How to Recover from Vacation

Yesterday I posted about our recent trip to Florida and the Bahamas, but I didn’t recap the rest of the weekend, which was occupied by a stark return to reality.

While it’s awesome to go on a trip, returning is usually a big drag. 

Here are a few ways to smooth out the transition:

  • If possible, do laundry on the trip. Coming home with a suitcase of clean clothes is so much nicer than one jammed with dirty stuff. A surprising number of resorts have laundry facilities and they often have industrial (read: fast) washers and driers. A one hour investment of your vacation time will pay big dividends.
  • If you can’t do laundry, at least organize your dirty clothes into distinct loads. On our recent trip, I did laundry mid-way through but still had about three new loads by the end. I used plastic bags to keep lights, darks and colors separated so that when I got home, I could just empty each bag into the washing machine without additional sorting time.
  • Have bulky souvenirs shipped to your house. This saves valuable suitcase space and will likely be safer transport for fragile items. A lot of places will even ship for free. Alternate plan: see if any souvenirs you like can be ordered online once you’re home.
  • Try to come home on a Friday or Saturday. Nothing is worse than getting home at 9 PM on Sunday night with a full week looming ahead.
  • Unpack right away. Tripping over half-filled suitcases for a week just prolongs the misery.
  • Caveat: Consider not unpacking everything. I have a toiletries case that just about always stays fully packed, ready to go at a moment’s notice. I replenish anything that gets low, but I never fully unpack the bag in between trips. This requires buying an extra toothbrush, deodorant, etc, but it’s worth it.
  • If possible, arrange to come home to a clean house. We have cleaners that come once a week, and they came while we were gone. Spouse stayed behind this time, so the house was also warm when we arrived. If you have a friend or neighbor watching the house, ask them to turn up the heat a few hours before your expected return.
  • Have some healthy food waiting for you, even if it’s frozen. Let’s face it: vacation is often about dietary derailment, so being able to eat something nutritious (Veggie soup?) avoids reflexive pizza ordering.
  • On the front end, snap a picture of where you parked your car. Wandering around the parking garage at the airport for a lost car is a particular kind of misery I don’t want to experience.
  • Make your bed before you leave. It’s so much nicer to come home to a fresh dressed bed than a pile of twisted sheets. It’s a small thing but makes a difference.

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