• Donna

How to Travel Hygge!

Updated: Dec 31, 2018

How to easily add hygge to your accommodation while traveling.

Woman blue tribal leggings and tapestry, drinking tea

As budget travelers, Franklin and I quite literally never stay at 5 star hotels. Or 4 star hotels for that matter. Or 3 star. Or 2 star...In fact, the ‘lowest to highest’ price button on booking.com is our best friend (because who needs to see the fancy unobtainable stuff anyway?)

Our accommodation, though pleasing to the savings account, is not always pleasing to the eye. It has even, on occasion, resembled a prison cell.

But did we let that get us down? Heck no! In fact, with an emergency hygge kit as one of our travelling essentials, we are able to transform our drab dwellings into zen caves of coziness. And we're happy to share our secrets with you here!

So, what is hygge anyways? According to Visit Denmark, it means “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” Basically surrounding yourself in what makes you feel safe, warm, and blissful. Quoted in the New Yorker, British journalist Helen Russell summarizes it as “taking pleasure in the presence of gentle, soothing things.” I like the first definition because it speaks to the individuality of people.

(Can a hardcore punk rocker who likes lampshades wrapped in spikey pleather be considered as having hygge in her home, if that is what she’s into? Would her definition of hygge fit the conception of it by the Danish people? )

Philosophical questions aside—warmth, coziness, feeling in your bliss—if you can successfully generate these feelings with the items in your emergency hygge kit whilst out in the bleak harsh world of budget hospitality, then thank the Danish gods and get to it!

Here’s a breakdown of our emergency hygge kit:


A no-brainer, these weightless compact candles go a long way in creating an atmosphere. Don’t pack a whole 50 pack from IKEA, obviously. But a handful of candles for a week or two of travel should do the trick.

led lights on flowers

An LED light strand.

This weighs nothing and makes such a difference! Currently mine is wrapped around a lovely bouquet of fake flowers (...flauxers?) provided by our ‘hotel’ in Granada, Spain, which is actually a dorm room not currently in use by a student, and thus booked out to travelers. Here's a great set of lights that will give off a very cozy golden glow.

A mini-speaker

What’s more blissful then wrapping yourself in a blanket and listening to your favorite music? Pleasant sounds are a non-negotiable aspect of hygge for me, so a good speaker is a must. There are lots of different versions sold on Amazon. Try to get one of at least okay quality, because, you know, cheap ones break, and then you have to buy a new one. This is ours, it works great, and it’s waterproof: Ultimate Ears UE ROLL 2.


When not doubling as blankets for the beach or when your budget hotel pretends they have never before heard the word 'towel', sarongs make great decor. Their design is catered exactly to your taste, because you’re the one who bought it! (I've had at least one cheesy sarong in my day, thanks mom...).

Just remember tacks to pin them up! (And maybe double check that your airline doesn’t define tacks as a weapon…)

Cozy Socks

Very necessary!

A portable hot-water heater

Many budget places have the use of a shared kitchen, many don’t. This item may seem extraneous to you, and definitely bumps your kit over 1kg. But if hot drinks are important to you, then pick one of these up and you can always be assured that while hygged up in your hotel room, you'll have access to a warm cuppa something blissful.

This one for Europe, Austrailia, and China.

This one for The States.

A container for your hot beverage

Here are two great options:

Hydro Flask 12oz Travel Coffee Mug

Collapsible Coffee Cup

A few tea bags/instant hot chocolate/instant coffee

Some of your favorite pictures

Surround yourselves with loved ones even when they are thousands of miles away! But only bring pictures that put a smile on your face.

Depending on how much room you have in your suitcase or backpack, you could take this as far as you want. Perhaps you’ve seen that classic episode of Mr. Bean where he unpacks in his hotel room, surprising us with the fact that his suitcase is stuffed full of several large framed paintings, an electric drill and screws to hang them with, curtains, and alarm clock. Strive for that if it’s what moves you! But do remember, hotels may charge you a fee for any noticeable damage to the walls.

Do you have further ideas on how to bring hygge with you one your travels? Comment below!

by Donna Avallone

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