Post-holiday blues can sneak up on you and completely smack you off your feet! It can suck the life and happy vibes right out of your soul.
Going from one extreme of the buzz of exploring a new country, destination, or culture to being back in boring reality can be pretty daunting! Not all of us can travel full-time even if we wanted to! So for some of us, this is reality! Coming home after traveling, returning to work, and returning to routine.
Post-travel depression after a trip is so real that they even have an acronym for it – PTD! Go figure!
In this Post:
1: Why do we feel the post-trip blues?
2: How to get over post-travel depression
3: Benefits of after-travel depression – because yes, there are some!
What is Post Holiday Blues?
Post vacation blues or post-holiday blues is a type of depressed and anxious mood that holidaymakers often experience when returning home from a trip. While symptoms usually are mild feelings of being dissatisfied with life, they might also include short bouts of crying after vacation has ended.
Why do we feel the Post Travel Blues?
It seems that there can be a multitude of reasons why we feel depressed after vacation. Travel is beneficial to our health in so many ways.
There are valid reasons for these post holiday blues, and true reasons as to why it is so hard to adjust back to your normal way of life. This image from Getaway Brigade wraps the post holiday depression symptoms real well.
5 Typical Post Travel Depression Symptoms
The symptoms of post-holiday depression can really include some or even all of the following: anxiety, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, headaches, sleeping too much or too little, change in appetite, weight loss or gain, inability to concentrate, increased desire to be alone, and loss of interest in things you usually enjoy.
Clinical psychologist Linda Blair says: ‘Bear in mind it takes a good three days to wind down when you go on holiday so likewise, it will take you a bit of time to re-immerse yourself in real life.'
My Story of Travel Depression Anxiety:
We recently came back from a family holiday to Cambodia. I am now on long service leave and therefore have no job except for blogging to return to, I thought our return from Cambodia would be a happy one! However, knowing we are home-bound for my last trimester of pregnancy and the birth of my baby has escalated my post travelling depression to a new dimension.
There is nothing like feeling like you are stuck!! That you have no choice but to be where you are right this minute! No matter how strong you can feel the pull to explore and wander some more!
I think that to some extent all of the points in the image; that outlines the reasons for depression after traveling; applies to our return after coming back from holiday! Understanding post-trip depression helps you to move beyond the symptoms.
1. The sadness from leaving behind a new country explored, the friendships made along the way and the favourite destinations in the country that connected with your soul, all which has the potential to leave you feeling depressed after travelling.
2. The nostalgia that comes from having an awesome trip and knowing that it is a once in a lifetime memory!
3. Having to return to the routine of life, the school lunches, the school drop-offs! Having to do our own washing again and make our own meals. Knowing that there is no adventure or excitement awaiting us every single day and that some days will just be ‘boring’ as we get some jobs and housework out of the way!
4. Reverse culture shock! I think we have felt reverse culture shock to the extremes on our return from our two last trips! Visiting countries where the people have to go through a harder lifestyle than us and experiencing how people who work incredibly hard and have so little material things against their names, can be so incredibly happy with life! And here we are, lucky and fortunate in a country where luxury is almost a given and material things consume our lives! The difference between our lifestyle compared to theirs really struck us!
5. And of course, even as travel bloggers we still come home with a credit card bill that we need to repay before our next travels!
At 24 weeks pregnant, I could barely see those wanderlust feet of mine!
I have restless soul syndrome! And this being ‘stuck' at home is making my after traveling depression pretty damn real!
How to Beat the Post Travel Depression
Below is a list of ideas of how to deal with post-travel depression. Now as an important side note, if you have more than post-holiday blues and it is edging towards severe depression after vacation, you really need to stop reading my post and get yourself some professional help.
1. Allow yourself time to adjust
It is important to realize that it is pretty normal to feel depressed after travelling. And often we used up our energy on an adrenaline rush to explore a new destination, only to get back home with little to zero energy left for the normal everyday stuff.
Next, it is important to deal with jet lag. “The body clock, which is in the brain in the hypothalamus, takes a few days to adjust to the timing of light and darkness at the destination, and this disrupted rhythm results in a host of unpleasant symptoms, including tiredness, headache, disorientation, poor concentration and indigestion,” explains Dr Peter Prendergast of Venus Medical. Allow yourself time to adjust and do expect a level of after trip depression to show up.
If at all possible, build in an extra vacation day at the end of your trip to simply be at home and recover!
2. Keep hold of your Travel Memories in a creative way
One of the easiest ways to help move past the depression after travel is to start working on recording those travel memories in some creative way. “Research has shown that if we can recall positive memories they can boost our positive emotions at the moment,” says Dr Green, a clinical psychologist and founder of The Positivity Institute.
