We all love planning and preparing for the trip of our dreams, and here at Awaken Travels we have many resources for doing just that, but what about when that dream vacation has come to an end? We all must return home eventually, and we’re here to help.

That familiar crash that is landing back at home when the dream vacation is over. Desperately try to grab a few hours of sleep during the time that would have been lunchtime just yesterday. Jump in the car without your coffee because you didn’t have time to buy any last night. Rush to the office to dig through the week’s emails in hopes that none of them actually apply to you, and question whether the vacation was even worth this feeling.

It was.

Planning to return home is very similar to preparing to have guests, but in this case, you will be your own guests. Make your home an inviting and comfortable environment and your guests (that’s you) will be happy to be there. Here are our eight tips to help make the feeling of arriving back home more enjoyable.

Leaving this behind can be an emotional goodbye. Here’s how to deal with going home.

Clean your house before you leave.

It can be rough to make time for this step in the chaos of leaving, but you will thank yourself later. Your home will feel like a sanctuary you’re returning to, instead of a new list of things to do. This means do the dishes, take the garbage out, put fresh sheets on the bed. All of these things will be a far bigger mess, and a source of stress when you return. You may be used to your little messes around the house now and not think much of them, but after a week or two of daily housekeeping service at the hotel, you may see things with new eyes. The last thing you want to do after a red-eye flight is wash a pile of week-old dirty dishes and realize all of the bath towels are dirty. Carve out some time to get these things done before the vacation starts.

A clean house and freshly made bed can make all the difference.

Buy, or arrange for delivery of the essential items you will need when you get home.

Coffee, milk, bread, pizza, whatever you need from the time you land until the moment you choose to leave the house should ideally be planned for. There are many ways to accomplish this task. Get groceries if things will stay fresh while you are gone. Plan your order online for your basics from the grocery delivery of your choice to arrive when you do. Ask a friend or family member to help. Plan for a pizza delivery perhaps. Nobody wants to go without that morning coffee just because they didn’t have time. This is stress you don’t need. Ride the calm of that vacation as long as you can!

Treat yourself

While we are talking about food, remember, you will have just been on an amazing whirlwind of fun. You are likely not going to be excited to come home to macaroni and cheese out of the box. Plan to return to something you love about home. Vacation is often a big splurge, so carry that out just a bit and ease the return. Splurge on a nice meal that you are excited to return to. Does your favorite Greek place deliver? Maybe you will be super excited to get back to REAL American-Mexican food. (This is nearly impossible to find anywhere else.) Whatever it may be, plan for something you love. Comfort in the form of a great meal can go a long way to ease the return home.

Schedule an extra day (or two)

This one may go against common thinking, and it is certainly one that not all of you may agree with, but we recommend leaving one or two of your hard-earned vacation days after your trip for you to recover at home. Yes, vacation days are scarce. Yes, if you catch that red-eye flight you could go straight from the plane to the office and get a whole extra half a day at the beach. We sadly recommend against it. Once again, up to you. We find it can be far easier to keep the calm and peacefulness of vacation-mode when a relaxing day or two is taken to recover from jetlag, sleep in, unpack, and generally return to daily life slowly.

The jetlag enemy

Never a fun part of returning home from vacation is dealing with the dreaded jetlag. Meal times are off, bedtime sounds wonderful at 4 p.m. and you’re awake before the birds. It hits even the most seasoned travelers. But there are some effective methods for easing your transition back to local time. Get some fresh air, go for a walk, enjoy some sunshine, or grab some melatonin if you’re having trouble sleeping through the night. Check out this guide for how to sleep well while traveling and how to beat jetlag quickly. 

Self Care

This can mean many things to many people. Once you have returned home, pamper yourself a bit. Pay attention to yourself. Maybe you will really miss your morning runs. Perhaps a day at the spa would be the perfect way to ease your return. Whatever it is you do to pamper yourself, plan for it. Do you think you will simply need a long shower followed by an entire day on the couch? Plan for it.

a towel and bath bomb sit on the edge of a tub to help welcome travelers home
This could be exactly the self care you need to transition back to the real world.

Plan something to look forward to

Of course the focus is on the vacation, but make sure you have post-vacation plans that you are looking forward to as well. Plan to meet up with your best friends for coffee when you get back, plan a hike, or get tickets that new movie that is coming out.  It doesn’t really matter what it is that you do, just pick things you love. The post-vacation lull can be dodged by making sure it isn’t the only thing in your planner that you are looking forward to. We have a tendency to get so excited about the big event that we forget to plan other stuff too. This is just a friendly reminder to keep having fun once you return. Nobody wants to return to an empty fun schedule.

Wash, rinse, and repeat

And last but not least, PLAN THE NEXT ONE! While everything is fresh in your head, you have great tools to figure out what you loved, and what you didn’t. This can be super useful for figuring out what to do next time. Loved the beach but it was just too hot? Maybe pick a different month next time. Loved your little town, but everyone was craving a bit of nightlife? Perhaps a hotel closer to the center of town.

While you have a love/hate list fresh in your mind, this is the perfect time to plan the next adventure!

Send us a message and let’s ease the transition back home by planning the next vacation! Maybe this one should be Christmas markets in Europe, a family cruise, or maybe it’s a long weekend in a cozy cabin. Whatever you’re thinking of, we can help plan it.

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