Feeling homesick abroad is rubbish. It is the last thing you want to deal with on your adventure of a lifetime. However, although it may not be ideal, there is no reason it should ruin your experience. Whilst homesickness can be triggered by lots of things and does occur for everyone, I do believe that (like anything) dealing with it gets easier with practise. On speaking to some friends who have also travelled abroad, they agreed that this seems to be the case. The following tips are what I use to get rid of that horrible feeling!
Find somewhere that you feel safe and secure
When you feel out of your comfort zone or insecure in your surroundings it is natural to miss the security of home – even subconsciously. This anxiety can quickly trigger homesickness and this can rapidly snowball and make you upset. The best way to deal with this in the short term undoubtedly is to spend some time in a place you feel secure – for example in your hotel room or dorm. Chances are your instincts have just gone haywire and once you feel more secure you will feel a lot better!
Self care and relaxation
Try to engage in some self care such as reading a book or taking a bath. Anything that you would enjoy doing at home! The key here is to treat yourself and invest some time into relaxing and giving yourself a break. Everybody needs downtime and this can certainly help banish unwanted feelings of anxiety and homesickness. If Netflix would be your go to after a bad day at home, why should it be any different abroad?
Long term solutions
Once you feel calmer, it could help to plan a more long term plan to aim to prevent similar feelings arising. You may want to consider going on some group tours or volunteering projects. This offers a social and secure way to explore and this should aid you in overcoming some of the anxiety you have. Lots of cities also have free walking tours which may make you feel more grounded and at ease. To build up to a long trip abroad, going on smaller trips could assist in building your confidence and make you feel more prepared.
Talk to friends or family
Whilst there is definitely a balance to this, talking to close friends or family can be a good way for you to catch up with those you miss back home. As long as you aren’t spending all your time doing so! Otherwise you are missing out on experiencing the country you are visiting and you could risk isolating yourself and make yourself feel more homesick. A good way to balance this is to arrange a time to face time and stick to it – a time difference may naturally help this. A familiar face can be a great way to cheer up and make you feel more connected with those back home.
Create an itinerary or routine
My previous point links in to building an itinerary or creating a routine. This could be planning a few trips or attractions for each day or simply having a set time to go to the gym every morning. Doing this will hopefully make you feel more in control and settled in your environment.
Try out some new food!
Checking out the local food scene is bound to cure even the worst of homesickness! Food markets and quaint coffee shops – try them all. This is a great way to get talking to locals and look after yourself. Bonus points for anything adventurous like fried spiders. Don’t forget to take pictures for proof…
Meet some new people
Making new friends and meeting people is all part of travelling. Whether you are solo, already with friends or as part of a group tour – getting out and socialising is a great way to beat homesickness. Hostel bars and even Facebook groups are awesome ways to meet other travellers. Just remember to take necessary safety precautions.
This may be a girl thing, but shopping really does solve most issues. So when I feel homesick or a bit down I tend to shop for souvenirs or gifts for people back home. Yes. The silver Moroccan teapot is completely worth it. Treat yourself. In times of need the answer should always be yes.
If you still feel bad?
Finally, if it is the place that is making you feel anxious and homesick- move on. There is no need to feel miserable if a city isn’t living up to your expectations even after a few days. If it is financially feasible, why not explore another city or area? There is no need to feel guilty or embarrassed in deciding a place isn’t for you, it just means you will get to see more on your trip! Talk over things with someone you trust and just make sure they are aware of the change in your plans.