Home is not just a physical place. It encompasses feelings of belonging somewhere, of feeling safe, and ultimately happy. Frequent travel and road trips have a constant sense of movement and temporality, making it difficult to feel settled and at peace. Waking up each day in a new city, campground or hotel room can also get downright exhausting. I have lived out of a suitcase for the last 15 months, traveling all the around the world and more recently across America in a van. Over time I have started to feel more at home on the road. The tips and tricks below have really helped me along the way and I wanted to share them with you all!
10 Tips to Feeling More at Home On the Road
1. Create that cozy feeling – To me, home is a place I can curl up and read a book, take a nap or simply lounge on the couch. I want to ultimately feel cozy and comfortable. I made sure to bring a bunch of blankets, pillows and cozy clothes in our van during a recent National Parks road trip. I also pack at least one comfortable/lounge outfit when traveling out of a suitcase.
2. Do the same things in your down-time – If you like winding down to Netflix at home then take your laptop and do the same thing when traveling. If you love reading books, be sure to bring a few along to devour in your spare time. Enjoy practicing yoga? Pack a travel sized mat. You get my drift – do the things that make you happy, no matter where you are.
3. Engage familiar sounds and smells – Our sense of smell and sound are intensely tied to memories. I find playing similar music to what I would at home can immediately make me feel more at peace. I also love using essential oils at home so I often pack one or two travel sized oils for the road. Small candles can also help create a wonderful space if you have a safe place for them in your van/RV.
4. Decorate your space with touches from home – This tip is for those vanlifers and RVers out there – don’t forget to decorate! Adding some lights, photos, and/or artwork can instantly make a space feel like your home on wheels. We added some Instax prints, fairy lights, National Park magnets and a world map to our van. Our vintage looking world map (see below) is by a brand called Conquest Maps – you can grab your own by clicking here!
5. Home-cooked food is always a winner – I love that feeling of visiting my parents place and having a real home-cooked meal. This is nostalgia at its finest, and something you can harness when living on the road. Take the time to prepare a favorite childhood meal or simply something that you love to eat. Eating your favorite take-out food is always a good idea if you don’t have access to cooking facilities (pizza anyone?!)
6. Create a routine – This can be challenging when you are constantly moving from place to place. A routine can be something as simple as making a hot cup of tea in the morning, writing in your journal or reading a chapter of your book before bed. Having something stable each day can be an incredibly grounding.
7. Touch base with your family – I love technology! I get to speak to my family across the other side of the world at least once per week thanks to FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Messenger, iMessage etc. Do not underestimate the power of regularly speaking to people who you love.
8. Listen to your mind and body – Frequent travel is exhausting and can lead to poor eating habits, lack of sleep, and a feeling of burn out. Sometimes taking the morning off to catch up on sleep or simply staying indoors for 24 hours can be the refuel you need to keep enjoying yourself on the road. There isn’t any shame in feeling run-down from travel.
9. Unpack your bags whenever you can – I immediately feel more at home if I unpack after arriving at a new destination. I obviously don’t entirely unpack my bags if I am only staying somewhere for one night, but even finding a place for a few items can be a nice touch. Vanlife tip – be sure to have a place for everything! Things get really challenging on the road when you have to deal with disorder/mess on top of the day-to-day craziness.
10. Set yourself up to succeed – Plan what ways you are going to stay healthy and happy on the road before taking a trip. You can try new things along the way but having some basics planned out from the get-go is definitely going to help!
I hope you guys found those tips helpful! Be sure to leave your own suggestions in the comments section down below – I would love to hear them!
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