The days and weeks after returning from a trip can often be hard for many people as they deal with post-travel blues.
It’s very common, whether it was a short holiday or a long period of travelling; coming back home to reality with a bump is always difficult.
And, with Coronavirus still affecting many plans and causing people to return home early, this is an important thing to recognise.
I’ve been finding the post-travel period a lot harder than usual since I returned home from almost two years of travel in Oceania and Asia. I wasn’t forced home early by Coronavirus, but I did arrive just before our country went into lockdown, meaning that I was unable to get back into a regular routine.
It was a huge adjustment going from the ultimate freedom of living in a camper van in New Zealand, to not being able to leave home, not being able to get a job, and not being able to visit any of the beautiful areas that I’m lucky to have close by.
But, in the past few weeks, I have taken the time to focus on myself and my well-being, and it has helped me a lot.
So, how can you ease your own post-travel blues?
Whether they’re related to these uncertain times or not, follow these 12 tips and you’ll soon be beating those blues away.
1: Practice gratitude
This is a good habit to get into anyway, but especially if you’re feeling the post-travel blues.
Take a good look at your life and think about what you’re grateful for.
Sure, you’re not travelling anymore, but is your life really that bad if you take all the good things into account?
Of course, I can’t speak for what is happening in your world right now, but I sincerely hope that there are plenty of good things for you to focus on.
List the things that you’re grateful for when you wake up in the morning and just before you go to sleep.
You could also keep a gratitude journal by your bed and write in it every day.
2: Make plans to look forward to
Making plans for once you get home is a good way to distract yourself from missing your travels.
Schedule some activities that make you happy into your calendar and focus on your excitement for these rather than dwelling on past memories.
3: Get in touch with friends
Spending time in the company of good friends is one of the major benefits of being home for me.
I miss them when I’m away and I love catching up with them when I return home.
Arrange some quality time together, or even just a video call, and laugh your troubles away together.
4: Re-establish a routine
Keeping busy is a great way to avoid those pangs of sadness that come with post-travel blues.
Get back into your regular routine or start a new one, and you’ll soon find yourself smiling at the happy memories, not pining to relive them.
This has been hugely helpful for me since returning home from my travels. It hasn’t been easy during lockdown, but being productive every day definitely makes me feel better and happier in myself.
5: Avoid comparison
I fall into the comparison trap quite easily, and it’s a really bad habit to get into.
If I’m having a bad day, I’ll find myself thinking, “This time last week/month/year, I was doing…” and comparing my current bad day with an amazing day I had in the past.
This then leads to a downward spiral of thoughts and leaves me feeling like my current life is terrible. Which simply isn’t true!
Does this sound familiar? Try to avoid comparing today with a day in the past that seemed better.
Remind yourself that yes, today is different, but it’s not bad different. Refer back to your gratitude list and focus on why today is good!
6: Find your local beauty
Think about this: there is a high chance that your country, and even your local area, is on someone else’s travel bucket list.
Imagine that you are a tourist in your own country. What cities, landmarks or beauty spots would you want to see?
Take some time to rediscover your home with a different mindset, and you’ll probably find that you don’t actually mind being back!
7: Recreate your favourite travel experiences
Find a recipe for your favourite meal from your travels and have a themed night at home.
Take a mini road trip at the weekend.
Learn how to paddle-board.
These are just some ways of bringing your favourite parts of travel into your everyday life at home.
The things that make you happy when you’re away don’t have to stop just because you’re not travelling anymore!
8: Re-live the experience through your photos
I hesitated before including this one because everyone says it’s a great way to get over the post-travel blues, but it doesn’t always work for me.
It depends on my mood. Sometimes looking at my travel photos cheers me up so much as I remember what a great time I had and how lucky I was to experience it.
Other times it makes me miss travelling so much that I end up feeling worse than I did before.
So, be careful with this one. If you think it’ll make you feel sad, go and do something else on this list.
Otherwise, relive those happy memories to your heart’s content!
9: Think about your next adventure
Some people like to book their next trip as soon as they get home, but many don’t have that luxury.
Take some time to really think about where you’d like to travel in the future, whether it’s just a short trip somewhere nearby or the trip of a lifetime to the other side of the world.
Make an actual list of your dream travel destinations, not just for the coming year but for your whole lifetime. Of course, this list will likely change and grow over time, but it’s nice to be able to look at your goals.
Choose one that you think would be feasible for your next trip, whenever that may be, and start looking at photographs and reading articles about that place.
This way, when you do visit, you’ll have loads of ideas of things to do!
10: Travel virtually
Have you ever looked into virtual travel before?
You can explore thousands of famous landmarks, cities, museums and more from the comfort of your own home!
Take a guided tour of Jerusalem, watch the sun rise from the centre of Stonehenge, or take in the panoramic view from the Great Wall of China.
For an extensive list of many experiences around the world, check out my full article on virtual travel.
I guarantee you’ll be adding a few more places to your bucket list afterwards!
11: Learn a language
In the spirit of keeping busy and dreaming of the next travel opportunity, why not learn a new language?
When you think of all the places you want to visit in the future, what language strikes you as one that would be the most helpful?
Or, maybe there’s a certain language you’ve always wanted to learn but never got around to?
This is just one other way that you can be productive and focus on the future.
I know that getting past the post-travel blues is hard; I’ve been there many times myself.
But these are all methods that I have tried and tested, and they can all be very effective!
Self-care is important, so don’t just try to brush off your feelings and ignore them. Listen to them and respond in a way that will help you to feel better.
And if those post-travel blues become a bit too hard to shift, talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Most of the time, just getting things off your chest helps immensely.
Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional; I am only sharing my own tips in the hope that I can help others in some small way. If you’re really struggling, PLEASE do seek professional help.
Want more like this? Check out these articles:
- Virtual Travel: for when you can’t leave home
- Indulging your wanderlust when you can’t travel
- Travelling with anxiety: a personal experience story
All images in this post are the property of lastminutewanders.com
I relate to this so so much! Whenever I return from travel I go through a period of feeling sad. I love my life at home in Canada, but it feels monotonous compared to life when traveling. And right now is especially tough since it’s unclear when we will be able to travel again. Doing my best to practise gratitude for the travels I’ve already had, and hopefully we get answers about when we can travel again, soon.
I totally agree! I always feel that way too when I come back to the UK. But you’re right, the uncertainty of the future of travel is pretty hard to get around at the moment! I guess we just need to try to keep positive about it and look at the travel possibilities closer to home for now.
Keep going with the gratitude! It really helps for me 🙂
I’m definitely experiencing some of that right now, but this is a great list! I’ve been trying to practice gratitude + add to my travel bucket list + connect with friends via group/video chats. Writing up all my pending travel blog posts has helped a lot in terms of revisiting previous trips too! 😛
All great stuff! I hope it helps 🙂
I’m going through this after 9 months on the road. Thanks for the tips 🙂 I’ll go with “plan your next trip” haha.
That one is particularly enjoyable haha 😉
This is great! Especially learning a new language is always a good idea, it also makes future travels way more enjoyable if you now some of the local language 🙂
I completely agree! Plus it gives you something else to focus on and you can better yourself in the process 🙂
Loved this post! I always suffer from post travel blues and I did everything on this list.
Me too! It always helps 🙂