Just like that, our three week road trip around France and Italy is over. No matter how long a vacation is, it has to come to an end at some point. That’s when many people, myself included, deal with post travel blues.
For me, the post travel blues are most intense after coming back from a trip that’s particularly meaningful for me. France is a country that I feel deeply connected to and coming back from from France always feels especially rough for me. Since I’m up early from jet lag, I thought I’d share a few ways I’m dealing with post travel blues.
How To Deal With Post Travel Blues
1 // What do you love right now?
While we were dining at a gluten free Michelin restaurant, we got to talking with the co owner of the place. He was telling us stories about how he used to be a master sushi chef many years ago. I asked him if he ever missed his work as a sushi chef since what he does now is so different. He responded simply, “when you love your life, you never miss anything.”
I thought that was so incredibly profound. It’s so true, holding on to a past chapter just ensures that you miss seeing how truly beautiful current chapter is. As someone who can get nostalgic, I often think back to the past with longing but I never realized how that could be preventing me from fully enjoying my current moment.
This is also a brilliant way to deal with post travel blues. Rather than focusing on what you’re missing, why not ask yourself, “what do I love right now?” There always so much to love in any given moment. Sometimes it just takes looking at it a little more intention.
2 // Bring home pieces of travel
While I love bringing home souvenirs from my travels and filling our home with pieces from the places we’ve been, what’s even better is bringing home what we’ve learned. My favorite aspect of travel is how it can teach you more about yourself and the world. You come home changed, hopefully for the better.
While Bassam and I have different travel styles, one thing we have in common is that we love talking to locals and learning more about their culture. We always try to soak up knowledge about how they live their lives. I particularly love learning their secrets to happiness and marriage, while both Bassam and I love learning more about daily routines and how they eat.
An amazing way to deal with post travel blues, is deciding what to incorporate into your life post travel. For us, trips to France always inspire us to slow down more in our day-to-day lives and to cherish our mealtimes together. We have a whole post on French lifestyle tips you can steal to live a happier life.
3 // What do you miss most?
An aspect of post travel blues is that there is something that you’re missing. Often when we are on vacation we are free from the “must dos” that take over our lives and we are able to give into the pleasures that satisfy us most.
Take a few minutes to reflect on this and make a list of what you miss the most. Then for each item, figure out how you can recreate that in your everyday life. It may not look exactly how it did while you were on vacation, but there is usually a way to incorporate some aspect of it into your life.
For example, my list might look something like this:
Spending lots of time with Bassam –> Schedule and commit to nightly dinners or a nightly walk together
New experiences and exploring new places –> Take a new route to work, explore a new neighborhood each week
Amazing meals and dining experiences –> Research new recipes, course out our regular meals
4 // What are you escaping from?
Vacations are also often a time that we escape from more unpleasant or undesirable aspects of our lives. Similarly as above, take some time to reflect on what you might be escaping while you travel and how you can potentially eliminate some aspects of that from your daily life. You might not be able to get rid of it completely, but there’s usually more we can do to change our life situations than we always realize.
For example, my list might look something like this:
Long drives and commutes –> I can’t get rid of this, but I can make it more enjoyable by downloading exciting new audio books
Meal planning –> Sign up for a meal delivery service or take one day a week to meal plan with Bassam and make it a fun activity
Bassam’s list might look like this:
Hectic work days –> Take an actual lunch break each day, even if for only 15 minutes
Walking the dogs –> Create a schedule with Lena to alternate the responsibility
5 // Ease back in
It can tempting to go full force with life responsibilities when getting back from a trip, after all, your inbox is probably demanding serious attention from you. Regardless, try your best to ease back into daily life and responsibilities so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.
I always try to make my first day back at work as light as possible. I schedule myself for a solid chunk of just answering emails so I can get caught up and try to avoid scheduling any meetings that day. I’ll also plan to go to a cafe for lunch or work from a cafe for a bit so that I can still have “vacation vibes”.
If at all possible, try to schedule an extra day off before going back to work. For example, you could arrive back Saturday night so you have Sunday to transition or take your first day back as one of your vacation days.
6 // Get settled back in
I’m the queen of leaving my stuff sitting in the suitcase for weeks before unpacking, but Bassam is one of those immediate unpacker people. I’ve tried it his way and I have to admit, it really does help with the back-to-real-life transition.
If at all possible, unpack within a few hours after getting back home. I know it’s the last thing you want to do after being so tired, but it’s really nice to get it out of the way. It’s also a really great way to feel settled. (Lazy tip: I just dump all my clothes in the washing machine even if they aren’t dirty. Makes it faster and I love knowing everything is super clean)
We also grocery shop the first day back so that we can feel settled in and make our home feel more homey. If grocery shopping is one of those things that you love escaping from, consider doing an online grocery order or setting up a meal delivery to arrive your first day back.
This is what works for us, but figure out what small things you can do to feel more settled in at home.
7 // Fill your calendar with things to look forward to
One of the biggest aspects of post travel blues is that you’ve been so used to having exciting things and anticipation and now it’s all over. To combat this, fill your calendar with things to look forward to. You can do this on your first day back or maybe even plan a few things before you leave on your trip. This will help you maintain that feeling of anticipation and it won’t be such a drastic transition from a vacation where you constantly have exciting things going on.
Keep in mind, these don’t all have to be giant things. It can be as simple as a night of catching up on your favorite show that you didn’t watch while you were away. The point is just to have things that you enjoy to look forward to.
8 // Recreate your trip
Sometimes no matter how wonderful your life is or how much you love where you live, you just really miss the country you traveled to! This is how I feel with France all the time! A way to deal with this type of post travel blues is to figure out how you can recreate your experiences in that destination at home.
Here are a few ideas:
Find spots in your home town that are similar to the destination. For example, one weekend, Bassam and I went around LA and found a bunch of cool French places to have a French inspired day
Read books set in the travel destination you’re missing
Eat at restaurants that serve that cuisine or make it yourself at home! Bassam and I have hosted French inspired dinner parties
Look through your travel photos! Something I love about blogging is that I get to relive each trip we take with the blog posts I write
9 // Use it get into a better routine
Bassam and I always come back from travel feeling refreshed and motivated to make over our daily routines. We get inspired to eat healthier, have better work life balance, etc. Capitalize on the feeling of being refreshed after vacation by making over your daily routine.
It’s much easier to revamp your routine after being away from it for some time because you’ve broken the momentum of doing the same thing every day and you can transition to something different a little bit easier.
Spend some time on your arrival day thinking about what your ideal daily routine looks like and plan that into your calendar for the start of the week!
Something that I especially love about coming back from an international destination is that jet lag has me waking up much earlier. I try to take advantage of that as much as possible by getting blog work done before work (like right now) or exercising in the morning. I haven’t been successful with shifting to be a morning person long term but I am able to keep the routine going for a few weeks and it feels great!
At the end of the day, transitioning back from vacation mode to real life mode is not easy, but there are ways to ease post travel blues. If tips like these aren’t working for you and you feel a great amount of dread and anxiety, you may want to consider speaking with a health care professional. We hope that these tips were helpful for you and would love to know what you do to deal with post travel blues!
You might also like: How To Live Life Like a Vacation