Six Ways to Avoid the Vacation Hangover

It’s always a downer to pack things up and head home on the last day of vacation. Even if you’re looking forward to getting back home, there’s a general sense that the party’s over. Back to the routine.

But for moms, the return home is marked by an anxiety that builds as we near the house. Did the patio plants make it? Is the goldfish still alive (must run ahead to daughter’s room to prevent potential psychological scarring just incase). What came in the mail? and so on.

Here are a few coping strategies:

1. Have your freezer stocked with pizzas and breakfast items like bagels and juice concentrate. If you arrive in the evening, you’ve got a dinner that can bake while everyone unpacks. You’ll have the next morning covered as well and won’t need to  panic over empty cupboards.

2. Put fresh sheets on the bed before you leave. Think of it as a little gift to yourself to return to nice, clean sheets as you turn in exhausted from the ride home. It’s one way to ease out of the days when the hotel maid or cruise attendant kept your bed fresh. Sigh.

3. Be sure you have laundry detergent before you leave. There’s no getting around the laundry when you return (although if you stay in a condo with laundry facilities, it’s best to wash all you can while you’re there). We often consolidate dirty clothes into one suitcase so I can roll it straight into the laundry room and start a load.

4. If you must have milk, buy some as you near home. (I so wish Walgreens would sell milk through it’s pharmacy drive-thru window!) Just pay the higher price and buy a half gallon at the corner gas station, where Dad can sit in the car with the kids as you run in. There’s nothing worse than getting home and then having to get back into the car for a little errand like a milk run.

5. As dreadful as it may sound, unpacking and putting the suitcases away as soon as you get home is the fastest way to get back to normal. The longer you let them sit, the more onerous the task becomes. If you do it immediately, you’ll discover any still-damp swimsuits or leaking shampoo bottles that would ferment otherwise.

6. Finally, reload your toiletry bag now for the next trip. If you need to put in a new razor or will need to buy a new travel-size deoderant, make a note so you don’t suffer an unpleasant surprise on your next vacation. You’ll be ready for another one as soon as you finish the laundry.