3 Ways to Make Long-Term Travel Stressful

Chad, Z, and I have been living and traveling outside our home country of America for over two years now. The first year all we did was travel from place to place with no home base. During that time I learned some ways that I could make our travels stressful. It’s a special gift that I have, so I decided to share them with you!


Planning Too Little

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
― Benjamin Franklin

When I first started traveling long-term, I was a planner, but over time I got lazy. In fact I was so lackadaisical that I never planned anything besides the basics. I would know what airport we were flying out of, but out of which terminal? Pfft… who needs to waste time on silly things like that.  

Sometimes the little things are necessary to know and plan. If you are looking for stress, some of the things that you may not want plan are which airport terminals you are flying out of, how you are getting from the airport to the place you are staying, what the weather is like at your destination (winter clothes in Phuket… that will totally add to your stress!), and other things like that.

For more stress, ignore the whole paragraph above and just hope that you get to your destination and a room. There is not much that is more stressful than trying to find a place to sleep when you are exhausted. Stress accomplished!


Planning Too Much

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
― Alexander Pope

When we first started traveling I would research a city or country and make mental notes of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to see. Sometimes I even made lists!  And then I would mentally make those desires into expectations. Expectations are a one-way ticket to Stress-ville. If even one thing goes wrong in the plan, then it is all ruined and the effect on you and the people around you will be…yep, you got it… STRESS!  If stress was the goal, then you can consider it achieved.

I have learned that for travels (of any length of time really) to be less stressful, you must plan some necessary things (see Planning Too Little above), and by all means, research and have a list of the places you want to see. Make a conscious effort to find interesting and memorable things to do there. BUT DO NOT EXPECT THEM TO GO COMPLETELY AS PLANNED! Flexibility is key while traveling… it is as important as your passport, keep it with you at all times.


Not Taking a Day To Rest

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
― John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

One of the most difficult parts of long-term travel for me, was getting used to the fact that we HAD TIME. My fellow Americans know (and I am sure many other countries are similar) that it is rarely heard of getting more than your allotted 2 week yearly vacation to travel the world. In order to get your moneys worth on such a short holiday, you pack it all up with things to do and places to go. There is a common saying in the States, “I need a vacation after my vacation,” and it’s usually true.

It took me a while, but we figured out that if we just took a day every week to not do anything, it was a much more enjoyable time overall. It took me a while to get over the guilt of being in an amazing place like Greece, and staying in our room watching movies, but I couldn’t keep up causing stress the WHOLE time we were traveling. Even I am not that good, maybe you will be though…

During long-term travel, the best way to cause stress is to jam it full, every single day, with no breaks. You will be mentally, physically, and emotionally drained… heck, you may even get sick with the flu, and that my friends is the ultimate way to make travel stressful.

So there you have them, my three ways to make long-term travel stressful! Do you have anything to add? Do you feel like trying these ways out to make your travel days more stress filled? Leave a comment and join in the conversation!

  18 comments for “3 Ways to Make Long-Term Travel Stressful

  1. aviets
    June 5, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Good advice! We never take long vacations, but even for a short one I like to plan in one day of just “hanging out.” I think it allows you the space to sit back and absorb the great stuff you’re doing on the busier days.
    aviets recently posted…Project: Bathroom My Profile

    • andthreetogo
      June 6, 2015 at 8:01 am

      Thanks! I think it is great that you already take a rest day… It really is imperative I think. 🙂 thanks for commenting!

  2. joylovestravel
    June 6, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Great tips Jenny – we don’t travel long-term but in our short breaks I fall into the planning too much camp and like you say, end up stressed if some little thing doesn’t go to plan. Flexibility is not my strong point but I’m trying!! Rest days I also realise (after many years of exhaustion on trips) are essential too.
    joylovestravel recently posted…Walking The White Cliffs of DoverMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      June 6, 2015 at 8:03 am

      I think any length of travel cab fall into stress traps for sure. My goal lately is to plan, but not expect it to happen. And that is soo hard for me… That’s why I think I gave up on planning for a while and just floated by.

  3. thehomeschoolingdoctor
    June 6, 2015 at 4:27 am

    I love this post! And amen! My husband is the WAY over analyzer/planner. Oh my goodness. And I’ve become the non-planner, although I used to be the planner. I’ve gotten too lax in trusting him. On a recent trip, we didn’t have return tickets. I couldn’t believe that, but it taught me to double check him. Of course there was the time I didn’t know the way to the airport and we watched our plane depart from the back, locked entrance of an airport. But there was the time he forgot his wallet. Oh, I do love travel! The memories!

    I love your comment about expectations. So true!

    • andthreetogo
      June 6, 2015 at 8:05 am

      Thanks Terri! Isn’t it funny that at the time those experiences are the worst… But now they are humorous and taken as a lesson learned?
      Although no return tickets? Oh man, your husband must have been feeling bad 😉 lol

  4. Girl Gone Expat
    June 7, 2015 at 1:15 am

    Funny! 🙂 The planning part if always difficult to get right! I used to plan everything in details, but as you I have become lazy:)

    • andthreetogo
      June 7, 2015 at 7:07 am

      I can’t decide which is more stressful… Planning or not planning… I think it maybe has to do with the destination and the people you are traveling with 🙂

  5. Sue Slaght
    June 8, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Really good tips here. Since we aren’t really long term travelers I don’t think I can offer up any advice. I do think doing research ahead of time is a big help in any trip though.
    Sue Slaght recently posted…Looking for True LoveMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      June 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm

      No matter the length of time you travel, you can always add stress with these things 🙂 I agree about planning ahead though! But I have to remember to remain flexible in my plans (so hard for my type a personality ;))

  6. fiftarina
    June 8, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I love your list! My husband is a real planner. He plans every where to go every single day and the attractions to visit. But with little toddler, I guess it’s best to be flexible. We usually spend half day visiting the attractions and such, and another half day in buffer to take the needed rest. Planning is important, but over-planning can be source of disappointment.
    fiftarina recently posted…Taliwang Grilled ChickenMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      June 8, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Thank you! Yes, I agree with all that you said. Traveling with children take on a whole different kind of planning while traveling don’t they? But it is so fun to show them the world. 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. thetattootourist
    June 10, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    I think my number one tip for making long trips less stressful would be to hire you to coral and organize everyone! PS I linked to your site in my most recent article xxoo
    thetattootourist recently posted…Tattoo Tipping Around the WorldMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      June 11, 2015 at 7:36 am

      You would be in for a crazy time then haha… My planning seems to be a recipe for disaster most often… Although last time I did come away with THREE pairs of shoes… So it wasn’t all bad. Lol
      I saw that and was going to comment because, Thank you!!!! You really are too kind and Awesome! My phone is being a pain and I plan to come over and comment on the post as soon as I sit on the computer. Seriously why are phones such a pain sometimes? Their a blessing and a curse haha

  8. Sha
    June 25, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Totally agree about planning too much! I learnt this the hard way, I was so sleepy and exhausted that I slept through the whole flight back home, even during takeoff and landing! I’ve since learnt to research the minimum, especially if I’m travelling alone for security reasons and just let it go….:)
    Sha recently posted…What I Learnt from My Solo Trip to PerthMy Profile

    • andthreetogo
      June 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm


  9. sangeetha menon
    June 29, 2015 at 8:08 am

    Good advice to travellers. Agree with the too much planning thing. I too end up planning too much and none happens according to plans.

    • andthreetogo
      June 29, 2015 at 10:58 am

      It’s a very fine line between planning enough and not planning too much… I still haven’t gotten it perfectly yet. Thanks for commenting!

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