Homesickness can hit anytime when you’re traveling, but it’s almost a sure thing when the holidays roll around. This is especially true if you’re a solo backpacker. Here are some tips for making the best of it.
1. Find fellow travelers to celebrate with.
If you haven’t already made some travel friends in your current location, ask around at your hostel to see if they’re hosting any special holiday events. Coordinate with others to have a Secret Santa gift exchange and decorate your bunks. It can also be fun to share stories and traditions with people from all over the world. I personally loved hearing about how the Dutch celebrate Christmas.
2. Get a taste of the familiar. Literally.
Cook some of your favorite dishes if that’s your thing. If not, go out for some Western-style food. While I love experiencing the local cuisine of my travel destinations, sometimes you just need a little comfort food that reminds you of home.
3. Create a new tradition.
Adopt a tradition from fellow travelers, locals, or maybe even come up with something new entirely. When I was in Thailand, my friend and I scoured the beach for seashells and decorated our hotel room (and Christmas tree) with them.
4. Do something amazing.
It’s hard to feel homesick when you’re out and about exploring amazing sights. Take a hike or go on a cool adventure that you wouldn’t be able to do back home. You’ll appreciate celebrating the holidays right where you are. After all, most of your friends and family would kill to be in your shoes right now.
5. Download the classic tunes and movies.
Share them with your new friends or buy some chocolate, book a private room, and take some “me-time”to revel in your usual holiday standbys.
6. Take a break from social media.
When you’re traveling, you often can’t wait to brag and share photos of all the cool places you’re seeing. But when that homesickness sinks in, all you see on Facebook is how happy your friends and family seem hanging out with each other. Without you. This is the perfect time for a social media detox.
7. Send gifts home.
Or even just postcards. Embrace the season of giving in a completely new way. Your family and friends will appreciate that you’re thinking of them.
8. Go out and party.
Even if you’re not a big party animal, it’s fun to get out and socialize. Plus, you won’t be getting much sleep anyway since everyone around you will be celebrating whether you like it or not.