All Traveled Out: Traveling Too Much and What to Do About It

You get off the train, walk around the block, and see it. Another cathedral. It was listed in your guide book as a highlight of this town, and you take the obligatory photograph, but you don’t care at all. It’s just another cathedral.

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Does this mean you’re all traveled out? Can you really have too much of a good thing? I think the answer is yes, and no. Here are a few of the key symptoms that suggest you might be getting a bit weary of travel, plus some ways to help you solve this problem and enjoy traveling again.

Weary Traveler
Weary Traveler © Ingorrr

4 Signs That You’re All Traveled Out

1. You’re suffering from “just another cathedral” syndrome.

You no longer see new sights as individual events worthy of attention, but rather as just another in a long line of new experiences. You don’t remember the name of the museum you went to yesterday, and you took a photo of a statue in the town center just because other people were doing it.

2. You get annoyed easily.

By other travelers, by illogical museum opening hours, by the fact that even though you arrived at the ticket office well before it opened, all the night train seats were sold before you could ask for one, and you don’t know why. Minor setbacks are part of any trip, but if every step feels like a setback then maybe it’s the whole trip you’re annoyed with.

3. Airports and train stations don’t excite you anymore.

This might not happen to everyone, but I still get a chill of anticipation and excitement when I reach a large bus station, train station or airport. All those people, all those possibilities, all those destinations. I’m addicted to reading departure boards and imagining I could go to any of the places listed, not just the place I’m headed. If I lost this feeling, I’d know something was wrong.

4. You forget where you are.

I admit that this has happened to me a couple of times. The problem usually rears its head in the evening when I try to write in my travel journal, and suddenly I can’t put the name of the town on the first line. Sometimes it’s just forgetfulness, or a particularly tricky city name, but other times it’s a sign that I need to slow down and get myself back on track to make the most of my trip.

(By the way: forgetting what day it is isn’t a problem — that’s a sign that you’re enjoying your trip a lot. It just makes it hard to book train trips sometimes if you don’t know whether it’s Wednesday or Sunday).

We Were Very Tired, New York City
We Were Very Tired, New York City © luisvilla

6 Solutions to Travel Weariness

This feeling of being all traveled out is possible, I believe. But you can also turn it around. Look at career travelers like Lonely Planet co-founder Tony Wheeler. If he can still get pleasure out of traveling after doing it non-stop for decades — and that’s traveling more for work than for fun — so can you. It’s all a matter of taking care of yourself and of what you tell yourself.

1. Take a rest day.

Stay in bed at your hostel or hotel as long as you can. Take a book (and not a guide book) to a park and lie in the sun all day. Treat yourself to your favorite food, no matter what the cost. Basically, spoil yourself. Traveling is fun, but if you’re on a long trip, it can be hard work too.

2. Focus on the small things.

Set yourself some particular task during the day: for example, look for interesting garbage cans, or document the average prices of everyday items around the city you’re visiting, or shoot a photo essay showing people waiting for public transport. Get back to the nitty-gritty of experiencing a new place.

3. Change your plans.

Once while I was living in Europe I got a bit overexcited about booking short weekend getaways in new cities across eastern Europe. Distressingly, every city started to look the same. I wised up and changed plans one weekend to head up to Hamburg and visit friends instead. Changing the activities definitely helped get my travel appetite back.

4. Get philosophical.

Have a good talking to yourself about why you’re traveling. Do you just want to add countries to a list of places you’ve visited, or do you want to know something more about the world, or even about yourself? You might have started out traveling just as something to do, but if you keep traveling for any length of time there must be reasons why it’s important to you. Clarify them and adjust your trip to suit your goals.

5. Learn something.

Stop traveling to see things. Get a new angle: travel to Spain and book into an intensive language course. Go to Mexico and enroll in a cooking course. Join a volunteer program in Brazil. Sometimes people focus on travel as a way of collecting mental souvenirs instead of just trying to extend themselves.

