You've spent months planning for it: you've booked your flights, you've researched the best hostels, you've signed up for tours, and you've worked out an itinerary for your day. Everything has fallen into place to ensure you have the trip of a lifetime. You say goodbye to your friends and family and head off on the biggest adventure of your life.
And you hate it.
Despite pouring everything you had into pulling off the trip of a lifetime, you've arrived in your dream destination and discovered that travel was nothing like you thought it would be.
So what happens if you don't like it?
What if all you can think about is how you want to go home?
What should you do in this situation? When should you go home?
Here are some ideas of things to do to when you're not enjoying travel.
Stay in a Hostel
If you're not already, move into a hostel and sit yourself down in the common room. It's so easy to make friends in hostels, and doing so will help pull yourself out of your slump. Make some friends, go out for a meal, chat about your lives. It'll keep you distracted and put you in a better mood.
Hate hostels? Stay in a private room in a well-rated hostel and avoid party hostels. You'll be able to make friends without sacrificing your sleep and sanity. Just make sure there's a common room and read the reviews to see if previous guests mention how easy it is to make friends.
Sign Up for a Tour
One of the best ways to lift your mood is to keep busy. Sign up for a well-rated tour in the city you're in and try something new. It could be a street art tour, or a cooking class, or even a river cruise. If you're lucky, you'll connect with someone else on the tour and have a friend to keep you distracted from your travel slump.
Move Somewhere New
Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery to get you loving travel. The great thing about travel is that you can always turn up in a brand new town in a brand new hostel and nobody will have a clue as to who you are. By moving to a new place, you can leave behind any bad memories of the place where you weren't enjoying travel, and start afresh.
Don't Guilt Yourself
When you find yourself in a new place, the temptation can be to rush around to tick off every activity and site that you feel all tourists need to see. This is a recipe for burnout, and can often be the culprit of you not enjoying travel. Instead of following the itineraries in your guidebook, listen to what your body is telling you it needs.
Sometimes skipping out on a museum and spending the day napping on the beach is all you need to feel whole again.
What Did You Want From This Trip?
When you planned out this trip, you likely had an idea in your mind of how you wanted it to turn out. Did you picture yourself making great friends and going out drinking in cool bars? Was it going to be all about eating local food and immersing yourself in that culture? Were you hoping to top up your tan on beautiful beaches? Whatever you originally wanted from the trip, start doing your best to make it happen.
It's Okay to Go Home
Sometimes it isn't the right time to travel and there's nothing wrong with that. If you've tried everything listed above and you're still wishing you could go home, you should do it.
It doesn't mean you're a failure.
It doesn't mean you'll never travel again.
It just means that now wasn't the right time.
It's okay to go home.