Coming back home after a long trip can feel stressful, but these 9 easy tasks make your return home from a trip so much better. FREE checklist!

Think about the last time you returned from a trip

When you walked through your door, coming home after a long trip, how did you feel? Did you feel stumble over your mail into your messy living room, freaking out about everything piled up on the floor? Did you have to fumble around to find something to change into and then curse the lack of coffee in the house? I certainly hope that isn’t the case, but if so, read on, for I have some basic tasks that can make coming back from a trip so much less stressful (there’s also stuff here if it wasn’t complete chaos, but could have gone better).

There’s a free checklist, too!

empty blue coffee can
Don't let this happen to you

Make Coming Home from a Trip So Much Better!

Lessons learned from business travel

Once upon a time, in the days before Covid, I traveled frequently for my job. First as an editor, and then as a project manager, I traveled to conferences and in-person project meetings or seminars both domestically and internationally. This often meant that I needed to dive right back into my life upon my return, because no rest for the wicked.

Therefore, I needed to learn how to plan, not just for the trip itself, but also plan for returning home. I learned that doing some basic home tasks before I left, packing strategically for my return trip, and doing a few quick tasks when I got home made returning so much better.

Thanks to business travel, returning from my vacations has gotten much better. Everything has a reason, right?

Make coming home from a trip SO much better, with these 9 easy tasks

I now do these simple tasks before every trip, and it makes coming home so much easier. I thought that I’d share them with you to make your re-entry to reality as smooth as possible. Depending on the length of your trip, some of these will be more relevant than others, but all are helpful for making coming home from a trip a comfort and not a source of stress.

Before you leave

A soft landing home starts with what you do before you leave for your trip.

1. Consider holding your mail for trips longer than a day or two

Piled up mail can present a security risk, not to mention being yet one more thing to tend to when you get back. While you might have someone who could pick up your mail, it’s often easier to just have the Post Office hold your mail until you return. If your trip is less than 30 days and you live in the US, setting up your mail hold takes seconds (for longer trips, you can have your mail forwarded). If you’re only gone for a few days, totally skip it, but it’s a lifesaver for longer trips.

2. Hold deliveries

If you have subscription deliveries, especially with perishable items, make sure to place those on hold. If that isn’t possible, then at least arrange for a friend or neighbor to pick them up.

Admire mailboxes on your trip instead of stressing out about piled up mail at home!

3. Clean

Do a basic clean of your home. Take care of any food that won’t last, and, obviously, take out the trash and recycling. You don’t have to have things absolutely spotless, but your future travel-exhausted self will thank you for your foresight when you return to an orderly abode.

4. Do laundry and lay out clean things

Before we leave, we usually do laundry for packing, but make sure to do laundry for your return, too. Put clean sheets on your bed and lay out pajamas and/or comfy clothes, and clean underwear and socks. Place clean towels in your bathroom and kitchen.

5. Have the basics waiting for you

Make sure that you have coffee (or tea) on hand, as well as something to eat that will keep (think granola bars or snack mix). If you have the time and freezer space, putting a meal in the freezer isn’t a bad idea, either. There ain’t nothing wrong with takeout, but I find that after a trip, I’m usually sick of anything not home cooked.

Granola bars and other snacks are perfect things to have on hand when coming home from a trip. Image shows gran ceareale and other cereal bars
Gran Cereale is delicious and keeps

Preparing to return home

Packing to come home, especially from a longer trip, can be stressful, but if you’re able to do a few things, you’ll make coming home that much easier.

6. Pack smart

Separate clean and dirty clothes, preferably in packing cubes. Try to group things together that get stored in the same place. This will make unpacking much quicker and easier, because you can distribute the cubes and then deal with them one at a time, instead of piles of sadness everywhere.

7. Consider scheduling a grocery delivery

If you were gone for a while, and your cupboards are truly bare, scheduling a grocery delivery to arrive not long after you return can make life easier. It’s a good idea to allow some cushion for your arrival time (you could also do this after your flight lands, and you have a better idea of when, exactly, you’ll be back home).

When you get return

Welcome home! Here’s how to get unpacked easily so that you can rest and recharge.

8. Unpack ASAP

Unpacking is unpleasant. Just rip off the band-aid and do it, and it will be over and done with. If you’ve arrived home at midnight or traveled for an entire day, leave it for a bit, but if you can muster the will to do this, you’re going to feel so much better.

Toss your dirty clothes (in the cube, if you used it), in the hamper. Using your other cubes, distribute your belongings to their general place, and then put them away (so, think putting your clean clothes near your closet, your electronics on your desk, toiletries in the loo etc., first. Then tackle each cube and put your things away where they belong).

Leave your luggage to air out and then put it away.

9. Do your laundry

Unless you’ve worn your entire wardrobe, this can wait until you’ve recovered a bit, but doing your laundry sooner rather than later will make you feel so much better.

There now, that’s done

Wasn’t your past self such a wise and thoughtful soul? They made your life so much easier for you. Now you can just remember your wonderful trip (or forget your business trip) and go on with your life. Thank you, Past Self!

Click for your FREE checklist for subscribers!

FREE checklist to help you remember

Travel can feel stressful enough, so here’s a little checklist to help you remember how to make coming home from a trip a comfort. There’s a version to print out and one fill in on your computer. If you’re already a subscriber, just click on the link. If not, subscribe below for access!

Check out even more Travel Tips & Tricks!

You can find even Travel Tips & Tricks in the NEW section on Wonder & Sundry! Here’s the latest posts.