Whether you’re taking a gap year, a career break or writing a travel book, having a long-term travel plan in place is an excellent idea. But there are certain aspects of long vacations that nobody talks about. Loneliness, a need to be grounded and a feeling of being unsettled are just a few of the unspoken lows that can make you doubt your decision to choose this lifestyle. Here are several secret tips to help you survive a long vacation.
Practical Tips to Surviving Extended Vacations
Long journeys, navigating through places, checking in and out of hotels and being on the go can be tedious when done over a long time. However, there are many things you can do to prevent doubt from getting the better of you.
1) Take It Slow
Travel is exhausting and can take a toll on your health. If you’re travelling without time constraints, it’s advisable to travel slowly. Relax and invest time into really getting to know each town, village or city. Spend entire days walking the streets and talking to locals. The longer you stay, the more chances you have to learn about the culture and explore the untouched natural beauty of those places not in the guidebook.
2) Pack Light
Everyone travels differently, but lugging around a massive suitcase for months or years is a bad idea. Instead, pack light. Have a few outfits for various situations – for example, casual outfits, a nicer outfit, activewear, a swimsuit and winterwear. Also, keep your toiletries travel size. If you need something while travelling, shop locally. Simply put, carrying a lightweight travel bag will make packing and unpacking a breeze.
3) Expect Trouble
When you travel for a long time, some days won’t go as planned. That’s okay. For example, you may not get into the local hostel and instead have to book yourself into an expensive hotel. Or maybe you didn’t do anything particularly ‘travel-y’ one day because it was raining cats and dogs. There’s no need to feel like you’ve wasted that time or overspent your budget. It happens.
4) Take a Break
Being on the move can grind you down and make travelling more frustrating than enjoyable. At the end of the day, everyone needs time to unwind. Take a break and choose comfortable options instead of the ones you usually do when travelling. For instance, book a comfortable limousine service instead of taking public transit and stay in a good hotel instead of another Airbnb. Or relax and read a book instead of skipping from one place to another.
5) Spend Time in Nature
If your travel wish list is only populated by cities, take time off to spend in nature. Rejuvenate yourself by visiting the nearest national park to get away from noisy crowds and fill your lungs with fresh air. This can be a meditative experience that helps put you back into a positive mindset and can motivate you to keep going. Or sit by a river or lake and watch the sunset.
6) Exercise Daily
When you’re at home and have a routine, it’s easier to make time to exercise and maintain your diet. However, when you’re on the road, there’s a greater chance of skipping workouts, enjoying happy hours and overindulging in local delicacies. Focusing on exercise, however, is important for both your physical and mental health. So, make sure you include some kind of physical activity and stay healthy even when travelling. Here are a few suggestions.
- Walk instead of taking a bus when you can.
- Do push-ups and sit-ups when you wake up.
- If safe, eat fruits and vegetables at least once a week.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Instead of staying up late, get a solid night’s sleep.
7) Stay Connected
Some people travel the world to leave everything behind and find peace in seclusion, but this type of lifestyle choice can backfire. Homesickness is something most travellers experience to some degree. (Remember those moments of doubt we talked about earlier? This is one of them.) Your best bet is to stay connected to your family and friends by phone or via social media. Voice or video call them at least twice a week. Talk about your experiences and share your route and schedule; for example, when you leave, what your next destination will be and when you’ll get there. Staying in touch with loved ones will help you deal with this drawback of long-term travel.
Surviving long trips is easier when you know the secrets many experienced backpackers count on. It’s a bold decision to travel the world at length so problems are inevitable. Don’t worry! You can do it. Just keep these tips in mind and make the most of your long vacation.