We all know that feeling: when you return home from a fabulous trip and struggle to reacclimatize to everyday life. Post-travel hangovers can leave you exhausted, unmotivated, or blue (if not all three). But with a few simple tips and tricks, you can beat the inertia, dive right back into a productive routine, and even infuse your home life with that excitement and inspiration you felt while you were away. Read on for 10 ways to prevent that next vacation hangover.
Do this, if nothing else: Unpack your bags as soon as possible. While you might tell yourself that tomorrow is just as good as today to begin the annoying (and potentially heartbreaking) process of removing all signs of your recent trip, you're really just fooling yourself. Each day that you let your unpacked suitcase take up space in the corner of your bedroom is another day that you're not fully committing yourself to the present time and place.
Leaving a mountain of dirty vacation clothes in your hamper is almost as bad as leaving it in your suitcase. Take some time out of your schedule to launder, fold, and put away the bathing suits and shorts that are only serving as painful midwinter reminders of the 80-degree weather you were basking in just a few days ago.
Go Grocery Shopping
Your fridge is most likely empty -- or funky-smelling from that spinach you forgot to throw away before you left -- so clean it out, then head to the grocery store and stock up on your regular essentials. It may seem like a small thing, but having your go-to snacks and food items right where you're used to seeing them will go far toward making your house seem like home again.
Detox From Vacation Food
One of the best parts of traveling is trying out new foods and savoring every last special treat. But when you get back, your body will probably be craving fruits and veggies, so give it what it needs. Take a break from rich, heavy feasts by avoiding takeout and preparing a few healthy dinners yourself. While it might seem ho-hum after a week of dressing up for fancy out-of-town restaurants, making a meal in your own kitchen can really help you settle back in and getting a healthier eating routine back on track.
Get Some Exercise
Beat the post-travel blues by releasing some endorphins via physical activity, whether it's getting back into the swing of your yoga-class schedule or going on a run. The disappointment you might feel as a result of your vacation's end can lead to the feeling that nothing -- aside from getting on a plane and heading straight back -- can bring about that same energy again. Blast those thoughts away with a good workout session and remind yourself that there are many ways to get that feel-good boost.
Balance Your Budget
Make sure to check your bank-account balance as soon as you get home, if you weren't already keeping up with it while you were away. Not only will your travel spending inform your budget decisions for the immediate future, but you'll want to take a close look at your statement -- while the recent charges are still fresh in your mind -- to make sure there is nothing you need to take up with the bank.
Organize Your Photos
Wait too long to unload, edit, and share your travel photos, and you'll run the risk of forgetting the rich details of your trip. Don't let your camera collect dust: Block out a few hours and organize your snaps. Instead of mourning the loss of those scenic vistas, relive your vacation by making a photo album that serves as a reminder of why you love to travel.
Beat the Jet Lag
On your first Monday back in the office, don't give in to that urge to crawl under your desk and take a nap at 2 p.m. Instead, fight your jet lag by going to bed at the normal hour for your current location (taking melatonin or sleeping aids if necessary) and staying hydrated. You can also start fighting impending jet lag before it even starts; read our tips for avoiding it here.
Nurse Your Reverse Culture Shock
To beat that "What am I doing in [insert boring place] when I could be back in [insert fabulous vacation destination]?" feeling, try to remind yourself of the things that you love about your hometown. What that means is entirely subjective, but it could be anything from taking a walk through the park near your house to catching up with friends at your favorite neighborhood bar. Just remember that if you were always on vacation, there'd be nothing left to look forward to (and you'd be very broke).
Plan the Next One
In the midst of this thrust to readjust to regular life, make sure you take time to reflect on your trip and share the details of your getaway with friends and family. Think about everything you learned and what you most want to take away from the experience. And then start planning again! There's no better way to cure a travel hangover than to pull out a map, do some research, and get excited about the amazing adventures to come.
--By Julianne Lowell