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How to Overcome Homesickness: Our Top 5 Helpful Tips!

How to overcome homesickness when you travel.

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.

Watching Girls and drinking tea
Watching Girls and drinking tea

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.

walking in Sydney
Going for a walk in Sydney

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?

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Comments

  1. Emily says

    I brought a little Christmas tree and my favorite homemade ornaments my mom made me throughout my childhood. When I’m really homesick, not matter the time of year, I pull it out and pop in a Christmas classic like White Christmas, Holiday Inn or Charlie Brown. I know it seems silly, but it reminds me of home and after crying the first little bit I get warm fuzzies.

  2. Dianne W. says

    I’ve always found that being open to meeting other women makes for very interesting conversations and experiences. I’ve met fascinating ladies on trains, planes, buses, and in cafes or restaurants. Other women traveling alone or as a duo are usually open to friendly encounters.

    People are so connected to home now that it’s hard for me to imagine getting homesick. I did lots of world travel back in the 1970s and 80s when there was no such thing as e-mail, blogs, or Skype. Now those were the days when you could get homesick. I would be able to get mail at “Post Restante” once in a while, that was it. My mother saved all the letters I wrote to her while traveling and I inherited them when she died. Looking at them is like reading an old diary.

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