How To Avoid Travel Burn-Out

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Long-term travel is very different to taking a short vacation. As much as we’d all like to believe we can coast along eating, drinking and partying indefinitely, there’s an undeniable craving for some routine and normality that starts to creep in.

 
For some the first few weeks of any travel – short or long – are spent in a state of obligation free bliss, relaxing on the beach free from work, bills and chores. For others the first few weeks are a carefully planned itinerary where every minute is spent trekking the ruins, exploring the galleries and snapping photos of the local tourist attraction. In either case this lifestyle is not sustainable long-term, it’s inevitable that after a few weeks you’ll either burn out or start asking yourself, what now?
Here’s a few ideas for some routine and normality that will help you avoid travel burn-out (to be introduced only after the initial indulgent/on-the-go stage, of course).

Set A Time To Wake Up
Set an alarm and wake up at the same time every day during the week, Monday to Friday. It doesn’t have to be really early but how can you enjoy sleeping in on the weekends if you sleep in every day of the week?

Exercise
All that over-indulging in food and drink can really start to take it’s toll on your body over a long period of time, especially if you aren’t doing your exercise routine that you normally would at home. Find the local gym (we’ve found them ridiculously cheap and surprisingly common in Central America) or join a Yoga class. Try and make your holiday activities more physical like hiking, surfing or a game of volleyball on the beach. The website Pause The Moment has a couple of great articles on home work-out routines specifically for travellers. There’s really no excuse not to keep your body healthy while you travel. A little bit can go a long way towards waking your body out of its holiday-slump and re-energise you.

Non-Drinking Days
Do you normally drink every day when you’re at home? I’m sure some of you would answer yes to that question but my suggestion is that you should maintain whatever your normal drinking routine you have at home. The hostels and bars would love for you to believe that every night is a Saturday night while away from home, sorry to burst your bubble but it’s not. It’s not healthy to be in party-mode every day for months on end, nor is it fun trekking the ruins hungover.

Keep Up With The Local And Home News
It’s easy to fall out of touch with whats happening in the real world and live in your own little travel-bubble. If you’ve been travelling for a few months I’m guessing your friends and family back home would also appreciate a few other Skype topics than simply what an amazing time you’re having travelling. Keeping up with the local news and news from back home not only brings you back into the real world for a few minutes each day but it brings you one step closer to living like a local when you know what’s going on around you.

Home-Cooked Meals
I love food and I love eating out so it came as a real surprise that I could get a little sick of eating every meal out constantly. Most hostels offer a partially equipped kitchen for guest use so why not save yourself a few dollars, take a trip to the local grocery store and cook up some home food you might be missing. Experiencing some domestic chores like grocery shopping can also give you an insight into local life that you wouldn’t normally experience.

Down Time
It’s funny how excited I am when we find a hostel that has a TV available for guest use. When trying new adventures has become the norm plopping down in front of the TV for a few hours for some down time feels like a luxury. But it doesn’t have to be TV, find an activity that lets you rest and tune out for awhile. You could go to the movies, read a book or play a computer game.

Set Yourself Goals And Projects
Learn the local language, volunteer to teach the local school kids piano, lose 5kg, write a book, find something that will give you a sense of achievement and do it. You now have the time to dedicate to something that will make you feel good and doesn’t need to be earning you money. You may never have this much time on your hands again so don’t get to the end of your travels and realise you’ve spent 6 months drifting along achieving nothing.

Try A Slower Pace
Travel days are tiring, and too many of them too close together are simply exhausting. Slow down and spend a bit of time in one location, there’s no need to rush when you’re travelling long-term. We like to spend 2 weeks in one place and take short hops on our travel days, however we’ve met others who like to spend 3 months in the one place. The amount of time is up to you, just keep in mind you don’t need to rush.

 

These suggestions may not exactly be your idea of a fun holiday – in fact I feel like a fuddy-duddy even suggesting them. But when you’re travelling long-term it’s important to have the contrast between the new activities and some normal routines in order to keep going and keep finding new destinations and experiences exciting without burning out.

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