What Makes You Feel at Home Abroad? 8 More Travelers Answer
What makes you feel at home when you’re overseas? Many of us are thrilled to visit new places that are as different from home as we can find, but “There’s no place like home” has become a familiar phrase for a reason. Even the most enthusiastic travelers, those most eager to explore new cultures, look for bits of comfort overseas, so I asked travelers and expats all over the world this question. Check out the answers from my first post, and here’s what eight others had to say.
Gabby of The Globe Wanderers
I’m a travelling introvert. I love meeting new people and making friends on the road, but I occasionally need quiet time to myself to balance it out. I make a point of making a mini home wherever I go, whether that be a private room or just the bottom bunk of a hostel bed. Give me a couple of towels to hang up and I can make a cocoon anywhere. I snuggle down, indulge in some naughty treats I definitely shouldn’t be eating and watch a film on my laptop. A mini oasis of calm amidst the excitement and adventure of a life on the road.
Other than that, anything from a good chat with a new friend to a smile from a stranger make me feel at home on the road. More often than not, I’m surprised by how at home I actually feel.
Mia Herman of Travel with Mia
A great way to feel at home is to bring photos of the people and pets you love. I keep them in my backpack so I can look at them when I get homesick, or I tape them to the wall of my room. This can be a great conversation starter if you’re staying in a hostel.
Making new friends in the hostel, on the train or along the way can help you feel at home. Your new friends will want to know all about you, your hometown and the fun things you do there. Nothing beats traveling, but home will always be home. The best advice I can give is to immerse yourself in your trip, enjoy every minute of it, and know that home will be there when you return!
Dannielle Lilly of While I’m Young & Skinny
It’s simple, but a bar of Cadbury Dairy Milk and a proper cup of tea (not Lipton) soothes me when I’m on the road. It reminds me of sitting on my mum’s couch all cosy with the TV blaring and the rain beating down outside. It’s just the taste of Britain!
I remember one night in Hanoi, Vietnam when I was getting really world-weary after three months of hard-core backpacking. While all the other people in my hostel headed out to the nightclubs, I went on a quest for comfort food to soothe my food poisoning. What I ended up with was seriously disappointing. I had to settle for tomato soup to calm my stomach, but I was served with what smelled and tasted like leftover mashed potato with added water and ketchup for colour. Definitely not what I was craving!
The other thing that makes me feel at home is having reliable wifi.
Chris Backe of One Weird Globe
I suppose the most common thing is having a space to get away from it all. This is typically an office, one that’s set up with the chair and desk. Having a fully stocked fridge helps too!
Louise of Louise Lakier Photo
A shared meal with stories! Whether sitting at a restaurant or cooking together in a hostel/hotel, sitting down with friends new or old and sharing stories of our travels, our cultures, our countries, our missions, and the places in our lives that overlap (things we like, things we love, favorite spots we have all experienced or favorite activities). Home is connection and belonging and sharing. Home is nourishment and laughter and memories.
I have a iPhone album of photos and videos of my Scottish Fold cat, which I never delete. When I need a pick-me-up while traveling, I’ll scroll through the images of my cute earless cat. It never fails to pick up my mood!
Dave of Silverbackpacker
There are a few things that make me feel at home. Finding an English newspaper like the Daily Mail or Guardian and being able to catch up on some news and sport headlines while drinking a cup of tea somewhere.
Another is finding a jar of Marmite on a supermarket shelf, buying some bread, spreading butter and Marmite, then sitting back and indulging in its unique salty taste, also whilst drinking a cup of tea with milk.
As more and more bars show Sky Sports, it’s fun to sit down with a beer and watch a Premier League game.
Sharon of Me Want Travel
When I’m traveling abroad, I feel more at home when I’m staying at an AirBnB place with a host or just talking to people at random bars and restaurants. I’ve discovered that people are nicer than you’d think. Many would make an effort to show me around, and hosts would try to make my stay as comfortable as possible. When locals share information about their past, their culture, and show niceness and sincerity, it makes me feel more at home and reduces homesickness. I guess it’s the fact that connecting with people makes you feel less like a tourist or an outsider.
What makes you feel at home when you’re overseas? How do you battle homesickness?
I totally agree with Danielle, having WiFi helps a lot! Also, if I’m staying in a hostel having a curtain on the bed makes a huge difference.
I’ve become totally addicted to wifi when I travel – so much for getting away from it all! I saw a bed curtain that doubles as a towel and a few other things at a travel expo I attended. Seemed like a great idea!
I love all of these answers. Happy to be a part of the post – thank you! 🙂
Thanks for being a part of it, Sharon!
SKYPE!!! I am an expat and have a standing Skype date with my mother every weekend. Even when we travel outside of Taiwan, I still Skype her. When we were on our New Zealand road trip, it was so important for me to maintain that connection, even as we were camping in tents! Plus, she loves all of the places I’ve taken her to via Skype.
Skype makes such a difference! Lately I’ve been making long distance phone calls because it works better with my current phone plan than Skype, but I’m so glad we have this technology today!
So many wonderful tips! I can’t imagine anyone would feel homesick after reading this! Thanks for including me. 🙂
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mia!
Love Gabby’s answer – the bottom bunk of a hostel makes all the difference! I just moved from top to bottom last night at the hostel I’m staying in long term and the change made all the difference 🙂 For me, feeling at home when I’m traveling is all about creating little routines – working and getting coffee at the same cafe or finding a running route I love, for instance.
I’ll often give the bottom bunk to a friend since I don’t mind as much as some people, but it does feel like a luxury having the bottom!
Love this! Let me do if you do another one, I’d love to be a part of it 🙂
Simone | The Aussie Flashpacker
Thank you! I will let you know if I do more or if I work on another collaboration post you may be interested in!
Thankyou for including me too. Some interesting answers from the others. If there is such a place where when you arrive the wifi connects automatically then you know its home.
Haha, love that criterion! Thanks for being a part of it!
Some great tips here! Thank you so much for including me :). Totally agree with Dannielle… a cheeky bar of chocolate can make all the difference. Great post Kirstie – so happy to be involved!
Thanks for sharing your response, Gabby!
What a great post! Feeling at home is so important when you go away for a long time!
Thank you! Definitely true. I couldn’t travel as long as I do without moments of feeling at home!
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