Anyone who’s been adopting the travel lifestyle for even a minute will be familiar with the concept of travel burnout as this is something that tends to creep in naturally at some point of wanderlust.
Travel burnout is more often than not experienced in different stages, at different levels and for different people.
However one thing is very much consistent with its occurrence and that is this condition’s tendency to put a dent in anyone’s motivation to travel to new destinations as well actually being able to deeply appreciate the unique cultural values these places have to offer.
Travel burnout is something that even the seasoned pros are familiar with quite alright and upon careful analysis, the condition is something that its presence makes a fair point.
Deciding to ditch your little bubble you’ve come to know as “your world” since childhood for the greater goal and living life to the fullest by exploring the globe and seeing what it means to “live” in a multitude of destinations.
As you begin your quest for globetrotting, your mind will start to subtly and subconsciously associate and compare its current habitual state with every new culture you discover and immerse yourself in.
What is travel burnout?
Travel burnout may be described as a mental backlash coupled with a psychological response against the desire to explore new destinations.
At first, exploring new countries and continents seems surreal, and indeed it is, but the thing is with this new wanderlust life comes considerably disturbing question on a subconscious level.
“If home isn’t home…then where is home?”
Why do I have travel burnout?
Thrusting yourself into that adventurous, globetrotter lifestyle is something you can fall in love with real fast.
However this new status quo can be a double edged sword, and on the other end is the presence of travel burnout when your mind cannot make sense the ever so changing sceneries, cultures and habitations.
And this only deepens the desire to go back “home” where everything is stabilized, ordered and structured.
But noooo, you would like to keep traveling and this only aggravates the crevasse between you and you.
Signs of travel burnout
• Emotional fatigue
• Social Apathy or indifference
• Jaded outlook towards travel
• Aggrevated Anxiety
How do you not burnout while traveling?
Travel tiredness, fatigue or burnout can be curbed by focusing on your primary hobbies and interests that make you feel home wherever you are. As well as spending time in nature and generally taking things slower with your globetrotting plans.
It’s a mental state that tends to come and go over time as you begin to travel more.
So does this mean travel burnout can’t be remedied? Yes it can be, if you put in some time, effort and actually know what you’re doing.
We will be discussing a number of ways to cope with, and in some cases prevent travel burnout. A table of contents has been provided above for better information accessibility:
1- Avoid rushing the travel process.
One of the fastest ways to surely experience travel burnout is by doing too much too fast. This kind of approach takes up a significant amount of your energy and ultimately the toll will roll in sooner rather than later.
Some examples of this include:
》 Partying a lot at your destination
This is a cycle that one can easily fall for when in certain situations like being in an exotic residence where there’s plethora of fun things competing for your attention.
Another instance of this is staying at a hostel whereby some kind of party is frequently being hosted.
Its imperative to be self conscious about repeatedly spending up energy on these types of activities, lest you come to find exploring the actual destination no less than a chore, all good things come in moderation.
》 Stuffing up your itinerary
Itinerary: A travel document containing detailed plans for your journey as well as other pieces of information valuable to the traveller’s destination.
You’re using a fair amount of time and money among other resources to travel and make the most of your trip, which is very understandable.
However, when you include to much activities into your itinerary then perhaps you may be able to explore more parts of your destination, but on the flip side, the end wouldn’t be worth the means if you’ll have to mindlessly see those waterfalls and beautiful sceneries.
Better still, you may want to consider giving the attractions that you’re looking to visit in your destination an order, with the top priorities going to the places you feel it’s an absolute must for you to see (not merely because everyone is going there) and the lowest priorities to the places you would also like to see but can do without visiting if you have to make some cutbacks.
》 Going too fast with your travels
The point being made here is similar to what was discussed earlier but in a broader context.
Being in a hurry to get to the next destination 3 days after arriving at a current one will only get to so far.
It’s much better to fully immerse yourself at your current location and then taking pride in knowing you have plenty of beautiful memories (and pictures) of the places you’ve visited rather than to half-ass the journey just to be able to take that destination off your checklist.