6. Go home.

The ultimate cure for travel weariness. A week of sleeping in your own bed, eating your regular breakfast cereal and perhaps even the unspeakable act of going to work every day — you’ll be ready for another cathedral in no time.

  1. WHAT!

    I have NEVER heard of someone sick of traveling.
    I mean c’mon. What about those poor unfortunate people who can’t afford to travel. That would LOVE to see the world, but have to scrounge around to make ends meat!
    Or how about the wheelchair ‘bound’ people! I’m sure they would love to take that extra wad of cash from you so you wouldn’t have to go on ‘another boring trip’ heaven forbid you have a good time!

    I’m actually here to suggest a book I purchased for my disabled husband and I. We have been having troubles finding a place to travel due to his recent disability. He was in a car accident and is paralyzed from the knee down. We find it hard because I can barely lift him and he wants to go with me so i’m not stuck at home all the time caring for him. Which I love him to death I would do anything for him and I do love attending to him. Anyways i’m babbling…. The book i wanted to suggest to anyone in this type of scenario is called 101 Accessible Vacations.
    This book
    101 Accessible Vacations has saved our marriage, saved our sanity and has really been a great lean on guidebook.
    I truly hope someone finds the need for it as much as we have.

    Oh by the way, this message is for the ones that would LOVE to go on vacation!!

  2. “I have NEVER heard of someone sick of traveling.”

    Well, now you have. Amanda for one, and me for another. I thought it was a very thoughtful well-written article with none of the spoiled-brattiness you seem to be suggesting.

    I’m very sorry to hear about your husband’s accident, and best of luck with the accessible vacations. Sounds like you have found a great resource.

  3. Amanda, I can certainly relate. A few years back, my girlfriend and I took a whirlwind tour of eastern North America. After visiting ten cities in three weeks, I remember waking up in a hotel bed in Cleveland and trying – for five minutes – to remember what city we were in. I honestly couldn’t recall.

    Moving too fast is the best way to tire yourself of traveling. In retrospect, we spent more time in the car than actually experiencing the destinations we were so eager to explore.

    It really is imperative to slow down and just take your time.

  4. One more great remedy against getting tired of traveling: join (sorry for the shameless plug ;) )
    You will have local insider perspective on virtually any place on earth and will experience new and different things in every trip.
    You’ll also have instant friends everywhere, which is a great remedy to the other problem of long time travelling: feeling alone.
    And of course what Mike says: slow down. Rushing through a country is very bad for your eagerness to travel. You finish traveling through a country and still feel like you haven’t seen shit. I came to Brasil for 3 weeks and now i’m looking at staying 5 months. I couldn’t be happier!

  5. I am travel weary, or better ‘living abroad’ weary. Yes it can happen. Your suggestions to recuperate were great, except that when you really travel the world, unless you’re well-off or have parents or family with nice houses, you eventually arrive to the ultimate destination: the ‘no longer have a home to return to at all’ destination. From this jumping off point you are left with true perspective on why you are still on the road. I envy travelers who can afford to travel, meaning they also have a home to return to. On the other hand, I admire nomads because the life of a nomad is wearisome at times, and this alas is part of the deal. That said, another reason people get ‘over’ traveled could be due to an accident or prolonged sickness that eventually just exhausts you to a point of no return. Thanks for your other list of house sitting links, very useful!

  6. I agree that slowing down and learning something new helps to avoid that “traveled out” feeling. Taking a class is a great way to feel a deeper connection to a place and meet people in the process. One of my most memorable experiences of visiting Paris was taking a ballet class. I guess the key is to get involved in something beyond the traditional sightseeing activities.

  7. Traveling is tiring. And its awesome. It can be both things at the same time! My wife and I are digital nomads and have been to 24 countries in the last six years or so. Now, we’re living for about a year in the redwoods of northern California, a combo of house-sitting and a nice little house rental. Great article, its true!

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