Have you ever been so excited for a trip, planned every minute of every day so you don’t miss a single thing, but wake up one day feeling completely exhausted and not wanting to do anything?

This could be a sign that you’re experiencing travel fatigue.

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Travel Fatigue: What is it & how to avoid it

In our day to day lives, we’ve somewhat gotten used to burning out: we work, we exercise, we work, we sleep a little, we socialize, we work some more. We’re all guilty of doing too much and not taking time out.

So why do we do the same when we’re on a trip?

I find it’s a different mentality when travelling. You fill up your days with things you want to do, rather than need to do. Everything you’re doing is for yourself, it’s for fun, so we don’t see it as doing too much….until the travel fatigue sets in.

So what is travel fatigue? Let’s delve a little deeper.

Travel Fatigue Meaning

Travel fatigue, or travel burnout, is when you feel completely and utterly exhausted while travelling. It can hit anybody at any time of your travels, whether you’re travelling for just a couple of weeks or are on the road long term.

Travel fatigue occurs when you overdo it while travelling. Fast travel has increased over the years because we want to see as much as we can in such a short amount of time. Rather than spending months in a country, we spend weeks, flying from north to south, filling our days with multiple high energy activities.

Another cause of travel fatigue is stress from home/work life. If you are already stressed prior to taking your trip, it will follow you on your travels.

Travel fatigue can be worse if coupled with jet lag after a long flight, travelling across multiple time zones.

Travel Fatigue Symptoms

If you find that you’re experiencing any or all of these symptoms, it’s likely you’re suffering from travel fatigue:

  • Exhaustion
  • Tired of travelling
  • Stress & Anxiety
  • No interest in activities
  • Binge eating or drinking
  • Low mood

How To Avoid Travel Fatigue

What is the travel fatigue cure? As with anything, prevention is the best cure. Choose a mixture from the below ideas to help either avoid travel fatigue from the get go or as a cure if symptoms have already set in.

Go on a hike

Fresh air does wonders for our body and mind. Being out and about in nature helps to reduce stress and anxiety and boosts your mood.

After a long hike, you’re more likely to have a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Relax by the pool / beach day

If you’re staying in a hotel with a pool, it can be a great opportunity to take some time out to relax, read a book, listen to music and nap in the sun.

Alternatively, if you’re staying close to a beach, go for a swim in the ocean and chill out for the day. I always have a great night’s sleep after a day in the ocean.

Have a lie in

Strict itineraries can have us up at the crack of dawn to join a tour and out late at night. Try to not plan early morning activities every morning, instead sleep in and avail of some duvet love.

Exercise or meditate

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety while travelling. Even if you’re not staying at a hotel with a gym, there are a number of exercises you can do in your room – check out this hotel workout video!

Meditate just before bedtime to switch off your brain and get a much needed rest.

Eat well

Ah the famous saying, ‘I’m on holiday, I can eat what I like’. We’re all guilty of it. Having starters and deserts every time you go out for dinner, eating croissants and a big fry for breakfast every morning, just because they have a buffet and it would be a ‘waste not to’.

The thing is, if you’re used to eating well on an every day basis and you go away and eat all around you, your body will go into shock as it’s not used to this!

Trying out the local cuisine is a must do when travelling, but there are always some healthy options to choose from wherever you go. For example, did you know that in Italy there are options other than pizza, pasta, wine and gelato?! I know!

Don’t eat to late

For some reason, late dinners are a popular holiday theme. Probably because there’s so much to do during the day and by the time you’ve showered and changed, it’s going on 9pm or 10pm.

But eating late doesn’t give your body enough time to digest your food properly, which can lead to you feeling sluggish and not having a good night’s sleep.

Get massage

Head to the spa and get a massage. While any massage can leave you feeling rested and relaxed, hot stone massages are proven to be healing which may be more beneficial if you’re suffering from travel fatigue.

Switch the hostel for a hotel

Sharing a room with strangers, coming and going throughout the night, snoring when you’re trying to sleep – if this is happening every night, you’re bound to hit a brick wall at some stage and need a good night’s sleep to get back on track.

If you’re not one to usually stay in hotels (I am way too old for hostels anymore!), treat yourself to a night away from your hostel in a quiet hotel room, with comfortable luxurious bedding, a relaxing bath and, most importantly, a good night’s sleep.

Take a day off

If you’re like me and have a somewhat strict itinerary to stick to when travelling, you might find yourself burning out too soon into your trip.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to stray away from your itinerary if you make sure to include a day to yourself every now and then: no sightseeing, no planned activities, no ‘must dos’.

My ideal ‘day off’ when travelling is:

Have a lie in, maybe take a non-strenuous stroll around the local markets, sit by the pool or in a cafe and read a book, order room service, take a bath, watch a movie and have an early night.

Conclusion

Travel fatigue can occur whether you’re travelling around one place or on a world trip.

Don’t let it ruin a well deserved trip. Recognise the signs and symptoms of travel fatigue and allow yourself to take some time out to relax and recuperate so that you can continue your epic trip feeling energised and ready for your next adventure.

Check out our travel tips page for more tips, tricks and travel advice.

Ellie-M

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2 Comments

  1. I didn’t realize there was a term for this! I’ve definitely experienced this before and felt burn out. I try to do as much as possible in a few days rather than spending weeks like I would wish, whether due to cost, or work, or other obligations

    1. I’ve definitely done this too and come home feeling so drained. Even on short trips, it’s surprising what a small bit of R&R can do!

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