10 Steps to Beat the Post-Vacation Blues

Tips & Tricks

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Travel is a transformative experience that allows us to practice spontaneity and revel in the freedom of having no fixed schedules. But when we finally have to return home, reality is often dull compared to our recent adventures.

The end of a journey, whether it's a two-year teaching stint in Thailand or a two-week beach vacation in the Caribbean, can be challenging, and this post-trip slump can leave us feeling both empty and lost. Here's how to come home with only the positives to beat those post-vacation blues.

Budget Rest Days at Home

Woman relaxing on the couch at home
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Immediately throwing yourself back into your old routine can be overwhelming. Budget a few rest days after your trip to slowly ease back into the rhythm of normal life instead of stepping off your flight and heading straight into work. If you don’t have the time to take another few days off, consider ending your trip on a Friday so you have the weekend to decompress, beat jet lag, do your laundry, and get ready to tackle the week ahead.

Emphasize Self Care

You may have gorged on creamy custard tarts for lunch everyday in Lisbon, or stayed up until 2 a.m. dancing every night in the clubs of Ibiza. When we travel, we often relax our healthy eating habits and structured routines from home, allowing our desires and impulses to take over. Take the time to care for yourself at home by catching up on sleep and preparing fresh and healthy meals. Make time for a workout or a nap, and ease yourself back into your regular routine.

Organize Your Travel Memories

tourist hands taking photo of Venice canal
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Many travelers keep a record of their time abroad to help them remember a place, its people, and adventures. If you kept a journal, online blog, or snapped photos on your camera, then take the time to re-read your writing and remember your favorite moments. Develop a few photos and add them to your scrapbook, or create a video with all the footage you’ve compiled to keep yourself inspired between trips.

Plan Small Things to Look Forward to

Research has shown that planning a trip is often more fulfilling than actually traveling. You may not have the budget or time to plan a massive adventure every month, but it's still worth it to plan smaller adventures and activities at home. Channel the same energy into creating some small personal goals and celebrating these achievements. From planning a trip to the Saturday farmers' market to setting a goal to run a 5k, having something to look forward to will produce that same satisfaction of creating a plan and carrying it through to completion.

Explore Your Own Backyard

People walking on the Peace Bridge in Calgary
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As an explorer, you’re constantly discovering something new. But you aren't limited by your physical location. Embody the same adventurous spirit you have on vacations at home by taking a day trip to a nearby town, checking out that new restaurant down the street or by participating in a cultural event. Dedicate the time to continue exploring the elements that make your own city special.

Connect with Friends and Family

Isolating yourself can intensify the effects of post travel blues, so make plans to spend time with those around you when you return. Share your memories with close friends who care to indulge in the details of your trip and flip through some photos together as a way to recount your time abroad.

Give Back

Serving in a food kitchen
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Look for opportunities to volunteer and give back when you return home. Giving back allows you to reconnect with your local community and nurture friendships with the people around you. Regaining a strong sense of connection to your city will minimize the impacts of post travel blues, and remind you why you love your hometown.

Pick Up New Travel Reads

Bookworms understand the power of a well-written a book — you’re transported to remote corners of the world from the comfort of your cozy reading nook. Fuel your wanderlust and find inspiration for future journeys by settling in with some travel literature, and let your imagination run wild as you learn more about the world while sipping tea at home.

Plan Your Next Journey

Travel planning concept on map
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Escaping from adult responsibilities is sometimes much needed to gain perspective on a current situation and to return home feeling refreshed. Compiling a list of possible next destinations and planning future journeys to look forward to will give you a mental break from lamenting the end of this one. Create a vision board for your next dream getaway, whether your funds allow for a two-week rail journey across Europe or a long weekend road trip to the next state over.

Practice What You Learned

Maybe you attended an immersive two-week cooking school in the heart of Tuscany, or your host mom taught you to make fresh samosas from scratch in Nepal. Infuse a healthy dose of your host country into your everyday life by practicing what you’ve learned abroad. Seek opportunities to host Italian-themed dinner parties with your friends, and watch movies in the new language you’ve acquired to seamlessly incorporate your most recent journey into your everyday life.

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