Suffering From the Holiday Blues When You Travel? How to Beat Them

FlyAwayU | How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Christmas, Hannakkuh, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Yule, Winter Solstice, Festivus or howling at the moon. It’s that time of year again. The holiday season and the holiday blues!

Have you ever felt blue around the holiday season?

David and I have. Our first holiday season, traveling fulltime, we missed home and our friends and family. Seeing them happily celebrating and getting together in photos on social media just made the sad and lonely feelings worse.

It’s not that we didn’t want them to be happy! It’s that we felt left out and alone in a world of strangers. That’s one thing about traveling, the people at home always move on without you. So it’s easy to feel alone or homesick at times, especially when you’ve just started traveling.

Seeing all the holiday decorations going up around us and people enjoying their friends and family made us miss those same things from home. Like enjoying those once a year homemade treats, wandering through the woods searching for the perfect Christmas tree, decorating, going out to find the best lights in the neighborhood and spending quality time with friends and family.

And while that first-holiday traveling wasn’t our first away from home at the holidays, it was the first one in a foreign country, surrounded by strangers. But instead of letting it get us down, we got to work figuring out how to get rid of our holiday blues.

FlyAwayU | How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Find Your People

Don’t spend the holiday alone. It’s easy to find people who are celebrating the holidays on sites like Meetup, Facebook groups and other group posting sites. And that exactly what we did! I got onto to Meetup and found a local group who is rounding up expat “strays” for a holiday get together. Not only did we not spend the holidays alone, but we made several friendships (BONUS). So no matter where you are, or what holiday you prefer, there’s probably someone you can celebrate it with.

FlyAwayU | How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Join Local Festivities

Get out. Try something new. Sticking to the familiar is always easy, but a fun way to celebrate the holidays is to learn new traditions. Expand your horizons by joining the locals in their festivities. You may just find a celebration you like better than your own. Or add a new one to your list of festivals. Trust me, we have!

FlyAwayU | How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Phone Home

Bill Quinn, a member of the House Sitting World Facebook group, calls home the old fashion way and says nothing conquers the holiday blues like hearing the voices of loved ones through the phone.

Hearing the voices of loved ones or seeing them live on a computer screen is the next best thing to being there in person. We called home and talked to my sister and David’s dad. Hearing their voices helped our spirits. So pick up the phone and call home. Or have someone set up a smartphone or laptop at your seat at the table and join in the celebration through Skype or Facetime.

FlyAwayU | How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Spoil Yourself

Christine Harmel, a member of the Digital Nomads Around the World Facebook group, takes the day off and does something special for herself.  For a recent Thanksgiving by herself in Barcelona, she ate churros and chocolate, while exploring a special place in the city.

Take care of yourself. Schedule the holiday as a day of pampering. Indulge in a good bottle of wine or beer, go get a massage or that manicure you’ve put off. Eat your favorite foods or go out to somewhere nice that you might normally not go. Take the time to spend the day spoiling yourself.

David and I do a mixture of exploring the location and making a holiday feast for ourselves to spoil ourselves with. It helps to have those familiar flavors as we sit and talk over a glass of wine.

FlyAwayU | How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Relax

There’s nothing like a little r-n-r to help you feel better. Take a day off. Mediate. Do a little yoga. Take a walk by the ocean or hike a high mountain. Whatever you like to do, do it. The holidays cause enough stress. Relaxing is one of the best ways to enjoy them.

FlyAwayU | How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Do a Little Decorating

I think one of the hardest things about traveling is not having the holiday decorations. Decorating is one of my favorite things to do during the season. So now, we go out and buy a bright red poinsettia and a strand of lights. It really helps.

Try sprucing up your hotel, housesit, Airbnb, couch, tent or cave with a little holiday decorating. Something small as a string of lights, an ornament or a plant can make a big difference. Do something that makes your place feel festive, even if that just means cleaning the place up.

FlyAwayU | How to Avoid the Holiday Blues

Eat Something Yummy

David’s holiday blues come from missing the special treats I make every year. To cheer him up, I always find the ingredients for at least one of our favorites and whip it up along with a holiday meal.

Seek out your favorite holiday treats. I am betting that no matter where you are in the world that you can find a same or similar favorite treat. Or if you have a kitchen, make it yourself. If you can’t find your favorites, try something new and get a new favorite!

Being away from home for the holidays can be hard but it doesn’t have to be a mood killer. Hiding out in your room won’t help you avoid the holiday blues. Instead, get out, be with people even if they are strangers and enjoy yourself. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.

What tips do you have for dealing with the holiday blues?

FlyAwayU | Holiday Blues

20 thoughts on “Suffering From the Holiday Blues When You Travel? How to Beat Them

  • 11/12/2017 at 09:41
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    I really feel Christmassy now after reading your post. The holidays are that time of year when you can feel a bit bluesy, but your tips are helpful. I think finding people like you to spend the holidays with is really important, and fun too!

    Reply
    • 11/12/2017 at 13:50
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      Lisa, I completely agree that finding other travelers like you is a great way to spend Christmas 🙂 You are always welcome!!!

