Travel burnout is something that affects many travelers, particularly those who are adventuring solo. The amount of time it takes before it kicks in varies from person to person. For some, all it takes is a few days, but for others, it takes months of being on the road before the tell-tale signs appear.
As its name suggests, travel burnout is the state that a traveler reaches, seemingly inevitably, where they become agitated and hostile towards their environment. According to one popular travel website, there are eight symptoms which, when they occur together, are a sure sign that travel burnout has set in.
While the underlying reasons for travel burnout vary from person to person and can be a response to changes in circumstance beyond their control, just as often, they are a result of a loss of interest in the trip itself.
The first and usually most noticeable sign is that your communications back to friends and family becomes notably more combative in tone. If you are someone who blogs about your travel then keep an eye out for any unintended shifts in the tone of your pieces that could be an indication that you are having some issues that need resolving. It is therefore very important to stay healthy while traveling.
Travel burnout tends to also put sufferers on edge so that things that wouldn’t normally bother them are suddenly causing constant issues. It is believed that the psychological explanation for this is that as we miss our familiar surroundings, we begin to reject our new ones, and every little thing that is different from what we’re used to elicits a negative response.
If you find that you just aren’t laughing, perhaps even smiling, then this is normally a fairly solid indicator of travel burnout rearing its ugly head.
The rest of the symptoms follow the same pattern: agitation with the unfamiliar, a sense of longing for home and your everyday comforts, and an inability to focus on or enjoy new experiences. Travel burnout is certainly no fun! But how can you avoid it?
Remember Why You’re Doing It
We all set out traveling with different goals in mind, whether we’re aiming to just take in some new sights and relax or we’re looking for a spiritual awakening in a faraway land, when we lose sight of the reasons why we are traveling we forget how the experience is enriching our lives.
If you think that you are suffering from travel burnout then try reminding yourself of why you set out on your adventure, what it is you hope to achieve on your travels, and how you can best go about achieving it.
One of the most effective ways of staving off travel burnout is to maintain flexibility in your plans. The more resistant you are to changes in your circumstances and itinerary that are beyond your control, the less of an impact they will have on your overall state of mind.
Traveling should be an experience that helps you to grow as a person and learn and experience new things. Doing this while sticking religiously to a plan will severely limit your opportunities to improvise and make impromptu discoveries. It is these unplanned escapades that give you the best opportunities to organically experience the culture of the country you are visiting. There is only so much to be gleaned from the usual guidebooks and tourist traps.
Go at Your Own Pace
The most important aspect of any traveling holiday is that you enjoy it! Do not attempt to force yourself into doing things just for the sake of it, and likewise, if you aren’t finding things to do then don’t be afraid to move on to somewhere else where you can be more certain of a good time.
When things are rushing by so fast that you have no time to enjoy them, or are progressing so slowly that the charm has begun to wear off, then you should think nothing about an adjustment in pace. Remember earlier how we told you to define your goals? Well, an important part of defining them is defining how you plan on measuring their success and how you can achieve this without losing focus on the other aspects of your trip.
Give Yourself as Much TLC As You Can
Holidays are one of those occasions where it is not only acceptable to indulge yourself – it is basically a requirement! No holiday or trip is complete without some self-pampering. Make sure that at every point of your journey you set aside a little time to rest and relax and revitalize! It doesn’t matter where you are, where you’ve been, or where you are heading, every single day you deserve some time to yourself.
Allowing stress to build until it triggers travel burnout is not good for you and if you don’t end up enjoying your travel adventure, then afterward you won’t be able to look back on it as a happy and worthwhile experience. Travelling is no good if you aren’t enjoying it and gaining something from it, so make sure that you make all your memories the best they can be.
Recognise the Good
It is important that as you go through your holiday you remain aware of your surroundings and make sure that you acknowledge to yourself the aspects that you are enjoying the most, whatever they might be. Travel burnout often occurs when we lose sight of the purpose and benefits of our trip, even with the best planning possible beforehand, there are always things that we can’t account for.
There will inevitably be at least one or two niggling problems that you have during your holiday, but the important thing is to make sure that, while you acknowledge any problems, you remain focused on the positives, the things that are working well for you.
Travel broadens the mind and our horizons. Next time you go traveling make sure that you remain vigilant and on the lookout for the signs of travel burnout.