The End of Your Trip When Traveling with ADHD

by | Jul 1, 2021 | ADHD Success Skills and Tools | 2 comments

end of your trip

In the last few weeks, we’ve covered planning and packing tips for travel when you have ADHD. But there is one more, much overlooked, piece of traveling with ADHD: the end of the trip.

If you have Adult Attention Deficit, getting home from a trip likely looks something like this:

You walk in the front door, drop your suitcase on the floor, and leave it there to step over for umm…six weeks? Six months? Until you need it again?

In my experience as an ADHD coach and as an adult with ADHD, I’ve noticed that we consider arriving home “the end” of our trip.

But it isn’t “the end”. If you want to be successful with ADHD, you need to realize there is more to getting home from a trip than just walking in the front door.

Like all projects we start, we need to make sure that we work at being successful with ADHD by finishing our traveling.  Don’t forget those darn final details we tend to overlook and forget about. 

What am I talking about? Isn’t traveling leaving and getting home? Isn’t that a success in and of itself? The short answer is nope.

When you’re traveling with ADHD you need to expand your idea of when your trip is really done. Think: “What details need to be finished before I can relax?”

Do you need to…

  • Unpack the suitcase and actually PUT IT AWAY?
  • Open the mail and dispense with it?
  • Pay the neighbor’s kid for watering your African violets?
  • Unload/clean the camper or car?
  • Toss your clothes in the laundry?

If you haven’t finished these important details, then your trip isn’t quite over yet.

As an adult ADHD coach, I often nudge my clients who’ve returned from vacation. Reminding them that their trip isn’t finished until all physical evidence of their travels is put away, and all those little loose ends are wrapped up.

By the way, if you’re that person who is still stepping over their suitcase in September, understand that I don’t believe you’re lazy.

With ADHD, you probably don’t even notice your suitcase anymore. It’s become part of your landscape.

That’s why, if you want to get organized with ADHD,  you need to create the habit of completely unpacking (and putting away) everything after a trip within a single day.

One easy way to recognize and remember to unpack right away is simply to plan for it. I give myself 24 hours after I return to unpack, deal with the loose ends, and at least start the laundry.

Remember this often overlooked piece of advice when traveling with ADHD: unpack as soon as you get home! This simple, final travel plan will make your last night of vacation truly relaxing. Isn’t that what vacation is all about anyway?


  1. Sandy

    Great advice and so true. I finally got in the habit of this and it makes a world of difference. My biggest challenge though is the sadness I feel returning to boring everyday life after enjoying nonstop interesting experiences and fun activities. Vacations and travel are ADHD Paradise! I fall into a debilitating depression after trips. Any ideas for that?

    • Dana Rayburn

      Hi Sandy – I too get depressed when I return from vacation and I LOVE my work and my life. I’ve learned to accept this and to know it will pass. Also, notice how long it takes you to move through the returning home blahs. I know it takes me a week to get back on my game and return to happy. Of course, if you hate your life or job then you’ve got other work to do. Hope this helps, Dana


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