Ah, homesickness. No matter how much of a seasoned traveller you are, you can’t stop it sneaking up on you when you least expect it! If you’ve experienced it while travelling don’t worry, you’re not alone! Landing in an unfamiliar place, with different food, customs, language and people isn’t easy after all. Sometimes you can’t help but miss your friends or crave Mum’s roast while you’re slurping on a bowl of Pho.
It’s not always easy to guess when homesickness will pop up, and it doesn’t just disappear overnight, but with a few handy tips you can make it feel a bit easier.
Here are our top 8 tips for dealing with homesickness abroad.
Make friends at your hostel, chat to the waiter at the café, introduce yourself to the woman next to you on the bus or strike up a conversation with the street stall owner! The more connections you make on your travels, the more at home you’ll feel.
Meeting people at your hotel or hostel is a good place to start, and often you’ll end finding travel buddies for future trips.
Free walking tours or day trips are also a good way to meet new friends.
Even if it’s just a simple exchange with the person serving your coffee, a bit of human interaction each day can make you feel less lonely and stop you from missing those friends back home quite so much.
New travel friends can be a good source of comfort and advice and can be a shoulder to cry on if you need!
2. Stay busy
Distract yourself! Keeping busy will keep you occupied and keep your mind off what/who you’re missing. Sign up for daily tours, join in on hostel trips and throw yourself into every opportunity your destination gives you.
3.Take some time for yourself
Recognise when you need some alone time and take it. Homesickness can be a result of culture shock, unfamiliar surrounding and situations. Sometimes, taking a day just to watch a movie, eat chocolate and have some ‘you’ time can help to make the transition a little bit easier.
Don’t feel guilty if you find you need to take a bit of time to adapt – you’ll feel better for it in the long run!
4. Be patient
You’re not going to get over your homesickness in just a few hours, and telling yourself to ‘get over it’ won’t be an instant fix either. Reassure yourself that it WILL get better, and take your time to do all the things that make your travels easier.
5. Try the local food and experiences
This can help make the city feel more familiar. Getting into a rhythm and becoming acquainted with day to day life in a location can be a good way to feel more at home. But don’t be afraid to indulge in ‘home comforts’ if you need to. There’s nothing wrong choosing a slice of pizza in Thailand or a movie over a mountain in Nepal if that’s what you’re craving!
6. Mix new experiences with the familiar
Listen to your favourite music while you explore a new city, take your favourite snacks on an exciting day tour or read your favourite book while you try the local delicacies… mixing things that feel familiar with new, sometimes scary experiences can be helpful in easing you into the situation.
7. Keep a record of your trip
When you’re feeling low, looking back and remembering some of the awesome memories you’ve made can help to cheer you up. Keep a travel diary or just document your trip through photos so that when you’re feeling fragile, you can look back at just how much you’ve achieved! Reminding yourself of how far you’ve come and all the awesome things you’ve ticked off your bucket list can help you get some momentum back when you’re wishing you were back at home.
8. Stay in touch
Keep up with regular calls, email and messages back home. Not only does staying in touch with your friends and family make you feel closer to them, but it also reassures you that you’re not missing out on anything back home. It keeps you in the loop with what’s going on in each other’s lives and gives you the chance to share stories, vent or ask advice if you need. Friends and family are also good at reminding you why you went travelling in the first place! Sometimes listening to their awed reactions when you tell them about your travelling stories can be a welcome reassurance that your adventure is worth it.
So there you have it! While you’re never going to be able to avoid it completely, next time you’re overseas you can at least make homesickness a little easier with these tips. For more travel tips check out our blogs on Backpacking Tips for Asia and Tips for Female Backpackers