1suitcaseWe’ve all done it. Returning to real life after a vacation can be taxing on the best of us. We turn into cranky monsters- and I’m not talking about the toddlers! Read on for 5 tips to help you recover after time away from home.

1. Be prepared. So many times our minds are so wrapped up in preparing for the vacation (packing, planning, travel) that we leave the house in shambles. Before you go, stock fridge/freezer with several items that have long shelf lives. Returning home to frozen lasagna, orange juice and cream for your coffee will carry you through the first few days at home. Then do a quick cleaning before you leave. The tidier the house looks when you get back the more welcoming it will feel.

2. Pick the right vacation. Studies show that folks who consider their vacation relaxing retain the post vacation happy glow for longer. This means different things for different people. A beach vacation may be relaxing for you and your partner but add kids into the mix and a theme park with a relaxing resort hotel may keep everyone happier. Don’t try to cram too much into too little time- be realistic about your daily plans and leave time to relax. Above all- leave home at home! No working.

3. Stay on budget. One of the biggest post vacation let downs is worrying about how much money you spent. Make a budget and stick to it. Either use cash or be very disciplined with credit. Set aside money slowly before the vacation so you don’t worry about the expense. This will make returning home (and returning to your bills) less painful!

4. Buffer days. I cannot stress enough the importance of planning vacations that involve at least 2 buffer days before you return to the real world and work. The time spent at home will give you time to catch up and unwind a bit before you return to your daily routine. Sleep in the first day back. Upon waking grab all of the mail and head for your local coffee shop. Treat yourself to a cup, settle yourself in a cozy corner and go through everything at your leisure. For short vacations try to give yourself at least a full afternoon/evening to get things back on track. Do not attempt to get home, go to bed and get up for work the next day. 

5. Start planning your next vacation. After a vacation you can feel a little lost because it’s over. Start thinking about your next getaway even if it is a year away. This will give you something to look forward to. Also, this is a great opportunity to review with your family what they liked and disliked about your recent trip. This will help you to see what works for your family. Maybe the pool was great but an all-inclusive meal plan would have been better for your budget? These will be jumping off points for future planning. 

What do you do to ease the transition back to “real” life?

Nasreen Stump is a freelance writer who lives in Vermont, when she isn’t on the road for work. Check her out on Twitter @ramblingstump!