Updated on January 26, 2024 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

For the majority of people, coming back home from their dream vacation is the least favourite part of travelling. Saying goodbye to the places that were home to you, even if for a short while, is hard, especially when you managed to create more than a handful of wonderful memories. Some people even experience post-travel depression at the end of their trip. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and all roads ultimately lead to home.

Coming back home from holidays can be quite stressful, and it gets increasingly difficult the more people and luggage are involved. Still, there are some things to ensure everything goes without a hitch and help you deal with post-holiday blues.

Take a look at the following points, and feel free to incorporate them into your travel checklist.

1. Before You Leave

Are you familiar with the term “post-travel depression?” It’s a feeling of sadness you may experience when your exciting trip is nearing its end. One of the best ways to keep your post-travel blues in check is to prepare well for the trip back home. Here’s what you can do to focus on the task at hand and spend this not-so-pleasant time as productively as possible:

a. Pack in Advance

Most people don’t even bother and leave it until the last minute. Still, they risk forgetting something or, in the worst-case scenario, missing their flight due to terrible time management. If you have to decide what to do the evening before your return trip – dine and party or pack and organise – choose the latter. This way, you’ll be sure that you have everything you need, which will give you peace of mind.

people entering the plane

b. Check the Route

Whether you’re driving a car, riding on a train, or flying in a plane, you need to know what your route is. In the first case, you should also make sure that your tank is full and your vehicle is in good condition to be on the road. When it comes to train rides and flights, you don’t have to worry about the most crucial part of the trip. Still, you need to know how to get to your airport or train station in time and how to get back home from there. If you have the entire route planned, you can put your mind at ease.

c. Double-Check Your Documents

Make sure your ID and passport are valid (you should also do that every time before going on holiday), you know where your plane or train tickets are, and that you have all the necessary documentation if you travel by car. It would be best to keep them in the same place, like a small bag or a pouch. Additionally, make sure you always know where that bag is before you leave!

d. Prepare Your Space Before You Leave

 Although the urge to hastily pack up and depart, leaving disarray for your return, may be tempting, returning to a home in disarray with dirty dishes left behind will only exacerbate your existing weariness. Whether you dedicate an hour or two to tidy up before you leave or opt for a cleaning service to refresh your space before your return (especially beneficial for longer absences), ensure that you return to a well-maintained home.

e. Meal Prep or Add Long-Life Foods to Your Kitchen

While this advice may not be as applicable for extended travels, having nutritious, pre-prepared meals waiting for you upon your return can save you the hassle of rushing to the store. If your trip spans a week or two, consider stocking up on foods that can be easily frozen and reheated in just a few minutes. For instance, you can whip up a quick treat like the brownie recipe to satisfy your sweet cravings or prepare a casserole that can be conveniently reheated in the microwave, providing you with a hassle-free and delicious meal without the need to order in upon your arrival home.

f. Wake Up Early

You can check every point on this shortlist, but still, you can miss your flight or get stuck in traffic if you get the timing wrong. Avoid partying the day before you have to leave, and don’t pull an all-nighter. Get a full night of good sleep, and wake up early and well-rested. It’s your best bet to get on the road or catch a ride to the airport or train station way ahead of time. As you probably know, it’s always better not to arrive at the last possible moment.

g. Maintain a Positive Mindset

The return trip is a whole experience on its own. That’s when post-travel depression can hit you hard – you’re finally going back home to your family and old friends, and you have to face real life with all its challenges again. Despite all that, stay positive – if you’ve taken care of all the steps mentioned earlier, you should have a stress-free return trip. Focus on all the good experiences and pleasant memories you managed to create during your vacation. You can also start planning your next trip with your friends, family, or solo, or at least think about other destinations you’d like to visit.

2. Coming Home: The Next Step

Finally, you’re back from the airport or arrived home after a long drive. You’re probably exhausted and can’t stop thinking about the upcoming week. You have to come back to reality and put your holiday thoughts aside. Are you tempted to throw your bags on the floor, take a shower or a bubble bath, or skip the second step whatsoever and go straight to bed? Hold on to your horses, you still need to take care of some things. Even though you’re sure you’ll fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, try to put things in order. Otherwise, you’re up for a brutal awakening the next day, which will only add to your stress and possibly even post-travel depression, and you don’t need that! Here’s what you need to do upon your arrival:

a. Unpack Your Bags

It’s tempting to just throw them on the floor. However, more often than not, those bags will lay forgotten and unattended for days or, in extreme cases, even weeks. It won’t bring back those pleasant holiday memories; instead, you risk getting stuck in post-vacation blues for far longer than needed. Upon returning home from your vacation, the best thing you can do is take care of the inevitable as soon as possible. In this case, you need to go back to your normal life.

