Where and How to Sleep when Traveling

Sleep is a hot topic of debate among global travelers.  We seem divided over whether sleeping is a worthwhile pursuit when you’re far from home.   On one hand time spent sleeping is time not spent sightseeing or exploring.  Some argue you should max out your time traveling and worry about sleep afterwards.  On the other hand sleeping is a luxury.  Many of us don’t get the sleep we need or want when we’re busy with life at home.  Your travel time is YOUR time, which means alarm clocks and early mornings should stay far away and leave you in peace.

I am a firm believer in the value of sleep.  There’s no sense dragging yourself around the world if you’re exhausted the whole time.  Sure going to bed a little earlier might mean sacrificing the last round of drinks at the bar but a good sleep is far tastier than a martini – and there’s no hangover to battle the next day.

Here are a few reasons every traveler should learn to love sleep.

Sleep when and where you can.

Sleep is Free

Time spent sleeping is time not spent spending.  For every traveler on a budget this is something to consider.  Sure it’s fun to have a few drinks with the pals you just met traveling.  But at a certain time of night when a few drinks becomes many drinks, why not just hit the sack and save all the cash you would’ve wasted on tequila?

Sleep is Healthy

Traveling is awesome fun.  Your adrenaline rushes as you wander new alleyways and climb new mountains.  But traveling is also tough on your body.  You eat foods that your body might reject.  You gulp down new types of water.  You push your muscles to carry you from one volcano to the next.  Your body needs to sleep.  Denying it enough time to rest and recuperate pretty much guarantees that you’ll be sick somewhere along the way.  Give in to your body when it’s telling you it’s tired.  Sleeping a few extra hours today means not wasting tomorrow feeling terrible.

Sleep is Flexible

He loves his afternoon naps.

The party was just too good to leave early last night.  But you are dying to see the sunrise this morning.  That’s ok – sleep doesn’t always have to happen at night.  Traveling is all about following your own schedule.  Thankfully Sleep is happy to fit in wherever you can make time for it.  If night times are full of activity, take a delicious afternoon nap later on.

Sleep Travels Well

Every global traveler struggles against the clock.  You’d like to spend the next month, year, decade just in one place but your budget and schedule won’t allow.  Sleeping doesn’t have to cut in to your already short time.  It doesn’t always require a big bed and feather down duvet.  All you need is a neck pillow and maybe one of those lame eye masks (that you secretly love) and suddenly Sleep can find you just about anywhere.  Where ever possible schedule the long train, bus or plane rides – that you have to take anyway – for night time. Curl up in a ball and let Sleep settle in.  It will be a pleasure to wake up and find yourself ready to go again in a brand new place.

Sleep Lets You Enjoy Travel

An unexpected benefit of sleep...puppies!

You’ve seen the exhausted traveler before.  They plan to hike, bike, swim and sail all before lunchtime. But somewhere along the way they start to slow down.  Really slow down.  Pretty soon they’re the one holding everyone else up as they stumble down the path.  Being tired makes you grumpy, slow and just plain miserable to be around.  A solid sleep, on the other hand, improves your pace, outlook and reawakens your traveler’s curiosity  When you’re alert you observe more, participate more and generally have a better time.

So next time you plan a trip, factor in enough time for your pal, Sleep.


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8 responses to “Where and How to Sleep when Traveling”

  1. Alex says :

    interesting, never seen such a clearly laid out argument for sleep

  2. Jenna says :

    so I guess it’s time for a nap! Thanks for the tips!

  3. carmela says :

    “Delicious” is the perfect adjective for a nap while on vacation. I highly recommend it!

  4. Janet says :

    This reminds me of another post that you wrote, about how animals instinctively know (and do) what their bodies need. Like them, we should sleep…when we’re tired! I found when traveling in Latin or other southern, hot places, people take siestas, wherever they happen to be at mid-day, to beat the heat and because the body’s innate “clock” tells them to. Funny how even the way we sleep has cultural overtones. Thanks for the unusual piece.

    • beyonddisneytravel says :

      Hi Janet,

      Interesting observations. Firstly, I agree that this (another) tip we can take from animals. When they want to sleep (and if they can) they do so without apology. Secondly, I hadn’t thought before about the “cultural overtones” of sleep but am glad you have – brings a whole new dimension to sleep for travelers. Thanks for the comment!

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