Travel is my drug. Whether I’m in Aspen or Athens, I get a rush from the colors, the sounds, and the tastes. It’s all so exciting. But travel can also be overstimulating, when suddenly — without warning — the novelty and sensory input are just exhausting. The fatigue can last as little as half an hour, or it can go on for a day or two. In some intense countries I’ve visited, like India, it can last much longer.
The word “travel” is related to the word “travail” — to engage in painful or laborious effort. The connection may seem odd to us now, but etymologists believe it’s probably because travel was a rather strenuous experience during the Middle Ages. Even today, it takes effort and energy — and sometimes we just run out!
Over the years, I’ve developed numerous strategies to prevent and reduce travel exhaustion. Here are the 12 best.
1. Know Your Enemy
Identify exactly what tires you. Crowds? Noise? Traffic? Babies crying? Teens shrieking? Deafening music? Too much running around in too short a time period? Define the source of your stress, and then strategize. For example, I find that noise from heavy traffic can be overwhelming, so I avoid wide, busy avenues. The same goes for noise in restaurants. Before I decide where to eat, I sometimes use an app like SoundPrint to gauge the noise level in a restaurant.
2. Pack Comforts From Home
It’s well worth the trouble to bring things from home that restore and