The Art of Coming Home
By Darcy Guttwein
Most people detest vacation’s necessary evil: unpacking. The effort to get the onslaught of laundry under control, finding the new souvenir that didn’t quite travel well, scavenger hunts for displaced digital components, or the lotion that (somehow) spilled into the far corners of the suitcase…it can feel like a never-ending deluge of annoyances. No traveler deserves such a bumpy landing to be the finale of their vacation experience.
When reflecting on how to create or alter your own homecoming ritual, I recommend you examine your arrival experience in the same way you rate a hotel stay – with a star rating system! Remember, customization is key. Let’s change how you arrive home and “unpack” your vacation in a way that keeps the holiday vibe alive!
The One-Star Arrival
- Extend the vacation sensation by prioritizing much loved activities even after returning home. Some travelers plan the day they arrive home, or sometimes the day after arrival, as a vacation day too; the extra moments promise a relaxing transition. Check your schedule and clear the calendar of clutter. One friend who stayed with us mentioned that taking a hike the morning after he gets home from vacation always “clears his head” and marks the passage from holiday to daily life, reframing his mindset in an unhurried yet productive way.
- Why unpack immediately? No need to add a chore to your welcome home.
The Two-Star Arrival
- What better way to welcome you home than having a meal prepared or delivered? I know a family that created an arrival meal ritual: Chinese take-out. The ritual is so ingrained in how they arrive home that an order is placed no matter if one or many family members are arriving at an empty house. Take-out not your thing? Try having goods delivered, whether necessities for an infant or fresh groceries for a fully stocked fridge.
- Wrapping up a romantic getaway? Plan a date night or romantic picnic the day after arrival, to reflect on favorite memories and soften the landing into homelife, as a pair.
The Three-Star Arrival
- Think beyond the kennel or dog sitter. Arrange for your furry friend to be treated to a grooming experience of their dreams and delivered back to your home at a time convenient to you. (One luxury pet hotel will even chauffer your canine friend home in a Bentley or Rolls Royce!)
- Begin your arrival strategy the moment you enter your hometown. Confirm a car service well before arrival – much more convenient than waiting curbside in the hot sun or freezing rain. Create a twist on “bon voyage” (good journey) to “bon accueil à la maison” (good welcome home) and ease into daily living with a luxury vehicle at your disposal.
The Four-Star Arrival
- Make sure your home’s decor elevates your arrival. What if you could arrive home from a Thanksgiving family trip and be greeted by a stunning Winter Wonderland? Have a friend or close relative decorate your home in a theme of choice, be it a holiday, birthday, or seasonal motif. Harbor a particular distaste for decoration clean-up? One savvy traveler had a friend take down all holiday decorations after the family had left for vacation, so upon their return, the house was spick and span with not a bauble in sight.
- Have the nanny greet you at the door! An exciting “welcome home” for the children, with the added bonus of providing you the opportunity to enjoy couple time, or a solitary moment – with perhaps an in-home massage?
The Five-Star Arrival
- Save yourself the hassle and heavy lifting as you travel, by entrusting items like skis, golf clubs, bikes, and fishing poles to a professional luggage service. Leave these items in your hotel room or lobby, and trust they will be whisked away by capable hands and delivered to your home – no heavy lifting required.
- If you employ household help (be it a personal assistant, housekeeper, or chef), communicate with them regarding the ideal return environment. Whether it is soft music in the background, a home cooked meal, or turndown service for late-night entrances, even the small touches can enrich the homecoming experience.
Now that you have arrived home in an elevated way, what do you actually unpack when you open that suitcase? Think beyond the traditional keepsakes or souvenirs; reflect on your personal response to the trip, beyond the tangible. What gave you a lift? Chances are your intuition will quickly answer the question. Seashell-laden beaches, art classes, warmed hotel towels, breakfasts in front of a fountain, or leisurely sunset walks; now think, how could you unpack that into everyday living?
Most seasoned travelers take special care in how they arrive at a hotel, creating a deliberate – even detailed – plan to ensure vacation life begins in the most enjoyable manner. Shouldn’t we take that same care and pleasure when arriving home?
Leader of the To Home Lifestyling brand, Darcy Guttwein is a seasoned world traveler with a passion for lifestyle improvement. She utilizes the luxury hotel template to improve one’s at-home living by sharing solutions that elevate personal comfort, joy, and wellbeing during everyday living in her book, “Hotels to Home: Living the Luxury Hotel Experience at Home.”
For more, visit https://www.tohomelifestyling.com/.