How to deal with Post Travel Depression

How to deal with Post Travel Depression

The hardest thing about travel is ‘the homecoming’ part. Not all of us have the ability to travel full time even if we wanted to. So the reality for us is usually returning back from the trip and getting back to the normal routine. And the longer your trip is, the harder it gets to cope up with reality. Post Travel Depression or Post Trip Blues, is quite real. Those who experienced this feeling will relate to what I am talking about. Even though we do feel a sense of accomplishment when we complete a trip but when the flight back home takes off all you have left is a load of pictures and videos to comfort you.

At a time you are eating some exotic dish in some SE Asian country and bang, 24hrs later you are back home in your bed beside a pile of unwashed clothes. After experiencing a lot of incredible things and meeting a lot of exciting people, you are back on the normal routine from which many of us are trying to escape. The sadness and nostalgia of leaving people and places behind, after an epic trip, is too hard to overcome for a wanderlust being.

Once you get the taste of travel, it is hard to go back to the routine. Even though the world may seem the same as you left it, you will know deep inside that you have changed. You start hating everything around and the normal life will not make any sense to you. There are people who take a trip once in a year and then be done with it, but there are people like me who just can’t sit idle after a trip. So all we can do is accept the reality and roll with it.

Clinical psychologist Linda Blair says: ‘Bear in mind it takes a good three days to wind down when you go on a holiday so likewise it will take you a bit of time to re-immerse yourself in real life.’ The symptoms of post-holiday depression can include some or even all of the following: fatigue, irritability, headaches, sleeping too much or too little, change in appetite, inability to concentrate, increased desire to be alone, and loss of interest in things you usually enjoy.

For those who suffer from the above symptoms, I have a few tips that you can implement in your daily life to get over Post Travel Depression.


Take some time to settle in

Don’t force yourself to the normal routine after getting back from a trip. Realize that it is normal to feel depressed after returning. So let yourself some time and space. Take one day off after the trip and stay at home to recover.


Plan you next trip

Works every single time. I am all set for my next trip as I type this. This gives me a distraction and also something to look forward to. As they say, anticipation of an exciting experience is as pleasurable as the experience itself. Even if the trip is months away, go on and start shortlisting the places you want to visit.


Explore your own backyard

I know that a trip can put a dent in your bank balance. So packing up and leaving again may not be possible for another few months. But that does not mean you should not travel. You can explore your own city. You won’t have to spend a lot for traveling within your own country. That is one way to keep the fire burning.


Watch travel related movies or read books

Reading travel related books or watching travel related movies can really inspire the wanderer in you. I found many such movies online which I have re-watched multiple times just to relive the experience of traveling. My personal favorite will always be Mr Bean’s Holiday.


Pick up a new Hobby

Distract yourself by picking up a new hobby. Try something new that you came across while traveling. Something like trying to cook a new Thai recipe, or practicing your kayaking skills at a spot near your house, or a new musical instrument that reminds you of your trip. It can be anything that interests you. Also you can hone your beer pong skills for the next party hostel you visit.


Relive your travel memories

Be creative with your travel memories. Share them on your blog, Instagram page or other websites. If you are into photography, work on the post processing of your photos, edit the video clips and share them online. Research has shown that if we can recall positive memories they can boost our positive emotions in the moment.

While post travel depression can be hard hitting for most travelers, what I would like to point out is on how to take advantage of the depression. We all know that the routine life is a killer. This depression actually makes us do whatever it takes to break away from the routine. It forces us to save up for the next trip. It forces us to follow what we are passionate about. I have heard that looking at other people’s vacation pictures can depress one. But I, on the other hand, was actually motivated to travel by reading other blogs and my wonderful IG feed that gets updated with wonderful pictures from around the world. The depression sets in when we compare our lives to others. But if we work towards having a life like the way we want instead of brooding over our not-so-colorful life, then you got no one else to blame other than yourself. So use social media and internet for your own gain. Motivate yourself and Inspire others.

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90 thoughts on “How to deal with Post Travel Depression

  1. I’ve definitely been hit by the post travel blues before. It can hit me right away, or days, or even weeks, later. These are great tips to help getting through the tough times. I need to work on exploring my own backyard more. There’s always a new adventure waiting to happen. I just have to be open to going on it!

  2. I thought it was just me. Being the mom there is always a ton of things (drudgery) to catch up on when you get home.
    From now on I am going to plan something special for when I get home to break up the chores.

  3. Great post! When we came home from a holiday last year we could barely stay inside our house, we certainly were tourists in our own town for awhile.

  4. “Plan your next trip” is always my first thing as soon as I land back home, haha! Great article, will need to try these ideas, as I seem to be on all-time post travel blues!

  5. It will take a few days, sometimes up to a week for me to unpack my suitcase. Although the dirty laundry will be washed, other stuff will be left lying inside in the bag for I’m too lazy to put them away properly. It’s a good thing that we write/blog about our trips, so that helps to overcome depression. And yeah, planning the next trip always helps 🙂

  6. Completely identify with this. When we got back from our 4 week trip in Japan last spring (which is as long as we can usually take at a time) I was dreadfully down to be back. But one of the things that helped was taking up the hobby of pottery, having taken a one-to-one pottery class in the traditional pottery town of Shigaraki. That and planning future trips are what work for me. I also love to relive the trip via writing blog posts.

