5 actionable ways to deal with the post-summer vacation blues

Sep 3, 2019

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The calendar says there are officially 20 days left of summer, but let’s face it, it’s over — so very over. Kids are back in school, the luxury of lighter “summer Fridays” at work has passed and fall (and even winter) holiday décor is already out and for sale. Hopefully you can squeeze in another pool day or two before a chill in the air reaches your part of the world, but summer 2019 is in the rearview and the realities of structured days are back in full force.

With summer vacations and schedules so last week and full work and school schedules so this week (and the next, and the next, etc.), it’s pretty common to enter September feeling a bit — blah. The post-vacation blues are indeed a thing. Thankfully, there are potential cures for this very real feeling. Here are our five recommended ways to cope:

Book next summer’s trips

I spent a good chunk of my Labor Day weekend planning family trips for both this upcoming winter holiday season and next summer. For me, there’s no better way to get over something ending than planning the next cool thing. From a points and miles perspective, it’s also pretty darn functional to keep an eye on what’s happening roughly 11 to 12 months out from an availability standpoint, too. In chatting around the TPG offices, this seemed to be a common coping mechanism.

Looking well ahead to next August, I found Aer Lingus business class availability back home from Europe, which can now be booked with Alaska miles. I may also go with flying British Airways home from Dublin as taxes/fees on British Airways are much more reasonable when you aren’t departing from the UK. Some British Airways flights have as many as 12 premium cabin seats available right now when booking with Avios. Combined with a 40% transfer bonus from Membership Rewards, that’s not bad. (Here’s a look at how far out you can book airline awards and paid tickets.)

Hotel availability for next summer is also very good in a number of places as many programs have awards available so long as standard rooms are available when using cash, so it pays to lock that in well ahead of time. You can often cancel without penalty until much closer to the date of travel.

Hyatt Regency Maui (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Hyatt Regency Maui (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

TPG Executive Editorial Director Scott Mayerowitz is also already planning for next year. He and his wife just redeemed 220,000 American Express Membership Rewards for two round-trip business class tickets to Portugal in May. He transferred the Membership Rewards points to Air Canada’s Aeroplan. It was 55,000 one-way for each business class seat on TAP Air Portugal. They will be flying nonstop on the airline’s new A330neo to Lisbon and back on the new A321 from Porto.

Book fall getaways

You obviously don’t have to wait nine months for next summer to get away. Madrid-based TPG contributor Lori Zaino went on a fall flight booking rampage to Paris, London, South Africa and Egypt to cope with her own end-of-summer blues. She transferred all of her Amex Membership Rewards points to Iberia to get the 40% transfer bonus and then spent the day on Iberia’s website finagling exactly how to best use her Avios instead of unpacking from her last summer trip.

In advance of the upcoming Marriott peak and off-peak award chart changes that kick in on Sept. 14, she also spent all of her Marriott points to book accompanying hotels.

TPG Managing Editor Alberto Riva beat his post-summer blues by planning Thanksgiving travel using a Delta companion certificate from the Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express to fly him and his wife in Delta One first class from JFK to Las Vegas to stargaze in Death Valley. A new moon during that week means that the Milky Way should be extra visible, making looking forward to the trip that much more exciting.

A Delta One seat on the refurbished 767-400 (Photo by Benji Stawski / TPG)
A Delta One seat on the refurbished 767-400 (Photo by Benji Stawski / TPG)

If you are looking for inspiration, here are some of the best places to travel in September and some fall trips that don’t involve pumpkins or fall foliage.

While you’re at it with fall, don’t forget winter. Now is the time to get serious about those winter holiday flight bookings. 

Print your photos

Planning the next trip is the obvious way to deal with the post-vacay blues, but another great idea is to relive what you just did by taking those digital images and making them tangible. Printing photos via a site like MPIX and sticking them in old-fashioned album works, but I’m partial to the books you can easily make on Shutterfly. The process can be as automated or customized as you want, but it’s a fun way to use your summer vacation memories to create something you can keep (wait for a free pages coupon code to save money when printing).

Pick a card, any card

I prefer to apply for new rewards credit cards when I’m organized enough to take on a new responsibility with tracking spending requirements, monthly payments and doing the math on which available bonus is best for my travel goals. Often, summer isn’t the right time for me to focus on all that. However, fall is a great time to leverage the structure of daily life to slot in choosing and maximizing a new card. On my shortlist are the World of Hyatt Credit Card to position myself to use it to potentially help earn back Hyatt Globalist status next year — in part with spending put on the card. The Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express with its 150,000 welcome bonus points (after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months) and Hilton Diamond status is also very interesting before our big fall trip to the Conrad Bora Bora.

Here are cards offering more than 100,000 welcome bonus points and miles.

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael)

Be glad it happened

Forgive this slightly cheesy inclusion, but if you are sad summer is over because it was fun while it lasted, that’s a really good thing. I fall in that camp, but I think that means we did it right. That probably means you did it right — so sincere cheers to you. That doesn’t make the twinge of sadness that it’s over go away, but reminding yourself how lucky you are might help a little.

And when that fails, get to booking the next adventure (while drinking your pumpkin spice latte, of course).

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