How to Avoid Backpacker Burnout

We’re not all cut out for long-term backpacker travel and that’s okay. Some of us are ashamed to admit that we get eventually get sick of hanging out at hostels and subsisting off of ramen noodles and the occasional kebab. You find yourself stuck in the rut of “get on bus, arrive in new city, check into hostel, see the sights, repeat.” Isn’t this the type of monotony you wanted to leave behind when you decided to go on this trip in the first place? The side effects of this travel lifestyle can be exhausting, but here are a few ways to keep them at bay.

Slow down your travels.

I know everyone wants to do the big round-the-world trip, but this is the fastest way to get burnt out. If you break up your trip into smaller trips, you will have time to regroup in between. Another option is to spend some time living in your destination, enjoying the expat life.

Give yourself one day per week to “just be.”

Without any sort of to do list, just do what you want to do. If that means sleeping past noon and staying in your pajamas all day, do it. If it means wandering around an art museum and leaving your travel companions behind, do it. If it means spending the day on Facebook and Skype, talking to your family and friends back home, do it.

Change up your accommodations by visiting friends of friends or CouchSurfing.

While some hostels can have that homey feel, there’s nothing like being in someone’s home. Contact family and friends before leaving to see if they know anyone living in the cities you are visiting who wouldn’t mind letting you crash there or could meet up with you for a meal. Alternatively, CouchSurfing hosts can be just as good as friends in the way they show you their city and welcome you into their homes.

Catch some zzzz’s.

More often than not, those moments when I snap on my travel companions are attributed to the fact that I’m tired, hungry, lost or a combination of the three. When given a choice between a full night’s sleep and a hostel pub crawl, choose the former.

Be flexible.

You don’t have to follow that itinerary you created completely. Instead, you can stay longer in a place you like or feel free to leave a city that isn’t doing it for you. No one’s going to judge you for not seeing enough. As long as you’re getting out there, that’s all that matters.

  • http://www.aaronswwadventures.com Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures

    All great tips! 

  • http://www.aaronswwadventures.com Aaron’s Worldwide Adventures

    All great tips! 

  • http://twitter.com/bumbleyank Bumblebeeandtheyank

    Definitely agree. We’re going to stop in Ecuador for a month just to study Spanish. Now, just have to choose the place. We recently stopped to volunteer in a hostel for a few weeks – time to relax plus save some money at the same time.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I stopped and worked at a hostel in Mancora, Peru. Definitely recommend it. Beautiful beach, pool, and partying. Couldn’t have had it any better for 1 month.

  • http://twitter.com/bumbleyank Bumblebeeandtheyank

    Definitely agree. We’re going to stop in Ecuador for a month just to study Spanish. Now, just have to choose the place. We recently stopped to volunteer in a hostel for a few weeks – time to relax plus save some money at the same time.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      I stopped and worked at a hostel in Mancora, Peru. Definitely recommend it. Beautiful beach, pool, and partying. Couldn’t have had it any better for 1 month.

  • Sarah Rall

    Good tips, being flexible is definitely the best method, I love being able to change plans and have total freedom. 

  • SarahBC08

    Good tips, being flexible is definitely the best method, I love being able to change plans and have total freedom. 

  • Caroline Eubanks

    Thanks for the comments guys!

  • Caroline Eubanks

    Thanks for the comments guys!

  • http://twitter.com/our_oyster Our Oyster

    Very nice! I think its a good idea to force yourself to take one day “off” of travel. Sometimes its good to just sit around all day on facebook and watching movies without feeling guilty for not “being out there”. I think I will keep that in mind on my next big trip.

    Jade Johnston | http://www.ouroyster.com

  • http://twitter.com/our_oyster Our Oyster

    Very nice! I think its a good idea to force yourself to take one day “off” of travel. Sometimes its good to just sit around all day on facebook and watching movies without feeling guilty for not “being out there”. I think I will keep that in mind on my next big trip.

    Jade Johnston | http://www.ouroyster.com

  • http://roymarvelous.com roy | roymarvelous.com

    Good advice. Definitely good to schedule days to do nothing

  • http://roymarvelous.com roy | roymarvelous.com

    Good advice. Definitely good to schedule days to do nothing

  • http://twobackpacksoneworld.com Brian

    We just finished our first Help Exchange (helpx.net) and it was awesome! After being on the road for over 2 months, it was great to be in one place for 2 weeks. Packing my bag every other day and trying to fit all of a city’s sights into a couple days is exhausting and expensive, so this was a welcome break.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      This is the second time I’ve heard of helpx and both said good things about it. I’ll have to look more into it.

  • http://twobackpacksoneworld.com Brian

    We just finished our first Help Exchange (helpx.net) and it was awesome! After being on the road for over 2 months, it was great to be in one place for 2 weeks. Packing my bag every other day and trying to fit all of a city’s sights into a couple days is exhausting and expensive, so this was a welcome break.

    • http://artofadventuring.com/ Michael

      This is the second time I’ve heard of helpx and both said good things about it. I’ll have to look more into it.

  • http://www.landingstanding.com/ Tony from LandingStanding

    So true! We spent a month on the croatian coast just lounging by the water and getting work done. Totally recharged our travel batteries and inspired us to do more travel like that. The bonus was it also saves you money since you save on travel expenses. 

  • http://www.landingstanding.com/ Tony from LandingStanding

    So true! We spent a month on the croatian coast just lounging by the water and getting work done. Totally recharged our travel batteries and inspired us to do more travel like that. The bonus was it also saves you money since you save on travel expenses.