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Dorothy was right: There’s no place like home. And while some hotels are inherently more homey than others, even the best of them won’t feel comfy without certain essentials. So if you’re headed home (or away) for the holidays and have a hotel stay in your future, here are 13 tips to create your home away from home, no matter where you rest your head.

1) Request a quiet room. Never be afraid to ask. The farther away from the elevator, street noise, lobby and pool, the better.

2) Unpack. Nothing makes you feel more nomadic than living out of a suitcase. Hang up your clothes, put underwear in the dresser drawer, and stow your luggage out of sight.

3) Get the lay of the land. Tour the hotel to familiarize yourself with the location of the ice machine, emergency exits, pool, gym and anything else you may need. If possible, walk a few blocks around the neighborhood to scope out restaurants, public transportation stops, drug stores and such.

4) Rearrange the room. Feel free to move furniture, lamps and anything else that isn’t bolted down.

Related: 5 hotels with the best Christmas decorations ever.

5) Recreate your nightstand. The bedside table is one of the first things you see in the morning and last things you see at night. By setting out your favorite framed photo, journal, bottled water and anything else you normally keep nearby, you’ll feel like home is literally within reach.

6) B.Y.O. toiletries. It’s tempting to forgo your usual bath products in favor of whatever freebies the hotel provides. But the seemingly little things—the lather of your favorite shampoo or the smoothness of your usual razor—can make all the difference.

7) Stick to your routine. Who can resist staying up half the night to watch free HBO or pigging out on Belgian waffles at the breakfast buffet? But really, you’re better off sticking to your normal routine as much as possible. Keeping the same sleep schedule, diet and exercise habits will help you feel your best.

8) B.Y.O. pillow. A hotel bed can be piled high with pillows, but there’s nothing like your very own Old Faithful.

9) Use your own alarm. What’s more jarring than being woken up by the unfamiliar sound of a hotel alarm clock? Stick to your usual wake-up sound, whether it’s from your own alarm clock or cell phone.

Related: The 10 most indulgent hotel suites in North America.

10) Snack smart. If the hotel offers grocery service, send a wish list to the concierge before arrive so your room will be stocked with your favorite treats. At the very least, after you check in, empty the minibar and load it with your go-to snacks. Don’t forget to pack your favorite coffee or tea, too.

11) Freshen up. Use a candle or room spray to make the place smell like home.

12) Find your music. Rather than jamming to a brand new vacation playlist, use the hotel’s mp3 docking station to play your favorite feel-good music.

13) Make friends. Learning staff members’ names will not only help you recognize familiar faces, but it can work to your advantage; they’ll be more likely to rush your order of extra towels or keep the breakfast buffet open for you if you’re running late. To meet your fellow guests, socialize at the hotel’s happy hour.

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Tagged: Christmas Travel Ideas, Family time, Hotels

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Dalia Colon

Dalia Colon

Dalia is a multimedia journalist in Tampa and the Smart Travel Insider for VISIT FLORIDA. Follow her on Twitter @daliacolon.

One thought on “Holiday road: 13 tips to feel more at home at any hotel”

  1. Bring your own stuff where you can, familiarise with the hotel and mostly with the staff. I feel at home quite quickly and mostly because i chat with the staff quite a lot

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