Tips for a Smooth Return Home from Vacation

While traveling can be fun and exciting, coming back from a trip often is anything but. It can be hard to get back into your routine and catch up on everything missed while you were away. After years of trying to figure out what can make the back-to-reality a bit easier, I’ve come up with some steps I try to take before my trip to make my return home a bit smoother. Here are my top tips:

Hold your mail: Before I go on any trip that’s more than a long weekend, I make sure to hold my mail. I set it to be delivered the day I’m planning to arrive home (or Saturday if I’m planning to arrive home Sunday). That way one of the first tasks I can do is get rid of any junk mail and review any relevant items that have arrived.

Buy frozen groceries/non-perishables: Sometimes getting to the grocery store as soon as you arrive home from a trip can be a challenge. To hold our family over for a few days or in case of any hiccups during our return journey home, I always try to have either some frozen meals (like a frozen pizza) or non-perishables like pasta that can be at the ready for us.

Schedule a grocery delivery or pickup: Also on the note of food, if you are able to schedule a grocery delivery or pickup for after your arrival home, this can be quicker way to get your fridge restocked. At a minimum, having a grocery list ready for your first trip to the store post-trip will help speed things up.

Plan a time to unpack: Having a timeframe in mind of when you’ll unpack is helpful when making your travel arrangements. I personally try to arrive home with a few hours to spare so I can unpack the same day I return from a trip, or I’ll wake a bit earlier the next morning to get it done.

Prep your laundry: When traveling, I carry a laundry bag or bring a grocery bag so I can separate what needs to be washed from the rest of my clothes. That way, when I come home I can just grab that bag and begin the laundry process. If you happen to be traveling somewhere where you have access to a washing machine, you can even do the laundry towards the end of your trip to avoid having to do it upon your return home.

Tidy up before you leave: I try my best to leave my house relatively clean (ie. no dishes in the sink, things put away, etc) before leaving on a trip. It’s much easier to come home to a tidy home than a mess.

Put gas in your car: If I’m not driving during my trip, I’ll usually try to make sure before I leave that my gas tank is full enough to get by for a few days upon my return so I don’t have to make any urgent gas station visits. If you are doing a road trip, it’s not a bad idea to try to fill up your tank again towards the end of the trip for the same reason.

Know your schedule when you return: Before I go on a trip, I try to look at what we have going on as a family for the few days after we return. That way if there’s anything I need to prepare, I can do so before the trip or at least know to put it on my returning to-do list.

Did you find this list helpful? What else do you do to make returning from a trip an easier process?


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