The Art of unpacking


Most people detest vacation’s necessary evil: unpacking. The effort to get the onslaught of laundry under control (and realizing those unworn items still need to be laundered too), finding the new souvenir that didn’t quite travel well, scavenger hunts for displaced digital components, or the deck of cards and lotion that (somehow) spilled into the far corners of the suitcase can be a barrage of annoyances. Change how you arrive home and “unpack” your vacation in a way that keeps the holiday vibe alive.

Let’s start with arrival methods. Plan for your arrival, at-home, like you would when on a holiday vacation. Begin your arrival strategy the moment you enter your hometown by confirming a car service well before arrival (which is much more convenient than waiting curbside in the hot sun or freezing rain), and ordering food stuffs to be delivered at a pre-appointed time. 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 and a relaxing meal at the ready. 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 to an empty house. Another guest mentioned that she has her housekeeper prepare a favorite meal and saves a special movie or binge worthy series for her arrival day. She went on to say that many of her vacations are with extended family and having a meal and entertainment available the minute she arrives home keeps any “missing the family melancholy” at bay. A much happier way to return from a wonderful time visiting.

While enhancing those first few moments at home are important to set an enriching tone, complete your arrival methods by looking into your homelife’s near future. Check your schedule, clear the calendar clutter, and define the best way for your household to get back into the daily living groove. Having an early call, long dental appointment or contractor meeting full of decision making directly upon return doesn’t support an ease from vacation life to daily living. Many travelers plan the day they arrive home or even the day after arrival as a vacation day too as the extra moments promise a relaxing transition. One guest mentioned that taking a hike the morning after he arrives home from vacation always “clears his head” and marks a transition from holiday to daily life, reframing his mindset in an unhurried, yet productive way. A young mother stated she doesn’t even leave for vacation unless two days’ worth of the children’s school uniforms are laid out and ready to wear. She identified that this small arrival ritual “upgraded” her return home because uniforms were one less concern when jumping into the usual routine of a busy household. Define your personal at-home arrival strategy and embrace the rigors (and rewards!) of daily living with ease and delight rather than dread or loathing.

Now that you have arrived home in a wonderful way, what do you unpack when you open that suitcase? Think beyond the traditional keepsakes or souvenirs. Reflect on your personal response to the trip – perhaps even prior to opening those suitcases. What gave you a lift? Chances are your intuition will quickly answer the question. Seashells, art classes, warmed hotel towels, breakfasts in front of a fountain or leisurely sunset walks . . . now, in true Hotels to Home style, unpack that into everyday living!

Further excavate your travel pleasures by looking at digital memories or discussing varying trip aspects with travel companions. Do you remember the moments you smiled, laughed or just breathed easier because of a moment well lived? Can you recreate that in daily living? Keep in mind that hotel amenities come in all shapes and sizes as well as being both tangible and intangible. Even the smallest details can lead to an elevation in daily living. Why not “unpack” just one or a few days from a holiday jaunt to further dissect and then pinpoint what brings you or your family happiness?

“Be cognizant of what catches your eye even if you don’t understand why. When a seating area or inventive buffet design makes you smile, take note. Highlight these responses if they are happening on more than one occasion. Perhaps a theme is emerging!” Hotels to Home - page 69

Concierges know that many people 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. Hotels to Home living begs the question, shouldn’t we take that same care and pleasure when arriving home?

Welcome home!

The Concierge