TRAVEL

What is Post Travel Depression? SIMPLE Strategies on how to Cope!

Post Travel Depression

Post holiday blues has the ability to sneak up on you and completely smack you off your feet!   It can suck the life and happy vibes right out from your soul. 

Going from one extreme of the buzz of exploring a new country, destination, 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 travelling, returning back to work and returning back 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.  Whilst symptoms usually are mild feelings of being dissatisfied with life, it 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.  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.

Post Holiday Blues Symptoms

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!

post travel depression

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!

post-travel-depression-pregnant

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 are 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 traveling.   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 in the moment,” says Dr Green, clinical psychologist and founder of The Positivity Institute.

Ideas:

  • 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.
  • Write blog posts about your travels.
  • Create a coffee photo book of your vacation.  My go-to photo book printing company is Blurb!
  • Get hands on and loose 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 in 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!

Post Holiday Blues

 

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 centered 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 of 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 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, 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.

 

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 Holiday Blues Quotes | Post Vacation Blues Quotes | Holiday Depression Quotes

Post Travel Depression Quotes – Because for some Reason Quotes Help!

What about you! 

  • Have you ever suffered from after holiday blues 
  • What did you learn from feeling depressed after vacation? 
  • What did you do to overcome your post trip depression?

 

Post Travel Blues

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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22 Comments

  • Reply
    winny
    April 8, 2016 at 12:00 am

    as travel blogger somehow i feel greedy to explore all the world but when i see my pocket is empty but does not mean stopping from travelling

  • Reply
    Brian
    May 5, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    I know this feeling too well – having several places that feel like home around Europe. In the end it’s always the people you miss the most! Would someone invent teleporting already?? 🙂

  • Reply
    Mel
    August 24, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    ^^^ If only teleportation was possible, right? I was actually in Cape Town for 10 weeks and am back in the US. PTD has been hitting me quite hard and it’s so difficult to shake it off. I’ve met with friends and have been running errands all around but nothing feels right. It’s as if time stood still here and nothing has changed. I love my friends and family and am still in graduate school, so I do have things to take care of, but nothing compares to the experiences I had in South Africa. I felt as if I had so much growth abroad that it’s hard to avoid reverting to old ways being back home. The only thing keeping me motivated is planning another trip. Just have to figure out the financial means to make that happen again.

    • Jolene Ejmont
      Reply
      Jolene Ejmont
      August 25, 2016 at 10:49 am

      It is hard isn’t it!! Especially when you connect with destination as much as you have in SA (I love Cape Town! Can’t wait to return myself!). I think the more we travel than more we yearn for more and more and more! I hope you get to travel again soon!! At least planning the next trip is exciting, we have 2 weeks till our next trip and I can’t wait!!

  • Reply
    Joely
    January 26, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    Struggling big time now. Been home 4 days and can’t stand it. Next 4 trips are booked in but I just wanna go now!!

    • Jolene Ejmont
      Reply
      Jolene Ejmont
      January 27, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      It is hard isn’t it!! Best way is to just be on a permanent holiday … if only that was possible!! Hope that next trip is soon for you! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mylene
    April 22, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Currently suffering PTD ???? Just camr back from almost 3 weeks in Japan & its hitting me at some times of the day. Having been to Japan vs my hometown is very depressing as I can see the wide difference… trying to shake it off… this has been the longest vacation I had.. now I’m trying to plan my next trip back as a diversion… even normal.office routine is hard

    • Jolene Ejmont
      Reply
      Jolene Ejmont
      April 23, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Yes!! PTD is not fun! I have experienced it and have seen it in my friends too! We just came back from a 3 week trip to Japan too! Talk about a coincidence!! And yes, I am in full swing planning our trip to France!!! Trying to keep busy, but already over the routine of life at home! Hope things look up for you soon Mylene!

  • Reply
    Curt
    June 7, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Just returned from a 2 year trip, I definitely feel it! You are on point when you say that it makes you realize how lucky we are to be able to travel. And reverse travel shock? BIG TIME! I love returning home but it only takes a few short weeks to get me ready for the next adventure!

    • Reply
      Curt
      June 7, 2017 at 2:53 pm

      Edit: Reverse CULTURE shock*

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    August 9, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    The part where you said “it teaches you about aspects of yourself or your life that you are not happy with” really resonated with me. After coming back from my travels, I always get a clearer perspective of what’s keeping me unhappy and what sort of changes I should finally make to move towards happiness. Very awesome and insightful post!

    • Jolene Ejmont
      Reply
      Jolene Ejmont
      August 10, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      Exactly! And whilst that might be hard, change and moving forward in life is always good! 🙂

  • Reply
    Traveling the Continents
    August 29, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    Sometimes we just don’t want to go back to real life, it takes a few days for us to get back to normal after traveling to awesome places.

    • Jolene Ejmont
      Reply
      Jolene Ejmont
      September 1, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Yes, I think it is normal to have a few hard days back in reality! The problem is when those few days turn into weeks or a month 🙂

  • Reply
    Manvi
    September 27, 2017 at 4:46 am

    I came back from my first trip abroad. I had some sought of internship in London . Then I visited Scotland where I had so much fun and met so many people. After that I went to lake district where I took part in many adventure activities . Overall I felt different about myself and I felt different I can’t explain it . It was roughly 1 and a half month trip. Now I am back in India and I just miss everything . Sometimes , it feels like I was a whole different person .

    • Jolene Ejmont
      Reply
      Jolene Ejmont
      October 16, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Hi Manvi, I definitely think that you can be a different version of yourself in different cultures. I know that I felt more ‘at peace’ with myself in Italy. I hope that you adjust back to life in India soon and that you can experience more trips/internships in the future! Thanks for sharing your journey 🙂

  • Reply
    Rana
    October 15, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Shout out to you people ….I love travelling but this was my first trip in 5 years to new York …it’s already been 22 days I came back from my vacation …I still feel like my mind doesn’t belong to where I am now ……those beautiful moments captured in camera makes me smile and I think why I had to leave those moments ….I wish I had a time travel machine….hope life will come down to normal ….but till now I don’t want to be where I am now ….just want to go where I was for two weeks ….is there any medicine to come over this depression ? I am in London now …

    • Jolene Ejmont
      Reply
      Jolene Ejmont
      October 16, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Hi Rana, it is fairly normal to feel like this! We just returned from a trip to Europe and it has been a struggle to adjust again. My heart just wants to head off again! It normally does fade over a few weeks time as you adjust back to normal life. But if you find that it doesn’t, see a doctor as they can prescribe some meds to help you if you need.

  • Reply
    Alexandro
    October 27, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Hi Jolene,
    When I got back from my 2 weeks trip from Japan last year, I kept dreaming about the country every night for 2 weeks. Thanked God, I could overcome it after all. It was not easy though…. 🙁

  • Reply
    Calvin
    November 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I know this inclination too well – having a few places that vibe like home around America. At last, it’s dependably the general population you miss the most

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