Traveling abroad can be exciting and rewarding, but it can also be challenging – especially if you plan to be away for an extended period of time. It’s easy to start feeling homesick when you’re in a new place with new people and a new culture.
If you’re worried about missing home while you’re away, here’s how you can cope:
1. Personalize Your Space
We feel comfortable at home because it’s our space. We’re surrounded by our things, and that brings some degree of comfort.
Start by personalizing your new space to make it feel more like home. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or a home, take the time to unpack your belongings when you arrive. Hang up your clothes. Replace the pillowcases with your own to make your new bed feel like your bed at home.
2. Bring Your Memories
Bring pieces of home with you to bring you comfort. Pack the things you usually keep on your bedside table, like photos. Or invest in travel-friendly picture frames to put on your nightstand. A photo of a loved one can help you overcome your feeling of homesickness and bring some comfort.
If you regularly keep a vase of flowers on your nightstand, go out of your way to purchase some fresh ones from a local market and keep them by your bedside.
3. Stay Connected
Find ways to stay connected to home. Listen to the same music you frequently listen to when you wake up. Load up your favorite playlist on your phone or iPod and jam out before bed or while you’re in the car.
Watch TV shows and movies you love. If your favorite shows aren’t available in the country, you can use a VPN and your favorite streaming service to watch.
If you can still use your phone and the internet, you can also keep in touch with your loved ones. Use Skype or Facetime to chat face-to-face, or simply keep in touch through social media.
4. Pack Your Own Coffee
Most hotel rooms have a coffee maker. If yours doesn’t, you can certainly get a cup from the lobby or restaurant. Some hotels have great coffee. Others – not so much.
Regardless, you can bring a little taste of home with you if you pack your usual morning blend in a small bag. The familiar smell and taste of your home coffee will bring you back home – even if just for a moment.
5. Explore, Explore, Explore
Part of the reason travelers get homesick is that they are uncomfortable in their new surroundings. Exploring and exposing yourself to your temporary locale can help you feel more relaxed.
Sit in busy marketplaces and people-watch. Explore all of the tourist hotspots, and then take the road less traveled. Talk to the locals (if you can). Create a bucket list of places you want to visit, like the city’s 10 best restaurants or places to hike.
Familiarizing yourself with the area can help ease your homesickness and maybe even make the city feel a little like home.