Both last year and this year, I spent significant time traveling and staying in places for up to a month. Making a hotel room feel less like a hotel room has been a priority for me because as fun as living in a hotel sounds it has its downsides. Many times the rooms are small and not visually appealing so here are my tips for making a hotel room feel like home.
Anytime I am going to be in a hotel for five days or more; I unpack my suitcase. If you do nothing else to make a hotel feel more like home, this is the one I would do. Unpacking your suitcase helps you feel normal and makes your things more accessible. Plus your bag doesn’t become a nightmare and is easier to repack. Also, put the suitcase away!
2. Find a Home for Your Things
While you are unpacking, find a home for all your things. I travel with a bunch of technology, so I find a place to put all the cords and chargers. Since I get sick often, I also travel with emergency medicine, so I try to find a drawer for that as well. In some hotel rooms, this is easy as there are plenty of drawers, but not always. Packing cubes are helpful for this as you can put things like medicine and cords in individual ones and then place all the cubes in one drawer.
3. Bring Printed Photos of Loved Ones
We all have photos of friends and family on our phones, but rarely do we print them out. On this trip, I brought printed pictures as I like to place them around the room. This definitely helps make it feel more like home. They aren’t framed and do end up looking a bit sad near the end of the trip, but they can be reprinted easily.
4. Make it Personal
Many hotel rooms are bland, dull colors, and that can be a bit depressing. So I like to personalize the space with some “decorations.” As you can see, I have put what looks like a blanket on my hotel bed, but it is actually a sarong I brought to wear as a swimsuit cover-up! I usually carry two to three scarves with me so I can change this out if I want to wear this one.
The room I am in has a bunk bed as well as the double bed, and it is a bit of an eyesore to me, so I decided to use my beach towel to hide the ladder a bit. Of course, I still use the beach towel, but it is a nice way not to be looking at a ladder. On the table, I have my cellphone stand I brought from home. The great thing is that it comes apart and stores flat, perfect for travel.
5. Buy a Plant
I realize this one may not be possible depending on your length of stay, but if you are staying for a bit longer, then you can buy a plant. Having something living in your room is a nice way to feel a bit more like home. I plan to give it to someone when I leave as a present. I also bought a succulent so it would be easier to care for.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Rearrange the Furniture
If you can move the furniture, then move it to suit your needs. In this current place, the bed was too far over, and I felt like I was sleeping in the kitchen. I moved a bedside table from one side and pushed the bed further over. It was only about two feet, but I no longer feel like I am sleeping in the kitchen and I gain some floor space as I also pushed the dining table/desk over. All of this will be easy to move back when I leave.
7. Have Housekeeping Come Once a Week
In my current hotel, I am paying less to clean it myself. Having housekeeping come every day is not conducive to feeling like home unless you have a housekeeper come every day at home! I find it hard to get out of my room every day for them to clean it, especially if I am working. Last year I was always coming back to soon, and they would still be cleaning, so many days I put up the do not disturb sign.
8. Choose the Right Room
I have discovered that if you are looking for an extended stay, many hotels will let you see the room before you decide to take it. By seeing the room in advance, you will know if it will work for your needs. Last year, the hotel described the room and sent me a link to pictures, so I had a good idea of what to expect. One of my biggest requirements is good wifi and a place to work at. I chose the room I am in now because the owner said the wifi was better in this building.
9. Bring Your Own Kitchen Stuff
Staying in one place means cooking, at least for me. In the US, I cook using measuring cups and spoons. In Europe, they seem to weigh things out, but I really don’t want to have to buy a food scale. So I purchased collapsable measuring cups and spoons to cook with. They are also made of silicone so they weigh nothing! I know some people bring coffee presses or their favorite mugs as well.
10. Have a Taste of Home
When I moved to Qatar, I brought a jar of my favorite peanut butter with me. I was so unsure about what food would be available! Obviously, I am not carrying a jar of peanut butter on my long-term trips, but it is nice to have a taste of home. Maybe you have a favorite candy or tea you can’t live without. For this trip, I brought some protein bars and decaf tea. The bars didn’t last too long, but I have plenty of tea for nights I want something warm without caffeine.
Do you travel long-term? What do you do to make a hotel feel more like home?