In Tfilat ha-Derekh there are optional words "ותחזירנו לשלום". When do we add these? Sometimes it is written "if somebody means to return immediately say also..." and sometimes I've seen "at the same day" instead of immediately.

What of above is correct?

  • Note some say "v'sachazirenu l'vesenu l'shalom". – msh210 Jun 19 '12 at 18:38

See here where the answer to your question appears to be "both".

Regarding adding a special request for a safe return trip, a great number of the sidurim that the author has perused have no such insertion.

In sidurim following Nusach Chabad there is a parenthetical statement that if one is planning on returning right away he should insert the words “vesachazireinu leshalom” (ותחזירנו לשלום) — “and return us in peace.” Thus, he would recite the Tefilas Haderech just once, on the way there. However, on longer trips, it appears that these two words are not said .

“Returning immediately” means before the next morning.

However, according to HaRav Betzalel Stern, the words “vesachazireinu leshalom” should always be inserted when one has intention of returning home, even if it will be after a long absence, such as a prolonged business trip, vacation, and the like. If, however, one is making a one-way, long distance move and is not returning, these two words are not added.

Of course other nuschaot have ותחזירנו לשלום.

A similar approach can be found here. It says:

Another phrase in tefilas haderech over which there is a disagreement is, “return us to our homes in peace.” Some are of the opinion that it is unnecessary to specify this as it is included in the phrase, “and cause us to reach our desired destination,” while others include these words in the text. The prevalent custom is to include this phrase if one intends to return home that day. (Sefer Ishei Yisrael 50:2, footnote 3)

This "prevalent custom" fits with what I have been taught that the validity of a Tefilas Haderech is only up to the next morning and so there is no need to say ותחזירנו לשלום if you stay longer.

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