Travelling to new countries for long periods of time or settling in a new city can be incredibly exciting, rewarding and definitely life-changing. There is also no doubt that travelling or moving abroad can be scary, especially when you decide to do it alone. Feeling sad, lonely and homesick is normal when you are far away from your home, your friends and family, your favourite places, your comforts. Here are some tips to reduce homesickness and make the most of your travel experience!
Top Tips to Reduce Homesickness when Travelling or Moving Abroad
Many of us realise just how much we appreciate home and the people that are there while we are on our travels. Therefore, even the hardiest and experienced traveller can experience homesickness on occasion. Of course, a little longing for home should never stop you from quenching your wanderlust or fulfilling your dream to travel the world. Fortunately, there are plenty of thighs you can do to nip homesickness in the bud. Keep reading to find out what they are.
See the sights & keep busy
One of the best ways to make your trip memorable and cure homesickness is to absorb the local culture of the destination. Fully immerse yourself in the culture, not just observe it! Don’t let negative feelings stop you from truly enjoying yourself and making the most of your trip.
Keep yourself busy by planning daily activities around the destination you are visiting. By being open to all the wonders around you, you will find yourself so busy and engaged that homesick thoughts have no choice but to fade into the background.
Allow yourself the time and pleasure of visiting the most popular tourist spots and heritage sites in the area. Don’t postpone these tours, after all a city’s tourist sights are famous for a reason! Learn all about the place you have chosen to settle in and spend some time in. Go out and explore as a way to settle in the new city. It might also give you the opportunity to meet fellow travellers with which you can connect.
Immerse yourself in the culture & sample the cuisine
A great (and delicious!) way to experience a new destination and immerse yourself in their culture is to sample their food and drink offerings. There is nothing as evocative of a culture as a traditional dish. Understanding a dish and its ingredients will tell you a lot about the history, geography traditions of a country.
And so, do yourself a favour and search for the most well-known dishes in the place you are travelling to. Look for popular restaurants or book a guided food tour. Head out to sample the local gastronomy! Don’t be afraid to ask the waiters for recommendations and tips on the cuisine of the place. If you’re lucky, they’ll be happy to have a chat with you and tell you all about the ingredients and recipes that make their food special and interesting.
Supper clubs offer the opportunity to sample a new cuisine, spend one evening immersed in a different culture and also meet new people! Yes, it’s like having dinner with strangers and so it can feel awkward at first, but remember: everyone else around you is probably just like you, new to this city and eager to make friends. Start the conversation by asking fellow diners their favourite places to eat and things to do in the place you are travelling to.
Settle into your new home
Whether you are staying in a hotel or rental apartment, or have found a place of your own, it can be exceptionally comforting to have some reminders of home around you. Now, I’m not suggesting that you take every item from your home with you on your travels! But there are some things like family photos that mean a lot to us. Home comforts can cheer us up and help us overcome feelings of loneliness and homesickness. To save space, you could use a digital picture frame displayed on your coffee table to make your new place a lot more homely and welcoming.
Remember it’s OK to invest in some comforts as well. Fresh flowers for your kitchen table can work wonders to your mood, new bright coloured cushions can bring a smile to your face or a fluffy throw to snuggle under in the evenings. Over time, your new place will become familiar and soon you will feel at home!
Stay connected with your friends and family
Many people believe that staying in close contact with loved ones back home is the cure for homesickness. It is very important to foster those connections, and one of the ways to do that is by getting gifts for your loved ones. Staying connected with the ones we love is not the challenge that it used to be, thanks to video calling and social media.On the other hand, seeing your families faces every day may make it harder to focus on the experience that is in front of you, and make you even more prone to homesick feelings.
With that in mind, try to limit the time you spend on social media and instead focus on the present experience. To stay connected with your friends and family, write proper letters, and send postcards and gifts can be a smarter and much more personal way of maintaining meaningful relationships and connections. You can even use a physical address service to manage your mail virtually, from anywhere in the world. This being particularly useful for folks travelling to multiple designations in a short space of time, as well as those looking to live a digital nomad lifestyle.
Make friends with fellow travellers and locals
Ultimately, the most effective way to quash homesickness is to make new meaningful connections with the people around you. That means making new buddies! I know, it seems like a daunting task, especially for the shy ones, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of meetup groups online where you can find people in a similar situation to you. Search for expat groups available in your city and start making connections – online and offline! Language schools and hostels are usually great places to meet expats, foreigners and other people new to the city like you.
Alternatively, rather than making connections with other travellers, it may suit you better to make connections with locals instead. In fact, by doing this, you will often get to experience many things about the places that you travel that would have passed you by otherwise. There is no doubt that you will get much more of a genuine experience of a place and their culture by hanging out with locals than if you stick purely to visiting touristy spots.
Making friends with people from a different city, who perhaps speak a different language and have dissimilar experiences is not easy, but the rewards are worth the efforts! A few ways to do that is by volunteering within the local community, for example helping out with charity sales or organising upcoming neighbourhood events.
By following these tips you will get a chance to learn about the local culture and traditions, you will truly get to know the place you are living in, you will make new friends (while also keeping alive your network of connections back home), and you will get over homesickness. This is the best way to feel integrated in a new city and country!
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.