How to Deal With Post-Travel Blues

Learn how to ease back into routine, create a soothing post-travel environment, and keep the travel spirit alive at home. Say goodbye to the travel blues and embrace the richness of everyday life.

Coming back from an amazing trip can sometimes leave us feeling a little blue. You’ve been out exploring, adventuring, and soaking up a new culture, and suddenly, you’re back to the routine and the familiar. 

It’s normal to feel this way — it’s known as post-travel blues.

But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. As someone who has experienced the post travel blues many times, I will share my best strategies to help you overcome them and get back on your feet, motivated and reconnected with your daily life.

Remember, the end of your trip doesn’t have to mean the end of the adventure. 

What's Inside

Understanding Post-Travel Blues

Post-travel blues, also known as holiday blues or post-vacation blues, is a common mood experienced by many travelers. It occurs after a long, relaxing, or exciting trip. You might experience feelings of lacklustre, nostalgia, and a strong longing to be back on the road.

It’s not an uncommon feeling, but it can be unsettling. Especially when you contrast it with the excitement and anticipation felt before and during the journey. 

Recognizing Symptoms of Post-Travel Depression

Coming home after a phenomenal trip can make reality look pretty lackluster.

Exploring new places, cultures, and taking a break from routine can make it hard to return to normal life.

When these normal ‘back-to-reality’ feelings morph into persistent sadness, lack of energy, and longing to return to the journey, it’s time to acknowledge that you might be facing the post-travel blues, also referred to as post-travel depression. 

Identifying the symptoms of post-travel depression is the first step towards coping with it effectively. So, let’s delve into what symptoms to look out for: 

  1. Feeling sad for no reason for a long time after traveling might be a sign of post-travel depression.
  2. Apathy: The everyday tasks you used to do before your journey now feel mundane and pointless. Your motivation levels are lower than usual, and daily chores seem insurmountable.
  3. Nostalgia and Longing: You have a strong desire to go back to the places you’ve visited. You continuously look at your photos, reminisce about the travel experiences, and have a deep sense of missing out.
  4. Difficulty in returning to routine: You’re having a hard time transitioning back to your daily routine. It’s been weeks since you got back, yet it feels tough to slip back into the work or school routine.
  5. Isolation: Post-travel blues may lead to social withdrawal. You might avoid parties. You might feel more shy. You might find it easier to bond with other travelers than with friends or family.

Note: It’s important to remember that not all feelings of sadness or nostalgia after travel are indicators of post-travel depression. If these symptoms continue and affect your daily life, it may be worrying. Seeking professional help could be helpful. 

Just as recognizing symptoms is crucial, understanding the methods to cope with them plays a vital role as well. So, let’s take a leap into coping strategies for post-travel blues in the next section. 

Creating a Soothing Post-Travel Environment

Coming home after a journey can sometimes feel a bit jarring. There you were, out in the world, exploring new cultures, tasting mouth-watering cuisine, and soaking up the sunshine on golden beaches. Now, you’re back to regular morning traffic, stacks of administrative work, and a predictable, familiar environment. It’s perfectly normal to feel down after such a drastic change.

So, how do you create a soothing post-travel environment to help you transition back into your daily routine? Let’s explore. 

Cozy up at home with a good book to combat post travel blues.

1. Fill Your Surroundings with Pleasant Memories

One of the first things you might want to consider doing is decorating your home or workspace with mementos from your journey. These could include photos, postcards, or small keepsakes you might have picked up along the way. Surrounding yourself with pleasant travel-related memories can help to keep your spirits up. 

2. Ease Back into Your Routine Gradually

With all good intentions, jumping straight back into your full-on routine might feel quite overwhelming. So, instead of going from zero to one hundred, ease back into it. Maybe start working half-days or carry out less strenuous responsibilities for the first couple of days. Remember, it’s okay to take your time and take it slow. 

