How to Stop Feeling Homesick When You’re Traveling Alone


When you’re a woman traveling alone, you’re bound to feel homesick! You’re not alone, my friend – read my tips for overcoming homesickness and tell me how you’re feeling in the comments section below. Sharing your thoughts will help you cope with feeling homesick and lonely when you’re in a whole different world.

And, don’t spent a lot of time on Facebook. Haven’t you noticed how it makes you feel more homesick, sad, and lonely when you’re traveling? I mentioned the loneliness of seeing family and friends when you live overseas in Moving to Africa? 10 Things You Need to Know – and homesickness is without a doubt worse when you’re traveling alone as a woman.

I originally wrote this article – 8 Tips for Overcoming Homesickness for Women Traveling Alone – when I was on a solo trip in Germany. I was desperately homesick, and decided it was the perfect time to make a list of tips for solo women tourists. It helped, because I didn’t feel so alone! And that’s why I encourage you to write your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below. You’ll find it comforting and helpful to talk about being homesick, traveling, and feeling out of your element in a whole new world.





“If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself….then truth will not be withheld from you.” – from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia:

What truths are you learning about yourself? What are you discovering about life, the world, other people, and even your friends and family back home?

How to Stop Feeling Homesick When You’re Traveling Alone

Traveling alone as a woman doesn’t bother me – especially in Germany, where everyone’s just going about their business and not paying me any attention at all. But, what does bother me is the fact that my husband went back to Canada a couple days ago. He had a business conference in Frankfurt, and I went along for the week. I couldn’t tear myself away from Germany and decided to stay an extra week in Munich. But boy, am I missing my husband!

That said, I’m very glad I’m here in Munich and I don’t regret my decision to stay on alone. But I do feel homesick and alone, and I wish I had someone to talk to. Since I don’t, I’ll write about how I plan to stop feeling homesick and start enjoying my travels 🙂

1. Go on tours with other people

Today I joined a walking tour – a free one – and met another Canadian, two Indians, an American, a Peruvian, and two Germans. The walking tour of Munich was informative and entertaining, and I liked chatting with my fellow tourists. Some of them were women traveling alone, too – which made me feel less lonely and alone.

If you want to meet other women who travel alone (and cope with homesickness), read A Quick List of Inspiring Adventure Travel Blogs for Women.

2. Check your email – but not if it makes you feel more homesick

I’m a writer, so my laptop is with me here in my hotel room in Munich. In fact, I spend a good portion of my day working in my room, and the rest of the time I’m wandering the streets of Munich. I check my email regularly throughout the day, which helps fight homesickness. It definitely helps that my husband emails me often to keep in touch. If you’re not married, keep in close contact with a friend, partner, or family member (even if you are married, keeping in touch with several people definitely helps to fight homesickness when you’re a woman traveling alone).



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3. Don’t compare yourself to couples or groups

How to Stop Feeling Homesick When You’re Traveling AloneI once enjoyed traveling alone as a woman….but the truth is that getting married ruined it for me. Before I got married, I would’ve been happy just walking the streets. Now, I walk the streets of Munich and remember how great it was to have Bruce along! To overcome homesickness while traveling alone, it definitely helps not to notice those couples and groups of people – and not to compare yourself as a solo traveler to them.

4. Remember that people respect you because you’re a woman traveling alone!

Sometimes it’s hard to travel alone as a woman because you feel self-conscious. You may think that people feel sorry for you, or think less of you because you’re a solo tourist. Stop that! People don’t care that you’re a woman traveling alone. They probably don’t even notice you.

5. Seize the opportunities as a solo traveler

More people talk to me and invite me to join them as a woman traveling alone. When I’m with my husband or in a group, I don’t get to know my fellow tourists or the locals in the same way. To fight homesickness when you’re traveling alone, say “yes” to invitations to people’s homes and to join fellow travelers for dinner or tours around the city.

6. People watch – my favourite way to overcome homesickness

One of my favorite things to do in airports, cities, in hotel lobbies – anywhere, really (except for trains and buses, because new people don’t pass by as often) is people watch. You can’t do that in the same way when you’re with others, because you’re too busy talking or pointing things out. One way to overcome homesickness is to focus on the things you love about traveling alone.

If you’re planning to people-watch on the beach, read What to Pack for an All-Inclusive Resort Vacation.

7. Record your visit on your mobile phone

Do you remember those old-fashioned “tape recorders”? The first time I experienced what it was like to be a woman traveling alone was when I hitchhiked through Europe in 1998. I took along a tape recorder and a handful of blank tapes, and talked to my sister throughout my trip. It was a great way to fight homesickness while traveling alone – even though she never did listen to any of the tapes when I got home.