- Turn your favorite travel photos into canvas prints. We love finding cheap canvas deals with Easy Canvas Prints. Grab your 25% off plus FREE shipping with our link.
- Make a slideshow or montage from your favorite travel photos and videos. Then you can easily watch it back and revisit your incredible memories, plus you can share it with friends. You can use iPhoto or Google Photos to make one yourself or use a service, like EverPresent.
- Write blog posts about your travels.
- Create a coffee photo book for your vacation. My go-to photo book printing company is Blurb!
- Get hands-on and lose yourself in the art and craft of scrapbooking. I love to create travel scrapbooks of my trips so that I can include ticket stubs and pamphlets from the holiday. I'm totally in love with K&CompanySmash Folio. Another brilliant product to organize all your ticket stubs is a Just the Ticket: Ticket Stub Organizer. A really awesome product!
3. Be a Tourist in your own Area
While we are grounded for the last trimester we are doing our best to keep the wanderlust bug at bay by exploring more of the local area! Recently we had a beautiful and relaxing day exploring all that Noosa on the Sunshine Coast has to offer! Blog research of course! But at least it gets us out and exploring. I think this view says it all!
4. Evaluate what isn't working
Maybe it is time to look at why home life is so depressing? Are you too busy? Do you need to change your job? Do you need more balance in life? Do you have fun hobbies and activities that you participate in. Ask yourself some questions and try to understand why being home is so hard. Can you make any changes?
A really good book to read is The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. It is a great eye-opener to looking at life with fresh eyes and reevaluating whether the 9-5 lifestyle is making you happy.
5. Practice thankfulness through a gratitude journal
My passion area in counselling is on meditation and gratitude. Gratitude is so incredibly powerful. When you expressing gratitude (or thankfulness), you create a surge of ”feel-good” brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. In fact, several studies show that being grateful reduces the risk of depression.
I did a research project in my masters of counselling that was centred around gratitude's connection with well-being and happiness and the results were incredible!
There are two super easy ways to practice gratitude. You might choose to share your thoughts on thankfulness with another person. We do this every night around the dinner table. Or for those who love to keep their thoughts private, you might choose to express your gratitude by journaling.
I personally love The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life! You will be surprised how beneficial thankfulness can be when you are struggling with post-travel depression.
6. Start planning the next trip!
I love planning trips! That is something that I enjoy even more than writing about them post-trip. So even though I know we can’t head anywhere far from home till baby-love is at least 6 weeks old, I am already planning and prepping for our next trip abroad! We have already bought tickets for our entire family for a trip to Bali, Lombok and Gili Islands! I’m onto finding our accommodation and slowly making my way through figuring out which day trips will be newborn-baby-friendly whilst there!
It keeps me moving forward and it keeps me motivated! The blues are still there in the background, lingering around, but at least I can choose to focus on something more pleasant than to just sulk around!
Planning a trip, no matter how prematurely, can be really beneficial. Dr Green, a clinical psychologist and founder of The Positivity Institute, says: “Research tells us that anticipation of the experience of pleasure is nearly as pleasurable as the experience itself.” So even if the trip is years away, go and start brainstorming where you want to go and what you want to see.
I love using Pinterest to start off my holiday research. Make sure to follow us as well 🙂
Books are always brilliant for inspiring some travel ideas. Here are some of my favorites!
Once you know where you are going, you might like to use our Travel Planning Hub to start researching your prices and dates.
7. Use journaling to foster positive change
Journaling is another powerful tool that you can make use of. It can be so ‘releasing' to simply get your thoughts out on paper. Clear out your brain for more positive and happy thoughts. If your head is full of negativity, it can be hard to squeeze in positive thoughts, so grab a journal and release the thoughts that are currently there.
Make it a daily practice. And simply write 1-3 pages every morning or every night. Write whatever comes up in your brain, the idea here is to simply let go and get it out! No judgement, no analyzing … just write!
8. Pick a job that allows you to earn whilst travelling!
What do you currently do for a living? Could you incorporate travel into your career? For example a teacher can teach anywhere in the world. A hairdresser can cut hair wherever they want. See our post on the best travel jobs in the world.
9. Find out what your future has in store!
How about trying something different and somewhat exciting. Reach out to an alternative option and seek a place that can provide you with a free psychic reading. This way you might get a glimpse into your future and create excitement that and open you up to new possibilities.
As hard as it is to live with post travel depression, especially when you know that there are no immediate trips in your near future, there is actually a positive side to the misery that comes from the blues that follows a holiday.
