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11 Ways Travelers Can Achieve Maximum Hygge

Nov. 05, 2017
6 min read
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By now you’ve probably heard of hygge (pronounced HOO-ga), the Danish term defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”

Basically, it means the good life — enjoying the little things with the people you love — whether it be a warm fire or a hot bath, time with family or Netflixing with a mug of mulled wine. And with the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping, we’re entering the season where getting cozy and finding contentment takes top priority. That goes for traveling too; there’s no reason not to find hygge on the road. Here are 11 ways to achieve maximum hygge — even when far from home.

1. Start with a hygge destination

What better way to explore this idea than in the epicenter of all things comfy and cozy, the birthplace of hygge: Denmark. Given that it's consistently named the happiest country in the world, why not experience hygge at the source?

2. … Or have a hygge staycation.

Can’t make it across the pond? Consider a hygge staycation. Book a hotel in your hometown; oh, and seek out one with a fireplace, like The Bowery Hotel in New York City. Even a night or two away from home can be recharging — and what’s more ideal than avoiding airports altogether? Just add a Hot Toddy and the hygge recipe is complete.

The Bowery Hotel, New York City

3. A spa-like bathroom = instant hygge

Urban Cowboy Bed & Breakfast in Nashville is onto hygge in a big way; case in point: their dreamy bathtubs. A good soak does a body good and can even be achieved at home; just light a few candles, run the water, drop a bath bomb in the tub, set out a fluffy robe and let the relaxation begin.

Urban Cowboy Bed & Breakfast in Nashville, Tennessee

4. Read a hygge book

In the Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living, author Meik Wiking writes, “Hygge is the sensation you get when you’re cuddled up on a sofa, in cozy socks under a soft throw, during a storm. It’s that feeling when you’re sharing comfort food and easy conversation with loved ones at a candlelit table. It is the warmth of morning light shining just right on a crisp blue-sky day.”

Her New York Times bestseller offers tips to incorporate this fuzzy feeling into everyday life, like taking breaks and building relationships. Plus, Wiking says cake is hygge, so we’re already down with her advice.

5. Pour yourself a mug of hygge

Take a mug and add a dose of your favorite warm beverage (be it coffee, hot cocoa or mulled wine; we’re partial to Kusmi tea) and just take a minute to savor the moment. Can’t brew your own? Find a coffee shop in your current locale and check out the chosen beans and hot brews offered.

6. Scent is another way to bring hygge wherever you go

Whether home or away, there’s nothing more transportive than the sense of smell. These candles from 42 Pressed are ideal for travel, with no-mess screw tops and each scent named for a different city. Not to mention, the mere act of lighting a candle (scented or not) is totally hygge: Danes are known as Europe’s biggest consumer of candles.

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7. You can also wear your hygge on your feet...

Warmth and coziness don’t just come from being in a certain place, it’s achieved from just being. Bring hygge into your life in the form of footwear; let the warmth start with your toes and the rest of your body will thank you. Try a pair of cozy cashmere socks, or these slip-on wool shoes, made in (where else?) Denmark.

8. … and wrapped around you. 

A blanket/scarf/wrap hybrid is a traveler’s BFF, so choose wisely. Opt for a fabric like cashmere that keeps you warm and comfortable. Another option? This pillow/ blanket combo is an easy way to transport a bit of hygge on every plane, train and automobile ride, without breaking the bank.

9. Use hygge to chill out...

The resurgence of adult coloring books has proved that art therapy isn’t just a fad — it’s a way of life. Faced with an extended layover or long flight? Embrace some analog behavior: Pick up colored pencils and a book (trust us, there’s an adult coloring book out there for everyone) and get going.

10. … and disconnect from the world for a bit.

We’re all a little obsessed with our phones — but technology addiction isn’t very hygge. Having a hard time disconnecting? Consider using your beloved gadget to help with just that by downloading an app like Headspace, which better helps you learn how to calm the brain and live more mindfully.

11. Or unplug entirely and start writing

Sure, technology helps us immensely, but sometimes the best way to calm the mind and appreciate what we have is by journaling. No, not via computer or app: We mean old-school, pen-to-paper writing in a book. Pick up a Moleskin and start with a list of what you're grateful for. Better yet, do it by the fireplace.

Featured image by Bath tub hotel. Photo by Shutterstock