3. Create a Comforting Lifestyle Routine

Getting back into the swing of things after an enjoyable vacation can often feel like a huge hurdle. But crafting a comforting post-travel routine can do wonders in alleviating some of these difficulties. 

Remember: Transition is a process, not a race. Give yourself permission to take it at your pace, and adjust when necessary.

Setting Goals for a Smooth Transition Back to Normalcy

As you cross the threshold back into your everyday life, it’s understandable to feel a pang of sadness. The allure of foreign lands, novel experiences, and thrilling adventures has a powerful pull.

But remember, completely diving into routine work right after a vacation might reverse all the relaxation and peace you enjoyed while traveling. That’s why setting achievable goals post-travel can play a crucial role in combating the post-travel blues. 

Goal setting gives you something to focus on and work towards, outside of your yearning to be back on the road. Start by setting small objectives that not only bring consistency, but also offer a sense of accomplishment each day.

How to Keep the Travel Spirit Alive at Home

It’s tempting to feel like your adventure is over once you return home from your trip, but nothing could be further from the truth. Keeping the travel spirit alive at home is a wonderful way to tackle post-travel blues, and the point is, you don’t need to leave your town or city to continue exploring. 

Stay-cations, exploring your own town or city as if you were a tourist, can help stimulate the same sense of novelty and curiosity that you experience when traveling. Plus, it’s a great way to discover hidden gems in your own backyard. Take a day or two off work, put that vacation responder on your emails, and immerse yourself in your local culture. 

Another great strategy is to bring an element of your travels back with you. This could be a photograph, a piece of art, a recipe, or even a new hobby.

Schedule dedicated time in your week to revisit these experiences. Cook the meal you learned to make in Italy, flip through pictures from your trip to Bali, or continue learning the language you picked up in Spain. These activities let you relive the joy of your trip, even from the comfort of your home. 

Remember, just because you’re not currently hopping on a plane or backpacking through a foreign country, doesn’t mean your journey has to end. Exploring the world includes exploring your world at home. Keeping the spirit of curiosity and adventure alive is key to easing back into your routine. 

So, the next time post-travel blues start creeping up on you, just remember: you can’t have a next amazing travel experience if you’re not at home to plan it! 

Incorporating Travel Elements into Your Daily Routine

Let’s face it. There’s a certain allure to the diverse experiences we encounter while traveling, and it’s no wonder that we long for them once we get home. So why not bring some of those travel vibes into your daily life? 

Speak the Language: If your last trip was to a foreign country, continue learning the local language. This could be through language learning apps, online courses, or even watching movies in that language. This way, a part of the trip remains with you, keeping the post-travel blues at bay. 

Experiment with Travel-Inspired Recipes: Fell in love with a particular dish during your trip? Try recreating that cuisine at home! Cooking dishes from the places you’ve visited not only helps you relive your travel memories, but also adds culinary variety to your life. 

Decorate with Souvenirs: Souvenirs or artifacts bought during your travels can be great decorative pieces. They serve as reminders of your journey and can instantly transport you back to those wonderful moments. So yes, might as well hang that tapestry from Morocco, or display the mini Eiffel tower on your desk. 

Continue the Adventure: Traveling often involves stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Try to incorporate that adventurous spirit into your daily life. Join a new club, learn a new skill, or even take a different route to work. Make each day a mini adventure. 

Remember, incorporating travel elements into your daily routine acts as a reminder of the enriching experiences you had, and that more adventures await. This will not only help you cope with post-travel blues but also enriches your daily life in meaningful ways.

Final thoughts

Overcoming post-travel blues may seem daunting at first, but with patience, self-compassion, and a well-structured approach, recovery is more than attainable. Remember – every experience opens a window for personal development. 

Incorporating the strategies discussed earlier into your routine can help you in dealing with feelings of melancholy that often accompany the return to everyday life. 

“Travel is more than the seeing of sights. It is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

Your travels have enriched your life and broadened your horizons, and their influence doesn’t have to end the moment you arrive home. 

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