5 Post Vacation Survival Tips

Coming back from a vacation is hard. There’s unpacking and dirty laundry and no food in the fridge. Not to mention you’re exhausted (thanks, time change). In my utopia, we would all have a built-in Vacation Recovery Day to handle this re-entry exhaustion and stress, but we don’t. I recognize I could come home a day early and give myself my Vacation Recovery Day, but then I feel like I’m cutting my vacation short.

Trapped in this catch-22, I generally end up returning home from vacation on one evening, and then having to be at work bright and early the next morning. Am I alone? I suspect not.


In an effort to save myself some re-entry stress, here are my must-dos before I leave for a trip:

1. Food: leave at least one days’ worth of meals in the freezer/cupboard. These meals should be simple. Think oatmeal, smoothie ingredients, canned or frozen soup, pasta and sauce, frozen chicken breasts, etc.

2. Work clothes: have an outfit picked out for your first day back to work. You may not take these clothes with you on vacation, and are thus guaranteed to return home to at least one clean, coordinating outfit.

3. Toiletries: make sure this trip isn’t using up your last bit of shampoo or soap or toothpaste or…. There’s nothing worse than coming home exhausted, only to find you’re out of toilet paper or shampoo.

4. Think ahead: What are you going to need to take with you your first morning back at school or work? Put it all in one place, packed and ready to go.

5. Leave the house relatively clean: Emphasis on the “relatively.” For me, this means the kitchen has to be clean (anything gross in the fridge needs to be tossed and the dishes need to be done) and my bedroom has to be somewhat orderly.

Follow these five tips, and your jet-lagged, travel-weary self will thank your thoughtful, pre-vacation self!

I wanna know: How do YOU make returning from vacation less stressful?

2 thoughts on “5 Post Vacation Survival Tips

  1. Love your ideas of surviving vacation re-entry…. A couple ideas…. I have a travel toiletries bag with small bottles that can fly but can be re-filled. It just waits for me to want to travel. This has been particularly helpful in keeping me from forgetting one or more “necessary” items ( or the “just in case” ones) in a host of other items needing to be packed. (To make sure it is always ready to go, part of my re-entry procedure is to re-fill toiletry items for next travel moment.)

    Re re-entry: For a long time, I made part of the vacation planning the allowance that the night we returned, I did not have to think about the evening meal as it was included in the travel budget as another out to eat. Recently, as our trips have become somewhat longer, I’m less interested in another out to eat, so I follow your advice of thinking ahead for next day’s meals.

    And I have found that milk (as well as luncheon meat, bread and cheese) freezes just fine while we travel so that it is there for cereal the first breakfast or lunch on returning. You just have to leave yourself a note to pull it out of the freezer when you pull back in the driveway, because it is not particularly fast defrosting, especially if you have a substantial amount in the jug. The microwave works, but getting the milk to be the “just right” temperature is tricky in the microwave.

  2. It is so nice to come home to a clean bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, house, etc. That way the chaos you come home with is manageable. You are only dealing with that not that and cleaning the house. And it cuts way down on the time to getting back to normal cleaning stuff. I also like to put several freezer meals in the freezer before we leave. Ideally one or two are crock pot meals. That way dinner can prepare itself while I still work on loads of laundry and kids extra homework assignments. I also keep a travel toiletry case. I have forgotten things way too many times. These don’t usually expire so I refill or replace everything (or add anything necessary while I am still thinking of it) as soon as I get home so it is ready to go for the next time. when packing for six, anything that makes things easier is a blessing!

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