After a year traveling the world, one of my biggest regrets is not kicking my coffee habit before my trip. I got addicted to coffee in college when my work-study job at a student cafe gave free access to the magic elixir. Don’t get me wrong – I think coffee is amazing. But a coffee addiction can be a major liability when you travel the world long-term.
While the health benefits and drawbacks of coffee continue to be debated in the scientific community, the simple fact is that coffee is chemically addictive — and that withdrawal, even for short periods, can be brutal on the coffee drinker. So here’s why I recommend giving up coffee addiction before your trip around the world.
First, it’s a pain to fetch a cup of coffee every morning. When you live at home, you have your coffee routine down. Maybe you brew it yourself at home. Or maybe you pick it up at the same shop every morning. Or maybe your work or school provides it. But, wherever you get your coffee, you have a regular and predictable source.
Not so when you are traveling!
Sure, if you are lucky, maybe your hostel, AirBnB, or hotel will provide it. But more often than not they don’t. And then you have to go out and find it. I don’t know about you, but the pre-coffee version of me does not enjoying stumbling around the streets of Southeast Asia at 7 am trying to find an open cafe before the minibus arrives to take me on a six hour drive through the jungle to my next stop.
Second, coffee is an expense. Sure, it’s not the priciest habit in the world. But when you are trying to travel the world on a budget, you really have to pay attention to every cost. And coffee adds up. A cup of joe every day quickly adds up when on the road, especially in less cheap travel destinations like Europe and Australia. You’re better off saving those funds so that you can travel longer.
Lastly, the coffee you end up drinking while traveling tends to be terrible. I don’t mean to suggest there isn’t good coffee out there to be found. Heck, even in Alamty, Kazakhstan, I found some incredible cafes. But, precisely because finding your brew is such a pain and is expensive, you inevitably end up settling for whatever you can find.
Which, far too often, is this terrible evil black dust.
Its brand name is Nescafe.
And Nescafe is the devil.
I really do think Nescafe was invented by some sadistic person bent of torturing whatever poor coffee addicts might be forced to consume the stuff. It’s an entirely miserable substitute for the real thing, whose only redeeming attribute is that it’s ubiquitously available in the world.
If you’re a coffee aficionado who travels, you’ll quickly have to confront the decision whether to consume Nescafe or skip your cuppa altogether. Like a smoker being offered only nicotine gum, you’ll have to accept it or go cold turkey altogether. Either way, it’s not pretty.
So, for all you coffee addicts out there who are preparing to travel around the world, heed my advice: ditch the coffee habit. And ditch it now.
You’ll thank me when you’re out on the road.
Nate Hake has traveled to 65+ countries across six continents around the world and blogs about his travels at TravelLemming.com. He is from Denver, Colorado, and recently concluded a six month stint living in Mexico.