Posted 06 May, 2013 | 10 Comments
Posted in: Musings, Travel Blogs

We love travel, I think that’s clear from the way we live our life… but travel does create some bad habits that you’ll start to notice when you return home. During an epic trip, you change so much that it’s hard to conform to a normal life when you go back to your home country.

You don’t always fit back in with the same crowd, you have little to talk about with friends because they have had completely different experiences than you, and you can sometimes feel alienated from the lifestyle of the people you had left behind.

A lot of this is because of strange habits and thoughts that your new life of travel has created. If you’ve left home for a long time then you know exactly what we’re talking about.

Travel changes you in ways you never imagined. The changes are almost always for the better, but there are a few things that really stand out.

Here are a few habits that you should try to rid (or put on hold) while you’re at home:

Talking About Travel.

This is the first thing people do when they get home, and unfortunately, it can only last about an hour. Aside from family, most people at home simply aren’t that interested in the life-altering experiences you’ve had over the past however many months/years. Ask any long-term traveller and they’ll say the same thing.

Your travel stories may be fun and interesting at first, but no matter how good they are, they will likely start to sound redundant and pretentious to people who haven’t been travelling for long periods of time. Save your stories for other travellers and try to connect with family and friends over a different topic.

Sure they’ll want to hear about your trip, but that’s probably all you’ll have to talk about, and after a couple of days, the novelty starts to wear off. They’ll want to talk about other topics but all you have is travel. You can’t blame them for getting bored of your stories, just enjoy each others company and talk about other things besides travel.

Bad Habbits Picked Up From Travel
Maybe you can bond with family over other topics!..drinks are always a good idea 🙂

Trying To Bargain For Everything.

Travelling to other countries, you start to get used to having to bargain for everything you buy. This is a way of life for much of the world’s citizens but definitely not for us in developed countries.

There are still a few things you can bargain for (ie: extra goodies when buying electronics) but don’t go to Tesco or Safeway and try to bargain down the price of your produce!

Flushing Toilet Paper.

Bad Habits Picked Up While TravellingThis is a real bad habit. In most countries, you can’t flush toilet paper.  The pipes and sewage systems just aren’t made for it and they get clogged up.

Even in China, where they invented toilet paper, you can’t flush it! You get so used to putting used toilet paper into the bin that you may find yourself doing it at home without even noticing!

This can be a real piss-off for your friends and family who go into the bathroom after you and see more than just tissue and cotton swabs in their bathroom rubbish can!

Not Wanting To Commit To Plans.

Most travellers are content with a “Ya if I see you there” attitude. The only solid commitments you have while on the road are with buses, boats, trains and planes. Backpackers are so laid back that there really are no hurt feelings if someone doesn’t show up for dinner.

But when you return home… BEWARE! Your friends will start getting really annoyed if you say “Ya if I’m there, I’m there”, and then you just don’t show up. Remember the term “flakey”? Your friends will if you keep “ditching” them. This laid back travel mentality definitely doesn’t fly at home.

Not Cleaning Up After Yourself.

A person can get used to leaving a guesthouse / hotel room every day and never cleaning it. You may get used to having house keeping come by and make your bed, take out your garbage and scrub your toilet.

When you get home, it can be hard to remember to pick up after yourself! Travel may have turned you into a complete slob!

Bad habits of travel, not cleaning up after yourself
Our Messy Room Here In China … Nobody Around To Clean Up After Us!

Calculating Everything Using The “Days Of Travel Formula”

Calculating Everything At HomeThis can get really annoying. When you return home, you’ll be so used to calculating everything you buy that you just won’t be able to stop! When we’re travelling, we calculate things in travel time, so if something costs $50, that’s often calculated as one more day on the trip.

Everything at home is so expensive that you’ll be tallying up months of travel time from a quick stop at the super market!

Doing What You Want, When You Want.

A traveller gets so used to absolute freedom that it’s hard to go home and submit to certain commitments and obligations. You may have to go to work, pay bills, have meetings, clean up, make plans and live life on a sort of regimented schedule. Your desire to only do something if you want to, may come across as selfish or irresponsible to those at home.

