Backpacker Blues and How to Overcome Them

For this weeks blog I have collaborated with my wonderful friend Kay of ‘Living the Life you Love’. Kay has a wonderful YouTube channel and Instagram page where she talks about all the things Conscious living including minimalism, travel, veganism and zero waste. If you like my content then please check out her channel and page because I guarantee you will love them! 

Myself and Kay formed a friendship based on these shared interests and wanted to share with you all some of the blues of travelling and how to overcome these. Often travel blogs focus on the bright and breezy side of travel but there are times when it get tough. So we thought we’d put a positive spin on them so that you can focus more on all the good stuff. So here are our thoughts, based on some of our own travel experiences.

No one knows what their adventures may bring but here are some tips on how to handle the less than perfect parts of travel

Not having your own space

Often when travelling, whether staying in hostels or perhaps even living in a vehicle with your favourite human, after long periods of time without any space for yourself you can often feel a little stressed and crave some alone time, here’s what we suggest;

Lucy: Get outside and don’t be afraid to explore by yourself. It’s a strange thing that happens when travelling, you feel suffocated sometimes and want to be alone but equally if you’ve made friends or have a travel partner you almost start to feel like you can’t do anything without them. It’s totally ok to say “I’m just gunna grab some me time, catch you later?” And just walk, explore places your friends might not want to, sit in parks or at the beach and really absorb your surroundings. It’s amazing what half an hour of you time can really do!

Kay: My favourite thing to do is to create myself a den! I love to feel cosy and safe and so find that hanging towels from a dorm bunk bed creates the most epic little den and gives you a sense of privacy even if you’re in a room with 10 other people. I think that finding somewhere to have alone time is so important wherever you are and whatever your living circumstances, even if you have to get up an hour earlier than everybody else… there is always a way. As Lucy mentioned it’s also important that you explain to people that you need some alone time, some people who are more extroverted really don’t understand that concept, so just be firm and explain that you’ll chat later but right now you’re enjoying some much needed ‘you’ time. I find that reading a book or wearing earphones tends to keep people away (muaha).

Alone time is an essential part of backpacker survival

Shared kitchens

Lucy: This is a big one for me, I’m a bit of a hygiene freak when it comes to kitchens and some backpackers simple don’t know how to clean up after themselves. You’ll most likely find me washing everything twice in a shared kitchen, once before I use it and one again after. I’ll really scope out the kitchen space online before booking anywhere. The more spacious a shared kitchen is the better and the more facilities they have the better too. I also carry some basics of my own such as a vegetable peeler, cutlery and tiffin to store left overs in. Research, cleaning and a few of my own essentials are what get me through. Cook for many rather than one or if you’re cooking for one store left overs so you don’t need to cook every single night

Kay: I agree with Lucy here I now always check out the kitchen before I cook anywhere and compare the facilities to the amount of people the hostel can house. I once stayed at a hostel with more than 50 people that had ONE stove top!!!! (a mistake I will never make again) I make sure that I clean up as I go so that I don’t hog any spoons or pans, there’s nothing worse than having to wait for someone to wash up before you can start cooking. I also batch cook meals and always make enough to feed a small family (not always on purpose!) and then store it in the fridge or freezer and have it for lunch the next day or as another evenings dinner.

Avoid kitchen nightmares by researching your accommodations facilities before booking.

Snorers and other noisy room mates

Lucy: I’ve had my fair share of snorers in hostel dorms and that’s why I never ever travel without earplugs! I have two pairs, just in case and they are great for long haul flights too. What’s most important is not to embarrass or upset the snorer, they can’t help it, so if you can make your world silent without bothering them, everyone wins. If you end up in a room full of party animals (those days are long behind me now) and you can’t speak to them directly and calmly about the fact you need your precious beauty sleep don’t be afraid to speak to the hostel manager, they often have empty rooms or beds on stand by that they’d be more than happy to move you too to ensure you enjoy your stay.

Kay: I love to use lavender and frankinsense essentials just before bed. I put a drop of each into my palms, rub them together and inhale deeply. I find that this gives me a sense of calm and keeps me grounded, if people are being really loud and inconsiderate you could just explain that you are going to sleep now and would appreciate it if they could go somewhere else to chat. A lot of the time people don’t even realise you’re trying to sleep and will be more than happy to relocate. If you have a room shaking snorer in your room (we’ve all been there!) the best thing you can do is pop onto youtube or your music app and listen to something relaxing. There are loads of sleep meditations and peaceful playlists on there that will send you peacefully to sleep. The most important thing is to stay calm, don’t get angry because you will boost your cortisol levels and find it much harder to go to sleep.

Finding time to rest is so important amongst all the adventuring travel brings

Living out of a bag

Lucy: organisation is key for this one! A lot of travellers use packing cubes and these are great but I didn’t want to spend precious travel money on fancy packing alternatives so instead I used cotton tote bags that I already owned. By doing this I could keep all my tops, bottoms, underwear etc separate so if I ever needed something specific I didn’t need to rummage through the entire bag. Being minimalist makes this even easier, the less clothes you have, the less there is to organise!

Kay: I create a capsule wardobe before I leave that is suitable for all of the climates I’m going to be in. I use neutral tones and a colour pallet that compliments each other, that way i’m never without anything to wear. The biggest mistake I ever made was the first time I went backpacking where I only took pink t-shirts… it’s so hard to match pink with anything other than denim. I also love packing cubes they really help me to keep my life organised and mean I can fully unpack but stay contained where ever I live. I think one of the most important things to consider when you’re travelling is your toiletry bag, getting one with a hook or handle is SO useful, it means you don’t have to leave your bag in a soggy gross puddle and you can also hang it up n your room for easy access.

My minimalist journey continues

So there we have it, all our secrets on how to keep your sanity whilst travelling. If you enjoyed this blog post then please let me know by leaving a comment. Would you like to see more blog posts about travel from Me?

Thanks again for stopping by and to Kay for collabing with me. Don’t forget to give both myself and Kay some follows on Instagram and YouTube to keep up to date with our adventures.

Much love


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