Trip Styler Tutorial :: Build A Day

post-vacation down day[trip style = any]

Question: Do you push your vacation to the 55th moment taking a red-eye home {only leaving time for a cold, wake-me-up shower before work}, OR do you sacrifice a day and return 24 hours early to re-acclimate?

I've done both, but I find I'm a better, happier traveler---during AND after my trips---when I know I have at least a day of downtime when I get home. A day to catch up on life AND sleep before returning into the rat race pace.

When I don't leave a day, time compresses leaving little margin for error. If I don't sleep well in the hotel bed, too bad. If my flight is delayed, too bad. If I get sick while away, too bad. There's a lot of IFs in travel, and without a buffer day, these almost inevitable IFs can mean the difference between approaching the week on empty versus full {and aren't vacations supposed to refresh?}.

The idea of needing a vacation from a vacation is one that's often joked about post-travel. Depending on the trip style, sometimes we run ourselves so ragged, or can become so stressed with various travel situations we come home tired rather than teed up. To this end, I recently read an article in United Airlines' Hemisphere Magazine which noted that 24% of Americans need a vacation when they return from a family trip. I'm surprised this number isn't higher. On the flipside, I suspect the percentage would be lower if a few buffer days were built in.

What reinvigorated my build-a-day thought process was my return home from a one-way road trip in Southern USA. I had a blast, but because I was on assignment, I had zero downtime, so now I feel like a need a vacation {translation: sit on a secluded beach with a good read and spontaneously appearing mojitos}.

As I write this post on the flight home, I'm taking deep breaths knowing I didn't build a day to recover into my schedule. My bad.

Trip Styler Tip :: Plan a buffer day for all the sexy things in life: laundry, stocking up on healthy groceries, exercising, or whatever it is that'll make you approach the week with a sense of peace and balance. In my experience, a down day at home is an e-s-s-e-n-t-i-a-l part of the vacation experience. If you build it, your serenity will come.

Do you build a "home day" into your travels?

[photo by @tripstyler]