Have you ever experienced travel burnout? You know the feeling if you travel as part of your job. But have you ever experienced it while you were supposed to be having fun, while on vacation?
Every once in a while when traveling for an extended period of time, you might just need a break, even when you’re in an amazing place. Traveling isn’t as exciting; it wears you down. It’s not quite homesickness; it’s just being tired of being on the go, seeing so many new sights, not being able to take it all in, and spending money. After being on an extended trip to South America and seeing the sites of Buenos Aires, Peninsula Valdes, Bariloche Argentina, and more wonderful locales, we were exhausted. In the end, after much deliberation, we ended up not traveling to Tierra del Fuego, which would have taken more than 20 hours by bus. We have no regrets.
Feeling guilty about not “doing more” leads to travel burnout
Part of it is that we felt so blessed with the opportunity to travel, we didn’t want to miss anything. But we finally learned when we feel travel burnout that it is best to take a few days to just relax. We learned we should do what we wanted to do instead of feeling like we should have to do something.
In the past two months when we’ve started to feel this way — even just a little — we’ve stopped for a few days. We’ve found a private room or an apartment (rather than a hostel) which has cured the beginnings of travel burnout. We can cook our own food, take it slow, and spend a little less money. Had we had our trip planned out better, we should have arranged our trip to Chacra Millalen, an organic farm in Argentina, when we wanted some downtime. We are very hard workers, but we didn’t realize the weekend there was “off.” Had we planned this better, we could have incorporated our volunteering a few days earlier and then had the weekend to relax.
photo credit: Vautrin Baires
Tips for avoiding travel burnout
We’ve learned a lot from this experience. In the future, when we plan for trips that are longer than two weeks, we will build in some downtime to reduce travel burnout. You will most likely know when you are experiencing travel burnout. Tips for avoiding and reducing it will depend on where you are. It could include relaxing time at the hotel pool; a day reading and wandering at the beach; or a day hanging out in the lodge or hotel. It could entail an entire day, hanging out in the hotel room, reading a book — and not a travel guide. Even when we are on the go, it helps to plan for just one or two sites a day, and spend our thoroughly enjoying them instead of rushing through. It is so much more enjoyable to spend time and enjoy where you actually are, rather than always be thinking about “what’s next.” We will spend a day without going out to eat by taking advantage of room service or snacks and sandwiches from a local grocer. We will do our best to avoid the crowds and busy times by not planning trips during peak seasons.
All in all, our extended trip to South America, with most of our time spent in Argentina, has been wonderful and better than I could have imagined. Argentina is an incredible country with so many wonderful sights. But sometimes even an incredible vacation can wear you out. Take time and precautions to avoid travel burnout. With better planning and more of a “living in the moment” attitude, you will be happy with what you have seen and experienced rather than trying to squeeze more into your vacation schedule.
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