Is it just us, or does it seem like there are tons of things to do when preparing to leave for any given trip? There is confirming travel arrangements, ensuring you pack appropriately and include all necessary documents, securing everything at home, and heading out the door on time with everything ready to go. It seems like there are countless lists and resources to help you get ready for a trip. But, what about the things to do upon returning from any trip?

After spending time on a great vacation, the last thing most people want to do is think about what all there is to do upon returning. Properly preparing for a trip can be exhausting and many trips themselves should be relaxing. Thinking of all the things you should do upon returning from any trip is a buzzkill. Don’t worry, we have you covered.

10 Things You Should Do Upon Returning From Any Trip

Sanitize Your Luggage

One of the first things I do when we get home is sanitize our luggage. I’ve been doing this for years. Believe it or not, but travel has always been a pretty dirty activity. It is cleaner now than it was in years past. However, I still make sure to do a quick round of sanitizing. To do this, I spray all exterior sides of our suitcases and backpacks with Lysol and let it sit for a few minutes. After some time, I wipe down the hard and high-touch surfaces with a disinfecting wipe. This includes the handle(s), zipper pulls and wheels.

Occasionally, I will also spray down the interior of my bag when it is empty. However, I am a bit OCD placing everything that goes inside my bag in some sort of barrier bag. Shoes, clothes, products…. they all go into their own bag before being placed inside my suitcase. It stays much cleaner than the exterior.

Laundry Time

Several years ago, we used to schedule return flights as late in the day as possible. This meant we would get home later at night when we were exhausted. Now that we are older and wiser, we plan our flights so we return home in the afternoon instead. This allows us a bit of rest and catch-up time before we go back to the grind. When this is the case, we start laundry as soon as possible.

Travel clothes being washed in a hotel sink after a long flight

Again, because travel is a dirty activity, we use Lysol Laundry Sanitizer in every load of post-travel laundry we do. Everything gets washed, whether it was actually worn or not. I try to get everything folded and on hangers ASAP as well. But, it may be a few days before it actually gets put away.

Jump In The Shower

At the risk of sounding like a broken record here, you’ll also want to take a quick shower as soon as you can. Any guesses why? Because travel (especially on planes) is a dirty activity. After having my head on the headrest for a flight, the last thing I want to do is lay on my clean pillow. In case you are curious, yes, we clean the entire house prior to leaving on a trip. This is one of the things we do to prepare our house prior to leaving for vacation. I do not want to come home and track in all the airplane muck.

Take Inventory and Restock

As soon as you have time, take inventory of the items you always travel with and restock as necessary. Many personal care items become depleted over the course of a trip. This includes refilling or replacing any toiletries. If you are out of stock on things, you can make a quick trip to a place like Dollar Tree to replenish your supplies on the cheap. It is easy to just get them ready to go for next time.

Unpack That Bag

Laundry has been started and your personal care items have been restock. Now, it’s time to take a few minutes to unpack all the remaining items from your bag and get it put away. Put everything back in its proper place as soon as you can. You can find it much easier for your next trip. This is something that I always seem to put off but having my luggage sitting around for weeks drives me crazy. It is easier to just stay on top of it and do it right away. You also stand less of a risk of misplacing something if you return it to is usual place as soon as possible.

Swap Your Purse (or Wallet)

Listen up ladies (and gents). It is really strange to me when I see my fellow female travelers out there with their oversize, over the shoulder, usually un-zipped, high-end purses. This sets you up to be the target of crime. Plus, carrying around that big old thing gets heavy and isn’t very good on your joints. For these reasons, I always switch to a small travel purse and wallet. We know many men who also use a smaller travel wallet. You simply don’t need to take all the normal things with you on your trip. But, you must remember to swap back to your regular purse and/or wallet upon your return.

Small purses are the way to go! Just make sure to swap back to your regular purse when you return.

There have been a few times that I grabbed my regular purse after returning from a trip only to realize that my driver’s license or payment methods were still sitting in my travel purse. Similarly, I have just used my travel purse for a day or two prior to our return to find out I was missing things like my office keys.

Back Up Your Photos

We use Amazon’s Prime Photos to back up any photos taken on our phones during our trip. As soon as we return, I double check that all the pictures have properly saved before deleting them off my phone. I also back up any photos that were taken on my camera.

Keep Your Distance

It pains me that it is 2022 now and we are still having to think about this. But, it might be worthwhile to keep your distance from those you did not travel with for a few days upon your return. Enough said about that.

Rest and Recharge

Just as it is important to hydrate, eat well, and get a good night’s rest prior to leaving for vacation, the same is true upon your return. I usually take a day or two off from the gym as well, just to give my body a break. But, after you’ve rested up, it’s time to jump back into the swing of things as soon as you can after returning from a trip. If you’re dealing with jet lag, you’ll want to try to get back on your regular schedule as quickly as possible as well.

Plan Your Next Trip

As much as we hate (or love) to admit it, travel is a vicious cycle. Having another adventure on the horizon gives you something to look forward to. Not sure where to go? We have plenty of great destinations to inspire your wanderlust! There is no better time to plan your next trip!

Hopefully this list will help you easily get back on track after returning from any trip and get ready to go for the next one!

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11 Comments

  1. GREAT tips!! I do most of the things on this list (my favorite is #10 – plan your next trip). But I have never done #1!! I never thought to sanitize our luggage!! Great tip! I will definitely do that after our next trip.

  2. Great tips! I really need to get better about unpacking right away. I also love that your final tip is to plan the next one!

  3. Great tips, guys! Interesting the way the Pandemic has improved some of our travel habits. We’ve always done #1 to some degree, but are even more OCD about it now. Our favorite tip (outside of planning the next trip – which we’ve usually already started!) is hopping in the shower ASAP. Not only is it good for hygiene, it’s a great relaxer after a long day of travel. 🙂

  4. Swapping the purse is one thing I am forgetful about the most. I always make that mistake of carrying the regular purse while all important identity cards, even my credit cards are still lying in my travel purse.

  5. Great tips – definitely keep your distance. We just got back from overseas and on day 4 I was positive for covid. Travel is more complex these days! But so glad the world is opening up again!

  6. Apparently waist packs are the “in” thing now. I remember when my 22 year old daughter laughed at the idea, and now she just bought one. They make a great option for the big old purse.

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