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Old 02-23-2012, 02:12 PM   #1
SDSorority
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No fridge in hotel room- cooler tips.

Hi everyone. We're bringing a large soft-sided cooler on our next trip to Vegas to keep things like string cheese, small containers of milk, and yogurt cold in the hotel room. Has anyone ever done this? Renting a fridge for the room isn't an option- it's $25 per day, EVEN if you have medical need for it (we don't have medication that we need to keep cold, but we DO have food allergies).

There are ice machines on each floor of the hotel- this may sound like a dumb question, but how often should we expect to have to change the ice out? 2x per day? I don't want the milk products to spoil...

We're flying and not able to check bags, so we'll be bringing lots of large ziplock bags to fill with ice at the hotel.... rather than freezer packs (which we wouldn't have any way to re-freeze when they thaw anyway).

I'm SO not used to traveling to hotels without a fridge. Renting DVC points has spoiled me . Staying in a condo isn't an option for this trip, and it's so last minute that we haven't been able to 'budget' for the trip in a way that we would like. Gotta do what you gotta do I guess. Any tips on using a cooler as a 'fridge' would be great, because that's the situation that I'm going to be in.

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Old 02-23-2012, 02:26 PM   #2
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We do this regularly! I don't like breakfast food, just a bit of carbs, protein and a little milk--not to mention very cold bottled water! *LOL*

Depending on the size of your cooler, use one or more one-gallon ZipLoc bags for the ice. Use the double strip type, not the "zipper" type. Snuggle the milk between the bags of ice. If it makes you more comfortable, you can fill or partilly fill another bag with ice and place it on top of the container of milk. Heat rises, cold descends. Empty and refill the bags as needed--probably twice daily. You also can use the ice in the bags for beverages in your room.

It's much easier to empty and refill the bags than the cooler.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:00 PM   #3
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Get the milk in containers that don't need to be refrigerated until opened. They are packed like juice boxes.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:02 PM   #4
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Isn't the fridge $10 per night?
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leidig32 View Post
Isn't the fridge $10 per night?
Depends on the resort. This is in Las Vegas--it could be anything--or not available.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:31 PM   #6
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Ditto the milk "juice" boxes, it will keep the worry down.

We had to use the ice machine method once on vacation for antibiotics. I think we refilled twice a day, once in the A.M. and once in the P.M.
The soft-sided cooler is ok, but if you have a rental or transport that will stop somewhere, I would recommend one of the cheap styrafoam coolers. They won't leak if water does get into it, won't take up luggage space on the way there and you can just chuck it after.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taja View Post
Depends on the resort. This is in Las Vegas--it could be anything--or not available.
Yeah it's $25 per night at the Excalibur (where we're going to be staying).
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:35 PM   #8
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I put a trash bag under the cooler to catch any of the condensation. I had one of those styrofoam coolers and changed the ice nightly.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:42 PM   #9
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We do it all the time....there are lots of hotels that don't offer a fridge.

We get a cooler bag from the dollar store and then use that as a liner in a plastic garbage pail in the room. Always leave it sitting in the bathtub....it will sweat and make a mess on the floor. We also bring a few large ziploc bags to use to get ice from the machine to replenish the cooler. Usually, we will replace the ice morning and night. When we are done with the cooler bag we throw it away....it was only a $1.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:46 PM   #10
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like Taja said, take some gallon size ziploc bags to put the ice in, don't fill them all the way so that you can shape*them around items in the cooler. The best part is no soggy items from melted ice and you easy to refill them next morning. I also agree wth the styrofoam cooler...we usually get 2(with lids) if possible and keep them on a tile floor if possible, if not, yes, bring a garbage bag that you can sort of place the cooler into. It also is nicer for housekeeping because they can slide it out of the way if needed.
At WDW we have done ok with milk on changing the ice each night/morning, but if I'm sure if we had been back at the rom we would have done it more frequently. I agree with getting non-refridge milk if you can.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:29 PM   #11
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If you have a rolling cooler bag. You can use it as your carry-on on the plane. (If flying) Empty your stuff out at the hotel and then you'll have a quality cooler for the duration of your stay. I've seen it done multiple times.

Great way to have a rolling cooler to take to the pool and on excursions too!
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:25 AM   #12
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I kept milk once in a hotel room. I think I only changed the ice once a day, but we didn't access it much, just in the morning. I'd also only go with a half gallon or two quarts. Smaller jugs seem to stay colder than a full gallon milk. Just my experience though, not sure if that's the case with every one.
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:07 AM   #13
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We've done this often. I keep an eye on the ice but IIRC only actually refill them in the evening, as long as things stay cold. Remember that your refrigerator is only about 40 degrees... not as cold as many people think! Also, we really do not like the shelf-safe high temp processed milk, so I wouldn't take it as nobody would drink it!

1. Put the cooler on a garbage bag. It will sweat, and if an ice baggie pops open, our soft-sided cooler will leak at the seam (it's older).

2. Only fill the ice baggies about half-full and squeeze the air out so you can mold them around the milk bottle.

3. Don't buy anything bigger than a half-gallon.

4. Use the baggies with the strip-zip across the top, not the ones with a zipper slider (I've had these leak like crazy).

5. Extra ice bags never hurt! Also, smell the milk before you pour. You'll know if it's turned... just make sure you aren't smelling milk that might have dried in the threads of the cap.

6. Don't worry as much about the cheese and yogurt... they are already "spoiled" as that is how they are made (milk with bacteria added), but this also changes the protein and the pH of the milk, making them more stable. I would put the yogurt in baggies before putting into the cooler, so the tops don't get poked and popped open, but that's just me... it's really not an issue until you have to clean blueberry yogurt out of every danged crease and seam of the cooler... if you know what I mean

This IS possible, although a pain in the evening when you are tired and need to change the ice. Heck, we've made it work (for half-and-half) using the ice bucket in the room. It's just a bother... I guess my only other question, and I don't really think it's an option, but how many nights are you staying and will you have a car? I just saw "cube" fridges at Walmart for $79. That'd be cheaper than renting a fridge for four nights, but you'd need to have a rental car and of course you'd need to leave it behind. And it's CERTAINLY not as cheap as free, like using the cooler!
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