Travel burnout is real. Just writing those words almost makes me cringe as I reflect back on recent travel when all I wanted to do was hide under the blankets instead of face another day of exploring new sights, eating new foods, or soak up new experiences.
Sure, travel burnout may sound like a spoiled brat, first world problem, but it’s real. Burnout can seriously impact mental health and well being. It’s also not a grown-up only problem. It can affect children.
I know. I’ve seen it rear it’s ugly little head a few times over my years of worldschooling, roadschooling, and homeschooling around the world with my four children.
It’s not always easy to talk about travel burnout either and that somehow compounds the problem. Why? (1) In a world where children are starving to death, species are on the verge of extinction, small communities battle drug crises, and governments face political corruption, the ‘problem’ of travel burnout seems pretty trivial. (2) Not everyone gets it, especially people who aren’t familiar with the slow travel lifestyle. How bad can life really be sipping cappuccino while writing at an Internet cafe in Italy?
5 Ways to Fix Travel Burnout Fast
If you’re burned out, feeling beat down, tired, sick, frustrated, sad, or longing for home (especially when you rationally and generally love the lifestyle you’ve chosen), try these 5 Ways to Fix Travel Burnout Fast and kiss your burnout goodbye.
1. Stay Put. Put the breaks on travel for a bit. Find a place that you like (or think you’d really like if you felt better in the moment) and drop your bags. Stop switching hotels. Stop booking new AirBnBs. Just stay in one place for a bit. Not long ago, I booked a long stay in a small mountain town. As it turns out, the town was so small and so remote–and the weather was pretty crummy during my first weeks there–that I actually felt like I couldn’t stay there anymore without losing my mind. So, I packed my bags, jumped in the car, drove toward the sunshine, and stayed put there until I felt like I had found my bearings again.
2. Hold the Phone. Stop looking at your phone and get out and do things. Sometimes being on your phone, looking at social media, texting friends and family back home can actually negatively impact your mindset and your travel experience. Sometimes the solution is to shut your phone off, put it away, or limit your social media time until your happy and good sense of self has returned.
3. Tackle your Bucket List. What’s on your bucket list that you haven’t tackled? Can you check off something on your life list where you are now? This tip works for adults or children. Have a desire to try rock climbing someday? Why not make that happen today? Have a child who has begged in the past to go play laser tag? Seize the day.
4. Find Friends. Slow travel can sometimes feel disconnecting. Sure, you’re meeting tons of people on your adventures, but sometimes you need to really connect with people. As in face-to-face, real human interaction. Look for local meet-ups, volunteer activities, expat groups, and gatherings that you could take part in, even if just for a day. Meetup.com, Eventbrite, and Facebook Groups are three places that I’ve had good luck finding cool happenings (and in my language, English) in different travel destinations.
5. Get Cozy. Book a comfy hotel room or go purchase something that reminds you of home or a happy place in your life. For me, when I’m feeling disconnected, homesick, or just sick of moving from place to place, I sometimes chose to do nothing, embrace some quiet time, and stay put with a book I’ve been meaning to read, or go to a nearby coffee shop, grab caffeine and write in a journal. For my kids, this works well too. Popping open the computer, clicking over to Netflix, renting a movie on Amazon, and making a big bowl of popcorn just like we’d do at home.
When I’m feeling travel burnout, I often think what’s lacking for me is the feeling of being rooted or grounded. I then try to find ways to create or recreate that sense of grounding. For me, sunshine, caffeine, exercise, and a trip or two to Ikea work miracles. For my kids, keeping them busy, providing them creature comforts that remind them of home, and talking about the reasons for our slow travel helps. If you can ultimately figure out what’s at the core of your travel burnout and satisfy those needs, you’ll surely get yourself back to a good mental place quickly–and be back to doing what you love, traveling.