How to Feel More at Home When Traveling for the Holidays

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photo: Kristen Prahl (Shutterstock)

Traveling – whether for vacation, vacation or business – is a double-edged sword. It can be exciting to see new places, comforting to be with family, or exciting to pursue career goals, but Traveling can also be stressfuland twice as much during the holidays. Aside from the hectic nature of actually getting to your destination, there is also the fear that cIt feels like being in an unfamiliar space.

Hotel room can be nice but also a bit impersonal as every moment spent in it reminds you that you are in an unknown place. and your sister-in-law’s guest room could be comfortable, but it isn’t your Room. Nothing is how you like it, and it’s easy to feel restricted when you’re around someone else. This adds to the stress of travel because you can never fully relax and settle in floating through a rootless existence.

The trick is finding ways to make your hotel room, or that musty spare room in your cousin’s house, feel more like your own space. Luckily, it’s actually not that difficult.


Step one: Actually unpack. I used to be one of those grumpy travelers who left everything in my carefully packed suitcase – I never once opened a drawer in my hotel rooms. But I recently made the decision to actually unpack, and it’s making a world of difference. Stuffing your clothes in a suitcase not only makes them wrinkled and sad, it also constantly reminds you that you, um, Life out of a suitcase. Putting your clothes in drawers and closets and storing your suitcase psychologically makes the room feel more like home.

Bring more of your own stuff

A hotel room or guest room usually includes all the basic things you need, from linens to shampoo. And that is nice! Except that it’s not what you normally use, and that will serve as a constant reminder that you are not in your own space but are borrowing someone else’s.

Apart from concerns that hotels are not allowed to clean their bedding with the same, uh, enthusiasm Bringing your own sheets and pillows will instantly make the bed feel like home, making it easier for you to relax and fall asleep. Bringing your own toiletries keeps your hygiene and other routines the same, ensuring you don’t end up with dry skin or stiff hair — or just smell like a completely different person. And bringing along some memorabilia, like photos or those little tchotchkes you keep on your desk, serve as visual anchors that signal that a space is your private domain, even when it’s not.

Keep up your routine

One benefit of traveling is the opportunity to break out of the routine and live a different life for a while. But there are routines worth breaking and routines worth maintaining. Fear of travel is often driven by a feeling like you are losing control of your life. If you’re in an unfamiliar environment, stick to your normal sleep cycle, meal times, and exercise habits a long way to maintaining your physical and mental health– and to make you feel at home.

Bring your content

Many people have little rituals around the content they consume – couples, for example, often watch certain shows at certain times. If you enjoy watching certain shows after dinner or before bed, or while you’re doing yoga in your living room, bring that content with you to your hotel or relative’s guest room. You can bring a tablet, laptop, or just your phone with a streaming app installed, and many hotels will allow you to temporarily subscribe to Netflix or other platforms on their TVs (just remember to opt out!). If not, bring your own Roku or Chromecast device and Plug it into the TV’s HDMI port like a bossand experience the soothing joy of watching The office for the 500th Time.

use your nose

After all, one of the most subtle ways that hotels and other people’s homes feel alien to us is their smell. However, every house has an odor we tend to go ‘nose blind’ of our own scent. When entering a hotel, it can be difficult to feel at home because it doesn’t smell like our house. And, of course, a guest room will always smell like someone else’s house. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be unconsciously unsettling. If your home’s smell has certain aspects — like air fresheners you use or scented candles you always light — bring some with you. You might want to get your host’s permission first when making a guest room smelly, but adding a familiar smell to a room will go a long way towards making it feel comfortable.

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