Backpacking Tours: How to Relax on the Road

Backpacking tours are a great way to travel – exploring greener pastures and making lots of new friends from all cross the globe – that’s what’s travel is all about, right? In reality, however, bouncing from country to country can actually be fairly stressful.

Packing your life away every few days and sticking to a tight travel schedule for a backpacking tour can play havoc with your stress levels – which couldn’t be further from how you want to feel! If you’re prone to stress while travelling, check out these fool-proof tips for relaxing while on the road!

Top travel tips on how to relax on a backpacking holiday or backpacking tour. #backpacking #backpacker #backpack

Set time aside for a chill

Your backpacking tour is probably going to be filled with loads of fun, high-octane activities like climbing, biking and, if you’re anything like me, jumping off rope swings into waterfalls!

Jumping off a rope swing into a waterfall at YS Falls, Jamaica - backpacking tours are great for adventure, but always allow yourself some rest days to recover.

Jumping off a rope swing into a waterfall at YS Falls, Jamaica

Adventure is great for getting your adrenaline pumping, but make sure you schedule in some rest days so you don’t end up feeling worn out. You might want to cram as much as you can into the time you have in a particular destination, but if this makes you feel anxious, you won’t fully enjoy the experience.

Take a day off where you can just doss about in the hostel, read a good book in your comfiest slippers and maybe even throw a few cucumbers on your eyelids to seal the deal! A day of complete rest will leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, ready for more high-energy fun later on during your backpacking tour.

Getting my hair done at a salon in Kolkata, India - pampering is a great way to relax on a backpacking tour.

Taking some time out to get my hair done in Kolkata, India

Last month, I spent five days in Grenada before flying back to London Gatwick, and then travelling by coach back to Cardiff, just in time to catch a flight to Amsterdam from Cardiff Airport the following morning. When I finally got to Amsterdam, I was so exhausted that I literally didn’t leave my hostel room for a good 15 hours or so. At the time, I felt like I was wasting the three days that I’d planned to spend in the city before moving on to Gouda for three more days, and then Rotterdam for four days. With hindsight, however, I’m glad I took that time to relax and refuel; if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have ended up having such a good time in Amsterdam once I felt ready to leave my room, not to mention how my time in Gouda and Rotterdam could’ve been affected!

Be body positive

We all know how tempting it can be to eat nothing but street food and make every meal an indulgence, but lugging a bloated belly around while travelling is no fun. Eating fresh fruit and veg and staying hydrated is the best way to keep your energy levels up and stay focused.

Bulgarian Shopska salad

Eating my body weight in Shopska salad in Bulgaria

It’s also a good idea to do regular exercise while on a backpacking tour. Having an early morning run is not only a great form of exercise that will set you up for the rest of the day, but it’ll also means that you get to see more of your surroundings.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

This may sound like a cop-out answer, but if you let yourself get stressed out by the minor inconveniences that occur to you each day, this could really affect your mental wellbeing. You’re a new-comer in an unknown place – of course there will be times when the language barrier is a challenge, or you get lost on your way to the hostel, but that’s no reason to get down in the dumps during your backpacking tour. We all make mistakes; that’s what helps us grow!

That said, if you ever feel really mentally unwell while travelling, consider arranging a talk with someone who can help with stress management online at thrivetalk.com.

Don’t try to plan every waking moment

Even the best laid plans can go to waste. Plans change. People change their minds and even things you think are set in stone, like travel schedules, don’t often go to plan. If you’re planning every minute to the letter, then you’ll find yourself hopeless when one train being delayed causes you to miss three more and before you know it, you’ve wasted hundreds of euros and you’re sobbing in the train station cubicles wondering why life is so cruel.

Be flexible, and allow extra time if your journey involves transfers, just in case you end up getting delayed and missing your connection. I almost missed my flight home from Amsterdam, after my train from Rotterdam to Schipol Airport was delayed and then cancelled due to signalling problems between stations. Looking back, perhaps I should’ve travelled to Amsterdam the night before or caught an earlier train to avoid running the risk of a delay or cancellation.

Let me know you’re top tips for relaxing while on the road in the comment box below – I respond to every comment I receive! For ideas on budget-friendly back-packing destinations, check out this post from Backpackers Wanderlust. 

Top travel tips on how to relax on a backpacking holiday or backpacking tour. #backpacking #backpacker #backpack

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This post is in collaboration with Uppersole.

16 Comments

  1. July 4, 2018 / 7:13 pm

    This post is super useful. I’ve travelled (but am too scared to try backpacking just yet!) and the most valuable thing I learned was to not push myself. Sometimes I’d spend a night back at the hotel or hostel just to watch some Netflix or catch up on sleep – at first I’d feel guilty like I wasn’t making the most of my travel time. But then I realized how essential downtime is – especially emotionally if you’re travelling alone and spending a lot of time trying to build the confidence to approach and speak to others! x

    • July 6, 2018 / 11:34 am

      Yes, you definitely need some downtime while travelling!

  2. Vicky
    July 4, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    I have never been backpacking myself but I know people that have and enjoyed it. That waterfall in Jamaica looks amazing I would love to jump in there myself ?

    • July 6, 2018 / 11:33 am

      Haha, it was such an exhilarating experience. I’m not usually that brave!

  3. Yeah Lifestyle
    July 5, 2018 / 9:27 am

    These are fab tips when taking backpacking tours and on the road. We have not been on one for a while due to having small kids, but will follow these when we do.

    https://www.yeahlifestyle.com

    • July 6, 2018 / 11:33 am

      Glad you found them useful! I love reading the Have Kids Will Travel blog, have you read that before? You might pick up some useful stuff on there!

  4. July 6, 2018 / 7:29 am

    I don’t think I could do backpacking I love the idea of it but I even with these tips I’d stress out. I like my own space and although I like schedules I think I’d lose sleep over thinking lol

    • July 6, 2018 / 11:30 am

      I’m not sure I could do it for more than a few months at a time either!

  5. m1ssingsleep
    July 6, 2018 / 11:33 am

    I love your ideas to chill! I think it would make holidays so much more relaxing following these tips!

    • July 6, 2018 / 11:35 am

      Thank you. Happy to help 🙂

  6. ChelseaMamma
    July 7, 2018 / 6:25 pm

    I am probably far too long in the tooth to do a backpacking tour now, wish I had done one when I was younger

    • July 9, 2018 / 8:09 pm

      Aww – never say never!

  7. July 8, 2018 / 10:43 am

    I haven’t been on a backpacking holiday before, but I love the idea of it. No pressure to do anything!

    • July 9, 2018 / 8:05 pm

      I love the idea too. I’ve done it for short periods of time but never that long.

  8. July 16, 2018 / 9:15 pm

    I think I’d need a couple of days off after jumping onto that rope in Jamaica!! xD

    • July 17, 2018 / 12:43 pm

      Haha. It sure was an exhilarating experience!

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