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!
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!
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.
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.
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.