If you’ve ever traveled for a few weeks or more, you may have experienced travel burn out. If not, maybe you’ve read about it. Its the mental exhaustion that comes from constantly being on the road and experiencing new things in a new culture and a new environment.
I’ve felt this near the end of my first 7-week trip abroad. I didn’t realize how burned-out I was until it hit me all at once. But now I know to expect it, and how to combat it. Here are some steps you can take to deal with travel-burn out while still on the road.
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1) Incorporate something familiar into your schedule
You probably left behind a lot of the comforts of home. Having all that is familiar completely gone is inherently stressful. Pick one or two things that bring you pleasure when you are home and add them to your travel schedule. For me, these would be talking to a friend or family member each day on Skype, even if only for a few minutes, and drinking tea in bed. Little things that make you feel comfortable can go a long way to ease the stress that comes from the constant newness of traveling.
2) Make a daily routine
It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but having a general routine laid out can balance the fact that everything else around you is different. You could wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, work out before lunch, or sort out all the photographs you take at the end of each day.
3) Claim your favorite place
Love the balcony on the second floor of the used bookstore down the street? Grab a muffin from the mom and pop bakery next door and go sit on the balcony and read. Or you could take a lunch break in your favorite spot in a nearby park, or catch up on your favorite show in an internet cafe. Just having a spot that you feel a connection to will make a new place feel more like home.
I was lucky because my travel burn-out came toward the end of my trip when I met up with my mom in Europe. I was able to just lay in bed while she researched things to do and places to explore. But even if it means cutting something fun out of your day, it will be worth it for an extra few hours of sleep or just laying in bed or in the bath and thinking. A lot can happen in a foreign country to surprise, confuse, and excite you, and you’ll certainly need time to just sit and think about everything that has been going on. So rest and give yourself time to digest your experiences.
5) Read or watch a movie
There’s nothing like a great story to take your mind off of your burn-out. Watching a movie or reading before you go to sleep can be a great way to replace pre-sleep worries with a something that makes you feel good, and you’ll probably forget that you’re in a foreign place for a while.
What have your experiences been with travel burn out?