Scented candles have become an increasingly popular home accessory in recent years, used to create cozy spaces filled with delightful fragrances. But did you know that bringing your favorite scented candles along on vacation can also help make unfamiliar accommodations feel more like home?
I spoke with Avery Thompson, a high school English teacher from Oregon, about how she uses scented candles to make vacation rentals and hotel rooms more comfortable. “Scent is so strongly tied to memory and emotion. Bringing comforting, familiar scents from home instantly makes me feel more relaxed when I’m staying somewhere new,” she explained.
Avery always packs a few of her favorite scented candle jars or tins when planning weekend getaways or longer trips. “Lavender and eucalyptus are very soothing and help me unwind after a long day of travel. The bright citrus of orange and the woody aroma of cedar make any space feel warmer and cozier,” she described.
Avery says she places candles in the bedrooms and bathrooms of vacation accommodations to create a peaceful, spa-like retreat. “I usually light a calming lavender candle while soaking in the tub after a day of sightseeing. It’s such a relaxing way to prepare for bed.” She also keeps a citrus-scented candle on her nightstand. “The sunny fragrance helps energize and motivate me in the mornings when I’m away from my usual routine.”
When it comes to safety and care, Avery recommends packing candles very securely. “I wrap each candle jar in bubble wrap and place it upright in a zippered plastic bag to prevent wax leaks or breakage in transit. I also keep candles separate from clothing and electronics in case of spills.” She suggests placing lit candles on stable, nonflammable surfaces away from bedding, curtains or tablecloths. It’s also important to fully extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.
Isabella Yang, a lifestyle photographer based in LA, also brings her favorite scented candles. “I’m in Airbnbs and hotels all the time for projects, and they can be a bit impersonal. Lighting a nice candle makes any generic space feel welcoming,” she said.
Isabella’s go-to candle fragrances include jasmine, vanilla, pine, and clean cotton. “I love the richness of florals like jasmine paired with warm gourmands like vanilla. For cabins or mountain retreats, the crisp scent of pine feels just right. Clean cotton reminds me of freshly washed sheets – it’s soothing and comfortable.”
She suggests placing candles in entryways, bedrooms, and bathrooms when staying in rentals or hotel suites. “Having a candle burning in the main room as you walk in helps set a homey mood, while lighting one in the bedroom as you get ready for bed can start your wind-down routine.”
Isabella also uses candle scents to evoke the vibe of certain vacations, like beach getaways. “I have an ocean breeze candle that immediately transports me to the coastline whenever I burn it. And I’ll pack my pineapple or coconut scented candles for tropical vacays to immerse me in that relaxing atmosphere,” she shared.
When using candles in rentals, Isabella stresses the importance of caution. “Never leave a lit candle unattended, and keep them away from furniture, pillows, towels or anything flammable.” She blows them out before leaving for the day or going to bed at night. To prevent wax spills in transit, Isabella wraps candle jars in plastic bags and nestles them securely in her luggage.
Both Avery and Isabella agree that bringing beloved scented candles along on trips is an easy way to customize temporary spaces and make them feel more like home. The nostalgic, familiar scents transport them and create comforting retreats wherever they may be staying.
Avery told me she can’t imagine taking a vacation without her candles now. “They’ve become an essential item I always pack. Just one whiff of lavender or eucalyptus whisks me into full relaxation mode, even in an unfamiliar place.”
Isabella echoed the sentiment: “Scented candles have honestly improved my travel experience tremendously. That instant mood transformation when I light a candle and fill an impersonal space with a beautiful aroma is magical. It allows me to truly unwind and be present wherever I am.”
So if you’re seeking to enhance your next vacation, consider bringing some scented candles along for the journey. Let the nostalgic fragrances of home transport you and transform even the most generic hotel or rental into your own personal sanctuary. With their power to evoke memories, set moods and turn houses into homes, your favorite scented candles may just be the ultimate travel companion.