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What are the downsides you have found to traveling
Old 06-03-2017, 08:14 AM   #1
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What are the downsides you have found to traveling

I had always dreamed of traveling more frequently and last Fall I started to do so when I shifted into semi retirement

Since September I've been to Honduras, Israel/Petra/Mt Sinai, Puerto Rico, Scottsdale, LA, Iceland, and in a few weeks I head to the Delaware Shore.

I have noticed a few downsides to all this traveling, though.

1- I'm tired a lot.
When I fly to another time zone I am tired from the flight, then I'm tired from the jet lag, and when I finally do begin to adjust to the different time zone i fly back home and have to readjust all over again. I'm also finding that as I get older my body doesn't adapt as quickly anymore to these sudden changes, so it is taking me a good 7-10 days to feel normal again. Since I'm traveling around every 6 weeks it feels like I am now tired almost a third of the time.

One thing I might do to minimize this in the future will be to spread my trips out more and just not travel as much- maybe take a trip every 2-2.5 months rather than every 6 weeks.

2- I am getting sick more often.
I don't know if its the germs in the plane, or the water and food I'm eating and drinking, but I seem to get sick more often when I travel. I contracted travelers diarrhea in Honduras, food poisoning in Puerto Rico, and I caught a cold at the end of my trip to Iceland.

When traveling to a foreign country I am now going to carry a supply of antibiotics just in case. This way I can get on top of an infection as soon as I notice something isn't right.

3- It's tough to jump back into life back home.
I guess this is always the case but because I'm traveling so much more now it seems to be magnified. I'm still working part time and I notice I really have to push myself to get back into the routine. One thing I have done to minimize this impact is to make my trips shorter. If I make my trip a 5 day vacation it doesn't seem that difficult to get back into the routine- 2 weeks though is tough.

Anyone else have any downsides they have noticed and some things they have done to minimize these negatives?
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:28 AM   #2
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Greetings NOVA,

I've been experiencing similar symptoms over the last few years and they seem to be a bit more pronounced nowadays. I've actually had to make a few adjustments to how/when I travel in order to prevent myself from becoming sick or over-exhausted.

1. After my last trip To Universal, which was 7 years ago - I made the decision that I would no longer go to theme parks.

2. After my last trip to Haiti, which was five years ago - I said never again. My immune system just does not cooperate with diseases and environments dissimilar to Western society.

3. Regarding international travel, I pay the additional monies to get more comfortable seating. I try to treat each trip as enjoyably as possible, as if traveling was an uncomfortable experience, I would stop going places.

Anyway, my wife and I just returned from 10 days in Paris and Prague and I was a little bit more worn out than in my younger years. Our next vacation will be a cruise for a week in December. I just need to remember to pace myself.

Michael
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:56 AM   #3
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Absolutely no downside for me, other than perhaps some long flights. When we retired sold up and traveled for seven months. Too long for DW, OK for me. Now we do two months at a time max, usually twice per year. Plus some local trips and one week AI's.

DW does not like to be away for more than two months. She misses home and her friends if it goes past the two month mark.

Travel can involve a lot of work. So we usually stay in one place for at least two days, often more. Since we only take carry on DW gets tired of wearing the same clothes all the time. By the time we return home she is anxious to get into the closet and find something different.

No sickness issues. DW did require hospital care once and she was extremely pleased with the care and the facilities.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:09 AM   #4
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2- I am getting sick more often.
I don't know if its the germs in the plane, or the water and food I'm eating and drinking, but I seem to get sick more often when I travel. I contracted travelers diarrhea in Honduras, food poisoning in Puerto Rico, and I caught a cold at the end of my trip to Iceland.

When traveling to a foreign country I am now going to carry a supply of antibiotics just in case. This way I can get on top of an infection as soon as I notice something isn't right.
Take a supply of Imodium with you for those digestive/diarrhea episodes. It may help you to avoid eating anything at all that isn't thoroughly cooked (and still piping hot), and avoid drinking water other than bottled water, and avoid ice. Try hot tea instead. (Edited to add: Brush your teeth in bottled water too, not tap water.) Be picky about sanitation, where you eat, and what you put in your mouth, since your body has not had a chance to develop any resistance to the various local illnesses. (Also sanitation in some, not all, countries may be less than what we are accustomed to.) Wash your hands.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:14 AM   #5
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The downside is that I can only hold mail for one month. I have two kids nearby so each month, one kid will pick up my mail.

Sometime, I can't access my account overseas, like Scottrade, it blocked me out. I was desperate to close a trade, so I couldn't. Luckily I was able to close the trade when I got home.

I travel 3-4 months at a time for international, after such a long travel, I can't go back to the same place for a while. It's like havin steak or lobster in my case, but you can't have it so soon.

I do miss my home after such a long travel. However, I do like long travel because I feel more emerged in the subculture of the foreign places that I've been.

