Note: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, We will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. More details are here.

Our family enjoys traveling together. We love being able to make memories while we are experiencing new places as a family. But no matter how spectacular a vacation ends up being, it’s extremely unpleasant to step back into your home only to have reality crash back down around you.

6 Tips to Prepare Travelers for a Smooth Re-Entry

A sink full of dishes that now have a rancid odor.

Random clothes strewn about the house.

Kids asking what’s for dinner the moment you step in the door.

Vacations are fantastic but sometimes the rest and the joy you experienced while you were away can evaporate in a heartbeat once you get back home. Fortunately, that doesn’t have to be the case. With a little bit of preparation before you leave, you can have much smoother re-entry after you return home.

Here are 6 Tips to Prepare Travelers for a Smooth Re-Entry:

1 – Think of Your First Meal 

When you return home, people will be hungry. It’s guaranteed to happen and will probably happen much sooner than you’ll expect. It’s wise to have a  few non-perishable meals at home so that you can quickly and easily get everyone fed without having to stop at the store.

2 – Tidy Up

There’s nothing worse than getting home to a messy house. You’ll want to tidy up a bit the night before you leave as well as on your way out the door so that coming home is completely relaxing. I always feel better if I’m able to do the following while my husband and sons are loading our luggage into the car:

  • Put all dishes into the dishwasher and turn it on
  • Clean off the counters and the sink
  • Empty all garbage cans in the house

3 – Remember Your Pets

If you have dogs, you will need to find someone who can take him or her in while you’re gone. Or, you’ll need to drop your pet off at a kennel.

If you have cats or other animals who are able to be home alone for long periods of time, however, then they can stay in the comfort of their own home while you’re on your trip. But you will need to do the following to make sure they’re properly cared for:

  • Ask someone to come in to care for your pet at least every 1-2 days until you return. Be sure to give thorough instructions to this person and put all items they may need to access in visible locations to make their job easier.
  • Shut all doors to rooms you don’t want your pets to enter while you’re gone such as bathrooms, closets, and offices.
  • Prop open all other doors to make sure your pet doesn’t accidentally get stuck inside and is unable to access their food, water, and litterbox

4 – Handle Your Mail

Ask someone to pick up your mail and hold onto it for you until you return. If you will be gone for an extended period of time, you may just want to have the post office hold it for you. If you live in the U.S., you can even request that this be done using an online form in many areas of the country.

5 – What Will I Wear?

Another helpful tip is to be sure to leave at least one clean set of clothes for each family member at home so that you won’t have to do laundry as soon as you step through the door.

6 – Climate Control

The final thing you’ll want to do before you leave for a trip is to adjust the climate control in order to save money. There’s no need to keep the temperature as warm or as cold as you normally would if you were home. However, if you have pets who will be there while you’re gone, be sure you keep things comfortable for them. And even if your house will be completely empty, it isn’t wise to turn the heat off completely because you could end up with frozen pipes while you’re gone.

After having a wonderful trip, the last thing you want to do is to come crashing back to reality. With a little bit of preparation, you can have a smooth re-entry and have more time to reminisce and to enjoy your photos rather than having to dig yourself out of a mess.

Do you have any other suggestions for travelers to help their re-entry to be less stressful? Please leave a comment below.