Let's crush those post-travel blues in a flash! Vacations are a time of carefree fun without deadlines or chores. So it's only normal that sometimes when you've returned from a blissful vacay that reality hits hard. You go back to the day-to-day instead of relaxing on the beach or exploring a new city and it leaves you feeling a bit gloomy. I've been there before and it inspired me to try different tactics to help me bounce back and feel better, and dare I say, happy, to return home from my vacation. Keep reading for my best advice.
11+ Tips to Deal with Post-Travel Blues
Plan another vacation
This is one of my favorite ways to deal with post-vacation sadness, because it's the most fun - just start planning your next trip. As you're heading back home - start to think about where you'd like to go next. Was your most recent trip spent relaxing on the beach and you'd like to hit a big city next time? Have fun brainstorming and daydreaming about your next trip - watch YouTube videos, pin away on Pinterest and scroll TikTok to save places you'd like to explore next.
Depending on how much time it will be until your next trip, you can even consider booking some of the details like the flight or hotel. If it's further away, you can focus on building out your budget for the vacation. So when you're sitting at your desk next week you'll know you've already got the next trip in the works and a plan to make it happen.
Take an extra PTO day
If you can spare it, try to take an additional PTO day after you return from vacation or return on the Fri/Sat before you go back to work on Monday. This will allow you more time at home to recover and get settled in. When you come home and have to head into work the next day the transition might feel pretty rough, so taking an extra day to relax will make the transition more seamless.
Ease back into your routine
It’s OK to not jump right back into your regular routine once you’re home. Instead of heading back to the gym every day that week, try to make it half of the usually days you go or ease into it with a shorter workout. I also like switching things up with a yoga class or long walks outside. Usually when I take a break from regular routines (like the gym or meal prepping) I like to ramp it back up over a week or so vs. jumping all in on day one. On the contrary, if it feels better to you to go all in, then please do!
Adjust errands for the first week
Similar to the tip above, I'm usually not in the mood to get all my chores done right after a vacation and like to find some shortcuts. This might mean getting groceries delivered, or trying a meal kit, instead of dealing with the grocery store run.
Beat the Post-Travel Blues: Do your laundry
This chore, however, is one that makes me feel a million times better after a trip. Unpack right when you get home so you don't have the clutter of your luggage or souvenirs in the way. Get all of your clothes cleaned and ready to go so when you go into work that week you can choose from all of your wardrobe favorites. This will let you accomplish something on your to-do list that makes a huge difference.
Start a new book or TV show
Give yourself something to look forward to by picking out a new book to read or TV show to binge. Even better if you have a friend or spouse to read/watch with and talk about the story with. You can even pick a book or show inspired by the place you just visited or wherever you'd like to go to next.
Reminisce to Get Past Post-Travel Blues
Spend some time journaling your recapping your vacation after you're home. You can look back on your writing later to remind yourself of the great memories. And you can also make a list of recommendations to share with others.
Make and display your mementos
Did you take any photos on vacation or bring home any souvenirs? Get some photos printed or framed (or use a digital frame, like me!) and find a spot for your souvenirs in the home or office. Having these reminders out will let you think about and enjoy the memories from your trip. You can also find art online inspired by the places you visited.
Explore Your Own Neighborhood
Even if you can't get away again, you can still experience new things in your own neighborhood. Are there events in or near your own city like festivals and fairs you could attend? Or visit the area museums and zoos that you always meant to, but never make it to. If you're not sure where to start, there is likely a visitor's bureau for the largest metro area near you that will have plenty of information on local events and things to do.
Items to Help Put Travel Memories on Display
USA Photo Map
This map is SO amazing! It's a map of the USA that you can order unframed or framed. Then you will be able to go in and add photos from your travels into each state. Such a unique idea and they've done all the hard work for you.
World Scratch-Off Map
My brother gave me one of these maps as a gift years ago and it's still one of the best gifts I've ever received. I keep mine framed in my bedroom and it's always fun getting to scratch off new places when I return from trips.
Travel Shadow Box
This cute shadow box can hold all sorts of mementos from different trips like plane tickets, concert ticket stubs, foreign coins and money, matchbooks from favorite restaurants and so on.
Incorporate flavor inspiration from your vacation
Keep the vacation vibes going even after you're home with meals inspired by the trip. Was there a favorite dish or restaurant you loved during vacation? Try remaking it at home, or bring those local flavors into a new dish.
Nest and spruce up your home
Can you do some nesting or decorating around the home? Things can feel so blah when you get back from a vacation and sprucing up your space can help it feel a bit more cozy again. Plus, it makes me home space feel a little bit new and more exciting to spend time in after a trip.
Take stock of what you really loved about your trip
Was it spending time with family? Were you outside the entire time? Was it being “in the moment?” How can you bring more of this into your everyday life? We aren’t meant to live for weekends and the few weeks of vacation we get a year (in average jobs). So take some time to think about how you can bring your vacation way of living into your everyday.
How long does vacation blues last?
For me, it usually takes about a week to get back into my usual routine and no longer dealing with the post-vacation blues.
This post was all about beating those post-travel blues. I hope these tips help you have a happy transition back home after a great vacation so you can get out there and make everyday feel like a holiday.
If you are struggling with depression or experiencing overwhelming feelings and stress after your vacation (or at anytime) I do recommend seeking professional guidance from your doctor or therapist.
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Casey is the founder of Casey La Vie & has been running this travel and lifestyle blog since 2016. She’s on a mission to balance her career as a social media manager with exploring her home of New York City and seeing more of the world.