It’s a feeling that strikes us all sooner or later, despite how often you’ve traveled or how old you are: homesickness.
Travel days begin to wear on you at some point and all you want is the familiarity of your own bed, your own language, your own family, and so on. So how do you keep yourself from giving in when you’re traveling long term?
1. Don’t give in to the frustrations that make you want to give up and wallow.
Bad things happen all the time, both at home and on the road, and there’s usually nothing you can do about it. I remember one particular day in Berlin when I had missed a booked tour after getting lost and stuck in an elevator. It started to rain and I wanted to cry, as overdramatic as it may have been. While I could have booked the next flight home, I learned that I needed time to reboot before carrying on with my trip. Which brings me to the second point.
2. Enjoy the comforts of home.
While it seems like this would only make you more homesick, you’d be surprised at how much a little familiarity can help, especially if you’re in a place where your native language isn’t spoken.
For me, it’s watching episodes of my favorite shows and splurging on snacks like Pringles and Coke. For you, it could be to cook yourself one of your favorite meals from home like a grilled cheese sandwich. Watch something on your laptop or splurge on a movie at the theater. You can also celebrate the things you’re missing, like celebrating the Fourth of July as I did with fellow expats in Sydney, or by splurging on chocolate for Easter in Pai.
3. Hang out with other people.
Distract yourself from the homesickness by making new friends. Ask around your hostel to see what other people are up to. Or you can meet up with locals through websites like CouchSurfing or Mealsharing. Check out a local newspaper or website to see what free events or festivals are taking place in your destination. Go on a free walking tour of the city.
4. Get outside.
There’s nothing quite like some Vitamin D to perk you up. Find a comfortable spot in a local park or a chair at a cafe to settle in with a good book. Go for a hike or a long walk, as most places are best seen on foot.
5. Turn yourself into an expat.
Even if you aren’t living in your destination, but are only there for a few days, it’s good to establish a routine. For example, go running in the park every morning or frequent the same restaurant a few times. Read the local newspaper to see what’s going on in the area.
If all else fails, you can contact your friends and family at home to see what they’re up to. Just don’t use communication as a crutch to avoid experiencing your trip.
How do you avoid or overcome homesickness abroad?
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