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Transform Hotel Room From Lonely, Cold to Warm, Cozy

There are two things Dian Griesel can’t travel without: a photo of her two children playing on a beach, and another of her husband holding their daughter when she was born.

“Recalling warm memories relieves stress and makes sleep easier,” says the New York-based author of fitness book TurboCharged.

Frequent travel can be destabilizing and lead to higher stress levels and poor eating and sleeping habits, mental health care professionals say. One way to counteract that, they say, is to try to take along elements of your home life so that your hotel room doesn’t feel so cold and lonely.

“Travel, particularly airline travel, can bring out the worst in people. The conditions are ripe for stress and more often than not we see people who are simply out of their element and as such feel out of control, and as such engage in less-than-healthful behaviors,” says Joshua C. Klapow, a psychologist at ChipRewards, a technology company that assists health care providers and employers. “Then they arrive at their destination — typically a hotel — and the backlog of stress interacts with yet another unfamiliar environment.”

Melinda Fleming, a Los Angeles-based behavioral therapist, says frequent travel can cause stress for a number of reasons.

“Jet lag, new location, always on the go, missing personal connections with family or friends. It can take its toll on a person both mentally and physically,” she says.

Many hotels have tried to do their part to make rooms seem more like home.

The Residence Inn, Marriott’s extended-stay brand, has a complimentary grocery-shopping service, for instance. Give the front desk your grocery list, and when you get to your room, you’ll have a fully stocked kitchen just like you would at home.

The Hotel Solamar in San Diego will frame any photo of a loved one you send before you check in so that you see a familiar face when you walk in.

But frequent business travelers who log millions of miles on the road each year, say they’ve come up with their own strategies for making their hotel room feel more homey.

In addition to photos, Griesel travels with her own pillow. She also takes along a candle with her favorite scent…

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