Returning from vacation is never easy. In fact, I hate it so much that my last day traveling typically involves a mix of nostalgia and mild depression. I force my travel partners to share their favorite vacation moments, hoping this trip down memory lane will somehow bring us back to day one.
Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.
Each traveler handles the “bon voyage” to their voyage differently, but at one point or another, those living with hopeless wanderlust will undoubtedly have one (or all) of these post-vacation thoughts.
1. Why does vacation end so quickly?
Ugh, why does it? No matter what, there’s always one more sight to see, one more mountain to climb or one more person to meet.
While I can’t give you more time, I can tell you to follow your adventure instincts while traveling. If there’s an incredible whale watching tour, watch whales. If you’re visiting the Great Barrier Reef, scuba dive. When travel time is limited, make the most of each and every little moment, even if it’s a bit beyond your budget.
2. How can I keep these travel vibes going?
Whether you’re “ya mon!” on the beach or alone with your thoughts on a mountain, you’ll no doubt want to bring these blissful scenes back home. When you’ve returned home from a trip, try visiting a local museum, exploring a new park or planning a weekend road trip. While it won’t take you back to, say, Jamaica, it will keep your wanderlust slightly at bay.
3. When can I get back here?
As travelers, we want to constantly explore new, exciting destinations, but we also want to revisit our favorite places. Case in point? I already have a list of what to do next time I’m in Iceland … and my trip just ended. One week ago.
Make your own list following each trip, and add it to your “travel queue” so you can remember this vacation option in the future.
4. How can I relive my vacation?
With today’s technology, we have more opportunities than ever to digitally travel back to our favorite destinations. Take videos while vacationing, and watch them back home with your travel mates. Leave reviews for some of your favorite restaurants, hotels or museums. Join travel communities where you can share memories with like-minded adventurers.
While technology is never as good as the real thing, it’s an easy way to cure your post-travel blues.
5. What should I do with my photos?
So. Many. Photos. I struggle with this constantly. I love being a photographer in the moment, but then I get home and … yeah. The thousands of photos are still there, waiting for a purpose.
Lightroom is an easy, inexpensive way to organize and edit your photos. Once you’ve selected your top shots, compile them in a photo book to share with friends and, if you’re like, flip through regularly to pretend you’re still abroad.
6. How do I tell my friends about my trip?
Our generation loves a good visual. Whether it’s that lovely photobook you created or simply scrolling through your iPhone, add some images to your travel tales and you’ll have a captivated (perhaps slightly jealous) audience.
7. How do I get back into work?
Woof. This is a tough one. Not only are you facing time change, vacation withdrawals and an overwhelming number of photos to sort through — you also have to get back into the work groove.
If you can, sort through your email and prioritize your to-do list while traveling home. Nothing’s better than feeling organized on day one. If you’re feeling extra nostalgic or slightly depressed, add a SFW vacation photo to your desktop background when you’re back in the office. My background is from a winery overlooking Tuscany, reminding me that somewhere, in some time zone, it’s always time for wine.
8. What should I add to my bucket list?
My list is so large, the bucket could supply water to the entire country of Iceland — and it’s still growing. In north Iceland, we were 25 miles from the Arctic Circle; now I want to go to the North Pole. In Spain, we traveled all over the southern coast, but didn’t hit hard-to-reach Gibraltar. Guess what destination is now on my list.
Post-vacation is a great time to add to the bucket list, because your mind is in adventure mode, and you need an exciting, adventure-filled distraction.
9. Where am I going next?
When one vacation ends, another begins. I spend every last meal and return flight plotting out the next destination, be it a major trip abroad or a mini weekend getaway, to keep my post-vacation sadness at bay.
Does planning a new trip or scrolling through photos make it easier to leave a perfect vacation? Absolutely not. I’d trade in my camera (well, maybe my point-and-shoot), for a lifetime of never-ending country hopping.
But here’s the great thing about travel: There’s always, always a new adventure waiting to be had. It’s up to you to make it happen.