Traveling took on a different aspect during the pandemic. Mr. Vine’s job change also made it difficult to vacation. His job requires him to be onsite and the company is small. Time off is tough to come by. When we can get it, travel doesn’t feel as worth it as it once did.
We decided to embrace the process of relocating and to find some joy in the chaos. During February 2020, we tested out traveling with our cats by staying for a week in a pet-friendly hotel. The cats did surprisingly well, so we booked a month-long apartment stay to bridge the time between our tenant taking occupancy of our condo and the expected date our renovation would be complete. The one month stay ultimately turned into two before we finally moved into the new house full time. But that’s a story for another article.
Being starved for travel (as so many have been for the past year), I decided to treat this hotel stay as much like a vacation as possible. I called it a work-cation. Although it was less exotic than many other remote work locations, the change of scenery and novelty was nice. During this year of staying at home, I have also grown accustomed to many comforts not always found in hotels. Setting up our temporary living spaces with aspects of home helped both the cats and humans settle in quickly. These items also made a fairly basic hotel suite more comfortable and more luxurious.
Here, I’ll share how I did it. These tips are best suited for road trip getaways. Air travel would require some adaptation because luggage restrictions make it impractical to bring all of the comforts of home. See my article on how to make economy seats feel like first class for ways to improve your flight experiences.
First, I thought of our cats. I packed their favorite toys, a blanket they love to sleep on, their beds, even the stairs they use to climb up on the bed. During both of our temporary stays, the cats used all of these items. It also helped the space feel more familiar to us. If you’re traveling with pets, don’t be shy about bringing the items they enjoy.
Second, I considered our five senses. What are the sensory experiences of home? For me, these include a favorite candle burning, freshly brewed coffee, and music that we enjoy. To recreate this sensory environment, I packed a candle. We also brought our nespresso machine for the shorter term stay. For the longer apartment stay, I brought both the French press and pourover setup. I had no shortage of good coffee! I made sure to bring our Bluetooth speaker to play our favorite music. We also each brought our favorite slippers and I brought my cashmere robe. These items instantly made a temporary space feel cozier and more personal.
Third, I maintained our routines. During the pandemic, I developed a slow morning routine that works well for me. I’ll make coffee then write in my journal. By this time, the sun is usually starting to rise and I’ll prepare for a morning run. Sometimes I’ll incorporate a yoga class as well. Then, I’ll shower and log onto my laptop to start the workday. To maintain this routine, I packed a yoga mat, foam roller, running shoes and gear appropriate to the weather we expected. Mr. Vine and I often like to wind down our days with a glass of wine, so we also packed a few bottles of wine.
We also made sure to try a few local restaurants for takeout, visit parks and engage in other pandemic-safe activities to enjoy the vacation part of our temporary living spot. Using these three tools made a short term space feel comfortable and homey. During a time that our lives were packed into boxes, we managed to find some respite. In the future, I wouldn’t mind traveling and staying for a month or two in apartments or houses. This may get added to the list of things we want to try when we become location independent.
Tell me in the comments how the pandemic changed the way you travel. Do you bring along any comforts of home when you are away? What are your travel must-haves?