Traveling is one of the most enjoyable activities you can do. It broadens your mind, gives you many stories and experiences to tell others, helps you learn new skills, and finds new depths in your own personality and soul.
However, when your travels are over, and it’s time to return home, it’s not unusual for some people to feel a little downhearted. If that sounds like you, here is our guide for beating post-travel blues and staying happy all year round.
What are Post-Travel Blues?
Post-travel blues (PTB) is a term used to describe the melancholy you feel after returning from a fantastic trip. It’s what you experience after a long journey, and the “real world” comes back into focus again.
It can be experienced in varying intensity, from mild homesickness to full-blown depression. Post-vacation depression is no joke. If the feelings persist, it can even lead to serious mental illness.
It’s a common condition that affects the mental health of most travelers. It’s also known as post-travel depression (PTD), post-vacation blues, or post-holiday blues. Post-travel depression can also happen when someone returns from living abroad for an extended period.
No one knows what exactly causes post-travel depression, but there are some plausible theories. Some say the large change in the environment causes it. At the same time, others will argue that it’s caused by the body’s inability to adapt to new weather conditions.
Some even liken it to a sort of reverse homesickness, as you’ve gotten used to a new home while away. Then, there’s always the possibility you’re just coming home to a new job you’re scared of, going back to school, or just some regular old normal routine, humdrum rubbish that.
There’s even the possibility you don’t feel good because your vacation didn’t live up to your dreams and you can’t wait for your next trip abroad in search of new places to explore! Whatever the reason is, one thing is sure; post-travel depression can have severe consequences on people’s mental health and well-being.
Symptoms of PTB
PTB can be as mild as a feeling of sadness or as severe as depression. It is possible to feel “blue” for a few hours or days, but it can also last for several weeks or longer. You may feel lonely, irritable, restless, tired, or lacking in motivation. Your appetite may increase or decrease dramatically, and you will probably have trouble concentrating on work or home tasks.
It may seem like everyone else is enjoying life normally, but you are stuck in a dark place with no way out! Reality check folks! These are symptoms of real depression! PTB is a big deal!
Top Tips For Beating Post-Travel Blues
1. Understand It’s Normal
The first step in beating post-travel depression is to understand that it’s okay to feel sad when you come home from an amazing trip. For example; you’ve had this great experience, and now it’s over; why wouldn’t you feel sad?
It’s completely normal to feel down when you get home to a pile of bills, work emails, and a ton of laundry. The good news is that post-travel depression doesn’t have to be a permanent state of mind.
The good news is, you can do many things to help yourself get back into the swing of things at home and beat the depression.
2. Plan Ahead For Your Return
To help stave off post-vacation blues, use the last day or two of your trip to decide what you will do when you get home.
Make reservations for dinner at your favorite local restaurant, schedule a massage, and make an appointment to see your best friend. If you plan something fun for each day of the week after you get home, you’ll have more to look forward to.
3. Avoid Stressful Situations
Don’t let yourself get too stressed out trying to transition from vacation to work mode. Try not to set unrealistic expectations for yourself when setting goals after returning from vacation. It’s especially worse if those expectations involve getting everything done immediately or all at once.
It’s important to remember that it takes time and patience when transitioning back into work mode after being on vacation mode. Give yourself a break!
4. Don’t Rush Getting Back into Work Mode
After returning from your trip, don’t rush back to work right away. If your trip was a once-in-a-lifetime thing and you enjoyed yourself, it can be challenging to get back into the daily grind after taking a month or more off to do something special.
Take some time off so you can enjoy your trip memories while they’re still fresh in your mind.
5. Get Together With Friends
When you first get back from your travels, it’s always nice to have some time alone to recuperate and reflect on all the good times you’ve had. But, once you’ve done this (usually about 24 hours is enough), it’s time to socialize.
Get in touch with old friends and spend time with family members you haven’t seen for a while and arrange some get-togethers. This will help you ease yourself back into everyday life while having fun simultaneously!
If nothing else, we’re social creatures, and talking to people we trust as our besties and parents can help with depression.
6. Keep The Holiday Feeling
To avoid the post-vocation blues, make every day count. Keep the holiday feeling and do something fun that doesn’t cost a lot of money!
Maybe it’s going to concerts or movies, using the library, or visiting a city park. Try something new and exciting that will get you out of the house. Remember, getting back into your routine doesn’t mean you’ve to stop having fun!
See Related: Best Holiday Destinations
7. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Another good way to beat post-holiday blues is to practice gratitude and write a journal every day. Write about the things you’re grateful for in your life.
You can include some of the best experiences of your life or write the best moments that have happened in the last 24 hours.
Keeping a gratitude journal will help you keep an optimistic perspective on your life and a positive mindset. If you need a little extra help in feeling grateful for anything (if you are, it’s perfectly normal), try The 5-Minute Gratitude Journal by Sophia Godkin.
8. Take Up a New Hobby
It’s hard to come back home after long, solitary travels. You have to adjust your life to fit in with other people, which can be frustrating if you have been a free spirit.
The best thing is to find a new hobby that interests you and dedicate your time to it. It could be anything! For instance, learning a language (our personal choice), going back to school, or learning an instrument. Plus a new language could come in handy for that next vacation…
The important thing is that it’s something that excites you and makes you feel like yourself again. All your energy will go into something positive instead of thinking about the past or getting frustrated about the present situation.
