10 Things We Don’t Like About Long Term Travel



Travel isn’t just our passion, it’s our lifestyle and our livelihood. We live, eat and sleep travel. For the last 6 years, we’ve been exploring the world almost non-stop and it’s been an extraordinary adventure filled with priceless memories. But it’s not all been rainbows and butterflies. We’ve had to make our fair share of sacrifices and compromises to build our travel business throughout those 6 years on the road.

So we thought you might find it interesting to read about our 10 major downsides to long term travel, based on the experiences we’ve had. Now, please don’t mistake this as whining or complaining. We know we could have stopped at any time! Instead, we want it to read more like raising awareness about the downsides to travel, just in case you’re planning to do something similar in the near future.

Photo of a couple standing together with santa hats next to a christmas tree outside a high end restaurant in Kuala Lumpur
Here we are at a restaurant in South East Asia on Christmas Day

1. Missing Family + Friends Events

When we look back and think about the negative aspects of travel over long periods of time, we have to say that missing certain life events like weddings, significant birthdays, stag/hen do’s (bachelor/bachelorette), and even funerals within our families or circles of friends in the UK and US has been one of the worst parts for us.

It was hard to tell friends of 15 years that we couldn’t make their wedding because we were on the other side of the world. But at the same time we couldn’t keep going home for every event that happened. Even missing lots of smaller family gatherings or our friends taking weekend trips quickly added up. And before long we felt like we’d missed out on so much. Video calls helped us, but it’s not the same as being there in person.

2. Time Zones

Being in different time zones all the time messed us up more than we expected. Trying to do video calls to catch up with parents or friends when we’re in Argentina, then Japan, then Italy was always challenging. We barely knew which time zone we were in half the time! If you ever decide to travel long term, one piece of advice we can’t stress enough is the importance of staying in touch with your loved ones.

We also had to do work calls and meetings to the US at all hours of the day or night from countries all around the world. Anecdotally, the worst one was during the football world cup in November and December 2022; we were spending 3 months living in Kuala Lumpur and Mark was having to wake up to watch the England games kicking off at 3:00am. It wasn’t much fun!

Photo of a laptop screen showing a football match with the lights off
This was Mark having to wake up in the middle of the night to watch England games

3. Limited Control Over Eating

If you’ve ever traveled long term, you’ll know how much of a toll (both physically and mentally) it takes on your body when you have limited control over what you’re eating. We’re both healthy eaters by nature, but spending a month traveling through Vietnam or 3 months road tripping around America made it near impossible for us to eat healthily. We’d eat out 3 times a day, spend loads of money, get out of shape and feel lethargic.

We know we’ve been lucky to have eaten amazing food in places like Bolivia, Cambodia and Hungary. But not being able to eat what we want, when we want was definitely one of our major disadvantages to long term travel. Having the ability to consistently and routinely eat clean, healthy meals three times a day since we stopped traveling has reinvigorated our bodies and minds.

4. Hard To Work Out

Adding insult to injury, getting into any sort of fitness regime or work out plan was simply unfeasible. No matter how good our intentions were at the beginning, it fell by the wayside almost immediately. We tried lifting our backpacks like dumbbells, resistance training in hotel rooms and running, but it’s just not the same as being in a consistent routine at home. Our mindsets weren’t right, our diets weren’t right, it was usually too hot and we had too much to do each day without also trying to fit in a workout.

Sure, we’ve walked hundreds of thousands of steps around cities, national parks and hiking trails over the years. But walking only does so much. Getting access to gyms and weights isn’t easy in a lot of places, so muscle deterioration is inevitable. And even when we did get that rare hotel gym, it was only for a day or two so there was no consistency. Since we finished traveling long term, we’ve been able to get back in the gym, get out for runs and swims, and supplement the exercise with healthy eating habits. It’s been a huge win for our mental health!

Photo of a gym with benches and free weights leading to city views through large glass windows
One of the few gyms we were able to use on our long term travels

5. Constantly Planning

Planning trips is our thing, we’re very good at it and we always make the most of every place we visit. That’s just always been our travel style. Take a look through our travel guidebooks and you’ll see how much we like planning! But imagine having to plan out your entire day, every single day, month after month, year after year. Trust us, it gets old.

