“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Whether you agree with the classic Christmas song or not, chances are you are caught up in the hustle and bustle of this season. Decorating the house, shopping for everyone on your list, sending holiday greeting cards, and the endless parties with friends, family, and even co-workers. And then for many of us, there is the dreaded holiday t-word. No, not tinsel or trees or toys.
While it’s easy to be so enthralled (and even more likely stressed) with all of the festive happenings, when it comes to traveling, we often only think about the packing and “getting there” part. If you’re anything like me, when you arrive back home a few days later, the unpacking, re-organizing, and getting back to routine feels overwhelming.
Luckily I’ve found a few tricks to help my family bounce back to our routine as quickly as possible after traveling.
- Clean, or at least straighten up the house, before you leave town. Start the dishwasher, take out the trash, do the laundry (yes, even fold that pile of clothes that has been sitting around for a week!) You will feel so much better when you get home and can walk into a clean and organized house.
- On the last day of your trip, do as much laundry as you can before you come back home (if you’re staying with family or at a rental house with access to washer/dryer). How wonderful does it sound to be able to take all of those clothes straight from your suitcase and put them in their proper place in your dresser or closet! And since you did the laundry before you left your house to begin with (remember tip #1?), that means virtually no laundry to do – at least for another day or two!
- Whether flying or driving, use your travel time on the way home to meal plan for the following week. This includes making your grocery list so you can be ready for Publix or Costco that evening or the next day. I l-o-v-e meal planning, but even if you don’t do it on a regular basis, I highly suggest doing it in instances like this. Not only will it make your life easier when you get home and have 100 other things to catch up on, but it’s also a good way to pass time on that long flight or drive. *Bonus tip: If the kids are old enough, make this an activity for the whole family and everyone wins! Ask for meal suggestions and educate the little ones on recipes and what you need to buy to make certain dishes.
- The day you get home from your trip, prioritize bedtime! Get your children to bed at their normal bedtimes, or at least within the hour. This one is pretty straightforward but completely necessary. It may still take a day or two to get completely back on schedule, so give yourself and your children a lot of grace. Everyone is tired.
- Make every effort to not make plans for the day after you return home from a big trip. Even if you follow all of these tips and get your cleaning, laundry, and meal planning done in advance, you know there will still be things to do around the house. Don’t overwhelm yourself with unnecessary play dates or errands. Take the time to decompress and recover at home for a day.