Ever find yourself returning home from vacation feeling like you desperately need… well, a vacation?
on January 14, 2022
There’s nothing quite like a well-planned vacation to leave you feeling energized, refreshed, and renewed. Done right, travel can broaden horizons, invigorate the soul, and shake off the cares of everyday life. But other times, you can find yourself returning home from vacation feeling like you desperately need… well, a vacation.
If this sounds familiar to you, then you’re in good company. The good news is that, common though that post-vacation slump may be, it’s entirely preventable with a bit of careful planning. Use these simple tips to make your next trip the ultimate recharge — body, mind, and spirit.
Choose the right vacation
As the old adage goes, “know thyself.” More often than not, getting the most out of your vacation time comes down to planning a getaway that’s suited to your own unique needs. We know that rest and recuperation isn’t a one-size-fits-all matter — whether you’re hiking the scenic trails of the Grand Canyon, cycling through the Italian countryside, or sipping cocktails on a yacht-style cruise, the ideal vacation is going to look different for everyone.
Before you book, set aside some time to take stock of what you’re looking for, and what’s worked for you in the past. Do you recharge best alone, or in a group? Would an active vacation energize you, or do you long to put your feet up and luxuriate in restful quiet? Taking a little time to reflect on your needs ensures that the plans you make fit your definition of a relaxing getaway — whatever that might be.
Work now, slack later
Listen, we get it — in a perfect world, we’d all be able to leave our professional worries behind us the minute that vacation email responder kicked in. But in reality, your ability to disconnect from the office lives or dies by the groundwork you lay in advance of your departure.
If you’ve been running point on multiple projects with looming deadlines, now is the time to create a continuity plan to prepare clients and coworkers for your time away. This might mean wrapping up key tasks or delegating projects to a trusted colleague — and then actually trusting them to handle the work in your absence.
Don’t overlook the homefront
You’ve figured out who’s covering for you at work, but what about at home? Like it or not, we all have responsibilities outside of our work lives that need to be accounted for. Whether this means hiring a pet-sitter to walk Fido, enlisting a neighbor to collect your mail, or asking a friend to make sure that fussy fiddle-leaf fig in your living room stays watered, a bit of planning ahead will allow you to enjoy a worry-free vacation — without any unexpected surprises upon return.
Set an email responder — and an intention
Beyond being a practical tool to avoid workplace intrusion in your downtime, setting your OOO message is also a great opportunity to set an intention for the journey ahead. Whether you’ve blocked off time to work while you’re away or plan on completely disconnecting and going “off the grid,” a short, well-written OOO message can manage expectations, set your team up for success, and even help you resist the temptation to check in while you’re away.
Remember, an OOO message doesn’t have to be boilerplate. In fact, the more vividly you paint a picture of what this vacation means to you, the more likely your colleagues will think twice about intruding on your precious time away. So get creative and have fun with it! Not sure where to start? We’ve composed a few fun OOO messages to help inspire yours.
If you’ve ever lugged a car seat or golf bag through a crowded airport terminal, you’re probably already well aware of the benefits of packing light. Whether you’re a solo traveler, an ultralight purist, or hitting the open road in a fully loaded minivan, it pays to be judicious about what you bring along. Packing lightly makes more room for spontaneity — and fewer worries along the way.
When choosing what to pack for your trip, stick to a capsule wardrobe of neutral colors that can be mixed and matched with ease. If you’re flying, skip the check-in counter and stick to a carry-on-only strategy. Not only will you save on fees and avoid the line at baggage claim, but you’ll also free yourself from the potential stress of lost or delayed luggage.
Wash your sheets
This might feel like a weird one at first, but trust us — nothing beats coming home from your travels to fresh linens on your bed. Whether you’ve been roughing it on the backcountry trails or chilling at a luxe resort, the best vacations do more than just broaden our horizons — they also deepen our sense of gratitude for the familiar comforts of home.
Set yourself up for that no-place-like-home feeling by giving your home a pre-departure deep-clean; wash the dishes, vacuum the rug, and prep a ready-to-go freezer meal to make when you return. Your future road-weary self with thank you.
Book a buffer day
Nothing kills that calm, invigorated post-vacation vibe like diving right back into work before you’ve even had time to unpack your suitcase. In our productivity-obsessed world, it can be tempting to want to fill every day of your time off, but when it comes to beating the post-travel slump, less is often more.
Give yourself some time to decompress, unpack, and return to the grind refreshed and with intention by booking a buffer “nothing day” or two at home on the tail end of your trip. Your calendar and your colleagues will thank you.
Searching for more planning content? Visit our Plan For Vacation hub here.