Beating the Post Travel Blues

All great journeys must come to an end.

The biggest bummer about traveling is, no matter how many times you give up your plane seat or purposefully miss your connection, eventually you have to come home.

Believe it or not, “Post Travel Depression” (PTD) is a very real affliction, and a majority of travellers experience it to some degree upon hometown re-entry. Consider these Einstein-esque laws of PTD:

  • The longer your trip lasts, the more likely you are to have the blues.
  • Typically, your level of depression is directly proportional to how awesome your trip was.

But, fear not. The tips and tricks below will have you drying your tears in no time.

Pull a Howard Hughes

Go ahead, be a recluse for a day. Sleep in. Don’t answer calls. Avoid email. Most people overlook the post-trip recovery period, but giving yourself some time to regroup is essential.  (Especially when jet lag is involved.) But be sure to limit your “vacation vacation” to 24 hours. Avoiding real life any longer could actually work against you.

Talk it out

Sharing some of your fondest trip memories with others can work wonders in the pick-me-up department. This tactic is even more effective if you commiserate with someone who was on the trip with you. Misery loves company, after all. But if you end up bending the ear of a peer who didn’t just return from a life-changing getaway themselves, you might want to limit yourself 20 minutes of reminiscing, lest they become weary of your fabulousness.

Change your environment

It’s tough to go back to paying bills and doing laundry after you’ve been living the dream in an exotic locale. If your everyday life is looking a little lackluster, switch it up a bit. Re-arrange your home or office furniture. Re-purpose a room. Get rid of some excess stuff.

Tuck into some comfort food

I always like to pick up a cookbook or two when I travel. Once home, I make a meal featuring the flavors of my trip. (Or, if I’m feeling lazy, I seek out a restaurant that prepares the cuisine of the country I just visited.) It’s a great way to show yourself that you can incorporate exciting global elements into your everyday life.

Record your memories

As soon as I clear U.S. customs, making a photo book goes to the top of my “to do” list. Getting the book done while my travels are still fresh in my mind is paramount. These types of books are easy to make online, don’t require a lot of thought to create, and make great coffee table books. The very act of making the book is excellent post-travel therapy. (“Don’t avoid the pain, walk through it.”)

Watch and read

Who says researching your destination has to happen before your trip? Reading stories about places you’ve recently visited is often more enriching than doing so prior to your trip. The same goes for watching movies set in a city or country you recently visited. Mental images and visuals go a long way when it comes to truly appreciating a recent journey.

Carry cash

Most of us have foreign currency left over when we return home. I always keep a few pieces of paper money in my wallet from my latest international trip. Not only does this prompt a happy trip memory or two every time I open my wallet, it also reminds me to save money for my next travel adventure! On that note…

Start planning your next trip

There’s no better remedy for a travel hangover than dreaming about your next adventure. Surf the web, take some notes, pick some dates, or give your travel consultant a call.

Common sense note: While tiredness, loss of appetite and feeling blue are all normal feelings to have when you get back from a trip, be sure to see your doctor if your symptoms become extreme, or interfere with your daily life.