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).
3. Don’t compare yourself to couples or groups
I 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.
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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
In 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?