Traveling Is Exhausting As Hell

Traveling Is Exhausting As Hell

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I clean my room and make my bed before I leave for a trip, because there’s no better feeling than arriving home to a clean room and made bed and plopping down for a good 12 hours of sleep. Traveling is exhausting. I’m not talking about a week long beach holiday or a cruise, although I’ve definitely heard of people needing a holiday to recover from their holiday.

Real life-on-the-road traveling spanning weeks and months is tough. It can be complicated, tedious and half the challenges happen before you even get to the airport. But man is it worth every hour of scanning for flights, mapping out a rough itinerary, and figuring shit out when it goes south.

While mine and other Instagram stories and posts might indicate an effortlessly hop from one amazing location to another, there’s often a black hole of information when it comes to the logistics of the whole thing and the daily recovery process. And that’s just part of it. On the road, you have to keep your wits and sanity about you at all times. Here’s some of the stuff you don’t often hear about.

Travelers sleeping on bus

Finding A Reasonable Place To Sleep That Doesn’t Suck

You know how much it cost to rent a decent hotel room in a major city. Let’s throw out a low average of $200/night. If I’m on the road for 30 days, that’s $6000. That’s not happening. Unless you’re a millionaire or traveling for business, long term travel requires a little more planning and compromise.

If I’m looking for a hostel, I’ll have to first know where I plan to. If I wait too long, the top rated hostels might be fully booked, leaving me with fewer options. If I book too early, I might lose my deposit or even the cost of the stay if I want to change my plans. I usually narrow it down to 3-4 options and then read through the reviews, hoping that the words bed bugs don’t show up.

If I’m looking to couchsurf, I’ll have to plan at least a few days to a couple of weeks in advance, reaching out to the host and hoping the good ones are available. This can definitely be sketchy for girls who are desperate for last minute accommodations. It can be difficult to keep track of multiple on going conversations if I’m moving from city to city. If I find a host, I still have to cross my fingers and hope that there’s no funny business when I arrive (sometimes later in the day or night than I’d like). If my plans change in one place, I hope that there’s no domino effect that might jeopardize the rest of my plans.

Booking Flights Before They Go Up The Next Time You Check

Spontaneity is great for letting adventures unfold, but can cause some deferred stress and coin, if you don’t know for sure when you want to fly. By far, my biggest budget busters have been flight increases. I remember seeing flights from Bali to LAX costing around $400 for when I wanted to travel. I wasn’t quite sure of my plans yet based on whether the weather would permit a sailing to Komodo Island. Waiting an extra day ended up costing me an additional $500 as that flight (the cheapest option) went up to $900. I had no choice, but to bite the bullet. That wasn’t the first and definitely not the last time. Even as recently as this week. I waited an extra 2 days to change an upcoming flight and it ended up costing me an extra $50.

Calculating Out Baggage Allowance

This is certainly a newer problem. It would be nice if every airline had the same policy when it comes to carry-on allowances, but of course, that would make things too easy. Used to be, you can just fit everything into a backpack and hop from one city to another. Now, I have to do math and pre-planning to see if I should bring a small enough pack/suitcase that will get onto all the flights, or get something bigger that would require me to pay an additional fee or check the bag for just one or two flights while affording me more space. Or should I just take the train instead not have to worry. Just one more layer to the planning.

Not we get to the actual traveling part.

Figuring Out Where You Are And Where You Are Going

It’s a whole lot easier now with my iPhone and GPS, but that’s not always reliable. I can’t tell you how many times the directions to a pick-up is something like, “walk 200 meters down the street and look for a tree that bends more to the left than the right. The bus will pick up opposite of the tree on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, and on the same side of the tree on Tuesdays and Fridays.” Actually, that one was pretty clear. Even with the help of GPS, I’m often wandering aimlessly back and forth across a spot that I’m 100% sure I’m supposed to be (with all my gear and pack), that turns out to be on different street because they changed the spot yesterday morning. If I’m lucky to find it and make it onto the bus on time, I pray that the toilet hasn’t exploded like the last 3 buses and I don’t have to fight two Nicaraguan woman for the right to sit in the seat I paid for.

