A few weeks ago, I was chatting with my friend Jess at a kids birthday party. She had just gotten back from a whirlwind trip with her baby and toddler to Central America. Her trip sounded incredible! But then, she paused and told me how wiped out she was. She suggested I write a post about how to recover after a family vacation. That really got me thinking about my own experience after we get home from big family trips. I’m always exhausted! So, I’ve created a list of self care tips for moms after traveling with kids. Plus, I added in self care ideas that would be perfect Mother’s Day gifts for moms.

Family Vacations Are Not Always Relaxing

The first vacation I ever took as a parent was to Thailand. We first went there on our honeymoon where we relaxed at a resort in Phuket, explored the island and soaked in the sunshine. We couldn’t wait to go back to Thailand with our 6 month old baby.

However, when we arrived at midnight after hours and hours of flying, the air conditioning didn’t work…in July. We were hot and sticky and had a hard time sleeping that first night.

Things got better and it was a great trip, but we never quite recovered from that first night.

Family travel can be so stressful for moms. Find out my self care tips for moms who travel plus gift ideas for momsFast forward a few years. I just got back from a trip to Oahu with the boys. My 4 year old threw up in the lobby of our hotel as I was checking in.

This was after there was a glitch with our car rental and we had to wait in the heat for longer than we expected. He also threw up on the flight home. My son rarely vomits, so this was quite unusual. I was so thankful that my mother-in-law flew with me to help with the boys.

Even still, I found I needed to hibernate the next day just to function. Contains affiliate links.

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Self Care Ideas for Moms After a Family Vacation

Come Home on a Saturday

I’m known for maximizing vacations. I liked to eek out every last moment and make the most of our family travel. Before kids, we’d plan on arriving home late Sunday night and then head to work the next day. I’ve even done red-eye flights and gone to work after landing.

Now, I try to schedule our flights to return on Saturday so we’ll have all day Sunday to get back to real life. We actually just scheduled our first trip to Walt Disney World and we’re coming home a couple days before Christmas to ensure we’ll have time to recover after all the Disney festivities!

Schedule a Massage

After hauling luggage and sitting on an airplane for hours, your body is probably achy. I like to schedule a massage for the day after I get home so I know I have guaranteed down time.

Scheuduling a massage is a great self care tip for Moms #selfcare #mothersdayI like to go to my favorite local massage practice, Customized Massage in Kent, WA. Their rates are really affordable and they have the best customer service. Or, if you don’t want to leave your house, you can hire a massage therapist to come to your home.

Get Childcare

If you are lucky enough to live near family who will watch your kids, ask them to help with your kids the day after you come home. Or, hire a babysitter or Mother’s Helper. Or schedule a drop-off play date for your kids.

It’s easy to come home after a family vacation and feel like you are behind at home. You need time to do heaps of laundry, grocery shop, and possibly even start unpacking your suitcases. Otherwise, they may sit semi-packed until your next trip. I’m speaking from experience!

Meditate

A few years ago, my husband Googled “the most relaxing song ever” and discovered Marconi Union’s song Weightless. Since then, that’s been my go to meditation song.

After planning our travel itinerary and executing it, my brain is usually a hot mess. Meditation has been so helpful in sorting all my random thoughts and calming my mind. It’s the only way I can reset and take care of myself.

Create a Spa Day at Home

One of my favorite things to do after family travel with little kids is to make my own spa day at home. We’re lucky enough to have a jetted bath tub, so I can soak my tired muscles. I like to add oil into the bath and just relax.

Malie Organics is the perfect gift for moms who travelOne of my favorite products right now is Malie Organics. It’s made on Kauai and they have Hawaiian body butters, oils, hair products, candles and more. My skin is always so dry after traveling, so I use Malie Organics to do a DIY spa day at home. I like that the smells transports me to a Hawaiian vacation for a fraction of the cost!

Put Yourself First

However you like to relax and recharge, this is the time to put yourself first. You know that saying about putting on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. This also applies to self care for moms. If you are depleted, you have nothing left to give others.

So, if you love binge watching TV, cue up your Netflix! If you want to hit the gym, go for it! If you need to catch up on sleep, nap away!

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Gifts for Moms Who Travel

NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES

I have these Bose Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones that I like to wear when flying with kids. Usually, I listen to an audiobook while I keep an eye on the kids. These are also great for binge watching TV on my laptop after the kids go to bed in our hotel room.

MALIE ORGANICS PRODUCTS FROM KAUAI

I’ve been obsessed with Malie Organics products ever since I stopped at their shop on Kauai several years ago. I love the smell of their lotions and I appreciate that they are made on Kauai.

Whenever I use Malie products like this Malie Organics Body Cream Gift Set, it makes me think of a Hawaiian vacation! I also love their Malie Organics Body Gloss, Liquid Hand Soap, and Beauty Oil.

BLANKET SCARF

I got this Mer-Sea & Co Cozy Wrap Scarf in my FabFitFun Editor’s Box and it’s one of my favorite items to pack for the airplane. Not only does it keep me nice and warm on chilly flights, but it’s also perfect for snuggling with my kids. I also like to wrap myself in it over my jammies while traveling.

SCARF CAMERA STRAP

I just started getting into hobby photography this past year. I tried using my husband’s old camera straps and I just found them to be a bit cumbersome. Plus, they are just so blah.

So, I was stoked to get a scarf camera strap that was girly and gorgeous! I’ve been complimented just about every time I wear it on vacation. Bluebird Chic has so many lovely prints and they are always getting new products.

