Do You Travel Too Fast?

I see it happen all the time. Whether it’s a one-week vacation or a year-long round-the-world trip, somebody will share their itinerary and it’s a long string of two- to three-day stays in dozens of cities. I know all too well what it’s like to have a bucket list longer than a CVS receipt. The temptation to see and do as much as possible is real! But my friends, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, especially if you want to quit your job to travel! Here are a few of the downsides you’re risking if you travel too fast.

solo female traveler running through an airport

Table of Contents

What’s at Stake if You Travel Too Fast?

You get burned out

You will get sick of traveling, this amazing incredible once-in-a-lifetime experience that many people won’t ever get to do. You’ll be sick of it. You’ll feel exhausted and negative, the way many of you feel about the jobs you’re trying to leave behind. Travel burnout is real.

You have zero margin for error

Those down-to-the-minute itineraries usually don’t account for how long it takes to get from place to place. What if you get lost? Or a metro line is out of service? Or your flight gets delayed or cancelled? We have seen an entire airline just not show up to work in recent years. Delays and cancellations happen so much these days! You need room in your itinerary for things to go wrong.
solo female traveler carrying a suitcase trying to navigate a new city on her smartphone

You make more mistakes

In addition to the things that go wrong outside your control, when you travel too fast, you are more prone to making mistakes. Say you scheduled yourself 2 days in Milan, 1 day in Florence, and 2 days in Rome. Seems fine on paper — Florence has a compact city center and you should be able to see what you want to see in one day. But you haven’t accounted for how long train times are and you wind up with only a few hours to explore. before you have to board your train to Rome. You don’t want to miss your next train, so you grab a taxi to the train station and because you’re in such a hurry, you leave your wallet in the cab. This kind of stuff happens more when you’re putting pressure on yourself to stick to a jam-packed itinerary.

You may get physically sick more often

All that go-go-go can wear down your immune system. Lots of frequent and fast-paced travel puts a physical toll on your body. During my round-the-world trip, I saw changes in my skin, my hair, and my menstrual cycle. When you travel too fast, you are also in very high-traffic areas like airports and train stations more often, putting you into more frequent contact with germs.
solo female traveler on a boat ride in Southeast Asia

You spend more money

Fast-paced travel is just plain more expensive. I went to Paris during my round-the-world trip and spent about $60 per day. More recently, on a vacation where I packed every day full of activity, I spent three times as much per day! Hustling to try and do as much as possible hurts your budget. You’re spending much more on transportation because you’re taking more flights, buses, and trains. You’re also missing out on potential hotel deals — sometimes your nightly rate gets a break when you book a longer stay.

You STILL miss out on stuff!

Here’s the real kicker. You will still miss out on things! Moving quickly through a lot of destinations means you typically just scratch the surface, see a few highlights, and move on. Or if you pack a lot of activity into a day like I did in Paris, you miss out on different types of experiences. You may feel like you’re saying “yes” to everything, but you’re still saying “no” to some stuff. You’re saying “no” to slower, peaceful moments like spending all day in a cafe. You’re saying “no” to more spontaneous moments. You won’t have time to wander around that cute shop that caught your eye if you’re rushing to make your next booked tour.
Black solo female traveler working on a laptop on a train as a digital nomad holding a cup of coffee

Who Suffers the Most from Traveling Too Fast

All these risks and downsides are particularly rough on solo female travelers. When you’re traveling by yourself, you don’t have any backup. You’re the only person responsible for your travel experience. The points I made about making more mistakes are an especially high risk for solo travelers.

The biggest risks are felt by long-term travelers. If you’re a digital nomad or taking a round-the-world trip, you will be affected so much more by the dangers of too fast travel.

How to Slow Down if You Travel Too Fast

If you’re prone to packing your itineraries, here are a few ways to combat it.
  • Always look up travel times while you’re planning.
  • Pick destinations for longer stays regardless of what you want to do there.
  • Schedule days that are purely for rest and relaxation.
  • Try to focus on just one or two big sightseeing activities a day.
The best thing you can do, though, is work with an expert to plan your trip. If you’re planning to quit your job and travel, click here to book a free call with me! I’ve distilled everything I learned on my year-long round-the-world trip into systems for customizing long-term travel plans, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
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  1. This post brings up a lot of great points! I’ve definitely been guilty of traveling too fast or trying to pack too much into one trip before, and I always end up frustrated and exhausted. It’s much better to take a slow and really soak in the best of every destination!

  2. I am planning a trip to Western Australia in 2024 and I purposely not planning to visit the other states. Instead I will leisurely visit Perth, enjoy time with my friend, and visit one other section of the state. BUT it is hard not to try to see everything when I travel to Europe. I think part of this post-pandemic travel fever to DO IT ALL.

    1. Post-pandemic definitely plays a role! I broke all my usual travel rules this spring on my first international trip since the pandemic. It’s what got me thinking about this topic again!

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