Ahh travel. Beautiful scenery, delicious food and awesome company - enough to make anyone not
want to come home. But all good things must come to an end?
I hope this article helps you deal with some of the not-so-great aspects of returning home after such amazing experiences abroad.
1. Jet lag
As much as we all love to travel to faraway destinations, one of the most annoying challenges when coming home is jet lag. The pain of waking up in the middle of the night feeling fresh and ready to start the day to feeling sleepy while the sun is still bright is enough to awaken the Grumpy cat in you ?
But the way to deal with jet lag is really to sleep it off! Sleep as much as you can when you are back home, to
make up for all the time zones you passed through! One tip is to try arranging your flights such that you'll land in the evening. Then you can have the rest of the night to sleep!
Another tip is to split up your trip home. For instance, instead of taking that direct flight from New York to Singapore (20 hours, 55 minutes), break up your trip by stopping over at Doha (14 hours) before continuing on to home sweet home (8 hours). This way, your body has the time to adjust to the time zones you are flying through, and hopefully avoid the dreadful jetlag when you reach home!
I confess. I am that traveller that comes home, dumps her luggage bag in a corner of the house and forgets all about it until she runs out of clean clothes to wear?
So how does a procrastinator deal with the horror of unpacking? What I’ve tried to do is to open my luggage bag right when I reach home because opening it makes you realize that 1) you have lesser space in the house because it's not twice the width, and 2) the mess is unsightly to the human eye.
And trust me, this would hasten your unpacking process!
3.The (dreaded) laundry
Unpacking unfortunately also leads to the foreseeable mountain of laundry you will have to deal with. Unlike your usual laundry, you might have a harder time with this one as there might be a mix of dirty laundry, new clothes and even winter wear?
One way to tackle the mountain of laundry is to use one or more of these:
These affordable and absolutely practical laundry bags can be found in varying sizes in Daiso! At $2 a piece, you could get one for your delicates, one for tops and one for bottoms, keeping them separate from the clean clothes and at the same time organised!
All you need to do when you come home is grab whichever bag you want and chuck its contents into the washing machine! Plus, these are machine-washable, so if you don’t want to wash delicates by hand, just throw them into the washing machine ?
And if you had
the pleasure of visiting a country during its winter season, you also have the pleasure of packing...and unpacking for it!
One tip is to dry-clean all the coats/jackets used and keep them in the plastic cover they came in. Hang them in your closet but if you're pressed for space, use a vacuum seal bag to compress them! I keep all my winter wear in a large plastic container under my bed.
4. Souvenirs - Who gets what, again?
Most of the time, even the most seasoned travellers forget who they got their souvenirs for! One simple tip would be to carry a small notebook and pen, and as you go along, note the souvenirs and who they are for.
A somewhat frustrating problem with souvenirs is where to store them. I use a drawer to keep all these knick-knacks, although it is admittedly getting too full ?
Perhaps giving these items a second life by donating them to charity would be a better idea than letting them gather dust!
5. Photos, photos, photos!
Ahh yes…. Photos. We travellers simply love taking photos with iconic places, famous monuments, and especially of food. All is fine and dandy, until this pops up:
Now, there is a relatively simple solution - transfer the photos over to your computer and save them on your hard disk. But one challenge is sorting through all the photos!
If you are like me, taking many photos of the same thing, it really is painful picking out the perfect one and deleting the rest. That said, it must be done to have space for even more photos!
6. Our hot weather
We probably know the clothes-stuck-to-your-back feeling from sweating profusely in our hot and humid weather. Imagine coming back from a - 8 °C climate and stepping into Singapore or Malaysia’s 26-33°C. Definitely. Not. Fun.
Readjusting to the heat and humidity become harder the longer you spend abroad in a cold country. I’m not kidding when I say I couldn’t breathe properly after spending almost two months in negative temperatures!
What can you do to make this a little easier on you and your body? Yes, drink lots and lots of water (more than you think you might need!).
7. Foreign currency
There are times when we come back with foreign currency, especially loose change! Good news for those transiting or landing in Singapore as there's something at Changi Airport Terminal 1 and 3 called the TravelersBox.
Exchange selected currencies for credit in several partner companies like Grab and Lazada. This allows you to give new life (and value) to your foreign currency - especially if you are not planning to go back there anytime soon!
If you are
planning to go back to that country, adopt a simple organisation system for all your different foreign currencies! I do this by having different pouches, labelling them with the kind of currency so that at one glance I can know the currencies I have ?
8. Returning to reality...and planning for the next trip
Instagram and Facebook are useful in helping you recall the unique and amazing experiences...but they also make it harder on you to return to the reality of responsibilities and work. If you had such a great time abroad, you’re most likely going to miss the place. Getting back into the swing of things is only going to be harder if you do!
Some people cope with travel-withdrawal-syndrome by dragging themselves to work, go out with friends and family and maybe even looking through their travel photos. Others, like me...well, we start thinking and planning for the next trip ?
These are but a few of some of my personal challenges and some tips and tricks I personally adopt when returning home. Let us know what YOU do to deal with the challenges of returning home after travelling!