1) Your Own Pillow (Or pillow case for the ultra-light packer)
One of the most intimate things our face gets in contact with during travel is the pillow offered by the hotel, hostel or airplane we are sleeping on. To get a taste of home wherever you may be, bring your pillow. At the very least, pack your favorite pillow case so you can attempt to fool your senses at the end of a long day.
2) Ear Plugs
Perhaps the most essential item in anyone's arsenal of travel gear are earplugs. One never knows what a night in a new place could offer. Whether you were lucky enough to book a room on the same floor as a high school basketball team, or discover at 6am there is a mosque directly adjacent to your hotel broadcasting a call to prayer, or simply the ocean waves you envisioned being so romantic are actually a huge inhibitor to sleep compared to your usually quiet surroundings back home. Whatever the reason, ear plugs are so small and light, there would be no reason to regret bringing them along as a precautionary measure to make you feel at home.
In this day in age where many of us are used to solely relying on our cell phones for everything including checking the time, a watch can make one feel much more at ease. Not only is it easier to check than fishing for your phone, but it's particularly handy if traveling in a foreign country where one's cell phone is often otherwise obsolete.
4) Flip Flops
This is another item so small and lightweight, there should be no regret for packing. Whether it's walking to and from the pool, or wearing them as shower shoes in questionably clean facilities, lightweight flip flops are great at making any traveler feel more comfortable no matter what situation they find themselves in.
5) Familiar Snacks
I try to prevent from over-packing by constantly reminding myself that wherever I am going, there will likely be stores I can purchase items if need be. However, I always am sure to pack a few tried and true favorite snacks to give me a little comfort, especially if I'm traveling in a foreign land with plenty of exotic foods. This is particularly essential if traveling with kids.
6) One's Own Lotion
While hotels often provide lotion and shampoo, sometimes the familiar scent you know and love of your daily lotion back home is all you crave at the end of a long day of new experiences.
7) Ladies; Your Favorite Scarf
This may be more for practicality than familiarity, but ladies, bring your favorite scarf. You can use it as a shawl on dressier nights, or for warmth or sun protection. Similarly, should you find yourself on sandy beaches or in desert environments, a scarf serves as a handy shield from the sand and dust. Not to mention, you look quite stylish while being quite prepared for a variety of elements without the baggage bulk of extra jackets and sweaters.
8) Favorite Music
Your favorite familiar music can put you in the best of moods and allow you to relax even more. Being in a more relaxed state can allow you to better absorb and reflect on all the fantastic experiences you'll be having.
Help soak in the moments and truly enjoy your vacation by remembering to pack these essential items to make yourself feel at home anywhere you go.