the room while you do. The trick has been tested by a handful of folks on Twitter already but doesn’t work everywhere.

Another solution: Ask for more room keys than you need with the intention of leaving one in the card slot for your stay.


  • This is only partially correct. Some cards have a magnetic strip on them that need to align with the reader in the slot to allow the power to work.

    These types of slots and cards are designed to overcome exactly what you are writing about. They are mainstream and I have read about this “hack” in other areas over the net in the last week or two.

    I’m guessing the original author of the ‘hack” hadn’t stayed in too many hotels or they would have been au fait with the high failure rate of their method.

  • I wonder if this is new knowledge to some, I have been doing this for years, heck a folded piece of paper has worked for me.

    Note some hotels are getting better and using NFC cards to stop this

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