In addition to generally taking things a bit slower, you’ve already spent all this time and effort just to plan out the trip to your destination.
So would it be so bad to set some time out to take a breather and appreciate your environment and whatever interesting finds your destination has to offer? I think not.
There are likely many interesting things to experience at your destination and although you probably won’t be able to go through them all and that’s perfectly fine.
What’s more, if you are traveling with a travel partner then that could be a lot more fun and you can both feed off of each other to maintain a good level of motivation.
An exception to this may be an instance where perhaps you’re wanting to settle at that specific destination for a good number of months (or years if you so wish).
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2- Take a timeout from travel routines.
Taking a timeout is sometimes overlooked as a fairly helpful process in dealing with a travel burnout, but if you really think about it, the point makes sense.
A good place to start is by taking a look at your itinerary and see where you could include some days to take a chill pill.
Those days will be solely for the purpose of kicking back to relax as well as connecting with your inner state.
Ultimately, there’s a reasonable correlation between generally making better decisions and having a calm, meditative and mindful perspective of situations.
Some ideas for your leisure days include but are not limited to:
》 Netflix and a cosy environment
Regardless of whatever your career or daily routine is, Netflix is a pretty popular and effective way to cool off some steam, and travel in this context is no exception.
Giving recommendations on what to watch is another chapter entirely so I’ll just say to watch whatever makes you feel at home, curl up in a blanket and have a nice cup of tea, coffee, fill in the blank.
This give you a chance to focus on something else and get away from your adventurous yet fairly hectic travel schedule. Don’t feel guilty for not seeing every single attraction you could, its not a waste of time to consider your wellbeing first.
》 Making your body energised
More often than not, the benefits of making an extra effort to keep your body in good shape can be ignored or overlooked but it goes a long way, especially for long term travelers.
Investing in doing some exercise in your free time and possibly daily routine can help keep your body active and good to go, its definitely one way to shrug off any sluggishness.
Sleeping is also quintessential in maintaining a healthy level of energy to appreciate the activities you get up to at your destination.
So the next time you don’t really have anything to do and you’re contemplating whether to take that afternoon nap or not, the answer is yes, take it.
According to popular health blog, Healthline, here are some facts about sleeping you may not know:
• Good sleep can maximize problem-solving skills and enhance memory. Poor sleep has been shown to impair brain function.
• Poor sleeping patterns are strongly linked to depression, particularly for those with a sleeping disorder.
• Longer sleep has been shown to improve many aspects of athletic and physical performance.
• Sleep deprivation may reduce your social skills and ability to recognize people’s emotional expressions.
• Getting at least 8 hours of sleep can improve your immune function and help fight the common cold.
》 Keeping up with hobbies
Spending time on your hobbies can serve as a great distraction from your travel related activities to give you enough time to renew your motivation to travel.
Hobbies are something we can all relate to, these are things you grew up with and have taken a liken to, they usually tie into some of your key traits as a person that makes you unique.
They will always be a part of you and make you feel at home regardless of what part of the globe you may be.
So whether its reading, singing, dancing, drawing, designing, fill in the blank. you should definitely have at it.
While you’re at it, audios are a great way to drive inspiration for whatever interests you’re getting involved with, music is particularly good for this but so are well produced podcasts.
》 Reaching out to your tribe
Now there’s a fair chance this could bring up a bit of nostalgia and/or homesickness, however its still a nice way to spend your free time.
As a globetrotter, for the most part, you’re gonna be on long haul flights, going through packing lists, booking travel tickets and whatnot.
So why not use a bit of your leisure to call some family members or friends (or both) and talk over the phone for a while about your travel adventures, and in turn listen what they’ve been getting upto.
Regardless of whatever method you choose to relax and regain your exerted energy, it is important to take some time out for yourself, it won’t single handedly rid you of travel fatigue, but it will help you in dealing with it.
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3- Be food conscious.
While it certainly can be more easier said than done, making an effort to be conscious about what you eat, when you eat it, and in some cases how might to an extent play a role in terms of your being able to make the most of the trip.
