I have always found that getting back to the daily routine after a holiday can be a real struggle, especially when the entire family is involved and everyone responds differently to the transition.

It’s not just my own routine I need to establish, but also the kids who have quickly got used to late nights, sleeping in and being footloose and fancy free.

As much as we all love the memories made and the experiences gained, getting everyone back into a structured routine is essential for daily life, and of course the school run.

Here’s how I successfully get my family back on track after traveling:

Embrace the Unpackathon

The moment we walk through the door, I initiate what I affectionately call the “Unpackathon.”

We all grab our suitcases and start unpacking immediately.

Yes, it’s tempting to leave the luggage lying around and relax, but I’ve found that getting everything back in its place or in the laundry right away sets the tone for resuming normal life.

Everyone has their assigned tasks—clothes go to the laundry, toiletries back to the bathroom, and souvenirs displayed or stored.

It’s a team effort that brings us back to the present moment and clears the clutter both physically and mentally.

Reestablish Sleep Patterns

Sleep is crucial, and it’s often the most disrupted aspect of our routine post-travel.

I make sure we prioritise getting back into our regular sleep schedules.

If we’ve crossed time zones, I adjust our bedtime gradually, moving it 15-30 minutes earlier or later each day until we’re back on track.

Investing in a good sleep environment helps immensely.

Our king-size mattress, with its spacious and comfortable surface, makes it easier to fall back into a deep, restorative sleep.

Mother and daughter unpacking clothes after trip

I also keep the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to create the perfect sleep sanctuary.

The kids love getting home to their Simba weighted blankets, and we find that helps them get back into a good sleep routine fairly quickly after our trips.

Plan and Prepare Meals

After days of dining out or snacking on the go, home-cooked meals are a welcome change.

I plan a week’s worth of simple, nutritious meals before we even get home.

The first meal back is always something comforting and familiar, like homemade pasta or a hearty stew.

I involve the kids in meal prep, which not only keeps them occupied but also eases them back into the routine of eating at regular times.

Having a meal plan eliminates the stress of figuring out what to cook when we’re all tired and helps us avoid the temptation of ordering takeout.

Prioritise Physical Activity

Getting back into exercise helps shake off the travel fatigue and re-energise all of us.

I make it a point to get the family moving and having fun as soon as possible.

This could be as simple as a family walk with the dogs around the neighbourhood, a bike ride, or a trip to the park.

For me, getting back to my morning yoga routine is essential.

It helps me centre myself and feel ready to tackle the day.

Encouraging the kids to participate in their favourite sports or just running around outside gets them back into the groove and burns off any extra energy.

Reintroduce Daily Routines Gently

I’ve learned that diving headfirst into our old routine can be overwhelming.

Instead, I reintroduce daily tasks and activities gradually.

We start with the basics: regular meal times, set bedtimes, and morning routines.

From there, I slowly add back in homework, chores, and extracurricular activities.

It’s important to be flexible and patient during this transition. Some days might not go as planned, and that’s okay.

The goal is to reestablish a sense of normalcy without causing additional stress.

Create a Post-Travel Checklist

Before we even leave for our trip, I create a post-travel checklist.

This includes tasks like sorting mail, checking messages, and scheduling any necessary appointments.

Having this list ready when we return helps me stay organized and ensures that nothing important falls through the cracks.

It also gives me a sense of accomplishment as I check off each item, making the transition smoother.

Encourage Open Communication

Traveling can be exhilarating but also exhausting, and it’s important to check in with each family member about how they’re feeling.

We have a family meeting where everyone can share their favorite parts of the trip, any challenges they faced, and how they’re feeling about being back home.

This open communication helps address any lingering travel stress and sets the stage for a supportive and understanding environment as we settle back into our routine.

Reinforce Household Roles

It’s easy for roles and responsibilities to blur while traveling, so I make sure to reinforce everyone’s roles as soon as we’re back.

This includes reminding the kids about their chores and responsibilities and ensuring my partner and I are on the same page regarding household management.

Clear expectations help reestablish the structure and make the transition back to daily life smoother for everyone.

Digital Detox

During our travels, screen time tends to increase—whether it’s watching movies on long flights or playing games during downtime.

Once we’re home, I implement a digital detox to help everyone readjust.

We set limits on screen time and encourage more offline activities like reading, board games, or outdoor play.

This helps reset our focus and reduces the post-travel electronic dependency.

Set New Goals

Coming back from a trip is a great time to set new goals.

Whether it’s personal, professional, or academic, having something to strive for can make the transition back to routine more exciting.

I sit down with each family member and discuss what they’d like to achieve in the coming weeks or months.

Setting these goals gives us all something to look forward to and work towards, making the shift from vacation mode to everyday life feel more purposeful.

Reflect and Reorganize

Taking time to reflect on the trip and its highlights helps us appreciate the experience and smoothly transition back.

I often create a photo album or scrapbook with the kids, which becomes a fun activity that allows us to relive the memories while acknowledging that the vacation is over.

Additionally, reorganizing any travel gear and storing it properly sets us up for future trips and helps keep the home tidy.

Plan for Future Adventures

To keep the post-travel blues at bay, I always start planning our next adventure soon after we return.

Even if it’s just a weekend getaway or a fun local activity, having something to look forward to makes the daily routine feel less mundane.

It keeps the spirit of adventure alive and gives us a goal to work towards as a family.

Reestablish Work and School Routines

For the adults, jumping back into work can be challenging, so I recommend easing into it.

I review my calendar and prioritize tasks for the first few days back to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

For the kids, we gradually reintroduce schoolwork by reviewing what they missed and setting up a study schedule.

This helps them catch up without feeling pressured.

Organize and Declutter

Post-travel, I take the opportunity to organize and declutter.

This not only helps to reset our environment but also gives a fresh start.

I involve the whole family in sorting through belongings, donating unused items, and tidying up the house.

A clean, organized space can significantly reduce stress and make it easier to get back into a routine.

Self-Care and Relaxation

Lastly, I prioritize self-care for everyone.

Traveling can be exhausting, so it’s important to take some time to relax and recharge.

This could be a spa day at home, reading a favorite book, or simply spending time together without any agenda.

Making self-care a priority ensures that we’re all feeling our best as we transition back to our routine.

Getting back into a routine after traveling doesn’t have to be a stressful process.

With a little planning and a lot of patience, we can smoothly transition from vacation mode to everyday life, ensuring that everyone in the family feels supported and ready to tackle their daily responsibilities.

Here’s to making the most of our travels and the moments in between!

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

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