If you travel with children, you can help them unpack their bags if you know they tend to procrastinate. You can turn it into a bonding experience that will get you talking about your vacation and feeling grateful for the entire travel experience

bags on the bed

b. Do Laundry

Depending on how long your trip was, you might be running out of clean clothes. Still, even if your wardrobe is bursting at the seams, do your laundry as soon as you unpack your bags. Dirty clothes won’t bring that holiday feeling back, no matter how hard you try. On the contrary, having them lay around the house for a few days or even weeks will only contribute to your post-travel depression and serve as an unnecessary reminder of all the past adventures. You’re back to your old life – make sure you prepare for your usual routine and enter a new week fresh and well-rested. Not many people like to take care of mundane chores, but it simply has to be done – you won’t be able to move forward with piles of dirty laundry.

c. Check Your Email

Coming back home from a trip abroad may feel like a reverse culture shock. Once again, you need to immerse yourself in your home culture and get back to your usual routine. Knowing that you have to go to work soon doesn’t help with post-vacation blues – but there is something that can do the trick.

Instead of being flooded with work-related emails on your first day of work after your amazing trip, check your email beforehand. It will prepare you for what’s to come, and you won’t have to spend too much time going through everything. Also, it will help you get back to your usual routine at a more gradual pace. When it comes to dealing with post-vacation depression, small but steady steps count the most.

d. Check Your Bank and Credit Card Statements

No matter how amazing your trip was, safety should always come first. As such, you should check your bank and credit card statements for any unauthorised payments. You should also keep an eye on missing refund credits or suspicious double charges.

As a traveller, you’re in a vulnerable position because you can’t be 100% certain about the safety of your internet connection or the honesty and good intentions of people you meet. If you fail to keep your finances in check, you risk losing your money or even falling victim to identity theft. That’s a wake-up call nobody needs or wants when coming home from a trip!

credit card and laptop

e. Make Insurance Claims

You never know what will happen to you during your trip. Hopefully, your travel experience has been a walk in the park – but what if something goes awry? Well, let’s assume that you’re prepared for that and can start making insurance claims right away. It will help you.

Ultimately, remember that while not necessary, travel insurance is something worth looking into. You can find many great deals online, and as the old saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

f. Let Your Family Know You’re Back

If you let someone know that you’re going on holiday, text them or give them a call when you arrive home. Some family members tend to worry a lot, and others just want to have peace of mind and be sure that you and your family arrive home safe and sound. Whatever the case, you should get in touch with people close to you. They might come to help you unpack, bring some homemade food, or simply drop in for a visit to hear your amazing travel stories.

g. Relax

Before you get back to your usual routine, try to relax while you still can. Having to return to work after a fantastic time spent on holiday can only exacerbate your post-travel blues. Don’t think too much about the things you’ll have to do for work – you will deal with them when the time comes, not when you can still unwind and chill out. So, when you’re done with unpacking and laundry (don’t skip these steps!), watch a movie, chat with your family members, or do anything that would make you feel comfortable after returning home.

h. Plan Your Next Vacation

Is there a better way to cure post-trip depression than to look for your next destination? Probably not! As such, after you return home, consider looking for new locations to spend your free time and explore. It should be much easier to do now – after all, you’ve already had some practice in planning your holidays. Maybe next time you’ll step out of your comfort zone and choose an even more distant location.

You can plan your next trip any time you want, and you can even find new travel coupons and discount codes. Travel agencies and booking websites often come up with seasonal deals, so you’re more than likely to find a great offer. So, if you miss your travel life and want to explore the world again, start looking for future vacation spots as soon as you return home

people at the airport

i. Bonus Tip: Organize Your Photos

You don’t have to do it right after returning home, but it sure would be nice to filter your photos and organise them in some way. It will help you preserve your amazing holiday memories and is a surefire way to battle your post-travel blues. Feel free to share your favourite pictures with friends and family or update your social media feed to inspire other travellers!

The Bottom Line

When you look at this list, it does sound like a lot of steps, especially when all you want to do is go to bed before starting another day of work. However, just a bit of effort from your side, and you’ll be able to reap the benefits.

Don’t give in to post-travel depression – all these steps ensure that your transition from free time to daily life is as smooth as possible. Also, if something went awry during your trip, it’s better to take action as soon as possible, collect the necessary documents, and start filing claims and reports.

The bags left unattended on the floor won’t bring that holiday spirit back – they’ll only make you feel anxious and bad for procrastinating. Don’t end your holiday on that note – consider it the end of a great adventure and step into the usual part of your life well-rested and full of energy.

Lastly, cherish your memories. Organize photos, curate your experiences, and share them with others. Keep the travel spirit alive and inspire others to embark on their adventures.

Remember, returning home is not the end of your journey, but a new chapter filled with possibilities. By embracing the transition and implementing these proactive strategies, you can transform your homecoming into a revitalizing experience. Let the post-travel blues be replaced by the anticipation of future horizons, and continue to embrace the traveller’s spirit, both near and far.


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