Some ways to be food conscious include:
》 Refraining from eating too much
So you’ve arrived at this beautiful destination with lots of amazing scenery, the people and their cultures aren’t half bad either.
Then after so much planning and exploring, you’re ready to eat something but the thing is there’s an unbelievable amount of somethings, so you figured to eat as much as humanly possible before you have to travel again and those delicacies would be out of reach.
However, although the reasoning for such resolve is feasible, the issue with this mentality is that its very easy to go overboard and your body could have a hard time processing all that “good stuff”.
Which brings us to the next point on curbing unhealthy eating.
》 Preparing some meals yourself
Making some “homemade” meals is a great way to start balancing out your external victual indulgences with your otherwise natural food regimen.
And these days its really easy, for the most part, to get groceries needed and start cooking your way to a better lifestyle.
》 Watch out for harmful intakes
Food poisoning is can be a probable part of any travel that you definitely do not want, if you’ve been on the receiving end of this then you know what I mean when I say it can get real ugly real fast.
Food poisoning: An illness that occurs as a result of consuming food or water contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins.
According to an article by Daily Mail, here are some tips for preventing food poisoning:
• Drinking and generally making use of bottled water in place of potentially unsanitized tap water.
• Steering clear of suspicious looking street food with sauces or condiments and eating in well established spots like restaurants.
• Ensuring the foods you eat have been well cooked at appropriate temperatures that’ll kill off any residual pathogens.
• Sticking to fruits that have peels as these are fairly safe to eat.
• Washing or sanitizing your hand at timely intervals.
Now some destinations are more prone to food poisoning than others, some of which include but are not limited to:
This isn’t to discourage you from going to certain destinations anymore but rather to exercise a bit more caution in certain locations than others.
Making an conscious effort to consider the safety of your foods and drinks can sometimes makes all the difference.
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4- Consider your destination and residence.
Travel tiredness has a decent level of correlation with constantly being on the road, exploring that next destination. Thus, it is imperative to take a step back from whatever bigger picture you have for your quest regarding the travel lifestyle.
In addition, sometimes it helps to stay put at a certain destination if you start to feel like you’ve caught a bit of the burnout bug.
You could spend a few weeks or months if you prefer, create a daily routine. If you’re not comfortable with the current lodging experience, then you may want to consider other alternatives.
Depending on your budget, you may be interested in opting for other accommodation services such as Airbnb or a good hotel where you’d get your own space and some room service.
And speaking of environmental impacts on travel burnout, you should probably set aside some time to go out in nature and recharge your vibrancy.
You could even include a bit of hiking into your schedule if you so wish, but whatever you do, just note that connecting with nature is a great way to keep up a good headspace and also allows you to stay meditative while on your travels.
Another thing you may also want to keep in mind is the similarities between a number of destinations you visit and how that can trigger a state of travel burnout.
Let’s see some illustration:
Let’s say you decided to travel to destination A, and on your itinerary, one of the activities there include seeing a temple at heart of the place.
After spending sometime there, you decide to get on and travel to destination B and after that arrival at this new location. So you rest for the day only to find a second temple on your itinerary again, but what the hell, you go see the temple along with any other interesting attractions there.
Now that you have the first two destinations off your checklist, its time to check out destination C.
This time around, you hear about this really cool temple with monks that are rumoured to walk on water, forget the cool monks, you start thinking to yourself: “yet another temple…are you freaking kidding me???”.
But then again you can’t really complain because out there, some people may never see an actual temple in their entire lives and you would be beyond ungrateful to leave all of that because you want to go “home”.
See a pattern here? doing the same kind of activity over and over again so much that it doesn’t faze you or inspire the smallest bit of awe anymore.
All that motivation and enthusiasm you had prior to traveling around has suddenly disappeared and is replaced by indifference and irritation, that my friend, is travel burnout settling in.
Which is why you should switch things up when planning out destinations you want to visit in order to have distinctly different experiences lest you lose all interest in “seeing” anything ever so easily.
