We’ve all been there. You’re on a long road trip, your eyes are getting heavy and you can feel the fatigue setting in. Or maybe you’re in a new place, trying to explore everything it has to offer, and by the end of the day all you want to do is crawl into bed. Why does travel make us so tired? There’s no one answer to that question, but here we’ll take a look at some of the possible reasons. So if you’re feeling exhausted after your next vacation, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
Travel fatigue is not the same as jet lag
Travel fatigue is a common feeling that can set in after a long journey. It is characterized by feelings of exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. While it can be shrugged off as simply being tired from the travel, it is actually a more complex condition that can have serious consequences.
Jet lag, on the other hand, is a physical condition that is caused by disruptions to the body’s natural sleep cycle. It is most commonly experienced when crossing time zones, and symptoms include fatigue, insomnia, and digestive problems.
How is jet lag different from travel fatigue?
While both travel fatigue and jet lag can be unpleasant experiences, it is important to understand the difference between them. Jet lag will eventually go away on its own as the body adjusts to the new time zone. Travel fatigue, however, can last for weeks or even months after a trip. It is important to take steps to prevent travel fatigue by staying hydrated and getting enough rest before embarking on a long journey.
The symptoms of travel fatigue
There are two types of exhaustion that can lead to travel fatigue—physical and mental. Physical exhaustion is caused by a lack of restful sleep. This can be due to many things such as time changes, jet lag, or simply not getting enough hours of sleep each night. Mental exhaustion, on the other hand, is caused by too much work or stress. This can be from running around trying to see everything on your trip or from worrying about things back at home. Either way, when we feel exhausted mentally, our body will try to compensate by sleeping more. And that’s how we end up feeling so tired after a trip.
2. A suppressed immune system
Another reason why you might be feeling exhausted after a trip is because traveling can suppress your immune system. When we’re stressed, our immune system takes a hit and we become more susceptible to getting sick. To help combat this, make sure you’re taking supplements such as Vitamin C or Probiotics daily. Additionally, try to wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes or nose which are two easy ways for germs to enter your body.
3. Feelings of stress or burnout
The third and final common symptom of travel fatigue is feelings of stress or burnout. If you’re traveling too much, it can lead to burnout pretty quickly. And if you’re traveling alone, it can cause anxiety and stress which will also lead to exhaustion. The best way to combat this is by taking some time for yourself both before and after your trip to relax and unwind. Make sure you have some down time planned so that you’re not going 100 miles an hour the entire time you’re gone. Trust me, your body will thank you for it!
Why does traveling make you tired?
Travel fatigue on road-trips
Have you ever gone on a road trip and felt exhausted by the end of it? You’re not alone. Travel fatigue is a common phenomenon that can be caused by several factors. One of the most important is the constant movement your body experiences while driving. In addition to the physical exertion, your mind is also constantly processing visual information, making split-second decisions, and monitoring your surroundings. This can be mentally draining, and over time, can lead to fatigue.
Another factor that contributes to travel fatigue is the monotony of the journey. The repetition of the scenery can cause your mind to wander, making it difficult to stay focused on the task at hand.
Finally, sitting in a car for long periods of time can be uncomfortable, and this can also lead to fatigue. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to combat travel fatigue. Taking breaks every hour or two is crucial, as it gives your body a chance to rest and relax. In addition, make sure to drink plenty of water and eat healthy snacks to keep your energy levels up. And finally, try to take in the scenery when you can – appreciate the beauty of your surroundings and take some time to enjoy the journey!
Travel fatigue on flights
Have you ever returned from a trip feeling exhausted, even if you slept the entire flight? If so, you’re not alone. Travel fatigue is a common problem, affecting travelers of all ages. There are several factors that can contribute to air travel exhaustion, including long flights, dehydration, and turbulence.
One of the main causes of travel fatigue is simply spending too many hours in the air. For most people, sitting in a cramped airplane seat for more than five hours is exhausting. Add in the dry cabin air and it’s no wonder so many travelers feel fatigued after a long flight.
Dehydration is another major factor that can lead to travel fatigue. Because the air in an airplane is so dry, it’s important to drink plenty of water before and during your flight to stay hydrated. Unfortunately, many people don’t drink enough water while traveling, which can lead to dehydration and fatigue.
Finally, turbulence can also cause fatigue, particularly if you’re already tired from a long flight. Turbulence can make it difficult to sleep or even relax, which can leave you feeling even more exhausted when you finally reach your destination.
There are several ways to combat travel fatigue. First, try to book shorter flights whenever possible. If you have to take a long flight, make sure to drink plenty of water and take breaks often to walk around the cabin. And if you’re prone to motion sickness, make sure to take medication or wear a wristband designed to help reduce nausea during flights. By taking these steps, you can help reduce your risk of travel fatigue and enjoy a more pleasant trip.
