There’s no place like home, especially when you’ve been away for a while. Traveling can take a lot out of you, so when you get home you’ll more than likely feel the “travel blues,” a little out of place, like you don’t fit in. It’s important to get back into a routine after traveling.
Spending a lot of time abroad gives you the opportunity to connect further with a new country and community. You’ve likely enjoyed new food, exciting adventures, and new friends. Perhaps you became close with your host family. These are all great things about traveling. You can fully immerse yourself in the experience and the change from your daily routine. However, it can be difficult to adjust once you get home and try to get back to daily life.
“Missing” is a big part of this process. You’ll miss your home away from home and all that entails: friends, food, the culture, and perhaps not having work or other responsibilities.
Here are a few tips to help you throughout the process of settling back into a routine:
Unpack and Settle Back into a Routine After Traveling
As you arrive, it’s easy to start putting off all the basic chores you need to do to get back to normal life. Don’t let your suitcases sit there whilst you mope around or spend your days feeling blue about being back.
Conquer jet lag
When traveling across time zones, jet lag may be inevitable, but take steps to eliminate it as quickly as you can. It can take a day to recover for each time zone you crossed. Meaning, if you traveled from Chicago to Paris — a seven hour time difference — it can likely take up to seven days to get back on track. Most people don’t have seven days to work through this when they get back home.
Some things you can do to lessen jet lag symptoms are to stay hydrated and avoid caffeine. Depending if you are traveling east to west, or west to east, you can start changing your bedtime by a half hour each day. Many people have had success eliminating jet lag by setting their watches (and their minds) to their “home time” when they get on their plane. They sleep on the plane — or at least avoid electronics and really try to rest.
At the very least, be aware of jet lag and how it can impact your mood. Go to bed early if you need to in order to ensure you’re getting the rest you need.
Unpack right away
Unpack quickly. Sort things out, take care of dirty laundry, put away shoes, and put away your suitcases.
If you purchased memorabilia or treasures, put them away or find a new place in your home for them.
If you need to pack away summer or winter gear, make sure you do that too.
Laundry is a pain, but finishing it quickly will eliminate more to do later as it just piles up.
Get back to work
Do your best to get back to daily chores. If you have a job, make sure you return quickly. If you work from home, make sure you have your office space set up and ready so you can get back on track. Free your area from distractions. When you have an inviting space with proper, functional office furniture, you will increase productivity.
Getting busy will take your mind off your travels. It’s okay to reminisce but don’t spend your days focused on missing, reliving and being sad about arriving back home. Remember the good!
Print your pictures
So often we take hundreds of pictures from our travels but do nothing with them. We love the convenience of digital cameras and smart phones but we end up taking lots of pictures we never look at again. Take time soon after your trip to go through your photos.
Email some to your host family or the new friends you met while traveling. Order or print out some of your favorite pictures to display at home and in your work space… even if it’s a few 4″ x 6″ photos to hang on your refrigerator. Enlarge one or two for your wall or for an 8″ x 10″ frame. You can print several and rotate them.
Take the time to enjoy your pictures by putting them in an album or making a digital album with them. This way, you will enjoy your memories and can relive the good times.
Write a thank you note
Did someone help you on your trip? Did you spend time with a host family? Write an old fashioned, hand written thank you note! Take the time to write about your time with them and how they impacted your trip. Enclose a picture or two for a really nice touch. It’s rare to get mail in our electronic world. Maybe you’ll even start a pen pal relationship with your new friends around the globe.
Reconnect with family and friends
If you’ve been away for a long time, it’s important that you reconnect quickly with your friends and family. They will all be excited to have you back and eager to hear about your travels. Show them your photos and talk with them about what you enjoyed about your trip.
When you are getting back to your routine after traveling, it is important that you focus on being back and work on re-building and continuing your relationships.
You can still make time for your new faraway friends. Busy is good!
Share your experiences
Talking about your travels: the things you saw, the places you visited, and the people you met will allow you to relive the experience.
Do remember to keep yourself in check. Be sure to consider who you are talking to and be sure to keep their interest by talking about other things in addition to your vacation.
Sharing will allow you relive the experience and share it. Also, it will allow you to start putting it behind you to move on.
You can also organize a little get-together at home, invite your friends and family, provide a little entertainment with a slide show of your travels.
Start planning your next trip
There is no better way to get over travel blues than to start planning your next destination. Hop online, work on your bucket list, research new locations or start working on a saving’s plan.
Sometimes it’s difficult getting back into a routine after traveling. Setting new goals and focusing on new experiences will quickly get you in the mood for traveling again.