As for sickness, I did get some bug in UK, not some third world country, it took me a while to realize there was a bug, I took Immodium AD, or the equivalent. Downside is I ran out of underwear and bra. I had to wear a swimsuit underneath until my clothes dry. I travel light, maybe too light.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:20 AM   #6
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No real downside; we travel internationally a couple of times a year.

Re getting tired we avoid group travel, which can often feel like a forced march. We travel privately wherever possible, hiring a guide with a car and sometimes also a driver. Then we can go totally at our own pace and stop/see whatever and whenever we want. We can also stay at the relaxing family B&Bs and small hotels that we prefer and we can eat the local cuisine rather than being stuck in the tourist feeding stations.

Private travel is not necessarily a lot more expensive than group travel. In Ethiopia a year ago we spent a week with a National Geographic photo tour, then a week traveling privately. The private travel was not much more than half the cost of the NG tour. OTOH, NG is a poster child for expensive group travel.

Our long-trip threshold is three weeks. By then we are ready to go home. At the halfway point of a longer trip we schedule a down day with little or nothing scheduled. A good time to relax and recharge.

Re getting sick it happens. We carry generic Imodium, generic Sudafed, and ibuprofen plus azithromycin or some other 3-day antibiotic blast for the occasional gastric excitement. The latter requires a prescription and your doc can tell you about options there, but I'm sure he/she will give you the scrip.

Re jet lag, it happens too. If that is a big issue, look for north/south trips rather than east/west. IIRC Buenos Aires is just an hour ahead of NYC. Auckland is five hours behind LA. Forget India, which is literally halfway around the world. (Neat place though.) Also look for overnight flights where you can easily sleep your way to your destination.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:20 AM   #7
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As you might infer from my screen name, I love to travel and hope to do a lot more of it in retirement. Being in my late 40s, I haven't found travel to be overly exhausting or physically challenging yet, but I do find it can be emotionally difficult from time to time.

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to travel is having to put up with other people's excessive noise-making and other inconsiderate behaviors. At some point during every single trip, I find myself cursing the people staying in the room adjacent to mine in whatever hotel or apartment I'm staying at, or if I'm in a little Airbnb room in someone's house, I'll often get annoyed with the loud noises my hosts make as they go about their daily routines. Whether it's watching TV at 11:00pm with the volume turned up like a rock concert, or someone loudly practicing guitar for hours on end while I'm trying to enjoy some peace and quiet, it seems like there is always something someone is doing that is too noisy or distracting or otherwise annoying and bothersome.

Having said that, though, I always try to maintain a positive attitude and focus on the good things about traveling. I remind myself frequently that being out in the world and experiencing new things, different people, and exotic lands is one of the greatest and most invigorating pursuits in life, so a few minor annoyances here and there are a small price to pay for something so fulfilling and soul-nourishing.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:26 AM   #8
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We haven't retired yet, so take with a block of salt.

Our plans are to avoid short trips, which appears to be the heart of your problem. In the past 27 years, we've only taken 4 trips of 2 weeks, otherwise at most one week "vacation" trip a year (excluding annual domestic week with in-laws). Although we did pretty nice destinations, we never really had a chance to settle in and relax before closing our laptops, jumping back on the plane, and heading to work.

Now, like Brett and Fedup, we plan to orient around months, rather than weeks, at the destination. This year, 8 weeks in Peru (albeit moving around the country); next year 10 weeks (maybe more?) in south pacific, but limiting to 4 close-by destinations. (And we'll likely throw another 2 months in to island hop the caribbean this winter.) That amortizes both the air cost and hassle factor over many more days of exploration.

Given that you are semi-retired, it is probably going to be tough to balance "home" and away. For us, "semi" wasn't an option, and we have been cutting down on home obligations so that we don't have to worry about integrating back in when we return.

Like I said, take with a block of salt....

Edited to add.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:34 AM   #9
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When traveling to a foreign country I am now going to carry a supply of antibiotics just in case. This way I can get on top of an infection as soon as I notice something isn't right.
If I'm not mistaken, you would need a doctor's prescription to purchase any sort of oral antibiotics, such as amoxicillin. And you should not take antibiotics to treat viral infections, such as the common cold or influenza, etc.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:34 AM   #10
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To the OP:

It sounds like you are doing too much travelling for your comfort zone. This is not the Amazing Race. There are no performance objectives.

With respect to infections, Sojourner is correct. Most of the issues you describe are viral. Antibiotics will not help them, and may increase your chances of incurring antibiotic resistant infections in the future. W2R's advice on hand washing and sanitation is wise.

