Long-term budget travel drains you. Whether it’s shuttling from one place to the next, planning for today and tomorrow, enjoying fun activities, or staying up a little too late from night to night there are definitely times when carving out some down time to recover and refocus is necessary.
Long-term travel isn’t a vacation. Far from it. Every day involves planning – what to do, where to do it, where you’re going to sleep that night, what places should be added to/subtracted from the itinerary, updating the budget to see whether it is still in line, and more. Most vacations don’t involve that much day-to-day planning. Sure, we don’t have a job to which we have to report, but there are tons more moving parts than one would think.
To be clear, this is not a complaint at all. We have loved being on the road. Anna loves doing the logistical research and finding new and fun places and activities. I love writing about those places and things after we have done or visited them. But there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work involved in a long-term trip and it can definitely tire you out.
There are also stresses that mount from having to speak a foreign language every day, constantly traveling from one place to the next, packing and unpacking, navigating new towns and cities. After a while you just want to slow everything down and just relax a little so you can recharge your battery. We’ve found a number of ways to do this so far on our trip so we thought we would share them:
Staying Longer and/or in an Apartment
Staying longer in a place offers the dual advantages of getting to know that place in a more meaningful way as well as removing the pressure to do every activity in a condensed timeframe. In addition, staying longer in a place (usually a week or more) allows you to more economically rent an apartment. Particularly for couples or groups traveling together, this is an appealing option. We have thoroughly enjoyed renting apartments in Buenos Aires and Santiago. Apartments allow you to enjoy such luxuries as fully unpacking, cooking whenever you want instead of occasionally waiting in hostels, and walking around in your underwear on a lazy morning. You’d be hard pressed to find a hostel that encourages those things (although most would probably tolerate them…to a point). Most importantly, it feels more like a home, which is relaxing in and of itself.
Finding an Irish Pub
Things in all parts of the world are different except for the immutable Irish pub. No matter where you are in the world, Irish pubs feature cozy wood ambiance, cold beer, Guinness signs hung on the wall, and a comforting familiarity. Sometimes you need to see something unsurprising. Irish pubs offer that.
Scheduling Cafe Days
You can replace “cafe” with anything you want: beach, park, hostel, bench, whatever. Regardless of the location, it helps to intentionally schedule a day every now and again where you are just going to hang at a cafe, watch the world pass by and read a book. It is amazing how much more energy you have the following day.
I don’t think this needs elaboration. Just turn off the mental or actual alarm once in a while.
Eating Comfort Food
Sometimes eating something you really crave helps melt away any stress you are feeling. Obviously, this can’t happen all the time, but especially for longer-term cravings it has proven helpful for us. Some examples of comfort food we craved for weeks before we finally gave in after a rough day/week:
– raw cookie dough
– Tabasco sauce
– Doritos and queso dip
– Cadbury Easter eggs
– ice cream*
*OK, this is an outright lie. We eat ice cream all the time.
Going for Runs
Anna enjoys burning off stress by putting foot to pavement. You could probably replace this with any kind of exercise which can be difficult to get on the road. For me, you could just put a “not” in front of this header and it would be accurate.