6 Ways to Make Your Hotel Room Feel More Like Home
Whether you’re spending 5 days on the road or 50, as Dorothy from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ said, “there’s no place like home.” While she does have a point, if you’re a planner, home is rarely where the work is, so it helps to create a bit of home wherever the job takes you. Talk to a few planners and you’ll find that we all have our rituals, those little things we do to help make hotel living feel a bit more like home. Here are a few thoughts on how my planner pals and I do it:
1) Make that fridge yours.
After dropping your bags in the room ask Housekeeping to clear out the fridge so you can stock it with healthy items and non-alcoholic or low-calorie drinks. While they’re clearing out the candy and booze, make a quick run to the nearest market to pick up fruit, yogurt, seltzer, spring water, pre-washed greens, canned tuna and other healthy, no-prep items to restock your fridge. This way you’ve always got a supply of healthy snacks for those times when your day starts before room service opens and ends after they close.
2) Oh, no. Not the club sandwich again.
Perhaps the best part of hotel living is having someone else cook dinner and roll it into your room at the end of a long day. When spending more than a few days in a hotel though, boredom with the room service menu happens quickly – faster still if you have dietary issues. While traditional delivery or ‘take away’ is an option, consider a an alternate approach to get a virtually made-to-order meal: as most hotels find it easier to deconstruct (and bill for) an existing dish rather than create one from scratch, start by ordering a menu item that’s as simple as possible. If it’s a sauced protein, have them put the sauce on the side. Next, ask them to remove what you don’t want (like pasta, potatoes, etc.) and have them substitute or swap in what you do (like steamed veggies) – and voila! Dinner just like most of us normally eat at home, minus the dirty dishes.
3) Something smells good in here!
Personally, I draw the line at cooking in hotel rooms, but for especially thrifty or DIY types there’s always the option to do some light, in-room cooking. If the idea appeals, there’s no shortage of in-room cooking videos that certainly offer a creative take on room service. Have a look at some of the (often unintentionally) amusing yet actually do-able ‘cooking in hotel room’ YouTube videos, like this rather ambitious one for fettuccini alfredo <https://www.youtube.com/watch?%20v=wMhQc8T7tqQ> – you may never look at your teapot the same way again.
4) Brew your own.
When planning a big event or conference, chances are, you’re spending 24/7 inside in very dry hotel air. To stay hydrated, you’ll need to combat it with a lot of fluids – probably more than you’re used to, so keep ‘em flowing. Top off your tank with plain or lemon water, herbal teas and seltzer, particularly on pre-prep and event days. Cut coffee to just a cup or two to minimize caffeine crashes, jitters and sleep disruption (if you drink it too late in the day). For a lighter lift – with about half the caffeine of a typical cup of coffee – brew up a pot of tea in your room, cool it in the fridge and take it with you in a stainless, glass or BPA-free water bottle. For tea-lovers like me, having a bottle of tea along for the day is a simple way to carry along a little taste of home.
5) Chilling on low volume.
At home, when watching TV or listening to music late at night, I often do so while wearing headphones so as not disturb the family. On the road, it’s a little tougher as the TV is usually at least 6ft from the bed, and my headphone cord is about 2 ft. long. How to close the gap and be kind to your hotel room neighbors or when needed, drown them out? Travel with a 10 or 20 ft long headphone cable <https://www.radioshack.com/products/20-ft-headphone-extension-cord?variant=5717779461> to plug into the hotel TV so you can wander around the room, work at your desk or enjoy TV and room service in bed without disturbing the neighbors.
6) Hitting the hay in a familiar way.
Some people travel with their own pillows (hey, to each, his own), but my carry-on’s too compact for that. I do, however, make space for three little, homey touches: a silk pillowcase, a lavender eye pillow and linen spray. The pillowcase keeps my hair smooth and tangle-free; a lavender eye pillow <http://www.amazon.com/DreamTime-Inner-Pillow-Lavender-Velvet/dp/B00005TZU8> that seems to have a magical ability to help me drift off quickly; plus a spritz or two of ‘linen water’ <http://bleulavande.com/en> on the sheets, and before you know it, it’s lights out!
Photo credits: iStock, Shutterstock