Traveling can be very stressful. You’re constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, trying to navigate new cities and languages, and always keeping an eye on your backpack or wallet. After your third night bus in a row or seventh morning you’ve been up and ready to go at 5am sometimes you just need to take a break. And it is totally okay to take a day (or several) off when you’re traveling long term. It’s absolutely exhausting to try and pack each and every day with as much activity as you can, and it’s also expensive. It’s just like at home when you take a Saturday night or a Sunday afternoon off to relax.
When I was in New Zealand a few years ago, my travel companion and I spent an entire day watching movies in the common room of the hostel. The day outside was absolutely gorgeous and people would come in after touring around the town and see us still vegged out on the couch zoned into the TV. They would ask us if we got up to anything or comment that it looked like we hadn’t moved all day. And it was true but I just told them we needed some days off. Regardless of amazing weather and exciting things to do around the town, that day was ours to recharge how we saw fit and it was exactly what we needed.
I always feel guilty if I’m not taking full advantage of the things to see and do in a location, but you can’t always do it all and so you shouldn’t feel bad about it. If you need to, just tack on an extra day or two at your destination if you’re really worried about missing out. That’s the great thing about long term travel, you can always find an extra day here or there. And if you’re planning a shorter trip, add in a rest day in your itinerary so you don’t burn yourself out.
Often when I need days off, I’ll spend it in my bed or in a hammock reading a good book, Skyping friends and family I haven’t talked to recently, and updating my photos and posts on social media. Sometimes I’ll use off days to grocery shop or restock my waning toiletry supplies so I still get out of the hostel but I’m not doing a whole lot. If you’re in a beach location, just hanging out reading on the beach can be a great way to recharge while taking advantage of your location.
So next time your off traveling somewhere, don’t forget to take some recharge time out of your busy travel schedule. It will make you feel better, more refreshed, and you’ll have a better time dealing with the annoying cab driver who is trying to overcharge you on a fare.