Ping-ponging from one hotel room to another, it’s important to retain the little rituals and touches that make it feel like a home away from home. They help you to acclimatise quicker and also go a long way to preventing business travel from feeling like a grind.
Some of us like to pop our toothbrush holder or rip open the hotel flip-flops and leave it at that. But there are some other steps you can take that go the distance.
Radhika Seth, CEO & Founder of Sequoia London, an international architecture and design company, travels a fair amount for work. She says the first place to start is with the room itself.
“I am a creature of habit so for me the hotel I stay in and the room itself are very important. I have fixed hotels in most cities I stay in, I even have fixed rooms I request when making bookings. When travelling to a new city, I spend some time looking at all the rooms and pictures beforehand.”
Once you have your room booked and sorted, the next step is scoping the lay of the land. Tracey Nesbitt, editor of Solo Traveler says: “The first thing I look for when I arrive at my hotel is the placement of electrical outlets to charge my laptop and phone. I really appreciate a hotel that has thought this through and makes several outlets accessible on a desktop or nightstand.”
Some people like to make adjustments to the room itself, such as immediately dispensing with the bedspread.
Rob Burgess at headforpoints.com, the frequent flyer website, says that he likes to pack away all the hotel literature, brochures, menus etc, “especially those annoying stand-up cards, from the desk, TV table, bedside table etc. Once they have gone, the room looks more like a bedroom and less like a hotel.”
You may also feel like you want to postpone the packing for as long as possible, but getting some of it may immediately feel more homely. “Even if it’s just putting a jacket over a chair,” says Anika Newjoto from the same company, “a book on the nightstand and arranging your makeup in the bathroom.”
Radhika adds: “As soon as I enter my room I unpack. I have a very specific system I follow of where I like to keep things in order. I hang my clothes up and put everything in its place. I take the time to set up my room as soon as I check in so that whatever time I get back after a long day of meetings I feel relaxed and ready for bed.
“Then I adjust the room. I cannot sleep properly with light so ensuring the window is properly covered is important. I have even been known to use hair clips and tape to keep hotel curtains together where the design was a little flawed.”
Some people go the extra mile and actually bring items with them. Blogger Hannah who travels a lot for her website Further Bound says: “As I run a location independent web design business, it’s important to me that I can quickly create a comfortable workspace everywhere I go.
“I always pack a sarong I can use as a tablecloth, Nag Champa incense sticks from India, a few favourite books, notepads and pens, watercolour paints, and some shells and stones collected from around the world that I find very soothing to have with me.”
Fragrance can be hugely comforting and relaxing, so Radhika always takes a NEOM mist which she sprays on her pillow to add some continuity to her sleep routines. “By creating the same scent every night, no matter where I am helps both my mind and body relax and I get a better sleep.”
Above all, remember that it is your personal space and don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Adjustments are a great way of acclimatising quickly and making the transition between work and relaxation easier.