Do you ever wish you could take a little bit of home with you wherever you travel? There is no doubt that traveling can be fun, whether it’s for work or for personal reasons. But there are many times, especially when I’m on the road for more than 5 days, when traveling can wear me out. In these instances, having a few little comforts from home – ie. familiar items that I rely on in my daily routines – can help me feel more relaxed while also helping me add a personal touch to my space wherever I’m staying.
Here are a few suggestions on what to pack in order to create a home-like atmosphere wherever you stay.
9 Things to Pack to Create Your Home Away from Home
1. Sleep Mask – We all know sleep is important and there’s nothing like sleeping in your own bed in your own room to get the best sleep. While on a trip, I usually don’t sleep well for the first 1-3 nights for many reasons. One of the reasons is the unusual lights found in some hotel rooms – whether it’s from a smoke detector on the ceiling or from light peeping through curtains that don’t fully close. Enter the sleep mask. Sleep masks were never my thing until a few years ago on a trip to Rome. Although the lights were dimmed on our overnight flight, the section where I sat never had complete darkness. Since then, having a sleep mask on a flight to Europe (for the outbound flight) or Hawaii (for the return flight) is a must. Beyond trips to Europe and Hawaii, I now take sleep masks when traveling domestically to help shut out light in hotel rooms when I’m headed to bed.
2. Multi-use Drink Tumbler – I use my drink tumbler all year long – for days in the office, days at the pool and just hanging outside with friends. I’ve just recently started to travel with my tumbler because it’s a nice, portable alternative to the glass or ceramic mug I use for my latte each morning at home. The lid and insulation help keep my hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. One caveat, it’s not microwaveable.
3. Portable Scent Diffuser – I’ve used scented diffusers all throughout my home, and just recently purchased a new portable, travel diffuser that is small enough to pack in a carry on. Unlike some diffusers I’ve used in the past, the portable diffuser does not require water – you simply put a few drops of diffuser oil on little cotton pads and place it in the diffuser. The diffuser and scents can completely change the ambience of a hotel room (where lighting candles is not allowed) and also help cover pet, cigarette, mold or other unwanted odors from previous guests.
4. Reusable Lidded Water Cup – I drink a LOT of icy water all day long, all year long – even in the winter – and rely on my multiple, reusable water cups (with straws) at home to keep me hydrated. I also rarely go on any road trip without one of my reusable water cups because it’s so easy to refill it with ice and filtered water from hotels, restaurants or family members’ houses. Having my cup with me also helps me avoid using bottled water and keep track of how much water I drink throughout each day of my trip.
5. Under-eye Sheets – If you’ve never tried an under-eye mask or eye sheets for de-puffing, reducing wrinkles, or minimizing dark circles…what’s stopping you? They are awesome to use any day of the week when you want your face look fresh and at its best. For those who are light sleepers while traveling, they are especially great to take on trips – even when you’ve had only a few hours of sleep, the eye sheets can help your eyes look more refined and awake. I take these on most trips, especially work trips, when I’m extremely busy all day long and don’t normally sleep well. I simply use a couple of the under eye masks (I also rub the excess serum all over my faces) and my eyes and face look so much more radiant all day.
6. Slippers – Whether they are fuzzy, fancy or just plain functional, house slippers are more than just comfy, they can also make you feel more comfortable while away from home. Imagine coming back to your hotel after a long meeting or a day of sightseeing and throwing on your soft slippers – instant calm! And, whether you are an experienced traveler or a germophobe, you already know that walking around barefoot in your hotel room is a no-no – ick!
7. Travel Espresso Maker – Ok, this one is huge for me. If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that a huge part of my morning routine is making and enjoying my almond milk lattes. In fact, I love espresso and my Nespresso machine so much that, in true Lorelei Gilmore fashion, I bought a second machine, just in case the first one were to stop working. But given the size of both of these, they are really not airplane travel friendly. So in most cases, I have to leave my Nespresso at home and rely on the hotel having an espresso maker in the room (which is rare for U.S. hotels) or get take away lattes from the hotel restaurant or local cafe, both of which can be unreliable and inconvenient, not to mention it really messes with your morning routine. And you all know what happens when someone or something messes with your morning routine – you’re left feeling slightly “off” for the rest of the day. However, this all changed earlier this year on our trip to Hawaii. My husband ended up finding a travel espresso maker that uses Nespresso capsules to make 1 shot of espresso each. After one latte, I was sold! I can’t imagine why we didn’t think to buy this years ago…it’s no bigger than a cell phone, so it’s easy to pack and super easy to use. We now take it everywhere that we can’t easily (or inexpensively) access espresso drinks. This has been a travel game changer.
8. Bluetooth Speaker – If you’re like me, I listen to music using my Bluetooth speakers all throughout the workday as well as on the weekends. And I honestly can’t imagine not listening to music when I’m getting ready in the morning or when I’m settling down at night. Like coffee, if I can’t have access to music, my day just doesn’t seem right. Although iPhones are great for listening to music through AirPods, the sound quality for music is not the greatest when coming directly from the phone. To address this, we now take my portable, waterproof Bluetooth speaker (fits in the palm of my hand) on trips to use in our hotel room, rental house or during select outside activities, like going to the beach or pool.
9. Cashmere Wrap – I have multiple cashmere wraps in a variety of colors and use them all year long in my home and onsite office. I also never travel anywhere without one. Not only are they soft, comfy and remind me of home, they are also extremely versatile in travel-related situations. I use my wraps like a blanket in the morning when I’m enjoying my latte on the hotel balcony or in the middle of the day when I want to take a quick nap but not mess up the bed. I also use the wrap to keep warm during conferences or meetings in hotels (when the AC is blasting), on cool evenings when we’re out to dinner or on the plane as a pillow or full body cover when I need some sleep. You can find travel wraps in countless materials, lengths and colors, but I find that the full-size cashmere wraps are the softest and most versatile.
Although these home comforts are helpful to me, everyone’s version of home or comfort is different. It’s important to find what you need in order to create your own home sweet home, away from home.
Happy Travels Everyone!