Embrace the lazy: The importance of rest days on the road

Out of an entire week in Paris, we managed one day under budget (and that’s one more than I expected, to be quite honest). We more or less stayed in our Airbnb apartment, watched movies, cooked at home and relaxed.

Confessing that feels strange; it feels like admitting to having wasted a perfectly good day in an amazing foreign city. But the thing is, you need ‘weekends’ while travelling, too. Being on the go all the time, while not ‘work’ in the typical sense of meetings + endless emails + squinting at a screen, does take it out of you.

(Let’s not get into the fast travel vs slow travel debate here. Rushing around trying to cram three days of sights into 12 hours isn’t for everyone, but neither is flying halfway across the world only to be stuck inside working and not getting to see anything at all, while proclaiming you’re a ‘real’ traveller because you’re living like a local. Yes, there’s something to be said for simply BEING in a new and exotic place … but that only goes so far.)

T and I are naturally slothful creatures. That quickly became apparent while we were away, too. Somehow, it worked out that we had a day off once a week, more or less (sometimes two). Whether we were in Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh, Edinburgh, Berlin, Bologna, Athens, Grindelwald, New York, New Orleans, or Flagstaff, we carved out time to sleep in, watch movies, and recharge just as we would in daily life.

Bonus: if you freelance, those are the perfect days to catch up on work.

9 thoughts on “Embrace the lazy: The importance of rest days on the road

  • Reply pauline November 27, 2013 at 12:38

    Those lazy days are super important to keep you wanting to see more places. I didn’t manage to get one a week I think, as my BF is hyperactive, and “lazy” days were spent doing laundry, planning the next day, working on the bike… they flew by!

  • Reply Kara November 27, 2013 at 12:51

    I think it’s important to have a “loose” day here and there while travelling. Sure, there’s always 100’s of “to-do” things, but you definitely don’t want to wear yourself out! I’m perfectly OK with staying in the hotel for an afternoon and recharging if it means I can enjoy the rest of my trip a bit more.

  • Reply krantcents November 27, 2013 at 14:21

    I have been to Paris 5 times and have not seen everything. Despite that, I could easily spens hours just sitting at a cafe drinking coffee and watch the world.

  • Reply Annabel November 27, 2013 at 16:19

    I love travel days off too! I tend to see a lot in a short amount of time, and move around lots, so just relaxing for a day here or there is awesome. Even just a morning or arvo off to potter around in a hostel or at a cafe helps rejuvenate!

  • Reply Brian November 27, 2013 at 16:29

    After spending just 1.5 weeks traveling in Europe, I can totally relate. Most of the cities I traveled to, I was only there 2 days, but felt like I needed to cram as much in. I couldn’t motivate myself to leave my hostel on a Saturday night in Prague, but it was really nice to just relax (a really late Friday night in Amsterdam might have had something to do with that too!).

  • Reply Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) November 27, 2013 at 21:59

    A thousand times yes to this. In particular this: “T and I are naturally slothful creatures.” Tony & I have maintained a pretty fast-paced clip on our travels, but the longer we have been away, the more we have found ourselves sliding back into a supremely lazy way of being. Sometimes I don’t care how awesome the real world is, I just want to lie in bed catching up on all my tv shows. Plus, if you’re always on the go, you’ll succumb to temple/museum/historic monument fatigue all the sooner. Better to break things up and give yourself a chance to recharge so that you can actually, you know, enjoy the stuff you’ve traveled to see.

    (Also, there’s something kind of nice about how travel can make the mundane feel a little more precious in comparison.)

  • Reply oilandgarlic November 28, 2013 at 06:40

    I’m a huge fan of slow travel. Frankly my husband and I just are not able to cram things in and still enjoy our trip. We always meet interesting people and have a great time hanging out a local cafes anyway. However, it does seem “wrong’ to just veg inside a hotel when there’s so much to see!

  • Reply Deia @ Nomad Wallet November 30, 2013 at 09:00

    Off days are great. When we were in Montreal, we spent a lot of time just lazing around in our well-located $500-a-month AirBnB room. Until the heat forced us out, that was. Montreal summers are crazy!

  • Reply Kelly Abroad November 30, 2013 at 19:19

    I would generally give myself one or two days off a week to relax, some of these were forced because I was just so exhausted. I had a memorable 2-3 days in Miami where I cooked in my rented apartment, went shopping, watched movies, slept in and pumped up the stereo. It was the best.

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