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Is travel feeling like a hassle? Read how TPG handles travel burnout

Aug. 04, 2020
7 min read
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Here at TPG we love to travel, it's the bread and butter of what we do. From lucky deals to Asia and mileage runs, we spend a pretty good amount of time outside of our office (or at least we did before coronavirus). Our readers are also frequently out in the world whether it be for business or leisure.

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Travel is one of the greatest luxuries people can experience. Not many get to fly to Paris to visit the Louvre, Zambia to see Victoria Falls or even domestically in the United States to take pictures at the Statue of Liberty. After all of our travels sometimes we get a little burned out and traveling feels less like fun and a lot more like a hassle. TPG editor-at-large Zach Honig discovered after a months long trek through Southeast Asia that long trips just aren't for him. He prefers breaking up trips when it makes sense, even though it can be cheaper to pack them together.

Related: How to avoid soul crushing crowds at the Louvre

Travel burnout doesn't just happen on long trips, even just a weekend getaway can trigger burnout, especially if you're regularly on the move. Some of our readers get burned out just from trying to get to the destination. The idea of packing bags, dealing with airport security and with other travelers can be overwhelming.

Even the Points Guy, Brian Kelly, experiences travel burnout. For him, it usually kicks in on domestic trips when he's crammed into small seats (at 6'7) that don't have lie flat seat options. Some of his well-traveled suggestions include selecting planes that are newer or wider-body aircraft, so there's a little more room to stretch out.

Related: Reader tips for sleeping in economy on long haul flight

There's been a few common themes that come up when discussing how to cure travel burnout. We hope these tips help you get over your next travel hump.

Do something normal

So what do you do when travel burnout hits you during a vacation? TPG staffers and readers highly recommend taking time off during your travels to do something normal. Vacations are great but long days jam packed full of sightseeing, figuring out transportation and trying to communicate in your non-native language can be exhausting. Sometimes it's nice to feel like yourself and not just another tourist in a foreign country.

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"I'm usually able to find something fun to do wherever I go," says Editor, Zach Honig. "I enjoy walking hours and hours to discover new cities, but many times I prefer exploring open spaces, like hiking trails and seemingly endless parks. I'm also fairly food-driven, so I'll often experience a new place through food tours, or researching top options and going off on my own."

We've asked around and the top suggestions are as follows:

  • Go to a movie theater
  • Read a book
  • Find a non-tourist location to hangout - like a quiet local coffee shop
  • Spend the day in bed

"When I was younger I used to travel for months at a time and I was traveling on a tight budget. So sometimes I was needing a day of luxury, and I’d budget for a nicer hotel when I planned. Other trips, I would be tired of sightseeing, not speaking the language, etc. So I’d do something that felt normal like go see a movie, spend the day at my hotel and read and just generally chill out," says TPG's director of digital design, Jill Bressler.

It may seem simple but readers and staffers alike promise a few simple moments can restart your desire to travel.

Related: How to find a restaurant or small business near you

Create a routine

Readers have said one of the reasons they experience travel burnout is because while traveling for long periods of time, they lose their day-to-day routines. That can cause the stress of losing the feelings of control that get in normal life. If you know you'll be on the road for weeks or months on end try creating some normalcy by scheduling regular workouts, finding time to clean and block out time to spend with friends even if it's on the phone. Also be sure to make time for yourself.

If you're used to eating healthy or having home cooked food everyday, the constant visits to restaurants can get old really fast. Try planning experiences that allow you to cook or at least have food that is closer to your normal diet.

Even on his first day in town, TPG's senior news editor Clint Henderson likes to create a small routine to reset before heading out on the next adventure. "I like the idea of giving myself a day when I arrive at an international destination to not do too much especially if its a long flight and I'm dealing with jet lag. I like to take a long walk and then go to bed early the day I arrive," he says.

Related: 5 Ways to use points to book vacation home rentals.

Take time off

After continuous days or months away from home sometimes the best thing you can do is take a break from all the traveling. Many of us here at TPG have put a pause on traveling for the last few months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Though it wasn't our choice to stay at home, for some the time off was well needed. When was the last time you were still for months on end without having to worry about spending money (or points), booking long flights or planning a highly detailed itinerary?

“I’ve experienced travel burnout only when I try to do too much on a trip. In 2016, I did a 13-day (including flying) trip to SE Asia. By the second country (Indonesia), we were wiped. By the last (Thailand) we were pretty much over it and. wanted to go home. If I get burnt out while traveling the only way to combat it is to sleep it off. It also informs me on how to plan trips in the future. I can’t do too much country-hopping anymore because when you factor in time-zone changes, I needed days to recover," says TPG reporter Victoria Walker.

An important thing to remember is that if travel burnout becomes too much, it's okay to cut a trip short and head home.

"There's no hotel room that is better than my house and my bed and the peace and quiet and being in the house with my dogs and sure enough the deep down urge to travel comes back soon enough," says Brian Kelly.

Related: Take a trip around the country with these famous foods delivered straight to your door

Bottom Line

Experiencing burnout doesn't make you any less of an expert traveler, it happens to the best of us. Though traveling is great, don't be afraid to take some time off from the terminal and spend some time at home. The adventure will still be waiting for you when you're ready.