Travel fatigue on vacation
Traveling can be exhausting even when you’re just going from one point to another within the same city. But when you travel to new places, whether for business or for pleasure, your body and mind have to adjust to new surroundings, which can lead to fatigue.
Your brain has to work harder when you travel to new places because it has to process more information than usual. Everything from the sights and sounds of a new environment to the unfamiliarity of the bed you’re sleeping in can contribute to mental exhaustion. In addition, your body is also working hard to adjust to different time zones and climates, which can lead to physical fatigue.
Of course, part of the reason traveling can be tiring is because it’s often stressful. Worrying about making connecting flights or dealing with lost baggage can take a toll on your energy levels. And even if everything goes smoothly, the simple act of being in a new place can be taxing on your mind and body.
Additionally, we’re often more active when we’re on vacation. We walk more, we sightsee more, and we generally just move around more. All of that activity can take its toll, especially if we’re not used to it.
We can also feel more relaxed on vacation, and even this can make us feel tired more easily! When we relax our brains release hormones that signal to our bodies that it is ok to rest and take it easy. This can make us feel drowsy and ultimately more fatigued.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help combat travel fatigue. Try to plan your itinerary ahead of time so you know where you’re going and what you’ll be doing each day. Take breaks throughout the day to rest, or even just sit back and take in the sights. Make sure to stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep each night. And if all else fails, consider taking a power nap during the day! With these tips, you can enjoy your vacation without feeling too worn out at the end.
What causes travel fatigue?
Travel fatigue is a real thing—and if you’ve ever felt it, you know just how debilitating it can be. Suddenly all of your energy is gone and all you can think about is crawling into bed and sleeping for the next week. But what exactly causes this feeling? Here’s a look at three scientific explanations for why traveling makes you tired.
1. Hectic travel schedules
One of the most obvious causes of travel fatigue is simply having a hectic travel schedule. If you’re constantly on the go, it’s only natural that you’re going to start feeling run down at some point. Your body isn’t used to being in constant motion and it can quickly become overloaded. To combat this, try to build some down time into your travel schedule. If you know you have a busy few days ahead, try to take it easy the day before so that you can recharge your batteries.
2. Jet lag and sleep deprivation
Another scientific explanation for travel fatigue is jet lag. Jet lag occurs when you travel across time zones and your body’s internal clock can’t quite keep up. This often results in insomnia or disturbed sleep, which leads to fatigue during the day. The best way to combat jet lag is to gradually adjust to the new time zone before your trip by changing your sleep schedule bit by bit. For example, if you’re traveling from New York to London, start going to bed an hour later and waking up an hour later a few days before your trip. Once you arrive in London, you’ll be much better adjusted to the new time zone—and less tired as a result.
When you’re constantly on the go, it can be easy to let things slide and end up feeling scattered and disorganized. This can lead to increased stress levels, which in turn can lead to fatigue. To avoid this, try to stay as organized as possible when you’re traveling. Make lists, use a planner, and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. A little bit of organization can go a long way toward keeping travel fatigue at bay.
4. Poor nutrition and excessive alcohol consumption
Let’s face it, when you’re on vacation, it’s easy to let your healthy eating habits go out the window. You’re in a new place with all sorts of delicious (and often unhealthy) food options, so why not indulge? And who doesn’t love a good vacation cocktail or two?
The problem is that excessive alcohol consumption and poor nutrition can both lead to fatigue. When you drink alcohol, it dehydrates your body and disrupts your sleep patterns, which can leave you feeling exhausted the next day. And when you eat foods that are high in sugar and fat, your blood sugar levels spike and then crash, leaving you feeling tired and sluggish.
Even if you aren’t indulging on vacation, it’s often the case that travel is associated with poor diet because you only have access to limited food types. When you are on the road your local foods may consist of gas station chips and candy. Instead of relying solely on these unhealthy options, try to pack some snacks that are high in protein and fiber. This will help keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
To avoid travel fatigue, try to stick to a healthy diet as much as possible while you’re away from home. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will give you sustained energy throughout the day. And limit yourself to one or two alcoholic beverages per day so that you don’t end up dehydrated or sleep-deprived.
5. New sights, cultures, information and activities overload your senses
Every time you travel to a new place, your senses are bombarded with new sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. It’s no wonder your brain gets tired! Just think about how exhausting it is to move to a new city – now multiply that by ten and that’s how your brain feels after a week-long vacation in an unfamiliar place.
In addition to all the new sensory input, proven fact – hearing someone speak another language activates different regions of the brain than when we hear our own language – so even if English is spoken where you’re going foreign travelers still have to deal with language barriers which can be mentally draining.. All this newness requires extra processing power from your brain, which can lead to mental fatigue.
