Various neural network models have been proposed to tackle combinatorial optimization problems such as the travelling salesman problem (TSP). Existing learning-based TSP methods adopt a simple setting that the training and testing data are independent and identically distributed. However, the existing literature fails to solve TSP instances when training and testing data have different distributions. Concretely, we find that different training and testing distribution will result in more difficult TSP instances, i.e., the solution obtained by the model has a large gap from the optimal solution. To tackle this problem, in this work, we study learning-based TSP methods when training and testing data have different distributions using adaptive-hardness, i.e., how difficult a TSP instance can be for a solver. This problem is challenging because it is non-trivial to (1) define hardness measurement quantitatively; (2) efficiently and continuously generate sufficiently hard TSP instances upon model training; (3) fully utilize instances with different levels of hardness to learn a more powerful TSP solver. To solve these challenges, we first propose a principled hardness measurement to quantify the hardness of TSP instances. Then, we propose a hardness-adaptive generator to generate instances with different hardness. We further propose a curriculum learner fully utilizing these instances to train the TSP solver. Experiments show that our hardness-adaptive generator can generate instances ten times harder than the existing methods, and our proposed method achieves significant improvement over state-of-the-art models in terms of the optimality gap. The codes are publicly available.