Travel Fatigue: Why It’s Not The Same As Jet Lag

Though it is rarely discussed by travelers, travel fatigue is a very real phenomenon. On any lengthy travel, it will inevitably set in. Travel fatigue can be cured, or at least improved enough to allow you to continue enjoying your vacation. But before we start talking about travel fatigue, we want to make it clear that this isn’t the same thing as jet lag. You can experience travel fatigue even if you didn’t travel outside of your time zone, but that isn’t the case for jet lag. The exhaustion we feel from jet lag is caused by the fact that our body’s inner clock was disturbed. But travel fatigue is a lot deeper than that.

What is travel fatigue?

When you travel for too long, your body is in a constant state of alertness. Over time, this can wear us out. You will become completely exhausted, which shows itself as apathy toward travel activities that you would normally enjoy. Suddenly, you don’t want to do anything else than stay in your hotel room and rest. Nothing seems that exciting anymore, from the numerous museums to the delicious local cuisine. In short, travel fatigue is a sensation of extreme weariness and detachment, similar to other forms of burnout.

We don’t even have to explain how this could ruin your vacation. What’s the point of traveling to a different country if you don’t have the energy or will to go out and explore it? That’s why it’s so important to recognize the symptoms of this condition early on, and take proactive measures to prevent it. Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent and treat travel fatigue.

Prioritize sleeping

I know that nobody wants to hear that, but you should get your eight hours of sleep even when you are traveling. Everything will look so much better when you are well-rested. You will have enough energy to take on the day and visit all of the locations that you have planned. Also, don’t underestimate the effects of a power nap. If you feel tired during the day, consider going back to your hotel room and taking a quick 45-minute nap. This will fuel you up with energy, and you’ll feel motivated again to go out and explore the city.

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Make smart diet choices

Are there some foods that just make you feel exhausted and low on energy every time you eat them? For most of us, that would be heavy foods such as pasta, fast food, dairy, or desserts. If you are already feeling a bit off and like you don’t have enough energy, the last thing you want to do is eat something that will make you feel even worse. Stick to light and nutritious foods. Your body’s digestive system won’t have to work overtime and will have enough drive to live your best tourist life.

Exercise

Nothing will energize you as much as moving your body. Sure, most of us are already more active than usual while traveling. But if you feel like nothing else helps, and that you are tired even right after you wake up, then it’s time to increase your dopamine levels. And what better way to do that than with the help of exercise? So book a gym class or go on a hike, and see how your energy will increase immediately after. 

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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