Travel is thrilling, inspiring, and fun, but is also exhausting, both physically and mentally. You’re on your feet all day carrying bags, eating inconsistently, and coping with the mental and emotional rigors that come with navigating a new place, struggling with language barriers, and being far from home in general.
Suddenly it all piles up, and you find yourself overwhelmed with exhaustion – you’ve hit your travel wall.
Waylaid By Travel Exhaustion
I’m all too familiar with this feeling. Having recently launched another bout of travel of indeterminate length, I’ve spent day after day pounding the cobblestones, eating what I could when I could, and coping with language confusion. Then it happened. All at once I found myself floored by an exhaustion that no ancient ruin could remedy no matter how glorious.
In the past I found this sensation rather alarming. Depressing even. How could I doing all of these incredible things, yet find myself so down?
Years of travel experience, however, has taught me that the travel wall is a natural part of being on the road. The human body and brain were only designed to take so much.
Luckily, that travel experience has also given me ample opportunity to discover solutions.
Getting Over the Travel Wall
Here are four things that will help you revitalize when travel exhaustion hits:
- A day of rest.
When you’re traveling, it can be easy to think that you need to cram every moment possible with new experiences. Once the travel wall comes up, however, it’s time to give yourself a break.
Spend a day without doing anything travel-y. Don’t go to sites and museums. Don’t wander the streets and sample new foods. Instead, spend the majority of a day in your hotel room. Catch up on emails, read a book, hell – watch a movie. Sleep.
- Fuel up.
When you’re on the road, you always end up eating either not enough or too much, and always with foods that are novel to your normal eating habits, or just plain unhealthy.
Take a day off from unusual foods, and eat something that your body is used to. Be sure to pack in a lot of fruits and vegetables, and get a healthy dose of protein.
And water. Travelers tend to be dehydrated constantly, so be sure to top off your tank with plenty of fresh water.
- Get in a workout.
Exercise delivers an array of physical and mental benefits. Getting in a solid workout will help your body reset, and will release all of the happy brain chemicals you need to bolster your mood.
Ideally, you have a gym in your hotel equipped with everything you need, but that’s not usually the case. If a gym is lacking, get outside and go for a run or fast walk, and get in some bodyweight exercises. I’m also a huge fan of bringing a jump rope everywhere I go, which makes for easy in-room cardio.
- Lay off the sauce.
It’s easy to get on the booze train and stay there, but the day-in, day-out drunk/hangover cycle is vastly taxing on your physical and mental health. Give yourself a day or two to bring your blood alcohol level back down.
I know it’s tempting to keep up the party, but I promise that first morning you wake up sans hangover will bring one of your best travel days. Get out and see wherever you are through an unblurred brain.
You are, after all, traveling to make memories. Keep a few of them crisp.