  7. We have had to deal with this plenty of times over the years. We found that throwing ourselves back into our friend groups was a useful way to cope, but the feeling still lingers for a few months. My daughter came back from a yearlong student exchange at the beginning of the year and even now has times when she feels unhappy about being home.

  8. What really helps me is planning my next trip! It is so hard to get back to reality and to watch the same images every day at home when the daily images you see abroad are so diverse and unique!

  9. We are just about to embark on an epic 9-month adventure across SE Asia and “reverse culture shock” is something that I am dreading when I come back to Europe! This post has some great tips though – planning future travel, getting out in your home country and reliving trip experiences are all things I have done to relieve post-travel depression after holidays. Thanks for sharing – really good topic!

  10. I like the tips Gokul 🙂 When we first returned to the US after 2 years in SE Asia, we were depressed as hell LOL. Each success trip taught us to be grateful for our home and fam in the US, plus, we learned to explore and enjoy our backyard here too. Lots to do and see in this tiny state of nearly 10 million people. Then when we do circle the globe again, we feel recharged, with a new sense of appreciation for what we do.

  11. Totally agree that the longer your trip, the more difficult it is to assimilate back into reality. Because post travel depression is a very real thing. Definitely on the difficulty in settling into routine again, but I’ve found it’s usually centered around the fact that we as the traveler have experienced vast changes in our personality and our mindset, while everything at home has remained the same. So we find we don’t fit into the world we left. Some really great tips on dealing with it – I think giving yourself time to settle back in is the most important – not putting pressure on yourself to snap back straight away.

  12. I can completely relate to this having recently returned from a 15 month trip away! I definitely agree that the blues get worse the longer the trip is. I would agree with all of your suggestions as well. I think the one that works best for me is booking/planning another trip… I just get immersed in the planning and it takes my mind off everything else! Having something to look forward to is always a winner. Lovely post!

  13. Great suggestions for getting over holiday blues. I am a big fan of planning the next adventure or finding something cool and exciting to do in your city to keep the post holiday blues away. Plus it’s great having a travel blog to share the experiences and relive the experience as you say. 🙂

  14. Great tips! I find it always takes me more than 3 days to get over a great trip, but like you said – planning another trip always helps to ban those post-holiday blues!

  15. Until you mentioned it, I had no idea there was something like Post Travel Depression . I suffer badly from this one. Thanks for giving us tips on how to deal with it. Nice read.

  16. Great post and tips. We came 20 days back from our 15 days Leh Ladakh road trip and are still not over it. In fact, the day before it was going to be over we both were acting weird and feeling frustrated. We still feel nostalgic while writing and sharing pictures of the trip. Your tips are great especially planning for the next trip.

  17. Spot on! Post travel depression is real. Thanks for sharing these fantastic tips on how we can cope with the lurgy of wanting to travel more and coming back to “reality” of the routine lifestyle. I suppose, in this case, blogging will also help to cope up with the depression as we are remembering the fantastic time we had while travelling.

  18. Post travel depression, I suffer this frequently because coming home and getting back to work is a big downer. Sometimes it feels like I was never on holiday.
    The best way I handle it is too assure I already have another trip bokked before even going on the first, therefore when I get back, I am already counting down the days.

  19. I agree with you on the post travel depression, it happens, especially if you’ve been away for a long time. Finding a hobby, planning a new trip and sharing old photos help me too. I also try to appreciate where I am when I get home, enjoy the food, speaking my language etc!

  20. Amazing post. I can’t travel as much right now because of some home life issues, and it is really getting me down. I always tend to explore my home city as much as possible at times like these and that helps me appreciate my surroundings and have some fun too!

  21. Yeah, I believe planning the next trip is the only option for me! Sometimes reading travel blogs and watching travel movies drives me into depression, but this feeling is gone when I just booking a flight. I love your other tips! Enjoyed the read!

  22. I am absolutely a suffered or lost trip depression, that’s why I need at least two trips in the planning stage at any one time.
    It’s funny you mentioned cooking Thai food, it’s one of the things that I do as both a distraction hobby, and to take me back mentally to my time in SEA. Some great tips and some I use myself 🙂

  23. I can relate at the moment. I spent the last THREE years backpacking and living abroad and now being home, while it’s comfortable, its easy to get complacent. My preferred way to cope is definitely planning my next trips. So far, I’m visiting 7 places next year in four separate occasions and that’s exciting!

  24. THIS IS A REAL THING, so thanks for writing about it. I’d say the most important one that you mentioned is exploring your own backyard. We rarely look at our home cities with “travel eyes,” and it’s fun and invigorating to do so!

  25. I am definitely prone to post trip blues, which is why I always have a few plans on the go at once.
    I love to go back to
    My Thai cookery book, or go to a nice authentic restaurant when I am feeling wanderlusty. Isn’t it funny that we all have a Thai one!

  26. Oh this is such a great article. I know how sad I get when the trip gets over. It still feels like I missed out on so much and i just want to go back that very sec.
    And even I start planning about my next trip to get over it.

  27. Post travel depression is indeed a reality. After hectic activity when you are back home and life is at a slower pace, that is when the ennui sets in. Probably the best way to counter this is to plan for your next trip and the excitement sets in once again.

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