If you must return to work, you should never abandon this feeling of freedom, only put it on hold until you can unplug again and go on another trip.

For Couples… Being Together 24/7.

Okay, this isn’t a bad habit, but this will be hard to get used to. You’re so accustomed to spending every waking moment together that you may have to get used to going to work or spending time apart for extended periods. As funny as it may sound, Dariece and I genuinely missed each other when we had to spend 8-12 hours apart during a working day. We’ve remedied this by working together on the road!

Bad Habits Of Travel, Being together 24/7

In Closing…

When you go home after a long trip, you’ll be shocked by the mixture of emotions that flood in. The minute the plane’s wheels touch down on that familiar tarmac, your life will be in for a change. But you don’t have to make the change final. You should always do what you love, and if you just can’t conform to your former lifestyle, then plan another trip, try to travel indefinitely or just make alterations to your lifestyle at home.

You will certainly notice these habits you’ve picked up on the road, and while you should try to stop them temporarily, you should never forget them completely. Keep what you’ve learned and improve your life at home, using your experiences as a toolbox for a better future.

Travel will always change you, be sure to embrace the transformation and put it to good use upon your return home.

Have you ever gone home after a long trip and tried to “conform” to that lifestyle? Were you able to? Leave a comment below!

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Written by

Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift are the owners and founders of Goats On The Road. Together they have been travelling and working abroad since 2008 and have more than 20 years of combined experience in online business, finance, travel and entrepreneurship. Their expert advice has been featured on the Lonely Planet, CNN Money, Business Insider,  WiseBread and Forbes and they also spoke at the World Tourism Forum in Istanbul about the business of travel blogging.

Learn more about Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift on their respective author archives on this site and on the Goats On The Road About Us Page.

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10 thoughts on “Travel Creates Bad Habits

  1. These habits are so true! Routine and small talk really get painful after travelling. Lovely post 🙂

  2. I know, right?! It’s definitely difficult to conform to the lifestyle back home and try to fit in again…a very weird feeling.

    Thanks for the comment 🙂

  3. Great article!!! We leave for our RTW in about 50 days now and it’s great to see some of the habits we will pick up! I know after our 3 week honeymoon we had picked up a few of these already!!

  4. The count down is on! We’re off in 69 days (but who’s counting?!) It’ll be interesting to see if you guys pick up some of these travel habits, maybe you can add some to our list 🙂

    Cheers and happy travels.

  5. This was such a great article. As the mother of a world traveller it definately resonated with me. An insight as to how my son feels and permission for me to continue to miss him while knowing he is living the experience of a lifetime!

  6. Thanks Mom! Your son misses you too! Can’t wait to see you when we get home.

  7. Haha all of this is so true! I find it incredibly difficult talking about travel with friends and family back home so I usually don’t talk about it. In that way, a blog is so rewarding because people reading it actually want to know and are interested in the same things you are.

    Another bad habit I pick up when traveling is to stop working out as much, because of the lack of routine.

  8. Hey Sofia!

    That’s definitely a bad habit we have when travelling also, pants start to become a bit tighter.haha. Either that, or we both get sick and lose a lot of weight!

    A website/blog is a great way to connect with like minded people for sure 🙂

    Thanks for the comment.

  9. This is really interesting reading. We are seven months into a trip we hope will last two or three years. You have outlined so many of my fears! Even on the road I find it hard to connect with friends and family at home about things other than travels. I really try not to bore them or sounds pretentious but when travel is all your life revolves around it becomes difficult.
    Also, we are a couple travelling and when we go home we will have to go back to living separately (with our parents!) this is definitely going to be a culture shock. I’m not sure how we will cope! Fingers crossed we can find work on the road and our blog takes off so we can travel indefinitely and not have to deal with these issues!

  10. Hi Emily! You’ll get through it, trust me! lol. But, living with parents separately? I don’t think I could do that! haha. All the best to you guys, and hopefully you’ll get back out there

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