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travel planWhen it comes to planning a vacation, there’s one big issue on which my travel partner and I always disagree. No, it’s not the classic traveling couples’ clash over who gets the better plane seat. (I’m shorter, so I take the middle seat every time. And I expect to be canonized after I pass.) We can’t agree on the value of the post-vacation vacation day.

How to Create the Perfect Itinerary

When we sketch out our trip plans, my travel partner, Dan, insists on adding an extra at-home vacation day to the end of our itinerary. So if we fly home on a Monday, he argues that we need to take off the following Tuesday for “recovery.”

In my opinion, this is a waste of a solid day off. Vacation days are for traveling. If I’ve packed, planned and paid hundreds to fly to my destination, I want to spend as much time there as possible. Plus, a day on the road trumps a day at home no matter what. Squandering a good vacation day on the couch at home is like choosing to sit in coach after you’ve been upgraded to first class.

I’ll let Dan explain his side, in his own words: “I need a buffer day to get back into something of a non-vacation routine before I resume real world activity. Otherwise, the transition from vacation to reality is too abrupt, too painful.”

Who wins? Ultimately, we usually end up going with whichever dates allow us to snag the cheapest fares.

Where do you stand? Post your opinion in the comments.

— written by Caroline Costello

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8 Responses to “Do You Really Need a Vacation After Your Vacation?”

  1. soliteyah says:

    I’m with Dan on this one. We always return from a trip on a Saturday so that we have Sunday to recover from jet lag, sort through our vacation pictures, stock the fridge with food, etc. before we have to go back to work. Plus that gives us a little cushion in case a flight is delayed.

  2. SeaMarmot says:

    Call it post-trip depression, but SeaMarmot knows what Dan is talking about. Can’t be in ‘drinking Guinness in the pub’ mentality on that first day back from work. An extra day to reconstitute helps.

  3. jc says:

    It depends.. if it’s a long driving trip or a really late returning flight, then I’ll probably take the buffer day.

  4. Anne says:

    I agree that it is worthwhile to have an extra day or two after returning home from a holiday. While we are travelling we always try to pack so much into each day that by the time we get home we are ready for some quiet time. When I was younger I would take the option to arrive home on the day before I was due back at work. But now that I am older and have three young children, we really do need a bit more time to have a break before returning to work.

  5. Margaux says:

    I see both sides but really end up with you on this one. I find that I could have used an extra day to “recover” but I don’t take it because as you said, it’s a waste of a vacation day (which seems to be scarce these days!). I usually maximize my days away despite the time differences and effects of jet lag. Maybe it would be a different story if we were more like our European friends who are lucky enough to have more than 2 weeks of vacation a year.

  6. mld says:

    I am so with Dan about this and SeaMarmot might have it right…I love travel and being home and in the ‘real world’ just kind of sucks. For me one I need that one day to acclimate or I’m a wreck!

  7. Justin says:

    I’m Dan’s worst nightmare since I try to return home after vacation on a red-eye flight, and go right to work from the airport!

  8. Mickey says:

    I’m with soliteyah. I almost always return home on a Saturday so I’ve got a recovery day. Just getting back into a normal routine and getting a lot of the laundry out of the way before returning to work helps me mentally.

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