Imagine this: You’ve been sipping piña coladas at your favorite beach, enjoying the sound of waves crashing and steel drum music for a whole week. Now, you feel totally relaxed, without a care in the world. You’re vacation has been absolutely awesome, and you vow to keep that peaceful easy feeling moving forward. So, you walk in the front door of your house and then…

Womp womp.

The stress returns. The knots instantly tense up in your back. The tightness comes back to your chest. It’s all there, the stress of a vacation hangover when you get home.

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be this way. While I can’t keep you from going back to work, there are plenty of other things you can do before taking a vacation that makes coming home less of a nightmare. Here are some items that might help extend your relaxed vibe for weeks after your big trip!

1) Give Yourself an Extra Day

Going on vacation is freakin’ awesome. Heading back to work immediately is not. If you can, give yourself an extra day to get settled upon your return home. I’ve found that an extra day at home helps relieve the stress of going right back to the grind. It gives you a little time to hit the grocery store, get unpacked, and do everything around the house that might be stressing you out. Besides, who wants to end their vacation on a travel day anyway?

2) Clean the House

So, you’ve been gone for a week, have traveled all day to get home, and – when you finally arrive – you walk in the front door to a clean house! How freakin’ nice is that, right? While our clean freak o’meter is probably more sensitive than most, coming home to a clean house reduces stress by shortening your to-do list after vacation.

3) Finish Your Laundry

Want another tip to reduce your vacation hangover? Finish your laundry before you go. After a trip packed with sightseeing (or relaxing by the beach), there’s always a gajillion things to do when you get back. Don’t crush your vacation high by leaving a bunch of laundry behind. Speaking of which…

4) Start Your Laundry Immediately

One of the first things we do upon our return home is start the washing machine. We unload all our crap from the suitcases, sort our clothes, and get to washing. Yeah, it’s kind of a pain in the ass… but at least it’s a PIA that won’t be hanging over our head for the next couple of days. Plus, who wants dirty (often damp) laundry hanging around for a few days? Ewww.

5) Pay Your Bills Before You Go

Speaking of things hanging over your head, try to pay all of your monthly bills before you go. This will (hopefully) help you relax while you’re sipping cocktails by the surf. More importantly, you won’t have to deal with any buzz-killing late fees when you get home. Besides, do you really want to come home and immediately start paying bills? I didn’t think so.

6) Save the Money Before Your Trip

Speaking of buzz kills, I can’t seem to wrap my head around this one. According to this story, the average American goes into debt by over $1,000 just to pay for vacation… AND it takes them about 6 months to make a full financial recovery!!! That’s absolutely INSANE! I mean, how in the world can you enjoy your vacation if you immediately come home to a gigantic bill that sets you back six months?!? Plan ahead and save the money for your trip BEFORE you go. Trust me, the only thing better than vacation is coming home to a vacation that’s already been paid for.

7) Create a Vacation Fund

To save the money needed for your trip, try starting a separate vacation fund. This simple trick helps you see exactly how much money you’ve got set aside for that trip to the beach you’ve been planning. Using an online checking account is a great way to get started. This easy tip helps you keep your travel money separate but still accessible when you need it. It’s a blast to watch your cash stash grow, plus it doesn’t get lumped into your general funds and spent on something it was never intended for. To boost your savings rate, try earning easy money by taking surveys like these.

8) Set a Vacation Budget

You've been there. You know the feeling. A vacation hangover is real! Use these tips to plan ahead and make coming home less of a nightmare.Setting a vacation budget helps avoid stress headaches and knots in your back when you return home. A vacation budget is simply a plan that helps allocate your spending so you don’t come home with hundreds of dollars in expenses you weren’t expecting. Your budget doesn’t have to be so rigid that there is no room for improvisation, but you should have a good idea of what you can afford each day. For instance, you may budget $150 a day for meals and entertainment, spending $50 one day and $200 the next. Just shoot to stay within an acceptable range across the whole trip.

9) Hire Somebody at Home

We love having a vegetable garden in the summer, but that presents a few challenges to our packed travel schedule. Luckily, we’ve found a few teenagers in our neighborhood who are willing to water our garden while we’re gone. We pay them a small amount of money each day to come over and sprinkle our plants with water. We’ll sometimes ask them to complete other tasks too (like pick up the mail and mow the lawn). Since they’re already here, this helps us out and they can earn even more money for doing a little extra.

Avoiding a Vacation Hangover: Final Thoughts

While coming home is never going to be without stress, I hope this list of ideas makes coming home from your next vacation less of a nightmare. By following these simple tips, you should be able to reduce the stress on both your mind and your wallet. Good luck, and – until next time – happy traveling!

What did I miss? What other tips do you have for reducing a vacation hangover? Let us know below!