Post-Travel Depression (PTD); the struggle is real. Returning home, whether a week-long getaway or a longer journey, can hit your hard. Typically the longer the trip, the more intense the blues may be. Don’t let your travel comedown affect your health and wellbeing. 

Just like it sounds, PTD is a feeling of depression that hits you at the end of a trip. Sometimes it can even begin in the days leading up to the end of the trip. Tiredness, loss of appetite, strong feelings of nostalgia and lowered mood may be experienced. Jet lag can intensify these symptoms.

In general the post-vacation blues will dissipate on their own after a few days but it can take weeks to fully wear off. To help speed up the process, here are a few tips for post-travel that I've found helpful.

1. If possible, don't immediately return to work or studies

I used to return to work the next day after flying home as I didn't want to waste precious vacation time off on a day at home. As a result I would feel like a bag of crap for a week or longer and my suitcase remained unpacked for longer. Now I try to give myself a few days to transition back into everyday life, flying home on a Friday or Saturday possible. Doing this will allow you to overcome any jet lag, unpack and do your laundry, and give you time to begin to process your vacation experiences.

person sitting on chair in front of table

Friends sitting in front of a fireplace, eating and talking

2. Catch up with your family/friends

Seeing your favourite people can help you be happy to be home if you're not quite there yet. On my return home from my last trip I actually scheduled dinner with some buddies right after airport pick up and it gave me something to look forward to come home to. Even if it's not right after you arrive home, do schedule a meet up sometime soon after your return to catch up and also share some of your travel memories!

two women doing push up

Two women doing push ups and giving a high five

3. Take care of your wellbeing

It can be hard to take proper care of ourselves when we travel. Eating out all the time, not keeping up with regular workouts, drinking more, disrupted sleep patterns; can all take a toll on our bodies and our minds. So get right back into your healthy routines, or maybe make improvements. Healthy food, exercise, and getting to sleep early can all help reduce depression.

4. Attempt to maintain the traveller mindset

When you travel, you'll often find yourself with a different attitude. You may be all about trying new things, signing up for fun experiences, and eating and drinking all the things. At home, it can be easy to fall into a rut of doing and eating the same old things every day. This definitely doesn't help to boost one's mood.

By maintaining the traveller mindset, you can keep that buzz of excitement that comes with travel alive! Sign up for a cooking class, do something you don't usually do and treat yourself to a yummy meal at least every couple of weeks or so.

A pretty cocktail on a table with salad on plates

5. Reminisce

Relive your vacation by sorting through your photos and organizing your favourites into albums you can share on social media and with friends. If you're like me and keep a travel diary, or you keep a travel blog, review and spend some time reliving your best moments and processing what you learned. If you didn't do either of these things, then perhaps this an opportunity to jot down some of your memories and thoughts to accompany those fav photos you have selected.

A man looking at photos on a camera drinking tea out of a mug

6. Appreciate what was

You can appreciate things that were wonderful without it getting you down. This requires a bit of a cognitive shift. Look at the brilliant moments as valid, critically important parts of you whole life. That weekend, or week, or weeks, of feeling amazing represents who you are and how you live life as many other portion of your life. Maybe even more so. What can you do to make your day-to-day life resemble your vacation? Yes of course things are different with necessary work, family and other demands on your time. But it’s all about what we prioritize.

7. Explore your own backyard

Similar to the traveller's mindset, who says the sense of adventure has to end when you return home. Make a plan to start exploring your city, and/or the surrounding areas as if you were a tourist. Hit up a local museum. Join a walking tour, or make your own. Learn about the history of your hometown. Do something outdoors. Whatever you do, take tons of photos!

You might just discover how amazing home can be.

A gratitude journal, pen and plant

8. Be grateful

Gratitude is powerful. It can shift us out of non-ideal mental states to more positive ones. And it’s so simple. Be grateful for all the awesome experiences you had while you were away. Be grateful for all the lovely people you interacted with. Be grateful for a life that allows you to travel. Be grateful for all the things you maybe take for granted at home. This is just a start, and once you get going you will find so many things to be grateful for!

9. Use your trip as an impetus for change

Now that you’re re-energized, what better time to make changes in your career, social life, living arrangements, daily routine, etc? Travel has the potential to be transformative but not unless we take action. Review and reflect any insights and ideas that came through while you were travelling. Then make plans or set goals if that’s your thing, and take action. Create a life you love everyday!

A travel-planning book and two cups of coffee on a table

10. Start Planning Your Next Trip

One of the best ways (and my favourite ways!) to beat PTD is by beginning to plan out your next trip. If you haven't already, make a list of everywhere you dream of visiting. Using this list, prioritize where you want to go sooner rather than later. Then start making a plan to make that next trip a reality. If I can be of service to you in this capacity, please contact me at shariblock@findyourhappytravels.com to set up your complimentary 30-minute planning session. 

If Post-Vacation Depression comes up for you, I hope you will find one or several of these tips helpful when you return home.

And if you would like to spend more time travelling but can't (or don't want to) quit your job, you should download my free resource, "THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TRAVELLING MORE WHILE WORKING FULL-TIME