5 things to do when tour burnout strikes
It can be easy to feel pressure to squeeze every last drop out of each trip, no matter how long it is, but sometimes that can be hard. It doesn't take long before seeing museum after landmark after castle can start to feel overwhelming and exhausting and it can be impossible to keep up with all the different things you need to cram into your days. Tour burnout is real, folks and it happens to the most seasoned traveler.
I often find myself cranky and worn out after a few days of touring and desperately need a break. The good news? You don't have to miss out on culture to get that break and you don't have to retreat to your hotel room for an afternoon to recharge. Never think taking a break is a waste of time. Here, we believe that healthy travelers are the best travelers and sometimes a break from tours and crowds is what you need to give your mental health a boost. Here are a few ways to take the break you need without missing out on the places you're visiting.
1. Read a book
Maybe I'm just a geek, but this is my go to. I never travel without a book (or three) and often stop in the middle of my day just to recharge. As a closeted introvert, sometimes the crowds of people in the city center or on group tours can get to me and I can feel myself ready to snap. Books have always been a happy place for me and I love nothing more than to plop down in the middle of a park or a quiet cafe and get my nerd on. Bring a book you love, something you've been meaning to read or a book about your current city so you can think about your next steps. Enjoy being by yourself and finding balance in your day.
2. Go to a farmers' market
In my opinion, this is one of the most local things you can do in a city. Find a farmers market outside the city center and go while away an afternoon in the sun. Find a snack from someone who doesn't speak your native language and park it by some live music and just take a second to breathe. Chances are you won't be bothered by anyone other than someone asking to share your spot (and in that case, who doesn't love a new friend?) and you can return to the bustle when you're good and ready.
3. Rent a bike
A lot of cities across the world are starting to offer a bike rental system as part of their public transportation or tourist services. It's usually not too expensive and can help you get moving when the tourist funk hits. Sometimes a few endorphins are all you need to get your mojo back. The best part about the bike rentals? They pull double duty because you don't feel like you're missing an afternoon stuck in a hotel room because you're burnt out AND you get a great workout-- especially if the city you're in has a lot of hills!
4. Find a local haunt
When in doubt, go local. This is what I tell everyone. If you're the only one who speaks your language in a business, restaurant or theater, you're probably doing it right. Find out where the locals go for a drink, dinner, or even just an ice cream cone and sit for a few to take it in. You'll probably find some good, cheap food and make friends with some people who will have great recommendations for when you're ready to hop back in. Also: sometimes when you're burnt out, you're just hangry-- so keep that blood sugar balanced!
5. Look for the weird
Sometimes when you're sick of checking boxes, you're just checking the wrong ones. I remember when I was a 14 my family was in Washington D.C. and we were a little fried from all the super serious touring. We'd seen all the big monuments, hard-hitting museums and everything in between. Then my family saw an advertisement for the Spy Museum and we decided to go. That ended up being just what our family needed. The museum was super hands-on and I loved every minute of it. It was a great way for my sister and I to be goofy for a while. Find the weirdest museum or attraction in your city and check it out. It won't be busy and you'll be exposed to something unique.
Traveling doesn't mean you have to be "on" all the time. It's totally fine if you aren't. Just make sure you don't force it and take time to recharge, whatever that means to you. If you can afford to hit up the spa, great. If that's not your speed (or in your pay grade, like me), hopefully these tips give you somewhere to start. Burnout doesn't have to start the downhill spiral of your trip. In fact, it might just be the reminder to re-route that you need to find your next adventure.