For me it teaches you about aspects of yourself or your life that you are not happy with! Why did these emotions tackle me and what is it that I need to change in order to be happier to return home in the future? What is working in your life and what is not! Travel is addictive, but it is also important to have an addictive lifestyle that you are passionate about even when you are NOT traveling!
Benefits of Post Vacation Blues
- Post-travel depression can help us figure out what we are not enjoying about our current way of life, and open our eyes to what we are truly passionate about!
- It opens our yearning to do more with our lives, to be more, to travel more, to learn and discover more!
- Post-travel depression is a great motivator to start saving those dollars for the next trip away!
- It makes you appreciate how lucky we truly are to be able to travel and explore other countries and other ways of life!
- It makes us re-evaluate how we live and makes us notice the things that we tend to normally take for granted!
- It makes us take action to break away from the normal routines of life!
Post Travel Depression Quotes – Because for some Reason Quotes Help!
What about you!
Beautiful photo of a sunset at a beach in Noosa National Park! Sometimes beauty lies just beyond your front door!
Travel; makes u grateful for what u have, but also opens your eyes to how different life could be!
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44 thoughts on “What Is After Travel Depression? SIMPLE Strategies On How To Cope!”
leaving tmr and the PTD is making me so upset, its already been a month time flies
Excellent Post. I guess, Stress is the most common thing that can be seen after Holidays. For that, I always make a list of all the things I want to do as soon as I come home. I think doing something exciting inspires you to live more and stress free. Infact I have watched a video also in which tips are given regarding how can we cope up with Post Holiday Blues and I really liked the third tip which states – Wear something you feel good in. Wearing something you like will definitely boost your mood. You can also take a look on the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEAYxer0kws, the other tips are also really useful.
Thanks Ashpreet! Great tips and thanks for sharing thanks for sharing the link to the video for those who would like to watch it.
Thank you for this, I thought I was losing my mind. Just back from exploring Bali and Thailand for a month and feel like I am in an alternate (sad) universe, crying for no reason. Grateful you shared about this and also write about the benefits, it is helping me, thank you!
Glad to hear it was helpful Talyn – Hope you recover from the PTD soon!
I just got back from Bali with my husband..beautiful country amazing people..we had initially went for a yoga retreat but unfortunately it wasn’t a good environment and our teacher did not plan well so we left the retreat and stayed in UBud for a few days..but before that the beginning of our vacation started at a resort before the yoga retreat and my husband suffered tremendously from the long plane flight and had possibly blood clot..so we spent several days back and forth to health clinic and hospital. Luckily they were able to help..but I think the stress with that plus the yoga retreat not being what we had hoped and then the long flight back home just took a toll on me 🙁 it’s been a week and I’ve had zero energy during the day and I’m wide awake at night 🙁 I feel resentful for the yoga teacher charging us 4,000.00 and have emailed her for 50% of our money back another lady was also upset with the environment and left too. We also had to pay for the hospital charged and unexpected hotel cost etch which was ok but I had this vision this would be the best trip ever and it wasn’t 🙁 all my friends were so excited to hear about our adventure and I just wanted to cry. The one thing that’s helping me is the new friendships I did make and the exposure of the culture and beautiful people…
Hi Marie, sounds like a disappointing trip. Sorry to hear about all the drama. Unfortunately, things sometimes go wrong no matter where we are in the world. Did you have any travel insurance for the trip? You should be able to claim for the hospital expenses etc on that? Hope that the yoga retreat helps to refund some of your money for you. I’m glad to hear that you are ending your comment on a happy note and I hope that the next weeks will go a bit better for you.
I am really glad to have come across this because I made me realize I am not alone in this struggle. I usually feel depressed every time I return home from a holiday that I enjoyed, and I find it hard to get back into the daily monotonous routine of life, such as going back to work, etc. I suffered a major bout of PTD about four years back after I returned from a trip to New Zealand. It was only a two week trip, but I guess I loved it so much I didn’t want it to end. Just got back a few days ago from a trip to Japan, and I am feeling the same way. The f funny thing is, the first couple days of the trip I am actually abit homesick, but then its like I start to get attached to the place and miss it so much once its time to go home. Its difficult talking to others about it because quite often they don’t really understand, they just feel you should get over it, and they may not share your own love/passion for travel. It is hard, but I also realize that all good things in life have to come to an end at some point. Rather than be depressed that its over, I try to be happy that it happened, and that I actually got the opportunity to go to these places. And of course, there is always tomorrow, and the chance to go back again one day. But its great to know I am not alone in this!