8. Connect with other women traveling alone

How to Stop Feeling Homesick When You’re Traveling AloneIn Kicking Ass on the Road The Ultimate Guide for the Solo Woman Traveler Travel Cheap, Travel Safe Sunni Dawson shares practical tips for women traveling alone: how to prepare for your trip (including personal, health, insurance, as well as cultural preparations) and pack your bags for any adventure.

Preparing yourself in advance with accommodation and travel booking tips is a great way to cope with feelings of homesickness when you’re traveling alone. Sunni also describes how to navigate romance on the road and take care of yourself wherever you might be! This is a great guidebook to get before you leave on your trip…but it’s also helpful to know that there are thousands of other women traveling alone, too. Talk to them about feeling homesick and alone, and you’ll find you’re not the only one who feels that way.

Here, as I travel alone in Munich, I keep reminding myself that I’ll be home in less than a week. I’ll be back in my old routine, wishing I was in Europe again! To overcome homesickness, it helps to remind yourself that time passes so fast and before you know it you’ll be flying home again…and being a woman traveling alone will be a fond memory.

So, savor the moment…for it only comes this way once. And not all who wander are lost.

For more travel tips for women, read Staycation Ideas for Women Over 50 – Yes, You Can Escape at Home!

What are your tips for overcoming homesickness as a woman traveling alone? Even better: where in the world are you right now?! How are you feeling?



Your thoughts are welcome below! I don't give advice, but you can get free relationship help from marriage coach Mort Fertel.


xo




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15 thoughts on “How to Stop Feeling Homesick When You’re Traveling Alone

  • Laurie Post author

    Thank you, Lizzie – I’m so glad to hear from you! Evenings and alone-times are definitely the worst….especially when you’re tired and worn out. Traveling is emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting, isn’t it? This makes homesickness more difficult to overcome.

    Please do come back and let me know how things are going in Thailand. I went to Vietnam last year, and it was so different than what I’m used to…I was homesick, too!

    Wishing you all the best in your travels,
    Laurie

  • Lizzie

    Hi. I know this is an old article but it’s still really relevant! I’m traveling around Phuket in a week. It’s so beautiful but I can’t help but feel extremely homesick. It seems that during the day, I can be distracted by things going on and then as soon as I’m by myself, the feelings of isolation come back. I just wanted to thank you for writing this article as it helped a lot! X

  • Laurie Post author

    Thanks for your comments – I’m really sorry I missed them until now. Angelface, I don’t know how I missed your comment, as I really want to be there for women traveling alone who are homesick. I’m sorry.

    If you’re still out there, please do comment. The same goes for all women traveling alone – you’re not really alone!

  • jane

    Hi I’m in new zealand on my own. just started work as a nurse! I miss my boyfriend terribly but find helps to keep busy sight seeing tours where I usually get chatting with others. I am 24 hours flight from home and if i want to go home I can but I prefer to take the challenge and cherish each moment. I can work out here for a year but probably work for 6 months! once in lifetime opportunity even though it’s tough at time the good times outweigh the bad

    Jane

  • Sissi

    I travelled alone so many times around the world and now I can’t anymore. I feel so anxious a couple days prior my departure that I cancelled by air ticket several times. The first time it happened was in 2007. I dont know if I suffer of agoraphoabia (the fear to go far of home). It started between 30-40 years old. It is really boring because I like travelling so much. It is not a problem when I stay in Europe where I live. But if I plan going to Asia for example I cant anymore. Are there some of you which experienced that ?

  • angelface

    Hi Laurie,

    I am now in Holland, remember me?
    4 months already and I am still home sick and battling depression:(
    I need to talk to somebody, I hope I can talk to you.

    Take Care

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear AngelFace,

    I love your name! 🙂

    And I’m so excited for you. I’ve been to Amsterdam, and LOVED it. The people are so friendly, the cities so clean, and English is spoken everywhere. Well, that’s how it was 20 year ago, anyway 🙂

    You would not believe how fast a year goes by, my friend. I lived in Africa for 3 years, and wish I could do it all over again. I didn’t savor the moment. Instead, I focused on how homesick I was and I wished I wasn’t a woman traveling alone. All I thought about was what I wanted to be different, not what I should be enjoying.

    I hope you keep in touch while you’re in Amsterdam….and I hope you don’t feel too homesick!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • AngelFace

    Hi Laurie!

    I love your article! Next month, I will go to Amsterdam and spend a year there as an Au pair. Thinking about it, I feel homesick already! I researched on how to overcome homesickness and good thing I found this article! This made me realized that I really should savor the moment and think about it as a once in a life time experience. If only I could tag my boyfriend along, it would be awesome, I guess I just have to keep our communication open until we see each other again! Thanks Laurie!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear Melissa,

    I’m glad you found these tips for homesickness – I hope they show you you’re not the only lonely woman traveling alone 🙂

    When I was in Prague a couple years ago, the weather SUCKED. It rained/snowed/rained for the whole five days, and the Charles Bridge was half closed due to upgrading construction. I was so disappointed; I really wanted a better experience of Prague.

