Extended stay hotel hacks to make your room feel more like home

Vintage hotel key photo by Etsy seller AgedPage

Because of my husband's job we spend a lot of time living for months out of hotels. We've "lived" in Vancouver and Morocco and now we're in Atlanta. Over time I've figured out a few hotel hacks for making your hotel feel more like your home. I've started to do a lot of things differently when I travel (which I'll get to), but so far my biggest tip is this one:

Bring an Amazon Fire Stick

I feel like a fucking genius, y'all. Right before I left for Atlanta, I grabbed my Amazon Fire Stick. I thought maybe I could plug it into the hotel's TV and watch the shows I want to watch, instead of whatever sparse cable offerings there were. Sure, the last time I lived in a hotel, I used my laptop to watch TV. But I didn't like it because I couldn't get work done at the same time, and it just didn't feel like being home.

Now I can watch All The Shows while I work on my laptop AAAAAAAND watch the new season of Game of Thrones along with everyone else. Booyah.

This was such a game changer!

Ask for more hangers

Not sure why this one took me so freaking long to do. I never know why hotels only give you, like, three freaking hangers. I feel more at home with all my clothes hung up and not constantly feeling like I'm living out of a bag. Oh, and use those drawers, yo! Just freaking unpack as much as you can.

Empty out the mini fridge

You can ask places to empty out the mini fridge of all their overpriced tiny bottles and candy bars. And then I fill it with food and snacks that I like to eat at home. It's wonderful how eating my favorite yogurt and granola anywhere will immediately make me feel like I'm at home.

Free water at the gym

I've tried tap water in a lot of locations, and have rarely found it tasty. If your hotel has a gym, there's probably better water for the taking. I'm luckily staying in a place right now that has spa water out at all times! So I fill my reusable water bottle up and keep hydrated with delicious cucumber water that I never have a home. (Sometimes it IS nice to feel like you're at a hotel.)

When the husband's away, the dog and I will play!

Bring your pet

The biggest game changer on this extended stay is that we're at a pet-friendly hotel, so we brought our dog. Anyone with a pet knows that as long as they're with you, you feel like you're at home. Now I get to keep some of my same routines: Wake up, walk dog, feed dog, feed self, repeat. Plus, having her to walk helps me get a real feel for the new areas I'm staying in. The streets start to feel familiar, which makes me feel like I'm finding my own place in my new world.

What are YOUR extended stay hotel hacks?

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  1. Amazon Fire sticks work on hotel TVs? I tried to bring my Chromecast to a hotel once and couldn't get it hooked up to the network and was told that the hotel wifi network specifically didn't allow those types of devices. I assumed that was the case with all hotels. I guess I'll have to try again next time I travel.

  2. Recently stayed at a hotel overseas for a month with a loved one who was recovering from surgery. We brought an Aeropress, little hand coffee grinder, and two lbs of our favorite coffee from home. Morale was much improved every time we made a cup πŸ™‚

    1 agrees
  3. Be careful of emptying out the mini fridge, as there are some fridges that will automatically charge your room as soon as you take something out of it. Even moving the stuff or trying to add your own can result in you getting billed. And they aren't always properly marked.

      • Yep, we do this so that toddler can play hiding stuff in the fridge (turned off). Always ask front desk πŸ™‚

        1 agrees
  4. If you can find an extended stay hotel with a kitchenette–real stove and oven, dishes and pans, a sink that's more than just a bathroom sink, and more than just a mini-bar fridge, you've got it made. Don't worry about paying more for it, because it will drastically slash your costs to cook at 'home" And there's nothing like the smell of something baking to make a place homey!

    Also, bring a few personal decor items for on your dresser. (They can be very small!) a little figurine with good memories, a homemade matchbox altar for the religious, a picture, an ornate teacup, even a toy that symbolizes something stabilizing for you, helps to anchor you. If it's fragile, put it in a plastic baggy, inside a sock, wrapped around another sock.

    If you usually sleep with more than the standard number of pillows, be sure and ask for extras. Anything that can make a bed feel more familiar helps a lot! Besides increasing the odds of a good night's sleep, home is where it's cozy.

    If you have an exercise routine involving hand weights, know that you can buy travel hand weights that you can fill with water to the weight you want, and then empty and flatten when you hit the road again. This has been a lifesaver for me! Keeping up your accustomed fitness regimen protects your mental health and your immune system in the face of sometimes stressful changes.

    I hope these help.

    3 agree
  5. I have a friend who is an actor, and when he was based in Denver for three months, I was delighted by the fact that he had covered the hotel art with a poster of his own and had brought in a crazy funky lampshade. It made everything more homey and was stuff he was able to pack flat in his bag!

    2 agree
  6. Whenever we go away I take the following: MY bed pillows, one or more of our throw blankets/throw pillows, and a Febreeze plug in. Those things make any hotel feel more like home to me.

    1 agrees
  7. When staying longer I usually prefer AirBnB or some other home rental place. Being in someone else's home (albeit not yours), being able to cook, having that "local life" feel and getting extra space for our son to roam are the main reasons.

    1 agrees
  8. Free water at the gym! Yes! I bring a water bottle. I fill it up. And don't forget the free ice. ( I like my water very cold. )

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