I find that I enjoy travel in ER more when I can pace myself. In fact, that is the beauty of ER! For me, that means one "big" trip per year (often involving several countries) and two or three short or simple trips (such as a winter week in Mexico). I choose carefully. I only go to places I really want to see. I have no desire to visit certain countries and places that I consider risky or too uncomfortable, although they may be on many people's bucket lists. Travelling to Europe from from where I live may mean three flights, so I sometimes break the trip by building in a stay with friends, or even in a hotel (Paris, anyone?). I use my frequent flyer points to upgrade to business class or premium economy. I figure if I can't afford little luxuries like that, perhaps the trip should wait till I can. For example, I won't be going to Australia until I can incorporate a layover for a few days in Hawaii. Last year I had a wonderful 35 day trip that involved a transatlantic cruise to Italy, a week in Tuscany, and a week in Malta, plus more. I was so relaxed that I never felt stressed, except when I had a 12 minute rail connection at Tiburtina in Rome. But a kind young Italian man helped me find the right platform for the high speed train to Firenze, where I had a Room With A View. It felt like the Grand Tour of old.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:42 AM   #11
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If I'm not mistaken, you would need a doctor's prescription to purchase any sort of oral antibiotics, such as amoxicillin. And you should not take antibiotics to treat viral infections, such as the common cold or influenza, etc.
Spent a lot of time in third world countries during my work days. My Dr would give me a Rx and I would a bottle of antibiotics with me.

If/when I thought I needed them, I'd call him to double check.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:53 AM   #12
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DW and I usually do a month in France, winters in Fl and summers North of Boston.

We usually don't find much downside. I've traveled internationally for work most of my life and we still enjoy it.

I do have to admit however that after a few health scares (Midnight runs to the ER) I'm a little less brave about going places where getting to a hospital quickly would be a challenge. We love a quiet little island in the Caribbean but there's no doctor on-island and no onsite staff after 10PM so there's no fast/easy way to get off the island to a hospital.
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Old 06-03-2017, 10:36 AM   #13
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I have found that 'slow travel' helps with a lot of the issues you mention. Spending more time in 1 place lets you not feel obligated to go see every site in a very short time frame... you can sight-see in the morning, take a nap in the afternoon, and have a leisurely passeggiata in the evening. You get to know the area better, more in depth, and you don't exhaust yourself as much.

We did 9 weeks in Europe 2 years ago (with kids!!!)... Most of our stays were 7 days and that allowed us 'days off' from sight seeing. If one of us had a cold or felt puney we'd hang at our rental apartment and relax, reading and napping.
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Old 06-03-2017, 12:59 PM   #14
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We moved all mail that we could to email. Incredible difference. Less shredding, less recycling. Now, if only we could end the junk mail and flyers!

So much better, even when we are home. We also made our email independent of our service provider.
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Old 06-03-2017, 01:12 PM   #15
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We did but that didn't stop the spams and junk mails. Plus the things from IRS and FTB, how do you switch to email?
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Old 06-03-2017, 01:35 PM   #16
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I fall in love with places. We went on a cruise , i wanted to live permanently on a cruise ship. Then i saw a tv show that people do that. We went to some all inclusive place they said it was 5 stars, i did the math we could live there all year and still have money left over. Id probably get sick of paradise. Give me a warm loaf of Italian bread, and a double order of veal Parmigiana and im in Tuscany in my mind and im happy.
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:15 PM   #17
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I have found that 'slow travel' helps with a lot of the issues you mention. Spending more time in 1 place lets you not feel obligated to go see every site in a very short time frame... you can sight-see in the morning, take a nap in the afternoon, and have a leisurely passeggiata in the evening. You get to know the area better, more in depth, and you don't exhaust yourself as much.

We did 9 weeks in Europe 2 years ago (with kids!!!)... Most of our stays were 7 days and that allowed us 'days off' from sight seeing. If one of us had a cold or felt puney we'd hang at our rental apartment and relax, reading and napping.
We do the same thing. We figure we can come back if there is some great stuff that we missed. It is one of the joys of being retired. Paris and Nice for the 3rd time this September, renting airbnb apartments in both places with friends.
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:31 PM   #18
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We did but that didn't stop the spams and junk mails. Plus the things from IRS and FTB, how do you switch to email?
Canada offers secure mail for both your bank, investment dealer and infernal revenue collectors. You get an email notice saying to check your secure mail. Insurance renewals, pharmacy payments. The only thing we get in the mail are corporate action notices.

Spam and junk email are trapped by the various agents. They are placed in a junk folder and then erased after 30 days. I check it once a week because sometimes legitimate mail gets put there. Just have to tell it Not junk.
Often delivery notices from Costco, amazon and their agents.
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:58 PM   #19
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I agree with the slow travel recommendation. DH and I are 2 months into a 3-month retirement celebration trip to the Virgin Islands, and it is SO much more relaxing than any of our prior 1 or 2 week vacations. As rodi noted, there is time for down days and plenty of time to see and do the things that are important to us. OP, it sounds as though you're doing fairly short duration trips now which are exhausting because of the long plane rides and the illnesses that often result from them or from adjusting to a new environment.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:05 PM   #20
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What happened to us was we gave up organized tours. What we do now is to follow a tour's itinerary, BUT at our pace, No bags outside at 7 on the bus at 8, etc.
We did this in Switzerland and Santa Fe, and both trips worked out great. In many cases, we stayed at the same hotel a tour would. Plus we saved a bunch of money.
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