Ugh. The post travel blues. It’s not a part of travel we like to talk about but it certainly is a reality for many travellers.
The post travel blues are the feelings you have when you get home from a trip and everything is just a little bit dark and gloomy. You’d give anything to be back in X country and you spend all of your time looking up flight deals and hotel stays. Getting back to your daily life is a struggle and nothing seems as fun as being on another trip.
I’m an emotional person who definitely feels some very high highs and very low lows just in my regular life – you don’t want to be anywhere near me when I’m hangry. So I definitely suffer from the post travel blues. It’s doubly hard because I work from home so finding motivation to get things done during a blue period is almost impossible.
But there is a way through the post travel blues! You don’t have to be blue forever. Check out my tips below for surviving the post travel blues and let me know if you have any tips of your own.
Live in the blues
My first tip for surviving the post travel blues is actually just to accept that this is how you’re feeling and live in it for a moment. I always say that your feelings are never wrong. You can’t feel incorrectly. So if you’re feeling sad or gloomy, that’s okay! You don’t have to be a ray of sunshine every minute of the day. Give yourself permission to be a little sad and sulky.
If you know that the post travel blues are a problem for you, try to fit them into your trip planning. Give yourself an extra day at home before you have to go back to work or don’t make any plans for the weekend if you assume you’ll just want to curl up in bed.
Have a treat to look forward to
Another way to get through the post travel blues is to have something special at home that you’re really looking forward to. For me, it’s usually reuniting with our pup, Ellie! I also love having access to the rest of my wardrobe, sleeping in my own bed, and taking a good shower (not that I don’t shower on the road – I just like my shower at home better!). I also love eating some favourite foods that I may not have been able to get on my latest trip.
Write a journal or blog post
Case in point: this blog post right here! As a writer, I’m a big fan of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to work through my feelings. Often, I don’t know exactly how to explain my feelings. But once I start typing, the words just spill right out of me.
You can also use this method to document your trip. A great way to relive your trip is to write all about it on a blog or in a journal.
Go through your photos
This may hurt or help your post travel blues, but I’d like to think it will help if you go into it with the right mindset. Instead of looking at your photos and feeling bad about how you’re not there anymore, look at them and be excited for the memories you made. Cherish your experiences and relive your amazing trip all over again!
Give people gifts
Buying souvenirs for friends and family abroad brings me both joy and stress. I love when I find that one perfect thing that I know someone back home is going to love. But I get a little stressed when I can’t find something for someone I want to buy for, when the thing I find is really expensive, or when I have no room in my carry-on for souvenirs.
But if you do happen to come back with a few little gifts, it can really help curb the post travel blues to play Santa Claus and hand those gifts out. Everyone likes getting gifts – and that joy will bounce back on you, the gift giver. Plus, it’s so fun to share a story about the souvenir you brought back and watch someone else experience the joy of eating lilikoi butter from Hawaii or hanging a painting from China.
Send yourself a postcard
I love snail mail! If you’re looking for a pen pal, I’m your girl. And the best kind of snail mail is postcards from abroad. I have to admit that I haven’t sent too many postcards on my latest trips as I usually make it home before a postcard would. But really, that’s no reason not to send them! Postcards are still really awesome to write and receive.
So why not send one to yourself? You’ll love getting that surprise in the mail when your postcard finally shows up. And by reading the message on the back, you’ll get to experience exactly how you were feeling that day all over again.
Buy souvenirs you can use
When it comes to souvenirs, Colin and I like to buy a magnet for the fridge and a sticker for Colin’s computer that is covered in travel stickers. And that’s it. We don’t collect much and the things we do collect, magnets and stickers, are both light weight and low cost. We don’t buy shot glasses, specialty mugs or key chains.
But I do like to buy local items that are special and that I couldn’t get back home. I also choose items that I can actually use back home. So I probably won’t opt for a paperweight that says “Iceland” on it – but lava salt collected from an Icelandic volcano or local Icelandic beer? That I will buy. A great way to get through the post travel blues is to pull out those souvenirs you bought and put them to good use. It’s like bringing a little piece of the place home with you.
Make a scrapbook
Making a scrapbook is a really fun and creative way to document your trip and work through those blues. I know I sound like one of those crazy ladies on House Hunters who wants to have a dedicated craft room, but I promise scrapbooking doesn’t have to be that dorky. I really enjoy mapping out pages and creating a scrapbook with our photos and other fun things I’ve brought back from the trip like entrance tickets, maps and brochures.
Do some local travel
How do you stop the post travel blues? You start travelling! Of course, it’s not always feasible to get home from Iceland and head out to Amsterdam 10 days later like someone I know… But it is possible to plan something a little closer to home. Maybe you can head out of town for the weekend. Or it can be as simple as driving to a new park or beach you haven’t been to before. Explore your own backyard!
Share in a travel forum
Travel forums and groups are fantastic. I’m part of a number of travel groups on Facebook and I love reading through the posts to see where other people are going. It’s also a great place to get travel advice and to share some travel wisdom.
And – let’s be honest – these are the people who actually want to hear about your trip! You can post all about your latest trip and share all of your photos. The people in these groups and forums will eat that up. Your co-workers might not really care how you spent your five days in Paris but strangers on Facebook will! Plus, you can pass on your best Paris tips to anyone else planning a Paris trip.
The best way to survive the post travel blues? Start planning your next trip!
The best cure for the post travel blues is planning another trip, of course! I always love having another trip on the books. It’s great to be able to throw yourself into planning something new and to learn from your mistakes on your last trip. It can even be fun to start planning big future trips. When we got back from London and Iceland, I started doing a lot of research into a year-long round the world (RTW) trip. Are we going on one anytime soon? Nope! But it was a lot of fun reading blog posts about similar trips, planning an itinerary and coming up with a budget.
How do you survive the post travel blues? Let me know!
PS: Do you know my favourite cure for the post travel blues? Getting some new comments and subscribers to my blog 😉 If you don’t want me to be blue, leave me a comment below or subscribe to the blog through the box in the sidebar or the banner at the bottom of the page. Thank you!