Travel can be exhausting.

I’ve often heard people complain “I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.”

The idea that traveling takes its toll on us, physically and emotionally, is easily accepted and widespread. It keeps many people from traveling at all, and it made me a little nervous once I made the decision to live and work abroad. After all, wasn’t I usually ready to return home after just a few weeks in a new place? How would I handle a foreign environment long-term?

But traveling doesn’t actually have be so draining. Yes, you’ll need to summon the extra energy to communicate in a new language, figure out unfamiliar roads, and successfully navigate new customs and ways of thinking. But there are many self-care tips you can use to keep your spirits up and your mental and physical health thriving. These are crucial, especially when you are traveling long-term or living abroad.

Slow Down the Pace
Jumping from city to city is one thing when you’ve only got a handful of days to travel. But if your time away is more of a marathon than a sprint, you need to treat it accordingly. Stay in one place longer and let yourself settle in better. Remember that not every day needs to be filled with sightseeing, adventures, or parties. Have a slow day. Hang out at a coffee shop for hours. Catch up on your favorite TV show. Call a friend back home. Just do something normal and relaxing. It will give your mind a chance to process what you’ve been experiencing and your body a chance to recover.

Embrace a Routine or Two
I know – I’m particularly wary of routines when I’m traveling because they seem like the antithesis of adventure. But they can also provide a little stability and predictability, which may seem comforting on some days. Find a favorite restaurant. Take an evening stroll most nights after dinner.

Go Your Own Way

If you’re traveling with a partner, don’t feel like you need to be together every second of the trip. A little alone time will benefit everyone and keep your relationship strong. Is there an attraction or event that one is more excited about than the other? You can go separate ways for the day and come back with your own stories to share.

Rest Well
A good night’s sleep keeps you perky and helps you handle stress better. Struggling to sleep in your accommodations? Eye masks, ear plugs, or a white noise app might help.

Create a Minimalist Workout Habit
If you’re used to exercising at a gym, keeping up with your fitness might seem impossible on the road. Not so! You just need a body weight or yoga routine that can be performed anywhere – even a tiny hotel room. Long walks (or runs) are also easy to accomplish in most destinations – with the added benefit of seeing more of your current location while you exercise.

Keep a Reasonable Diet

Not every meal needs to be a big affair full of local delicacies. Of course, you’ll want a few of these. But if you’re serious about feeling your best, opt for lighter, healthier meals more times than not – even if they aren’t quite as exciting.

Have you ever traveled long-term or lived abroad? Did you experience any fatigue or ill health? How did you recover and take care of yourself? We’d love to hear your best tips!