Where are we going to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner today? Which attractions are we visiting? When do they open? Do we need to book in advance? Which hotel shall we book? Is it in a safe neighborhood? Do they have WiFi so we can work? Where are we going next? It’s never ending decision making. Options, options and more options. Decision fatigue is a real thing.

6. Constantly Packing

Six years is a long time to effectively live out of a suitcase. In fact, we even lived out of 40L backpacks for a part of it. So we had very few options, we’d have to do lots of washing and wearing the same things over and over gets really boring. Then there was the constant unpacking and repacking of our suitcases and backpacks every single time we visited a new place. And we visited a lot of new places. The sound of suitcase zippers closing is like an annoying alarm clock going off in the morning for us now!

Joking aside, after so many years packing became second nature to us and we did get used to living minimalistic lives. We completely forgot what clothes and shoes we owned back at our parents houses. So it’s nice to have our entire wardrobes back now that we’ve stopped traveling full time. Being able to walk into our closet and look at our shirts hung up in a line is something we never thought we’d be so happy about.

Photo of planes in a line at an airport terminal one of the major downsides to long term travel is constantly being in transit
One of the many days we’ve spent in airports over the last half decade

7. Spending Lots Of Time In Transit

Do you find it frustrating when you lose entire days when you fly somewhere? Even a short flight takes up most of your day once you factor in transport to and from airports, waiting time etc, and it’s all dead time. Now, imagine doing that hundreds of times over, and then combine it with coach journeys, train rides and countless taxis. We can’t (and don’t want to!) count the amount of hours we’ve lost in transit between places in the world.

We’ve taken a 24 hour coach ride from Bolivia to Peru, 18 hour flights from the US to Singapore, a 9 hour train ride from Serbia to Austria, a 5 hour minibus journey from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai (one of the worst!) and so many more. And it’s really hard to be productive in transit, so we lost a lot of time just sitting around waiting to get to the next place.

8. Safety Concerns

Luckily, we never had any major safety issues in any of the places we visited in Asia, Europe, South America or the US. But that’s mainly because we were always safety conscious, sensible and risk averse. We once had some cash stolen from our wallet in Vietnam, and we almost had an incident with some sketchy guys at the train station in Pisa, Italy.

Overall we did pretty well, but being on guard all the time becomes tiring. Thinking about our surroundings, gauging the people around us, considering what to do in case there’s an emergency, keeping our money safe. These are things we’d have to do every day when we traveled long term, and it takes up a lot of energy. In some places we’d spend more time being hyper-aware of our safety than actually enjoying the culture, atmosphere, food or attractions.

Photo of a Thai food spread with spring rolls, dips and a beef dish on a table
It’s great to eat delicious food around the world but three meals a day adds up and becomes expensive

9. It’s Expensive

It might sound like an obvious one, but traveling for years on end is very expensive. Even when we visited places where the cost of living is lower than the UK or the US, we still ended up spending more than we expected on transport, hotels, food and attractions. We know it’s expensive to live anywhere in the current economic climate, but it’s nowhere near as much as traveling for a living.

In 2023 alone, we spent over $50,000 on travel. And we’re very conservative people by nature, saving money wherever we can (Mark is from Yorkshire after all!). In truth, that number could have been so much higher if we’d splurged on hotels, restaurants, attractions or tours. So if you plan to travel long term, be aware of the financial implications and don’t just expect it to be cheap in Southeast Asia.

10. Worrying It’s The Wrong Decision

Quitting our jobs to travel the world was a huge personal risk for us. We both have degrees, we had careers in science and we always made sensible life decisions. Our friends and families couldn’t believe what we were doing. So naturally, we’ve had plenty of days in the last 6 years where we’d question whether we’d made the right decision. Especially those long days in transit when our minds had plenty of time to wander.

Of course now that we have a successful travel business we know it was the right call, but we weren’t 100% sure for a good few years. It’s human nature to question our decisions, but long term travel has a funny way of forcing you think about your life and the choices you’ve made. Maybe it was the perpetual combination of new experiences followed by downtime causing it to come in waves. But ask anyone you know who spent a long period of time traveling around the world and we’re sure they’ll tell you they felt the same.

More Personal Guides

Want to learn more about us? Head over to our about Where Are Those Morgans page to meet Mark and Kristen.

We hope you enjoyed our take on the downsides to long term travel!

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments below.

Happy Travels,

Mark and Kristen

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