Traveling the world is a fantastic. Every day we get to meet new people, see new places, and learn new things. However, there are some down sides to long term travel that would-be travelers should know before considering a long term travel lifestyle.
1. Carrying Backpacks
This is right at the top of our list of the worst part of travel. Carrying backpacks to and from destinations is never fun, and at times is downright maddening. We’ve been stuck walking to the train station in pouring rain and sweltering heat. More than once, we’ve forgotten things and had to lug all of our packs back to our accommodation. We’ve had back pain, shoulder pain, and blistered feet from carrying heavy loads, and that’s with only carryon sized bags. Unless you’ve allocated a budget to take taxi’s to stations, carrying a backpack long distances is one of the worst parts of travel.
2. Getting Sick
There’s no getting around it, travel will make you sick. It will break down your body, test your mind, and expose you to a whole range of germs that you wouldn’t have met at home. Being sick on the road is not a fun experience but is an aspect that comes with long term travel.
3. Sleeping in Hostels
Sleeping in bunkbeds is never fun, but Airbnb’s aren’t the cheapest or best option in every city, even though we wish they were! This means that some, or most nights are spent sleeping in hostel rooms with 4 to 20 other people. It’s highly probable that someone in the room is a snorer, so make sure to pack earplugs to avoid sleepless nights.
4. Daily Goodbyes
Meeting new people and making new friends is one of the best parts of travel. Learning about other people’s values, beliefs, and culture makes you a more worldly citizen, but it also means saying goodbye. Over and over and over again. After a while, it becomes difficult to have so many relationships short-lived.
5. Lack Of Constant Community
When talking about the worst part of travel, not having a constant community is right up there with saying goodbye. It’s easy to take friends, family, and even neighbors for granted when you’re living in one place and seeing them often. Traveling makes staying in touch hard on all parties, and it’s likely that your social circle will extend to you, any travel companions, and your close family members.
People say travel is a great way to “find yourself” and this is true. However, the reason finding oneself is possible is because of the amount of time you have to just “be”. At first this can be a blessing, but after some time it’s easy to become lonely. Even surrounded by other, like-minded travelers it can be hard to connect in a meaningful way and get out of your own head.
7. Missing Out on Celebrations
For most long term travelers, flying home every time there is a birth, wedding, holiday, or even funeral isn’t always realistic. Flights can be costly and the reality is that certain life events will get missed during your travels. Sure, you can always send a card and “be there” over Skype, but it isn’t the same as spending time with your loved ones. This is one of the worst parts about travel and is a tough realization to come to terms with.
Is Long Term Travel Still Worth It?
It’s important to note that though this post is a compilation of the downsides of travel, it in no way undermines all of the amazing parts of travel. For every negative there are countless positives, and often the negative experiences make the best stories. Be aware of the less glamorous parts of travel before you decide to plan a world trip, but appreciate every moment. After all, the absolute worst part of travel is missing it when it’s over.