6. The psychological factor
Have you ever felt homesickness while traveling? That’s because being in unfamiliar surroundings can be psychologically draining. When we travel outside our comfort zones, we experience what psychologists call “cognitive dissonance.” This refers to the feeling of discomfort that comes from having contradictory thoughts (in this case, thoughts about home vs. thoughts about being on vacation).
Additionally, for some people there is a lot of fear associated with traveling – whether that be fear of flying or fear of crowds. This fear can also lead to feelings of exhaustion as the mind works overtime to process all of these new emotions.
Travel can be exciting but also stressful. For example, backpacking solo gives you the chance to experience life and make new friends, but it also involves the burden of organising your trip on your own and periods of loneliness, which may leave you feeling travel fatigue.
7. The Lack of Mental Stimulation
When we are traveling we are away from our normal routines of work, chores and hobbies. Instead, we have nothing much to do except sit and wait to reach our destination. This lack of mental stimulation can lead to feelings of boredom and restlessness which in turn can lead to fatigue.
To combat this, try to find ways to stay mentally stimulated while you’re traveling. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks, engage in meaningful conversations with the people around you, or play some mind games like Sudoku or word puzzles.
Read also: Why does my desk job make me tired?
8. Decreased Bodily Functions
One of the main reasons why traveling can be so exhausting is because it takes a toll on your body in a number of ways. For starters, travel can interfere with your natural body clock, or circadian rhythm. This is the 24-hour cycle that regulates things like your body temperature, hormone levels, and sleep patterns. When you travel across time zones, it can take your body a while to adjust to the new schedule. In the meantime, you may find yourself feeling jet lagged and exhausted.
Also, when you are traveling you may not go to the bathroom at your ‘regular’ times. This can lead to constipation and dehydration which can leave you feeling tired and sluggish.
Additionally, traveling often means getting less exercise than normal. Sitting for long periods of time, such as on airplanes or in cars, can lead to fatigue as your body goes into ‘rest’ mode.
9. Routine Disruption
Another reason travel can be tough on your body is because it disrupts your normal routine. Even if you’re just taking a short trip, packing up your bags and hitting the road can throw off your daily routine. And if you’re traveling for an extended period of time, such as for work or study abroad, the disruption to your routine can be even greater. This can lead to increased levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression. All of these mental health issues can contribute to fatigue.
How to avoid travel fatigue
All these factors work together to lead to travel fatigue and even travel burnout in some cases. So what can you do about it?
1. Get sleep before you travel:
This one may seem obvious, but it’s important to make sure you’re well-rested before you embark on your journey. If you’re starting your trip off exhausted, you’re more likely to get tired quickly. Ideally, you should get a good night’s sleep the night before you travel.
2. Stay hydrated:
It’s important to stay hydrated when you travel, especially if you’re going to be flying. The air in airplanes is very dry, which can dehydrate you quickly. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout your trip, and avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages as they will only dehydrate you further.
3. Avoid alcohol:
Speaking of alcohol, it’s best to avoid it altogether when trying to avoid travel fatigue. Alcohol may make you feel drowsy at first, but it will actually disrupt your sleep later on and leave you feeling exhausted in the morning. Stick to water or juice instead.
4. Keep moving:
It may be tempting to just sit back and relax on your journey, but it’s important to keep moving around as much as possible. Every few hours, take a walk down the aisle of the bus or stretch your legs in the airport lounge. If you are stuck in the same seat for hours at a time, even small movements such as stretching and rolling your joints will help you avoid fatigue. You want to avoid keeping your muscles engaged in one position for long periods of time as this will lead to muscle tension and bodily stress. Keeping your body active will help keep your mind awake and alert and help your body relax.
5. Get natural sunlight:
Natural sunlight is a great way to fight off fatigue. Whenever possible, try to sit by the window when you’re traveling. If you’re stuck inside all day, take a quick break outside for some fresh air and sunshine. Just a few minutes in the sun can help improve your energy levels significantly.
6. Take breaks:
When traveling long distances, it’s important to take breaks often to rest and rejuvenate yourself. If possible, plan for overnight stops so that you can get some much needed sleep in a comfortable bed. If not, take advantage of layovers and rest stops to grab a quick nap or just stretch your legs for a bit.
7. Pre-adjust your sleep cycle:
Finally, one of the best ways to avoid travel fatigue is to pre-adjust your sleep cycle before you even start traveling. If you know you’ll be crossing time zones, try to adjust your sleep schedule ahead of time so that your body is already used to sleeping at the new time when you arrive at your destination. This will help reduce jet lag and make it easier for you to adjust to the new time zone quickly and without too much fatigue.
Conclusion: Why does traveling make you tired?
So, what’s the verdict? Why does travel make us so tired? The answer is a little bit of everything. Jet lag, new environments and activities, different foods – all of these factors take their toll on our energy levels. But don’t worry, with a little preparation you can minimize the fatigue and make your next trip more enjoyable.