      Reply
  • 11/12/2017 at 14:25
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    We are the opposite! We purposely travel on holidays and it’s our tradition now with our 6 year old to be out of the country for Thanksgiving and usually Christmas too. It’s been so great not having to deal with family drama! And the best part? Getting to see how others celebrate Christmas and having everything open on Thanksgiving, because no one outside of the US celebrates it that day.

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    • 11/12/2017 at 15:08
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      LOL, Maggie. Nah, we travel on the holidays too. That was just our first year of traveling full-time. For some reason, we really missed home that year and after talking to a bunch of people that felt the same, I wrote the blog post. But yes, we prefer it away from the drama as well! And getting to see other countries and cultures, it’s amazing. This year will be our first year back home for the holidays and honestly, I’m dreading it just a little 🙂

      Reply
  • 11/12/2017 at 15:10
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    There are some good tips here about avoiding the holiday blues. I’m traveling through Christmas and New year so these tips will be useful to me. I never thought about spoiling myself or decorating my hotel room. I could even stay in s shared accommodation! The meetup group’s look very useful too as does FaceTime with the family.

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    • 11/12/2017 at 16:19
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      Hi James. I highly recommend the meetup (and of course the rest of these)! But we met such interesting people and formed lasting friendships with people that we still talk to and visit with when in their country. It was like a family get together without the usual drama (just a little). LOL

      Reply
  • 11/12/2017 at 22:55
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    This is something that often happens to me when I’m not home for holidays. It was a real struggle for me when I was living in China. I wish I have known these tips earlier. Excellent tips which I will definitely bear in mind! 😉

    Reply
    • 11/12/2017 at 23:33
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      Being away from home can be hard especially when you’re a world away. If you’re away this year, reach out, find some people 🙂

      Reply
  • 12/12/2017 at 08:55
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    These are awesome tips for people traveling around the festivities. Although it never happened to me yet, I can feel this because my brother mostly used to be away at festivals. Staying connected through phone or social media is something that can cheer up the person noticeably!! Apart from this, I loved the idea of meeting locals and getting to know their traditions. This can bring lift the mood and even make the trip more memorable.

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    • 12/12/2017 at 13:37
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      Shivani, I love joining the local festivals. We now plan some of our travels around those festivals and have added them to our traditions.

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  • 12/12/2017 at 09:53
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    I do get what you mean by the holiday blues. Even when not traveling during the holiday season, I feel that sometimes. A part of you is still left behind with the people and your family. But I love the idea of joining local festivities. It is a good way to immerse in the local culture and find your people, as you say!

    Reply
    • 12/12/2017 at 13:38
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      Abigail, the holiday blues are certainly a thing even for those of us who aren’t traveling. Sometimes you just gotta pull yourself up and get out there and do it anyway 🙂

      Reply
  • 12/12/2017 at 11:54
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    I can relate to this blog. As a frequent traveler, I miss my family on Diwali (Biggest festival of India) and New Year’s eve etc. As suggested by you, I make up by calling my family and friends and of course by celebrating the festivals in anyway I can.

    Reply
    • 12/12/2017 at 13:39
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      Abhinav, I don’t know too much about India but since it’s on our list, I’m going to be looking up Diwali. And we love New Years. How do you celebrate?

      Reply
  • 12/12/2017 at 15:47
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    Great tips on beating holiday blues. For me if I travel on special occasions, I miss my friends and home town. For that phone or skype is the best way to connect them and hearing over phone. I loved Christmas decorations in Spain with those aerated drinks bottles. What a nice way to recycle bottle waste and it looks funky too.

    Reply
    • 12/12/2017 at 16:27
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      Yukti, I love the Spanish Christmas tree as well. We found it just down the street from where we were staying. We were in Chipiona Spain, where they had Christmas carolers every afternoon that would sing down the rambla and gets free drinks and tapas at all the bars. Such a fun way to enjoy the holidays.

      Reply
  • 12/12/2017 at 20:04
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    These are great tips, and although I can (fortunately) say I’ve never felt the holiday blues, these are tips that can be incorporated into everyday life. It’s true people may move on without you while you travel, but sometimes I find when I return from a trip, everything’s just the same old, and that makes me happier about being a traveler and getting to experience something different quite often. I hope you enjoy your holidays 🙂

    Reply
    • 12/12/2017 at 22:52
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      Hey Samah,
      I agree, it always seems like nothing had changed when you return home except you. Life just goes on, but you’re no longer part of it. It’s an interesting feeling for sure. Happy holidays to you as well.

      Reply
  • 13/12/2017 at 14:08
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    I totally agree! I am suffering a bit the holiday blues while on the road – but I am totally having to make do. I think this are all great tips – I especially love the one about joining local festivities. Of course you’re used to the ways things are done at home, but it’s even more interesting to see how holidays are celebrating in a different country. Plus eating new things around the holidays is totally special. Although I will admit for Xmas I do miss a turkey!

    Reply
    • 13/12/2017 at 14:17
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      Hi Soraya,
      I love a slice of turkey around the holidays as well but the lucky thing about that is that you can find turkey almost anywhere 🙂

      Reply

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