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5 Expert travel tips

Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan — co-founder of Apartment Therapy, founder of TheKitchn and spokesperson for Hyatt House — shares her tips on how to feel at home on the road.

Woman relaxing in hotel room

Pack some snacks

“Food is the number one way to feel at home when you travel,” says Gillingham-Ryan. “I make fruit salads or pack healthy snacks that I can carry in my purse or suitcase.”

Stock up on sturdy fruits like apples and oranges that don’t bruise easily. Bite-sized fruits like blueberries and grapes are a convenient option, too, and so is trail mix because it can withstand almost anything. Whole grain crackers, baby carrots and pita chips or rice cakes are easy and healthy, and some jerky is always good for protein-on-the-go. Use the disposable coffee cups from your hotel room to carry your snacks. Some hotels like Hyatt House will even do the shopping for you.

Visit the farmers market

For Gillingham-Ryan, one of the best things about travel is having access to fruits and produce that she may not be able to find in her home city.

“I almost always visit the local farmers market. Even if you don’t have access to a full kitchen where you can cook, it’s still a great way to feel like a local.”

If cooking is as important to you as it is to Gillingham-Ryan, consider renting a vacation home or staying at extended-stay hotels like Hyatt House and Residence Inn by Marriott that offer fully-equipped kitchens in every guest room.

body scrubTreat yourself

“I find that when I travel, I do ‘regular’ things more often,” says Gillingham-Ryan. “I take a long bath, wear my robe and slippers around, read a little more. I think it’s the feeling of having extra space and time than I do at home.”

Pack travel-sized versions of your favorite face scrub and body lotion and give yourself a mini spa treatment in your hotel room. Wear your sexy pajamas that you can’t usually wear with kids running around the house. Get some sleep. This is your time — use it wisely!

Stick to your fitness routine

“I’m a runner, so when I travel I’ll set aside some time to run in a scenic part of town,” Gillingham-Ryan adds. “When I stay at Hyatt House, there’s always enough space in my hotel room for yoga, and I love taking advantage of the great equipment in any hotel’s fitness room.”

We’ve all used the excuse of “no time” to put off a good workout. But on vacation, you’ve got nothing but time! Even if you’re traveling for work, waking up an hour early to get in a run or some weights and stretching will work wonders. Don’t lose sight of your fitness routine just because you’re on the road. Returning to reality will be much easier if you’ve kept up with your workouts.

Bring mementos

The best way to feel at home when you travel is to bring a piece of it with you. For Gillingham-Ryan, that means packing her AeroPress Coffee Maker, favorite coffee grounds or tea bags and her most important kitchen tool:

“If I know I’m staying somewhere with a full kitchen, I’ll pack my favorite kitchen knives — I love the Italian brand Berti — in my check-in luggage so I can cook like I would at home,” she says.

Gillingham-Ryan also recommends buying a bouquet of fresh flowers for your hotel room. So what reminds you of home? Is it a certain scented candle? Your husband’s cologne? Your daughter’s stuffed animal? Pack it!

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