9. Discover Something New in Your Town
If you’re feeling down about being back in your hometown after traveling abroad, then get out and discover something new around you. There are bound to be some new things to discover within a short bus ride or train journey away from where you live.
Perhaps there’s an excellent restaurant that just opened up downtown or an incredible hiking trail nearby that you’ve never done before.
If you already know everything around where you live like the back of your hand, then plan a road trip with some friends. You can even just do some sightseeing in the city nearest to yours!
10. Pamper Yourself
To beat the post-vocation depression, take some time to be pampered. After returning home after a long trip, don’t expect things to feel the same as when you left. Instead, give yourself new experiences to help you reconnect with where you live.
Try meditating or ward off the stress. Take a long walk in the woods to relax or treat yourself by going out to a nice meal or shopping for new clothes. These activities will help you restore your appreciation for the place you call home.
11. Relive Your Trip
Look at your vacation photos as soon as you can. Immediately relive the best moments of your trip by viewing your favorite snapshots.
Try to remember how you felt when you took them and make notes about what was going on in the picture, who you were with, and what you were doing. You can also ask friends and family to share their favorite pictures from the trip so that everyone can reminisce together.
See Related: Ways to Get Paid to Travel and Take Photos
12. Make a Vacation Scrapbook or Photo Album
Creating a scrapbook or photo album is another excellent way to beat post-holiday blues. Upload all your photos, whether they be shots of the beautiful landscape or just silly moments with friends and family that made you laugh. Arrange them into a scrapbook or album so you can flip through them whenever you have a chance.
It’s a great way to remember all the fun you had on your trip abroad, and it’s something that will remain with you for years to come.
13. Do Some Sport
After long plane flights, you might feel a bit down because you’re in a new place and missing things from your trip. You can lessen this effect by playing a sport with friends. Exercising is a great way to release endorphins, putting you in a better mood and lowering your stress.
You’ll also be more likely to meet up with friends while playing sports than simply lounging around at home. Playing soccer with friends can be a fun way to ease yourself back into life at home.
14. Make Some Changes at Home
Have you ever noticed the positive effect redecorating the house can have on your mood? It might sound strange, but if you take some basic steps to upgrade the appearance of your home, you’ll quickly find yourself with a new lease on life.
Maybe your bed is uncomfortable, or you’ve wanted new curtains for ages – now is the time to make some changes around the house and make it more of a haven for yourself.
15. Blog About Your Trip
If you don’t already have one, this is a great way to keep your mind occupied with travel-related things until your next adventure!
Take time to blog about your travels and write down everything from memories of the food, people, and places you visited.
Write down what you learned about yourself, tips for other travelers, and even a list of things that could have made your trip better so that you’re armed with all this information for your next adventure!
The good news is that you can start a blog for as low as $3.95/month with Bluehost. It’s a great way to turn your hobby into a journal.
See Related: Best Travel Blog Ideas to Document Your Journey
16. Do Things You Enjoy
When returning home, don’t immediately jump back into your old routines. Take some time for yourself to unwind and relax by doing something you enjoy. This will keep you busy and happy until you get back into your daily routine.
If you’re a person who enjoys reading, then pick up a book you like, or if not, try to read something else. If you’re a person who loves watching TV shows, then pick up a movie that interests you or search the web for some good shows.
17. Stay in Touch With Travel Buddies
When you travel, don’t let the adventure end when you come home. For this, if you’ve met some interesting people while traveling, don’t lose touch with them right away. You can exchange emails or phone numbers.
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter are also great for staying in touch with people you have met. You can even set up phone dates to talk about your adventures. Share pictures and videos of your adventures with each other to cope with post-vocation depression.
18. Read a Book
Reading books set in places that you’ve visited is a great way to relive your experiences and keep those memories fresh in your mind long.
Honestly, books are fantastic for travelers for all kinds of reasons including mental well-being. A good page-turner will help you switch off from your real life by making you fully absorbed in another world.
19. Try Cooking Your Favorite Travel Food
Cooking the specialties you ate on vacation can give you a second taste of the trip, and that can be the perfect antidote for post-vacation blues.
Replicate your favorite dishes from Greece in your kitchen, including those delicious spanakopita triangles (filo dough filled with spinach and feta cheese).
This is not just a way to relive a fantastic meal. It’s a way to relive the whole experience of being there as if you’re trying to shake out every last drop of that travel high.
20. Plan your Next Trip
One way to beat the blues is by starting to plan future trips! Start thinking about your next adventure and what you’ll need to make it a success, after all, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Start researching flights, how much they cost, and which credit card to use for points. You can look into hotels and rentals, or consider what sort of rental car or tent you need for your camping road trip.
You can even go the extra mile and delve into which travel insurance plan works best for you and your next vacation destination.
See Related: Cheap Places to Travel
21. Become a Full-Time Traveler
Traveling the world, meeting new people, and seeing amazing places is an incredible experience. You get used to a life of adventure, romance, and new experiences. Sooner or later, you have to come home; but what if you don’t want to?
If you’re tired of post-travel depression, why not stay on the road and travel permanently? The saying is true; travel is addictive. The more you do it, the less satisfied you become with ordinary life. You become addicted to the newness of life on the road.
Eventually, you want nothing more than to travel all the time. Luckily there are ways in which you can keep traveling.