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Family Holiday A to Z: Home Again

When planning a holiday with your family, understandably, you spend most of your energy focusing on the holiday itself. Planning, budgeting, packing and arranging everything can consume all your energy in the months, days and hours leading to your departure.

The holiday passes by in a whirl and then it’s time to pack up and head home again. After all the excitement, you then have to deal with the reality of jet lag, a messy house, a huge pile of holiday washing, unpacking, readjusting to home life again and the inevitable onset of the post-holiday blues. And that’s just you – you also have to support your kids through the adjustment period too!

You can’t eliminate all of these but it is possible to minimise some of these post-holiday irritations by taking some simple steps before you leave. Strategies like ensuring your washing is up to date before you go, making sure your house is tidy on departure and planning for a few days at home before recommencing real life on your return can make a huge difference in helping you all readjust to home life sooner.


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Plan for some time at home before heading back to work & school

Sometimes this is not possible, but if you can, plan for a few days at home after your return from holidays. We had three days together when we returned from the USA and only had to survive one day of work and school before we stumbled into the weekend. We deliberately planned this so we could get over the more immediate effects of jet lag and ease ourselves into normal life again. It helped everyone transition back from holiday mode with the least amount of stress and upset.

Get everyone to tidy the house before you leave

This is so important. It’s the worst feeling coming back from an awesome holiday to find your house resembles a bomb site following your last minute packing whirlwind. At the very least, get the kids to tidy their rooms and make their beds so there is order on their return. When you are tired and irritable from travelling and from the onset of the post-holiday blues, the last thing you want to do is to tackle a messy house. It might seem like an impossible ask in those last crazy days of holiday preparation, but setting time aside to clean and tidy the house is worth the effort when it’s time to come home.

Conquer the washing pile before departure

You won’t be able to get through all of it, but make sure you get through the bulk of your washing before you leave. You will be thankful for it when you return with a couple of suitcases worth of holiday washing (better to limit that too as much as you can while you’re away!). You’ll also be grateful for not being assailed by the sweet aroma of smelly washing the minute you walk through the door. I also find it best to chuck washing on as soon as you can. Don’t put it off when you get back – get stuck into it so you can get back into some sort of household routine as soon as you can.

Cook up a storm and freeze it for later

This tip is most often given to mothers-to-be to help them in the crazy, sleep deprived newborn period but it’s just as apt for those returning from holidays. If you are jet lagged and tired, the last thing you want to do is head out to the shops to get supplies on your way home from the airport. Have a cooking day a few weeks out from departure and prepare a good few days of meals for the freezer, ready to be reheated when you get home. You can also freeze a few loaves of bread and include some easy oven meals in there as well. It’s also a good idea to ensure you have all the staples in your pantry – long life milk, pasta, rice, etc., to allow you to put off that shopping trip until you are ready to face it.

Plan to pay expenses & bills while you are away

One of the worst things to come back to is a pile of bills, particularly those that were due while you were away and are now very overdue. The stress of unpacking and sorting and getting back to real life is enough to deal with, let alone having to manage financial matters immediately on your return. Have a look at your bill history and anticipate what expenses will be due while you are away. Make sure you set up automatic direct debits to manage these payments while you’re gone or make early payments on your accounts before you leave. This is why it’s so important to set up a budget and understand all your expenses when considering a holiday – you don’t want to be caught short when you are travelling.

Block out your calendar when you head back to work

If you are in the sort of job where you can do this, block out the calendar for the morning of your return so you can ease back into the workplace and not have to attend meetings first thing back. Use this time to catch up on emails and then spend the afternoon catching up with your colleagues. You should also consider using an auto-responder while you’re away, noting the period of your absence which should help stop the flow of emails once people know you’re not there. Another good tip, is to arrange to forward your emails to colleagues so there is nothing much to return to – then enjoy a more leisurely first day back without the pressure of having to be “on” from the word go!

Do you have any suggestions for ways to ease the transition back into home life after a family holiday?


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