How to Settle In Fast at an Airbnb or Hotel

Over the past 6 months, I’ve slept in a lot of beds.

Which sounds terrible but let me explain. I’ve stayed in 6 different Airbnbs, 3 hotels, and with a couple of different friends in 7 countries. So, at this point, even though I’m still a newbie on the nomad scale, I have a few tips for getting settled into a new place quickly.

I have found that if I take a few minutes to unpack and get organized, everything goes more smoothly. I’m able to find what I need without hassle, I feel more at home, and I’m able to pack up faster when it’s time to move on to the next location.

The First Night

Depending on how exhausted you are when you reach your destination, you may not wish to unpack fully the evening you arrive. How you pack in the first place helps you to make your first night more comfortable.

I always pack things for a couple of days (and one night) in my carryon. That way, in a lost-luggage scenario, I’m able to function without my luggage and not be totally miserable or stuck wearing dirty clothes. Here are some of the things I pack in my carry-on.

  • PJs (or whatever you sleep in)
  • 2 sets of undies
  • Clothes for 2 days
  • Toiletries (sample size toothpaste, toothbrush, makeup wipes, sample shampoo and conditioner, sample body wash)
  • Cosmetics
  • Hairbrush
  • Hair elastics or scrunchies
  • Socks
  • Prescription meds
  • OTC meds (it isn’t unusual to have heartburn or a headache after a long day of travel)
  • Some dry soups (just add water meals are light-weight and easy to prepare in almost any kitchen)
  • Caffeinated beverage (Pick your poison: instant coffee, tea bags, soda pop – whatever you like to drink in the morning)
  • Snacks
  • Plug adapter (I like this one which works for 3-prong plugs and USBs)
  • Laptop and cord
  • Phone cord
  • Kindle and cord
  • Water filtration bottle

When you have this stuff in your carry-on bag, it’s a simple matter of pulling things out and putting them on the dresser on the first evening you’re there. I like to immediately take a shower and wash off the airplane germs when I arrive at my destination. I throw my clothing right into the washing machine, even if I don’t have soap to run it. Then I boil some water and have a nice bowl of soup before I hit the bed. If I want to drink water and the host didn’t put bottled water in the fridge, I use my filtration bottle to make sure the water isn’t going to upset my stomach.

Unpacking the Rest

The following day, assuming all my luggage arrived with me, I like to unpack the rest of my things. Here’s what I do while unpacking.

  • Hang up any clothing that requires it
  • Fold undies, socks, tank tops, and jammies and put them on a shelf or in a drawer, depending on your apartment
  • Put your shampoo, conditioner, blow dryer, body wash, a razor, and hair care products in the bathroom
  • Put OTC meds and food supplies in the kitchen cabinet
  • Use your overnight bag for any items you don’t use often but might need
  • If you have out-of-season clothing with you that you are unlikely to wear, fold it and store it in your checked bag
  • I also keep my jewelry case in my checked bag (Don’t get excited – the most expensive item is maybe $30)
  • Set up other plug adapters – one for the bathroom to run your blow dryer and curling iron, one for the living room for your laptop and phone

Once you have everything put away, it’s easier to see what you have. Then you’re ready to head out to the market and stock up on food, beverages, and anything else you might need during your stay. Getting ready to go out will be a breeze because you don’t have to dig through your bags to find everything.

How do you like to settle in?

Which camp are you in? The total unpacking camp or the dig-it-out-of-your-luggage camp? Why? Share your thoughts in the comments.



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