Keeping Your Stuff Safe

It’s almost instinctual at this point, but I have a perfect mental catalog of every single item I own on me when I travel. I need to know where everything’s at, even in pitch darkness (in case I need to leave at 4 am to catch a flight) and I need to make sure it’s all locked up and secure. Personally (knock on wood), I haven’t had any problems with my things being stolen across over 60 countries, but it only takes on time. When I’m out eating, my bag is wrapped around my leg or under the chair and/or table. I need to keep my hard drives separated, as with my passport and other forms of ID. This is more mentally exhausting than anything, but luckily, all this has become second nature.

3 Ways To Pass Out Quickly

  1. Take 5 mg of melatonin and start reading.
  2. Drink a cup of hot turmeric milk
  3. Do a 2 minute meditative breathing exercise

Screwing Up Your Sleep Schedule

I genuinely believe that I no longer have an internal clock with my erratic sleep schedule across time zones. The upside is I can’t get jet lag if my body has no idea when it’s supposed to sleep anyway. When it comes to flying, you sometimes have to choose between waking up extremely early for a flight or arriving unreasonably late into a new city. I usually err on the side of early flight, which means I may choose to stay up all night to avoid missing it. Compound this across a few different time zones, and my body sometimes requires 13-14 hours of sleep to make up for a few days of not knowing what the fuck it’s supposed to be doing.

Traveler sleeping in back of rickshaw

Having To Do Stuff

I’m rolling my own eyes as I’m writing this part, but it’s actually exhausting to have to wake up and do cool shit everyday. It’s awesome once you get going, but one cool thing after another and you’re just ready to pass out when you get back to your room. Unfortunately, there’s bound to be a group of people who will drag you out for a late night knowing full well that you all have another early start because you all decided to sign up to go biking down something called the Death Road.

Not Getting Ripped Off

When I come home, I appreciate hard set prices. On the road, you’re constantly having to negotiate unless you don’t mind paying a little or a lot more for things. In some regions, bargaining is deep-rooted part of the process. I don’t even think some of the vendors are trying to rip you off. They just need to play your role and haggle down to a pre-determined price. Prices are flexible in so many places, that even seemingly set prices can be haggled, so you’re constantly wondering if you are overpaying. The upside is that in many of these regions, getting ripped off won’t amount to any significant amount, but it still can add up.

Delays At All The Wrong Time

Once in my life, I was running late for a flight and got a text saying that it was delayed. The rest of the time, nope. Flights tend to run on time if I get caught in a traffic jam, but get delayed when I arrive plenty early. The worst is when I’ve stayed up all night for a morning flight only to have it being pushed back in increments of 30 minutes at a time. If I fall asleep, I run the risk of missing the flight when it’s ready to go. Of course, if I new it’d be delayed for a grand total of 3 hours, I would have definitely taken a quick nap. Of course delays also impact everything that comes after it. Very fun.

Bed Bugs and Food Poisoning

Is it weird to say that I don’t even get bothered by bed bugs anymore. Sadly, most of the time I’ve been bitten, it’s been in some of the cleanest accommodations. There are places where I expected bed bugs and found some, but most of the time, it gets me when I least expect it. And food poisoning. As iron of stomach as I have, the most random things will get me. Eating a whole fruit bat? Nope. Some unrefrigerated meat that’s been sitting in the open for most of the day? Nope. Chicken sandwich. Touch of death. Luckily, I carry a little something that combats the food poisoning, but it still takes a lot out of you.

Am I missing anything? Sound off and let me know what drains you the most from traveling. To reiterate, despite all this, being able to travel is a privilege and I’d take it with all of its downs any day.

Updated on September 13, 2020


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