We are eagerly anticipating some upcoming travels around these parts. Our internet browser has about a half dozen tabs open encouraging us to visit certain attractions and locations on our planned route. There is always great excitement in preparing for a new trip because you never really know what might happen (although you sorta hope to be making some fairly safe guesses).  One thing is certain – you will have an adventure. I hear Eleanor Roosevelt whispering in the breeze:

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

We long for new adventures!

But then, after having an adventure, one must usually always come home. That can sometimes be the less exciting part of it all, not necessarily because it’s sad to come home but because there is so much work involved post-vacation. There are bags to unpack, laundry to wash, and grocery shopping to do. After experiencing this with small children, you find yourself wanting to make some changes in order to improve this aspect of travel. With each trip we take we think of new ways to improve the coming home process so that it’s less of an ordeal and more of a seamless transition back into normal life. I thought I’d share some tips with you and then ask if you have some tips to share with me! You might have a great idea that I’ve not yet though of to making the home coming more peaceful. I’d love to hear about them, if so.

As for me and my house, this is what we prepare for upon leaving so that our homecoming is more sweet:

  • We clean the house before we leave. By this I mean that we clean the bathrooms and general tidy up. My mother used to do this and I always thought it was a distinctly unfun way to prepare for a trip. However, I have since discovered that it makes the transition home much smoother. I don’t demand that the house be spotless by any means, but I do like things generally put away and picked up. I also like knowing that when we come home we’ll fall into our familiar beds with fresh sheets that were already prepared for our arrival. A great pleasure at the conclusion of traveling is to be able to return to one’s own bed and so I especially like to know that it has been pleasantly prepared for my return!
  • Weeks before leaving I like to spend a day making a bunch of crockpot/freezer meals so that when we arrive back home, I don’t have to worry about putting together food to feed the still hungry family on a limited pantry. If I want to relax for a few days and unwind a bit before hitting the grocery store, I am free to do so. This has been lovely because although travel food is fun, we always find ourselves ready to return to our regular home cooked fare. I’ve included links to some of our favorite frozen meals below.
  • If the trip is short, I also grocery shop in advance and make sure I have butter, eggs and milk (with an expiration date that exceeds our trip) in the fridge. I might also stock up with carrot sticks and potatoes, which aren’t likely to go bad during our absence and which allow us to return to our normal diet more quickly. If a trip is long, I might ask a friend to drop a few groceries by our house for us to use immediately upon our return. This helps considerably in being able to relax back into regular life!
  • When homeward bound, I make sure all of the dirty clothes are included in the same suitcase so that we can simply dump the clothes from the case into the washing machine without worrying about having to sort through odds and ends.
  • If we will be gone for some time and need to turn the heater in the house off in order to not waste electricity, I also line up a trusted neighbor to come over to the house the morning of our return in order to turn the heat back on. This way we are not returning home to a cold house.

I cannot confess to being much of a list maker when it comes to traveling (or in general), but the practices listed above have become rather instinctive. Yes, some of them take a little bit of effort prior to traveling but I think, in the end, the house runs smoother if these things are accomplished. Nothing beats returning to a warm, cozy and clean house after a period of being away. Do you have any particular traveling tips to ease the transition in coming home? Do share!

A couple of our favorite freezer meals: