While some hotels have all but stopped stocking minibars, there are still plenty of hotels out there who keep them stocked with overpriced drinks and food.
If you’re staying in a hotel that no longer stocks the minibar then you can use the fridge for your own items without any issue.
If, however, the hotel is still running a minibar service you need to be careful. Why? Because some hotels use an automated system to keep track of items in the bar. Basically if you even pick up a bottle of water their system will bill it to your room!
The simplest way to avoid nasty surprises when you check out is to avoid the minibar completely.
Unless the hotel is in the middle of nowhere you should be able to find a supermarket or corner shop nearby where you can stock up on snacks, water and other beverages.
If you’re not familiar with the city or the area that you’re in you can use Google maps to help you find the nearest supermarket or convenience shop.
For example, I’m currently staying in a DoubleTree hotel in downtown Melbourne. There are multiple small supermarkets and shops selling wine, beer and other alcohol within a couple of minutes walking distance of the hotel.
Snacks like nuts or chocolate will cost you 3 to 4 times the standard retail rate in a minibar, so it’s a total no-brainer to simply get them in a shop.