Whether taking an RV trip, booking a hotel, or glamping in the woods, there’s just something special about heading somewhere different, especially in the summertime. Making new memories with loved ones — or going solo! — can be a much-needed balm for the soul. However, amid the excitement, being in an unfamiliar environment without the creature comforts of home can be unsettling.
Although many resorts and hotels are impeccably decorated, and RVs can be cute and cozy, you may still miss your surroundings while you’re traveling. Making your RV, Airbnb, or hotel room a place where you can feel at ease is essential to having a great vacation. In just a few short steps, you relax in a space that feels familiar. Here is expert advice on eight little details that can make your accommodations feel like your home away from home.
Living out of a suitcase can ultimately leave folks feeling like they’re constantly on the go. So if you’re staying more than one night, take the time to utilize the closet and drawer space. “To feel more at home when staying at a hotel, first I’d recommend unpacking and using the dresser or drawers in the room for your items,” says Don Barnett, Director of Sales and Marketing for LondonHouse Chicago in Illinois. “Store your luggage in the closet.” Doing so can instantly make your space feel homey and organized.
Head to the local farmers market.
Getting out into the community and meeting locals immerses you in a destination immediately. The farmers market is a fabulous place to start. While you’re there, take the opportunity to purchase locally grown flowers to add color to your accommodations. “There are a number of ways guests can make a hotel room feel more like home, including finding a local farmers market to pick up fresh flowers,” offers Katharine Degoma, the General Manager of Ambassador Chicago in Illinois. If you can’t find a farmer’s market, head to a locally owned florist for fresh blooms — just be sure to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask, no matter your vaccination status!
Invest in an oil diffuser or candle warmer.
Alexandra Santa, the Director of Group Sales at Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Maui, Hawaii, agrees. “A scent that reminds them of home is a great touch, and candle warmers are great for releasing a candle scent without having to light a candle,” she says. Candles are fragrant, but open flames are risky — and often not allowed — in specific accommodations, so invest in a travel diffuser or warmer instead.
Take your favorite cozy item.
Cozy has a different meaning for everyone, so take along something that makes you comfortable. Whether that item is a favorite blanket or your fluffiest slippers, tuck them into your luggage. “Touching on the five senses can really make a guest feel at home while they are at a hotel,” says Santa. “We encourage guests to bring a favorite blanket or have their children bring their favorite stuffed animals to the hotel.”
Pack photos of your loved ones.
A glance around your home — or through your phone’s camera roll — will showcase those that you hold dear. So frame a couple of small, sentimental images and take them with you on the go. “For guests staying with us for an extended period of time, we recommend they bring pictures of their loved ones,” advises Emmanuelle Cipriani, the General Manager at Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf in St. Barths.
Mattis suggests bringing framed pictures of family and friends and other beautiful images you like. Place them around the room where you can view them often. “I think it’s a nice way to personalize the room and is an easy item to slip into my carry-on,” he says. So whether the images depict family members, pets, or your BFFs, take a few favorite photos on your trip.
Acclimate yourself to the area.
“Familiarity inherently makes us feel more comfortable, so I recommend getting the lay of the land,” says Barnett. “Do a quick search to see what restaurants are in the area to perhaps try a different city’s take on a favorite dish, as well as any convenience stores close by to get your favorite snacks or drinks to keep in your room.” You can also see if there are any boutiques, museums, or historical sites within walking distance for easy sightseeing.
Surround yourself with familiar sounds.
Urban noises, such as cars and nightlife, can keep some folks awake — but silence can be a little too quiet for others. White noise, music, or a calming app can help you relax and drift off to sleep quickly. “Most guests like to listen to the waves roll in the ocean while they are at a hotel, but familiar sounds can help them sleep, especially the first few nights,” says Santa. “There are great apps for nighttime noises.” Download White Noise Lite or Relax Melodies to drift off easily.
As simple as it sounds, take the most basic thing you need when you sleep: your pillow. Everyone has a preference when it comes to the firmness of their head support. Additionally, how you sleep may impact the type of pillow you need while you’re dreaming the night away. “After 22 years in the industry and staying at over 100 different rentals around the world, I can honestly say that there is nothing like bringing your own pillow to make a vacation rental feel like home,” suggests Amber Carpenter, the Chief Marketing Officer of Acme House Co. in Palm Springs, California.
If you can’t fit your favorite pillow in your suitcase, hotels and resorts often carry a selection of pillows. “If the room doesn’t already have it, request the type of pillow you’re accustomed to,” says Barnett. Don’t be shy about asking! Getting a good night’s sleep is the key to a beautiful vacation and is also the start of a true, although temporary, home away from home.