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.

23 Comments

  1. Sarah Rall on July 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm
  2. SarahBC08 on July 13, 2011 at 10:11 pm
  3. Caroline Eubanks on July 14, 2011 at 6:47 am
  4. Caroline Eubanks on July 14, 2011 at 7:47 am
  5. Our Oyster on July 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm
  6. Our Oyster on July 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm
  7. Brian on August 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm
  8. Brian on August 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm

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