“I love a good nap, sometimes it’s the only thing getting me out of bed in the morning”
– George Costanza
Back in September I was strolling down the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto with a French girl I’d just met. “What do you want to do next?” she asked.
“Oh I dunno. Maybe go back to the hostel and relax, take a nap.”
The horrified look on her face said it all. What kind of lazy traveler WAS I? Here we were in this gorgeous historical wonderland and I wanted to waste time with SLEEP?
Whatever. Judge all you want. I stand by my choice: sometimes on the road a good nap is absolutely essential.
The day to day routine of long-term travel is very different from taking a short vacation. You can’t go go go at the pace you would if you only had a week or two to see as much as possible. Sightseeing all day, every day, is exhausting. If you kept up that kind of pace you would probably die. Part of the reason it IS so worthwhile to go on longer trips is that you can take your time and factor in some precious down time.
Even if you ARE on a shorter vacation, there is still a lot of value in taking a nice, refreshing nap. Travel is hard work sometimes, and a healthy power nap can give you that extra boost to get through the rest of the day… or night.
Finally, naps are just so freaking awesome. They feel really good, especially when you’ve earned them with some hard work sightseeing (or staying up partying all night). They are enjoyable and there’s just no reason to feel guilty for indulging.
Stephanie’s tips for the best travel nap:
- Don’t nap after 5 pm- Unless you’ve got a REALLY long night ahead of you, napping past 5 will probably just interfere with your ability to go to sleep later.
- Invest in a sleep mask-So useful for blocking out ambient daylight. particularly useful if you are staying in a hostel dorm.
- Don’t watch TV while you’re trying to nap- This might work for some people, but I usually find I’ve gotten so involved in the program that I’ve whittled my nap time down to nil. So unsatisfying.
- It’s okay to nap on a bus, plan or train, but don’t expect to feel very rested afterward.
- Set an Alarm- an hour, hour and a half tops, otherwise you run the risk of sleeping the entire day away.
- Don’t apologize- Like I said above, there’s no shame in napping. Own your choice!
Am I missing any good tips? I’d love to write more but all this talk of napping is making me quite drowsy…