BABY CARRIER


As a mom who has traveled with babies and toddlers, my lifesaver has been my Tula baby carrier. It’s perfect for rocking babies to sleep in the airport or on an airplane. Plus, it’s great for walking around exploring cities.

And the cool thing about Tula carriers is that there is an almost cult-following on social media. And you can get so many Tula accessories on Etsy to fully customize your baby carrier. I *may* currently own 4 Tula carriers, one of which has a customized reversible Mickey Mouse/Goofy hood for our Disney trips!

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PORTABLE PHONE CHARGER

One of the most important things I pack in my carry on bag is this mophie powerstation. It’s a portable phone charger that can also charge a tablet. My phone is my life and I have panic attacks when I run out of battery. Especially when I have our electronic airplane tickets, hotel confirmation, car rental reservations, and travel itinerary on my phone.

PACKING CUBES

So, this isn’t the most glamorous gift idea, but I swear my TravelWise Packing Cube System has saved me hours of trying to pack for family vacations. Anything that saves moms time is the gift that keeps on giving! I love the different sizes so I can separate out my clothes from each of my kids’ clothes.

Plus, I’m able to pack more compactly so I can take a smaller suitcase.

Malie Organics sent me products for review purposes. I’ve been a Malie Organics customer for years. All opinions are my own.

Self care tips for moms after family travel #selfcare #mom #mothersday #familytravel

Author

Marcie writes the family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. When she's not traveling the world, she's home in Seattle with her husband and two little boys.

45 Comments

  1. I always feel like I need a vacation from my vacations! As a homeschool mom, I feel obligated to make sure I include educational aspects in all of our vacations. As a result, my hubby says we have never truly “vacationed.” His idea is basically sitting on a beach doing absolutely nothing, the thought of that drives me insane.

  2. It doesn’t matter if you are a mom or grandmother who goes along on that trip we cal all use some TLC when coming back from a vacation. I love the massage idea! I will definitely do that next time.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Exactly! I like to set aside some of our travel budget for AFTER we get home 🙂

    • marciecheung Reply

      It’s a blast, but I’m always completely wiped out after!

  3. Crystal Marie Reply

    Haha, vacations are definitely more work, less relaxing sometimes.

  4. I come back needing a vacation from my vacation sometimes when it’s just me and my husband. When we have kids I know that it is going to be even more challenging, so these tips and tricks are fantastic! Great post.

  5. You hit this spot on! Traveling as a mom is rough. It’s not usually a vacation at all. We are doing Disney next year. I will definitely be using some of your tips when we get home. cough cough… mama needs a massage!

  6. Ain’t this the truth! I planned a 6 night vacation at the beach last summer with my 6 year old and 1 year old and it was the worst! LOL!!! I tried to make the best of it but it was exhausting and we stayed for way too many nights. I need to plan better next time. I never thought about self care for myself after a vacation. I think I will next time.

    • marciecheung Reply

      That was me last year! I felt so guilty for being exhausted after a “vacation!” Now I know to come home a day early and use the last vacation day for ME!

  7. I now take vacations without the kids at least once a year for conferences as I so agree about vacations being so stressful. The laundry is the part that I hate.

    • marciecheung Reply

      I just started attending conferences and it’s such a different travel experience!

  8. I love the gift ideas for travelling mom, especially those noise cancelling headphones. Vacations are definitely more work, less relaxing sometimes.

    • marciecheung Reply

      I’m in love with my noise canceling headphones 🙂

  9. Leigh Anne Borders Reply

    I am trying to make traveling without the family a priority. It can be so refreshing and provide a lot of therapy. However, when I get home I am so excited to see them. A balance of the two is great.

    • marciecheung Reply

      I’ve only traveled without them a few times. It’s such a different experience!

  10. These are all really great tips! I find travel very exhausting and I dont even have kids so I can only imagine the work that goes into a family vacation. These are key self care ideas, a massage and day to myself always helps adjust me.

    • marciecheung Reply

      Yes, just having a day to do something for yourself can have such an impact!

    • marciecheung Reply

      I’m excited to go on a few solo adventures this year!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Aren’t they the best? I can’t believe I only started using them last year!

  11. Big family trips? I am exhausted after a weekend away! As for relaxing, yeah, that’s not happening with a toddler attached to the boob…

    • marciecheung Reply

      Haha! It is quite freeing when they stop nursing 🙂

  12. Coming home on a Saturday or a day before we need to be back is one of our very favorite family travel hacks, too! SUCH a game changer when you have a chance to regroup at home before diving back into a routine. Love everything on this list!

  13. The Saturday tip is so smart! I don’t have kids yet but some trips are definitely more tiring than others. I can only imagine how necessary that would be with kids. 🙂

  14. Oh boy I totally agree that family vacations can be far from relaxing. They take a great deal of work to make it all come together in a timeframe for kids not to be overwhelmed and cranky.

  15. I have never tried traveling with kids, but just the hubby and I made vacations stressful. These are some great options that may help!

    • marciecheung Reply

      Haha! Now you know to save a day to just recoup from traveling!

  16. I’m taking my family on a trip to Disneyworld in 2 months and as excited I am for my children to get to go to the happiest place on earth, I also anticipate it to be a stressful experience. Thanks for sharing this! I will definitely take your advice!

  17. Great advice. I often knew after traveling with children to say “now I need a break”. Massage is surely something I would have to start practicing after each time.

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