There have only been a few times in my life when I felt truly homesick, but the few times I felt that way were miserable. Being homesick sucks the fun out of visiting a new place, and it’s easy to feel like you’re totally alone in experiencing it. But while I fully acknowledge and understand that homesickness isn’t something you can just magically get over, I believe there are a few things you can do to push yourself out of that mindset and fully appreciate your travels as they’re happening. Because nothing is worse than coming home after a trip and feeling like you didn’t live it up as much as you could have! The following tips for overcoming homesickness are little things I’ve picked up over the years, both from my travels and my time at college. These are practical tips you can integrate into any trip to prevent homesickness from the very start of your trip.
Don’t call home
In my experience, calling home as soon as you start to feel homesick is guaranteed to make you feel even more homesick. If you call home every time you miss your family or friends, you’re doing yourself a disservice because you’re not giving yourself time to adjust to your new surroundings and become comfortable with being away from home. If you think you’re likely to get homesick while traveling, schedule specific times to chat with a few of your closest friends and family while you’re away. Pick a day to talk a few days after you arrive at your destination so that you have enough time to (hopefully) adjust and settle into the fabulous new place you’re exploring. If calling home isn’t an option at all and you really just need to talk to someone, buy a postcard and write home. You won’t have the instant gratification of hearing back from whoever you’re writing to, but it’s surprisingly comforting to jot a short note to your loved ones when you’re missing them.
Write in a travel journal
If you’re a long-time reader, you already know how much I LOVE my travel journal. It’s been all around the world with me, and it’s filled with my most cherished memories from my adventures. I started journaling religiously when I studied in Germany, and it made such a positive impact on my mental state. As much as I loved being in Germany, there were times when I was super stressed trying to juggle my travel schedule, university course load, and hanging out with friends. And because I was in a totally different country, I couldn’t just call home and vent to my parents whenever I wanted to. So instead, I jotted everything I was feeling into my journal, and the rest is history. If you’re someone who battles homesickness whenever you travel, I highly recommend getting a journal solely for your trips — you may feel a bit silly at first writing in it, but I truly think it’ll help you out.
Pack a reminder from home
There’s no shame in needing to take a little piece of home with you when you travel. I’m a 24-year-old woman, and I still bring a blanket with me when I know I’ll be traveling for more than a week. I have friends who can’t travel without a stuffed animal or their favorite sweatshirt. Whatever you need to feel totally at ease in a new space is okay to bring with you. And if you feel embarrassed to bring something along because you’re traveling with friends…bring it anyways! I guarantee your friends have a little something special they bring to remind them of home too.
Stick to a routine
Obviously, you won’t be able to stick to a routine when you’re out exploring, but try and create a morning and evening routine you can easily stick to while you’re traveling. Homesickness often occurs because you feel uncomfortable or scared in a new place, so it’s important that you normalize your travel days somehow. One thing I do as soon as I arrive in a new place is unpack my suitcase and hang up my clothing. I’ll also line up all my skincare in the bathroom to make the space feel more like my own. If possible, I’ll try and wake up around the same time every day and go to sleep at the same time. My body thrives on routine, and I feel better mentally and physically if I establish some sort of routine while I’m away.
Read more: My Solo Travel Nighttime Routine
Go on a tour
If you’re feeling homesick, the last thing you want to do is wallow in your loneliness. Sign up for a walking tour (you guys know I love Free Tours by Foot!) or a class of some kind and get yourself around other people. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to connect with a traveller of your age on the tour. At the very least, you’ll be able to interact with others on the tour and ask the guide questions. If you’re homesick, you have to get out of your own headspace and force yourself to be around other people.
Tell me: Have you ever felt homesick before? What’s one thing you did to overcome it?
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