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How To Deal With Homesickness When Travelling

Posted by Maria Inês Pinto on 29/08/2014

Travelling with kids can be loads of fun! Not only do you get to discover a new country, you get to do it as a family, creating new opportunities for precious memories to be made. But when you’re travelling with little ones, there are extra things you have to keep in mind such as health and safety concerns, family-friendly services at your hotel, travelling less on foot to avoid getting them overly tired, etc. Thankfully nowadays all of these are easily manageable and usually just require a more thorough planning and preparation phase.


There’s another thing you should keep in mind when planning your next family holiday, though: the possibility of homesickness. When you travel for a longer period of time to a distant country, it’s possible that your children will miss being home, despite how much fun they may be having abroad. Of course, we as adults may feel homesick as well (it’s only natural!) but it’s much easier for us to deal with and understand this emotion. But children sometimes have a harder time with this and feeling homesick can affect their sleeping and eating patterns, making it difficult for them to enjoy the trip.


Homesickness doesn’t have to ruin your family holiday though! There are plenty of little tips and tricks to ensure that your little ones adjust well to their new travel reality and don’t miss home in a way that negatively affects them. Here are a few things you can do to manage homesickness while you travel:


1.  Bring comforts from home. Anything from favorite toys to favorite blankets, books, pillows, games, or any other items that your little ones may use on a daily basis are valid here. They will make a big difference in making your kids feel more at home abroad.

2.  Bring photos: If your children are very attached to a particular family member, pet or friend, consider bringing along photos of these loved ones so that they don’t feel so far away.

3.  Get in touch often: Again, if they are very attached to someone, let your kids get in touch with that person often. Nowadays it’s easy to find free or cheap Wi-Fi access almost anywhere in the world so a quick call on Skype or Facebook can make all the difference and it’s easy to fit into your schedule.

4.  Stay on schedule: It’s easy to get carried away when you’re travelling (especially when you factor in the possible time difference) but keeping a similar routine to the one you have back home can make it easier for kids to adapt. That means eating at about the same time and especially keeping a similar sleep schedule.

5.  Treat your little ones: If your little ones are really feeling sad about being away from home, treat them to a small new toy or their favourite food (yes, even if it’s a fast food restaurant in the middle of Asia). These little treats will make them feel happier and excited about travelling. Alternatively, you can pre-pack a gifted toy and bring it out in case of emergency.

6.  Document the journey: Let your kids take photos and make videos of your family holiday. This will make them feel more included and excited about the trip. If possible, you can even start printing out some photos and creating a scrapbook with them so you can all reflect together on the holiday as it passes.

7.  Countdown calendar: If your kids are truly having a hard time being away from home, set up a calendar in your room and let them cross off the days that are left until you arrive home. This will make them more excited as the departure day draws near and it will make it easier for them to accept the time they have left.