Blog I Good Travel

Fomo travel vacation

Fomo while traveling

Fear of Missing out – how do you deal with excessive holiday expectations? Our author Nadine does the self-test.


While I'm lying in the sun under the palm trees, enjoying my book and the peace and quiet, I can't stop thinking that part of the group has just gone surfing. “Am I missing out on the wave of my life?” is what goes through my head. Probably not, because the conditions are not optimal today. This is exactly why I decided to spend a quiet afternoon on the terrace of my accommodation. The sun tickles my nose and the freshly squeezed orange juice in my hand gives me a sweet feeling of lightness. Everything perfect. So why do I still have the impression that lying here is making me miss so much? After all, there will still be waves tomorrow, and the day after, and in two weeks. I'm here for a month, so I don't need to squeeze all the activities of this place into a few hours. I still feel stressed. After all, I watched videos of this surf spot weeks before I came here and I should be spending every second out there in the waves, right?


About expectations and external determination

I have had this feeling, this fear of missing out on something, very often in the past. What's going on inside me also has a name: FOMO, or Fear of Missing out. The Cambridge Dictionary describes this phenomenon as a worried feeling that you might miss out on exciting events and activities that other people are going to. British researchers found in 2013 in a study found that FOMO is strongly linked to our social media usage. If you use Instagram, TikTok and Co frequently, this creates a high level of experience pressure. As a result, our expectations regarding certain events or life in general shift immensely. Even (and especially) when we travel, we can't avoid this: before our trip, we see reels, posts and stories from other people who have already gotten to know the place we are traveling to and thus develop a certain idea of ​​what it should be like and what we have to experience there. And the more we watch other people explore the world and do things, the more likely we are to be afraid of missing out.

Fomo on the way

FOMO at home ≠ FOMO while traveling

FOMO definitely gets out of hand for me more often when I'm out and about than at home in everyday life. At home, it's comparatively easy for me to forego an evening at the bar with friends or not go to that one event that was announced on Instagram at the weekend and instead watch series on the couch. Things look a little different when traveling and on excursions. How come? Well, home is always there, I can go to the bar at any time. The event may happen again. Time is limited when traveling. You may only see a place once and never come back. It's clear that you want to get the most out of the few days or weeks.

Fomo on the way

Different everywhere in your head, just not in the now

You might be wondering at this point, what's so bad about wanting to experience as much as possible during a trip and having certain ideas about how everything should go? It's actually completely legitimate, right? Yes, but: If you're always thinking about what you're not doing, it usually ruins what you're doing. Life in the moment is lost. The now can never be good enough. Your mind is always on the next adventure, on the next activity that you want to squeeze in somehow - caught in this endless carousel that constantly revolves around the question “Is there something I should be doing more of right now?” The answer is no. It's good the way it is. We don't have to experience the same trip that someone on social media has already experienced. After all, you want to gain your own experiences and not blindly imitate what you have seen somewhere.

Stop FOMO – is that possible?

But what do you do when you realize that you're constantly chasing after everything on a trip and always feel like you're missing something? A simple but very effective solution: spend less time on social media. For a trip, research more offline again, buy a travel guide in the old school way or get tips from friends. We should also spend less time on social networks while traveling be it to post photos or videos or for research. It's better to ask the locals or other travelers for recommendations. You often get a much more honest opinion about certain places and activities and not a filtered and embellished social media representation.

JOMO instead of FOMO

In the best case scenario, this way of traveling results in JOMO, the opposite philosophy to FOMO. We implement JOMO, i.e. Joy of missing out, by distancing ourselves from social networks and other digital distractions, celebrating quiet moments and listening to our own needs instead of doing what social media and the like want us to do. Because honestly: In the end, nothing negative will happen if we don't do that one thing on vacation that we've read about everywhere. Life goes on. We'll probably experience other equally great things at another time. And anyway: If the now feels good right now, why even think about what might feel even better? Bigger, better, faster has nothing to do with sustainable and conscious travel anyway. Sitting on the sunny terrace, I remind myself that the good waves will come again tomorrow. Or possibly on your next surf trip. Either way, I definitely won't miss anything. Because I have just as good a time with my cool juice and my exciting book as I do on my surfboard.

Jomo instead of Fomo

© Photos: Nadine Pinezits

Nadine is a freelance editor and copywriter. She lives in Austria and commutes between Salzburg, Styria and Vienna. She is therefore either in the mountains or in the urban jungle, but at the same time tries to spend as much time as possible in her heart country Portugal.


  • Kai

    This happened to me when I was taking photos on vacation. I constantly tried to capture the moment instead of enjoying it intensely.


Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with * marked