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Travel Advice - When less is more

The lure of new places is often overpowering, leading us to see and do as much as we can pack into a day. We continue to do so for a couple of days, until we are brain dead, irritable, and cranky.

  • You are guilty “over reaching” when you get to the point where you are angry over lines, irritated with crowds, don’t care if you see another museum or cathedral in your life, and feel burnt-out on sightseeing.

We offer recommendations on how to avoid travel burn out and what to do if it happens to you.

 

Avoiding Travel Burnout

During our travels, we have observed people touring by list, checking off the places they have seen, only to rush to the next attraction.

  •  If this is your approach to travel, we have two words of advice. “Stop It”!

Vacationing is about leisure travel. Plan your vacation to allow you to:

  • 1) Take a break from the ordinary
  •  2) Relax
  • 3) Renew
  • 4) Enjoy a different environment than at home or at work.

Spend your vacation doing things that are interesting to you. Your travel preparation should reflect your passions. Not all places are of interest to all people and you should have an opinion on what you want to see and why. Chasing every destination in the world, just to say that you have seen them is not a particularly rewarding pastime.

When planning your trip, try to schedule at least two nights at each major attraction that you intend to visit.

  • The advantage of including a two evening stopover is that it helps to pace your explorations, promotes a regular sleeping pattern, avoids daily packing and unpacking, and focuses you on the destinations rather than the travel between them.

When visiting a target destination, try to plan your day around one or two principal sites. If you choose two attractions, make them different types of experiences.

  • For example, if you are in London and planning to visit Westminster Abbey in the morning, don’t visit St. Paul’s Cathedral in the afternoon.
  • Instead, combine the Abbey with a visit to the Tower of London, a cruise on the Thames to Greenwich and the Old Royal Observatory, or shopping at Harrods's.
  • If you pass a minor site between two major sites, stop and take a brief look but do it on the way back.
  • Pass it up if you are tired of touring.
  • If you enjoyed the area, plan to return in a couple of years to see the sites that you missed.

One of the best ways to pace your days is to break the day up with leisurely meals.

  • Find a great place to eat, get comfortable, order some sinful food, and people watch, talk, or just rest for a while.
  • Racing between places and eating on the fly subtracts from the travel experience.
  • Meals can be a great time to refuel while the city that you are visiting goes about its business.
    • For example, have leisurely breakfasts during the morning rush hour (if there is one), timing your transportation to start just at the rush is winding down.
  • At the end of your touring day, shut down a little early, find a comfortable café, and have something light for a treat. Head back to the room, take a 30-minute nap, and, then, plan your evening, or decide on the logistics of the next day’s activities.

Transforming the toasted traveler to the happy traveler

We have taken the one-night-stop/hop vacation when pressed for time and the usual result is that we were ready for the vacation to end several days before we had scheduled it to end. We were so beat from rushing between places that we needed a vacation from our vacation.

If you get overloaded,

  • Decide to slow the pace and stay in one location for a few days
  • Take the time to enjoy great meals
  • Take afternoon naps
  • Enjoy plenty of walking with the locals
  • Promise yourself that you will no longer rush to get through the places that you visit.

 

If you find yourself racing, try to adjust your schedule.

  • If you have booked accommodations in places and times that do not allow flexibility, the only thing that you can do to avoid further burnout, is the slow the schedule each day by sharply limiting the number of sites that you visit at each destination.
  • Concentrate your sightseeing on ‘the best of the best”.

Finally, if you burned out on past vacation, don’t plan your next vacation the same way. While we still like some of our vacations to be fast paced and multi-stopped, we have learned to compensate.

  • When we plan a death defying multi-stop itinerary, we compensate by planning a three to four day layover in place we really like, at the end of our travels.
  • When we get to this final destination, we reduce our touring, increase our walking, shop, and sightsee only when it sounds like fun.
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