Updated: 03/16/20 | March 16th, 2020
The travel slump.
You start to think, “What’s wrong with me? I’m seeing and doing amazing stuff every day. Why don’t I love it anymore?”
This is the slump — and it happens to us all.
When you first set out, travel is exciting and new. You’re meeting different people from around the world, experiencing new activities, trying different food, and exploring exotic lands.
But one day you realize your travels have become a routine: you wake up, sightsee, meet other travelers, ask and get asked the same questions, pack your bag, trek to the next destination, and do it all over again in a new place.
You get sick of constantly trying to find your bus or hostel in countries whose language you don’t speak. You’re tired of making plans from scratch each day. You’re worn out of seeing new friends take the bus out of town, never to be heard from again. The quotidian parts of life that you take for granted at home—finding food that won’t make you sick, figuring out where to clean your laundry, communicating about bus schedules or menus—become tedious chores.
You have to learn a brand-new set of social norms at each stop. You have to restart your life again and again, in a new place and with new people. As much as the backdrop changes, nomad life can come to resemble an unending Groundhog Day.
A friend recently emailed me about this problem. He and his partner are five months into their trip and suddenly aren’t having as much fun as they used to. They just aren’t “feeling it” as much he said to me. He wanted to know what was wrong and if this was normal.
“Nothing is wrong,” I said. “It is completely normal.”
For example, after four and a half months traveling around the United States, my last weeks weren’t spent sightseeing new cities but rather watching Netflix and eating with friends. After moving every few days for so long, I needed a break. Luckily, I was heading home to relax, but if I wasn’t, I would have done what I told my friend he should do:
Stop and mix it up.
The slump is easily curable because it is an illness born out of routine. You went traveling to add excitement to your life and yet suddenly you feel like saying, “Another damn church/temple/waterfall? Whatever.” How many beautiful cathedrals, mountains, or beaches can you see in a short period of time before you become a little desensitized?
When travel becomes routine, it loses its edge, but there are two easy ways fix that:
1. Stop Where You Are
Spend time in one place. Part of why you are feeling the way you do is because you’re running around so much. Changing locations every few days is tiring. You’re constantly unpacking and packing again while also trying to see as much as possible. Life becomes a blur, a series of photos.
So slow down.
Take a break from travel.
Stay where you are, get to know the place more deeply, become a regular. Watch Netflix, read, and sleep. One day you’ll find you have your mojo back. When that happens, move on again.
2. Mix Up Your Routine
My friends are digital nomads, work a lot on the road, and spend a lot of time in Airbnbs.
What makes travel so exciting is the variety. Every day is a new day filled with endless possibilities. You can be or do whatever you want.
However, just like anything else in life, when it becomes a routine, the excitement fades.
So break out of your routine. If you are staying in hostels, couchsurf instead. Use Meetup.com to find local groups with similar interests. Skip all the activities you normally would do and attend that festival you heard about instead.
The slump happens to the best of us. Travel is like a battery not an unlimited wellspring. You need to recharge it every so often. When you feel the slump, it’s time to stop and recharge.
By slowing down and changing your routine, the slump will disappear.
And, as you head out on the road again, the excitement and energy you had at the beginning will come back and travel will ber wonderful again.
How to Travel the World on $50 a Day
My New York Times best-selling paperback guide to world travel will teach you how to master the art of travel so that you’ll get off the beaten path, save money, and have a deeper travel experience. It’s your A to Z planning guide that the BBC guide the “bible for budget travelers.”
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Need to book your trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. The are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.