Coming Home: Post-Vacation Tips

You’ve left on a jet plane or driven across country, and now you’re on your way back home again. To make your real-world re-entry a little easier, we enlisted the help of the country’s busiest travelers – business and frequent flyers:

On Your Way Home

  1. Plan a ride home, if you’re flying.
    • Call your friend or family members to arrange a ride or let them know when to expect you.
    • Give them the airline name and flight number so they can track the flight and see if it’s delayed or on time.
  2. Driving home?
    • Check the weather conditions so you know what to expect.
    • Call family members and give them an expected time of arrival and keep them up to date while you’re on the road.
  3. Back from traveling abroad?
    Before you leave the airport, change your remaining currency back to U.S. dollars. They may not have the best rates but it’s better than rushing to a bank on Monday morning.
    • Forgot? You can also donate the currency to UNICEF's Change for Good program, which helps children around the world.
    • Have a few unused travelers checks left? You can save these for the next trip or visit your bank or place of previous purchase to exchange them for cash.

Now You’re Home!

  1. Check in.
    • Let family and friends know you’re back safely. Even though you might not think it’s important, they could be very worried about you! Ask them to fill you in on all the gossip and things you might have missed.

    WHN EXPERT TIP: Keep a Low Profile

    Leave your phone off -- Certainly check in to let your closest family and friends know that you made it home safely, but also try to maintain a low profile. Jumping back into a full social calendar can be just as jarring to your system as a full work schedule - Kristi Jutras,
  2. Call your house sitter or neighbor(s)
    • If someone has kept an eye on your house, call and ask them how things went and if there were any problems.
  3. Call your pet sitter
    • Ask them how things went and if there were any problems.
  4. Do a quick house run-through:
    • Water plants
    • Feed the fish/ animals
    • Check your security system
    • Make sure all doors and windows are still locked
    • Check to see that no items are missing

Your Stuff

  1. Unpack.
    We know you don’t want to and we don’t blame you! But doing a few loads of laundry and putting things away now will make it a lot easier than trying to find your wallet and favorite shoes in the crazy pre-work morning rush.

    WHN Reader TIP: Check Your Stuff

    Make sure everything you brought with you has come back! (Use this handy packing checklist to cross-reference between what you packed and what you have now). If not, contact your hotel/rental car/airline company to retrieve it
    – Gretchen, Richfield, MN
  2. Catalog it all
    • Catalog your receipts, vouchers and other important documents from your trip.
    • If you shared a trip with friends or another family and you’re sharing costs, be sure to go through your receipts within a few days of your return.
  3. Check your mail and then:
    • Pay your bills
    • Throw away the junk mail
    • Recycle old newspapers

    WHN TIP: Restart your mail!

    If you stopped your mail, head to to restart your service.
  4. Start your services you may have put on hold:
    • Newspapers
    • Magazines
    • Grocery deliveries


Have to head back to work? Here are top tips from business travelers from across the country:

  1. Get caught up
    Check in with a coworker to catch up on all the office gossip and project progress before you head in – that way you won’t be blindsided with a major catastrophe.
  2. Plan in advance
    Lay out all your work items ahead of time – briefcase, purse/wallet, outfit, lunch, umbrella, coat – everything you might need for the next day. That way you can sleep in a few extra minutes, just like you did on vacation and you won’t be in such a rush to get up and get going.

    WHN Staff TIP: In the Know

    Work in an information-heavy workplace? Tune in to the news or breeze through the major news sites online. This’ll get you caught up on all the pop culture, sports news, politics and international news.

    WHN Reader TIP: Keep the Vacation Spirit Alive

    Plan a few fun activities to look forward to throughout the week, get your photos developed and bring a few to look at while you’re working. Keep the vacation-spirit alive!
    – Lainie, NY, NY, who just returned from her Grand Cayman trip
  3. Deal with all your email and voicemail in one fell swoop.
    If you can, get it out of the way before you head into work. Then you can spend that extra time getting caught up on the work and the big pile that’s suddenly appeared in your inbox on your desk.

    WHN Reader TIP: Stay Clear

    One thing I usually try to do is keep my schedule empty for a day after returning-which gives me a chance to catch up on mail and messages, as well as the ability to say yes if there's an offer to bump. It also makes things so much calmer.
    – Shel H., Hadley, MA
  4. BONUS Tip: Still Have the Post-Vacation Blues?
    Start saving and planning your next vacation trip. Read our Top Ten Travel Planning Tips to get started!

Updated: 5/2009