Thanks for sharing your story AGM. I love that you finish off your comment with loads of positive vibes and with a positive outlook on the future! All the best to you!
I just traveled to bali one week ago, and I’m still suffering PTD until now 🙁 what makes me sad the most is my friends. My friends and I went to Bali, we did everything together in there and now it feels weird when I’m not around them
That sounds hard Risma. Do they live close that you can organize some regular catch ups with them to help you a bit? Or maybe you guys could start planning your next ‘friends’ holiday?
I’ve been back for almost 3 months after 2 and a half years away travelling and STILL have bad PTD. No motivation to leave the house and wanting to be alone. Fear of reality. Enjoy spending time with my family but avoiding everyone else. I’m slowly getting better but it hit me hard.
Oh, Felicity that really sounds hard. I hope you have been getting some support from family and seeking some professional help you guide you through it all.
Thanks for this! We just returned from a 3 week trip to Israel where we celebrated our son’s Bar Mitzvah so it was a super special one to boot.
1 day in and I’m already experiencing PTD!
Love your suggestions and will repost to my blog, AlyaBuzz!
thanks and congrats on the baby!!!
Thanks so much! 🙂 Glad you found the suggestions helpful. Sounds like you had a super special trip!
This has helped so much. Thank you. I didn’t even realize there was a name to this phenomenon until recently, and already I feel much more not alone. I almost always experience PTD for trips which are longer than a weekend or a few days. Just yesterday I got back from a trip to Southern Africa. We started in Joburg, went to Kruger, Vic Falls, Sossusvlei in Namibia, and ended with Cape Town, and there were layovers both ways thru Istanbul. Altho the trip at times felt rushed since we squeezed in so much in just over two weeks, and there were tensions among us due to the difficulties of cohabitation with, (there was actually a couple fights with one friend), the trip overall was the blast of a lifetime, and really changed me personally. One friend in particular is very special to me, and I miss him the most already. The San Francisco Bay Area feels like a different planet from Southern Africa right now, even though I may have noticed similarities when I was actually there on the ground. I know I’ll get over it, but it’s just really tough right now. Maybe I’ll check this out in a few weeks and reflect back on my feelings then from now 🙂
Thanks for your comment Bobby. Grateful the post has helped – sometimes just knowing that your feelings are fairly normal helps your brain settle a bit. I do find that it hits me more when I visit countries that are just so diverse and different to Australia that I call home. Will be interesting to see your reflection in a few weeks, hope you leave us another comment 🙂 All the best.
Think I’m a bit late to the party here but so glad I found this post of yours. I have always struggled with PTD, as long as I can remember, but this time it’s worse than ever. I had a really rough year, I struggled with mental illness quite bad and ended up quitting my job. I moved to NYC after graduation and have a studio apartment there, so I spent most of my time there this year lonely and waiting for better days ahead. I just returned from my dream trip to Australia and New Zealand, went with my dad and stayed for almost a month. For the last few months this trip has been the only thing on my mind, the one thing that was getting me through everything else. I’d think “yeah ok today sucks but get through 60 more of these and then you get to go on your trip”. Now it’s over and I have to face that my day to day life isn’t something I’m happy with. I’d love to change direction but I’m fairly scared to. Not to mention I can’t help but think back to all the amazing times my dad and I had on vacation, and instead of the memories making me happy, it’s making me cry because I was so happy and it’s so different from how I normally feel. I also just miss the vacation excitement, waking up every day in a beautiful place ready for an adventure. I just hope this eases soon, I’ve dealt with it before but never to this extent. I had a panic attack on the flight home yesterday and have been having more since. Ugh. Anyway, I also find it funny that you live in the exact place I’m dying to be back at, yet you deal with PTD coming back there from elsewhere. So funny how where we live changes our view on everything. I’d love to be back in Noosa and on the Sunshine Coast but I’m sure if I lived there it’d be completely different. So weird how that all works.
Thank you very much for the comment Sarah, and apologies for a much-delayed reply.
As you said, it is funny how where we live changes our view on everything… We love coming back to Australia and to our home on the Sunshine Coast. Saying that, we still get the PTD regardless.
Hope that you will visit hte Sunshine Coast again soon 🙂 or that you have already been again, since you wrote this comment.
All the very best and safe travel in the future.
Thanks for writing this post. It’s inspired me to write about post holiday depression too 🙂 I’m certainly going through these strange feelings and crazy mixed confronting emotions with every interaction I’m having. It’s nice to read people have similar experiences
Yes, I think all travellers experience PTD to some extent. It is especially hard to not travel in the current times.
All best to you and glad that we could inspire you to write about it as well. 🙂
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