28 Jan Travel tips: How to make coming home easier
Weekend getaway, summer holiday or city break. Chances are you want to make the most of it. But coming home at the last minute can be stressful. Today I’m sharing my favourite ways to make coming home easier, so you can hit the ground running on your return.
We rarely talk about coming home from travel. It’s the least glamorous part, that invariably consists of loitering in airports, dirty laundry and trying to remember where you left the house keys. It’s also the bittersweet part, when you realise your adventures have come to an end.
If, like me, you squeeze travel around a full-time job, you’ll be keen to make the most of the time you’ve got to get away. The chances are, you don’t want to travel home until the very last minute.
But this can be a tad stressful. And you might wonder why I want to talk about such a gloomy subject.
It’s because I’ve found the silver lining to the cloud. I’ve got a few simple tricks to share that make coming home much easier. This way you can get home, get back on your feet, and throw yourself head first into normality – even if you’ve only managed a few hours of sleep.
But most of all, it means you can enjoy every last minute of your adventures away.
Shall we get started?
1. Prep for your return, before you go
When you’re trying to make the most of annual leave, the end of a trip is often followed by a late dash home from the airport and an early alarm to be back in the office the next morning.
A couple of days before I travel, I grab five minutes to pull out an outfit for the first day back and write a quick checklist of what not to forget (I’ve an excellent track record of forgetting my laptop in these situations, which I wouldn’t recommend). Knowing that you’ve got everything ready gives you a few more minutes sleep, and avoids a manic morning.
2. Avoid any nasties when you get home
Keep a checklist of essential last minute tasks to do before leaving home.
Aside from locking up and turning off the utilities, your future self will thank you for making sure you’ve emptied anything perishable from the fridge and popped the bins out. Not only should your home smell fresh as a daisy when you get back, and you’ll save yourself the trouble of trying to work out what exactly went off at the back of the salad drawer…
3. Sort your suitcase for success
Eugh, unpacking. No one likes unpacking. But you can make it an awful lot less painful with my two secret weapons; a laundry bag and an envelope. Trust me.
While you’re away, stash all your clothing you’re done with in a laundry bag. It doesn’t have to anything fancy, a carrier bag or pillowcase will do just fine. As soon as you’re home, pull it out and chuck it straight in the laundry basket or washing machine. You’re halfway there already! I also recommend it as a handy weapon against worn socks lingering months at a time in a pocket or corner you’ve missed.
For the miscellaneous bits and pieces that seem to accumulate when you’re away, pop an envelope or plastic wallet in your luggage. It’s perfect if you like to keep hold of tickets, maps and other keepsakes. You can put it aside when you get home, and unpack it when you’re ready.
4. Love your freezer
Food, my favourite subject!
Before you leave for your travels, pop a few essentials in the freezer. For me, that’s a couple of pints of milk and a loaf of bread – enough to set me up for the first day back with a spot of breakfast.
I’d also thoroughly recommend adding a few leftovers or a pizza too, so that you know you’ve got dinner waiting if you’ve got a late return. Delayed flight? There’s nothing worse than going to bed hungry when you finally get home. Whip something out the freezer and fill yourself up.
5. Give yourself some time when you get back
Ease yourself back into your usual routine when you’re home. Try finding time for these two;
Put aside an hour or two in the first couple of days that you’re back. I use this time for post-holiday admin, and it always feels good to get it done. Download and edit photos if that’s your thing, leave online reviews, delete all the emails and clutter that accumulates on your phone and in your inbox when you’re planning a trip. And if you’re exhausted after your adventures, give yourself permission to have some quiet time and put your feet up.
Give yourself something to look forward to. Book a dinner date, arrange to meet a friend, line up a new box set on Netflix. After the excitement of your travels, getting home can feel like landing back down to earth with a bump. Having something in your diary will perk you up.
Bonus points: Clean sheets
Nothing beats the feeling of coming home and crawling into your own bed. Accept that you’re back home by embracing that one thing everyone secretly loves. Going to bed with fresh sheets.
If you’ve got just five minutes before you leave for your trip, change your sheets and put out clean towels in bathroom. Trust me, it makes getting home that little bit nicer.
So next time you go away, make coming home a bit less stressful and a bit more enjoyable.
It’s possible, I promise!
Oh, and in the meantime, if you’ve got any advice of your own – let me know in the comments below. I’d love some more pointers and to hear your tips.