Tips to Stop Homesickness While Traveling
Traveling, especially if it is your first time can come with a lot of situations that you’ve never encountered. Or even make you feel a little bit homesick – making you miss the things you love most about your home while on an extended trip abroad. Hopefully, this quick list will help give you some ideas to stop homesickness while abroad.
You land in a foreign country. People that don’t look like you, food that doesn’t taste right, transportation that is a madhouse, and more culture shock begin to set in.
You’ll miss the familiarity of your bed, your mom’s (or housemate’s) cooking, and probably your pet.
Luckily a huge advantage to traveling nowadays is the access to technology that everyone has. Gone are the days of snail mail.
Here are some top tips to stop homesickness while traveling:
- Use technology to FaceTime or Skype with friends & family
- Journal every day to reflect on your surroundings
- Disconnect from social media
- Plan another trip with a friend back home
- Make a bucket list for the city you’re currently in or will be in
- Learn something new
- Go on a photo tour of the city
- Go on a jog or exercise
- Find a local cafe and visit it a few days in a row
- Document your trip
- Talk with another person
For example, today, I opened my laptop and saw an alert for an amazing airfare deal – $385 for a round-trip ticket from Chicago to Vietnam. I fired off a couple instant messages to friends and within an hour, I had a ticket booked for a 2-week excursion of Southeast Asia. I’m definitely going to miss home and Emily a lot. But, luckily, I’ll be able to open up Skype and connect with her from half-way around the world and see her smile.
Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Viber, and email make connecting with loved ones back home a cakewalk compared to 20 years ago. If Skype isn’t you thing, check out why I love T-Mobile when I travel abroad.
If talking with people back home isn’t you thing, I highly recommend journaling every day in order to overcome homesickness. You’ll gain awareness and appreciation of the place that you’re visiting. More importantly, you’ll be able to look back on these journal entries and remember everything much clearer. If you’re not into journaling, just spend 15-30 minutes alone without any distractions, just your thoughts.
Disconnect completely from your social media. Install the StayFocusd Chrome Extension to block Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, & others so you aren’t feeling like you’re missing out on something back home.
If you like to travel a lot, it doesn’t hurt to start chatting with a friend from back home about a trip that you will take together. This will keep you occupied and feeling connected back home.
Even before arriving at your new destination, create a bucket list of places you need to do. Finding the best free activities, the best pint of beer, or learning more about history are usually on my short list of items to get done in every new city I go to. You could even talk to other hostel guests about what they’ve done and if they would recommend it.
Learn something new – perhaps a language or cooking styles from the country you are in. There are 100’s of ways to crack an egg or make amazing sushi. If you want to learn prior to even leaving your home country, DuoLingo is fantastic.
Going on a photo tour is a great way to pass the time and to see parts of the city that most people don’t take the time to appreciate. You can even get some great shots for posting to Instagram.
If you exercised before your trip, you should probably continue to do this once you get abroad. It’s important to establish a routine if you’re feeling homesick (more on this on the next bullet).
Go to a local cafe a few days in a row. This is probably one of the best suggestions to stop homesickness while traveling. While I was in Santorini, Greece, I visited a small cafe each morning for about a week straight. I met the owner of the place and the waitstaff recognized me to the point where they knew what time I’d be arriving in the morning and have my coffee prepared.
Document your trip as much as you can. I’ve taken thousands of photos and written tens of thousands of words but have only posted a small fraction of them. I keep these photos, videos, and notes as reminders as to where I’ve been and what all I loved (or hated) about a city. You can even make a quick Tumblr blog and mark it as private.
Finally, if you’re still homesick, you should talk to someone. Whether a professional or just another person at the hostel, talking about the issue really helps.
Hopefully, the points above will help you beat feeling like you’re in a rut. Just take some time to try to do something different each day while staying in a routine. Go out and make some friends and explore.