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Travel Guilt – It’s a Thing

Travel Guilt |

Sometimes all I want to do is lie by a pool.

I know this will sound silly to some people but I’ve recently experienced travel guilt. Not guilt about leaving home to travel. No, there’s never that. I get giddy packing my suitcase and dreaming of the next adventure. My guilt comes from needing rest. I’d spent a day in Calgary and all I did was go to IKEA, check out a play and take a dip in the hotel pool. That would normally sound like a good day, right? So why the guilt? Part of my brain tells me that I should be go, go, go, always checking out some new sight or seeking out unique experiences. That just relaxing in your awesome hotel room is time wasted.

Travel Guilt |

Hotel beds sometimes have their own gravitational pull that’s hard to escape.

This is why I return from most trips in serious need of downtime. I pack my trips so full of activities that I’m left worn out. I often get sick upon my arrival home. I blame it on recycled airplane air but it’s more than likely my own neglect of sleep and rest. I try to wring experience from every moment. I’m the kind of masochist who sets an alarm clock on vacation so that I don’t sleep in and miss a morning. So when sometimes I just want to do nothing except read a book or watch the Food Network from the comfy hotel bed I feel guilty. That annoying voice says “You could be doing this at home. Go do something unique and local.” Isn’t vacation supposed to be about doing what makes me happy?

Travel Guilt |

Sometimes what makes me happy is kicking back with a beer and staring at the ocean.

I struggled with this on my first solo international trip to Costa Rica as well. I had three days booked in Tamarindo to just relax and be a beach bum. After two hours in town I texted a friend. “I’ve already walked the length of town, had lunch, checked out the beach, and unpacked. Now what do I do?” She replied with “Relax”. “But what do I do?” I whined. I actually felt a little anxiety when I sat down by the pool with a book. Surely this was wasting time. Shouldn’t I be out trying to make a lifelong friendship with a sloth or something?

Travel Guilt |

This was so right but felt so wrong.

I know that I’m fortunate to be able to travel to the places that I have. I know my time in them is limited and who knows if or when I’ll be back. Not everyone gets to do this so I should really be making the most of every minute. Living it up for those who can’t, etc. But man, that’s exhausting.

I keep telling myself that next time I’ll make sure to have some free time to do nothing. I need to learn to tell those voices to shag off, this is my trip and I’ll do what I want. If I don’t see all the sights or do all the activities or eat all the food it was still a good trip as long as I enjoyed myself. Right?

Do you ever feel guilty for wanting to take it easy on a trip?

2 Responses to “Travel Guilt – It’s a Thing”

  1. Abby says:

    You look very pretty :) Anyways, I believe that you enjoyed your travel. Sometimes I also feel that guilt..

  2. Kj says:

    Definitely! This plagued us while we were in Morocco (of all the amazing, incredible, exotic places) this summer. I think it’s important to honour thyself some ‘you time’ whatever that might be and wherever you are!

    Enjoying keeping up with a fellow Canadian travel blogger’s adventures!


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