Action Nugget: Harness the force
- Simply open your Google search
- Type “travel stats [desired destination]”, without the quotes or brackets and hit search
- Kick back and learn how others feel about your destination
Another interesting thing to note is that different destinations are reputable for different experiences, and this can help shape your travel plans, for instance:
• India is known for its meditation
• Brazil is known for its adventure
• France is known for its tourism
• China is known for its tea.
This is just to name a few and not the most comprehensive list, but you get the point.
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5- Knowing a few extra stress hacks.
Stress tends to play a major role in the occurrence of travel fatigue, as such it is essential to be familiar with a few ways of alleviating it before it gets a chance to develop into something more.
Observing yourself to notice when you’re starting to get stressed might seem obvious, but this step is often overlooked and there’s actually scientific evidence behind the power of acknowledging your stress.
If caught at its early stages, you’re less likely to be fully overtaken by stress and start seeing problems where there aren’t any.
Taking slower breaths can also calm your nerves, according to psychology today:
• To practice slow, rhythmic breathing, breathe in for a count of 5, rest for a count of 2.
• Then breathe out through either your nose or mouth for a count of 6.
• if this is too difficult, you can begin with a 4-2-4 rhythm and work up to 5-2-6.
Wisdom Nugget: Quick fix for stress
- Get some gum
- Keep it around
- Chew it whenever you’re feeling tense
- This tricks your brain into thinking you’re comfortable and the nervousness will subside
Another interesting stress hack is to focus on natural scenery if in range of any, when you direct all that extra energy into intricately observing and appreciating the beauty of nature, by the time you move your gaze, there’s a chance your built up stress would be alleviated.
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Is traveling too much bad for you?
It can be, as with anything where too much energy is consistently focused, travel and its requirements such as planning, packing and the actual journeys can put a dent in your positive perception of traveling. And where your mental health takes a hit, physical reactions are not far behind.
Why is travel so exhausting?
The issue of exhaustion is fairly subjective, but some common reasons for travel exhaustion are: significant lack of mobility, several mental and physical preparations, dehydration, coupled with the psychological backlash of being in an absolutely different environment within a dramatically short period of time.
Top tips for dealing with travel burnout:
1. Avoid rushing the travel process
Traveling to different places too quickly will give you a burnout.
2. Avoid including too much itinerary activities
Having fun with moderation is the way to go.
3. Take a timeout from traveling
Set aside some time to replenish energy.
4. Get in touch with hobbies and your tribe
Taking up hobbies and calling your loved ones may alleviate homesickness.
5. Avoid foods that affect quality of your trips
Steer clear of foods that can significantly affect your overall experience at your destination.
6. Avoid destinations with similar attractions and itineraries
Destinations with similar settings could make you feel easily jaded.
7. Acknowledge travel burnout is a periodic part of the travel lifestyle
Travel burnout isn’t a one time thing, but you can cope well despite it.
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Travel burnout is a fairly common thing with the travel lifestyle and experiencing it a couple of times doesn’t make you suck at planning your adventures or a “bad traveller”.
And on that note, if all the tips we’ve discussed so far are making little to no difference on your mental health then you may want to consider going home.
I know I know, that’s probably one of the worst ways to end an article of overcoming travel burnout, but hear me out.
Although the notion of going home due to burnout is rather controversial, you shouldn’t have to be embarrassed for wanting to take care of yourself and keeping your sanity.
Will you miss your globetrotting and possibly regret leaving that scene? Maybe but there’s something far worse than that: Mindlessly wandering around the globe with no real goals, drive or objectives.
Ultimately, travel tiredness is a mental state and its your job to figure out what works for you in coping with it (alternative remedies or professional solutions) as burnout isn’t really a one time thing. And at any rate, you can’t run away from yourself.
However, its understable to extensively apply these tips for dealing with burnout within a reasonable amount of time, as such you may want to consider trying these tips out for about a week before you start ruling them out as ineffective and returning home.
That’s all (for now) on ways of dealing with travel fatigue, I hope you find a few of these suggestions helpful or in the very least informative.
If you liked the article then be sure to leave a comment and share this post (more visibility is always appreciated), keep calm and enjoy your travels.