Peak vacation season is coming to a close. If you’re returning from a trip and struggling to settle back into your daily routines, don’t panic. To find out how to make that transition back to normal life easier, we spoke to travel guru and author of How to Pack, Hitha Palepu.

Splendid Spoon: Hey Hitha! Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey to becoming a packing expert.

Hitha Palepu: Hi! I’m the author of How To Pack: Travel Smart for Any Trip and the founder of Hitha On The Go. I became a packing expert out of necessity: I got a new job which meant I was constantly traveling. I had to figure out how to pack quickly and carry-on only, while also staying true to my own style. Once I figured out how to do it, I began blogging about it. After three years of blogging, I was approached by Clarkson Potter to write a book. The rest is history!

SS: Unpacking after a vacation is everybody’s least favorite task. How do you make yourself do it efficiently and well?

HP: I do it immediately, otherwise it’ll never get done! I dump everything in my suitcase and travel tote on the floor, set a timer for 20 minutes, play some music, and get to it. My husband and I turn it into a contest to see who can finish faster!

SS: What tips do you have to make settling back into a normal routine easier?

HP: I make sure our home is clean before we leave — there’s nothing worse than returning to a messy house! Before we leave for our flight home, I order groceries via Instacart to be delivered the same day (or early the next morning), and schedule a laundry pickup. I also try to arrive home on a Friday so I have the weekend to get back into the swing of things.

SS: Returning to healthy eating habits and working out can be so challenging after a vacation. How do you make this easier?

HP: I always have the ingredients for kimchi cauliflower fried rice on hand: it’s what I crave after every trip. Ordering healthy groceries is a huge help, as is ordering soups from Splendid Spoon!

SS: How do you deal with jet lag?

HP: I have different routines, depending on when I land. You can find the full routines here! Lots of water, exercise, and sunlight help me get back to my normal schedule.

I also treat myself to a blowout when I get home — having great hair always makes me feel much better, even when I’m exhausted.

SS: The post-vacation blues can be hard! How do you cope with the transition back to normal life?

HP: We always plan our next vacation before the end of our current one. By having something on the calendar before we get home, easing back into normal life isn’t so hard!