1) Return to a clean house. Don't go overboard! You'll exhaust yourself before your vacation. Spot clean those spaces that will be most soothing to you on re-entry. For me that means a clean kitchen, fresh sheets on the beds and a reasonably clutter free family room.
2) Planning what I can eat on the road helps so much. Fatty and salty foods are energy suckers. Popcorn and grape tomatoes are my new favorite car munchies.
3) Bringing my favorite pillow with me in the car is a soothing regression to the road trips of my youth. It helps reduce the stress of car noise and movement.
4) Arrange for your husband to pick up the dog at the kennel.
5) Pre-plan your first meal on re-entry. Have all the ingredients ready so you don't have to go to the store as soon as you get home. Prior to leaving home, a bag of frozen ravioli was in the freezer and our favorite marinara sauce in the pantry. A bag of prepared salad went into the car cooler along with the Coke Zeros and snacks.
Best of all, I could count on my husband having an appropriate bottle of wine handy and voila! A hot dinner that is so easy, comforting and welcoming everyone was happy to be home again!