    Are you staying in a hostel? When I travel alone, I always stay in hostels so I can meet other tourists. Even if I don’t hang out with or go sightseeing with them, I find it comforting to just listen to their conversations in the dorm rooms and at the tables. Truthfully, I’d rather listen than talk, so eavesdropping is perfect for me.

    The month will go by so fast…and when you get home, you might even wish you were back in Prague! And, these times of homesickness, isolation, pain, and struggle really are the best things that could happen to us. I spent 3 years teaching in Africa, and found it so difficult. I was lonely, and didn’t connect with many of the teachers I worked with. But, looking back, I wish I could do it over and let go of my homesickness and fear.

    Let me know how you’re doing – I’d love to hear how you’re spending your days.

    Blessings, and happy trails to you,
    Laurie

  • Melissa

    Thank you for this. I am in Prague for a month, and I have never felt homesick before until this time. I don’t know why. I feel so alone. The weather is bad, too, which doesn’t help. I’m here taking classes for a month, and I am not even looking forward to it anymore. I am trying to remember that it is only a month! But every time I sit still all I want to do is cry. It’s helpful to know that I am not the only person who feels this way sometimes. For now I’m just trying to get through it.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen Post author

    Dear Amber,

    I’m glad you shared your story here — and very sorry to hear that you’re so homesick and ready to go home! I’ve traveled alone alot, and know how lonely it can get.

    And yes, I think your words will help other women who are struggling with homesickness! They’ll see they’re not alone.

    I encourage you to find someone at the hostel who is a kindred spirit. You’ll feel so much better if you connect with someone you have things in common with — someone you can talk to about how you feel. You’re not the only one traveling alone for months, and you’re definitely not the only one struggling with homesickness! The trick is to find people in the same boat as you.

    Let me know how you’re doing…

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  • Amber

    Hi. I also found your article after doing a search desperate for some help in combating the emotional confussion of homesickness. I have been travelling for four months but have a year off work and a ticket valid for 12 months. At this juncture however I feel I want to go home now. I am travelling solo and the last six weeks have been a struggle. I haven’t meet many people and have hit a depression. I can’t get motivated to do anything as the thought of doing things alone is now too much. People say get out and meet people but I’m not actually finding it that easy. Plus I think my mood is such that I’m not approachable and would make awful company. I feel like I’ve failed by going home early and such stick out the coming months even if I’m miserable. Part of me feels like this trip was just running away from everything at home and actually I want to go home and tackle things head on; like find another job, do some volunteer work, and join some clubs, rather than leaving it for another 7 months. Being on my own I also have far too much time to think and even with this time my feelings seem no clearer! I talk regullarly with family and friends but don’t want to much about how low I feel as they’ll worry. It has helped writting this all down here but just makes me feel emotional and when staying in hostels with not a private place to yourself the red eyed, just-been-crying look isn’t a good one! Thanks for the opportunity to vent if nothing else. I also hope this posts helps anyone else that is also beating themselves up, feeling low, or just emotional. You’re not alone and we are only human at the end of the day :o) Best wishes.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Laura,

    Thanks for your tips how to overcome homesickness tips for women traveling alone! It sounds like you’ve had quite the adventure — I can’t imagine traveling for 7 months. What a life changing experience it must’ve been….you won’t be the same woman when you get home!

  • Laura N

    I found this searching for ‘Solo traveller homesick’ as unfortunately the homesickness bug has hit me 🙁 Right now I’m travelling solo through Europe and I’m basically at the end of my trip (8 weeks to go!) Been a massive learning curve so far as I’m 19, first time living out of home and will have been gone 7 months. Some ways to cope I’ve found include bringing along a little notebook of pictures of friends, family, funny in-jokes etc. Listening to good music from home also helps, as well as keeping a travel diary. Even just writing down how much you miss home is very therapeutic! Great read as well, all of your tips are handy 🙂

  • Laurie PK

    A reader found this article about fighting homesickness by Googling the words “fighting homesickness.”

    It’s been almost a year since I wrote this article, and now I don’t think we should “fight” homesickness! It’s a natural part of being away from home, and we should accept it and even embrace it…and NOT fight it.

    How do you accept and embrace homesickness? By writing about your feelings, talking about feeling homesick with the people around you (not just those back home), and figuring out the root of your homesickness. Are you lonely? Then find ways to get more involved in the activities around you. Are you seriously depressed? Get help from a doctor.

    If you have any thoughts on accepting or fighting homesickness, please share them here!