Preventing homesickness: 20 tips before moving to a new city or abroad

The old and the new Bay Bridge

The old and the new Bay Bridge

Preventing homesickness? Is that possible? Not completely, but you can definitely reduce its intensity when you follow these tips before the moving van stops at your doorstep.

I have always been an adventurous person, who enjoys traveling and exploring the world. I was never homesick before I moved to the US! It didn’t cross my mind that something like this could happen. But it did. And I suffered from homesickness for several months.

Like myself, many people often get caught off guard by homesickness. It can creep up at any time, and effects children and adults alike.

Homesickness is a normal reaction to the adjustment to a new environment and due to missing the familiar at home.

So even if you think you are immune to homesickness, it can still hit you unexpectedly. It might not happen right away, and it could be several months before you feel it.

Do you anticipate becoming homesick? Are you expecting the move to be very difficult for you? A study by homesickness expert Miranda Van Tilberg found that the more intense the negative anticipations of the separation are, the more likely it is that the person’s experience is actually perceived as negative. So expectations of homesickness and negative experiences become self-fulfilling prophecies. A person, who anticipates becoming homesick, might even suffer from it before the actual move.

Get mentally prepared for the move and ease yourself into the challenge.

Here is my list of tips you should consider, before you actually leave your home. Remember: It might not help you preventing homesickness, but it should change the intensity of homesickness.


List for preventing homesickness:

1.   Make an effort to welcome the idea of moving, don’t suppress it and push it aside. Confront yourself with the challenge of the move.


2.   Don’t assume that a move will be easy for you, because you moved successfully before. Every move is different.


3.   Think positively about your move. See it as an adventure, which will broaden your mind. If your attitude towards the move is negative, it will be difficult to shake that feeling off later. Cultivate happiness, not homesickness! 


4.   Make a list of everything that is positive about the move. Record everything that might be better in the new home compared to your old home. It is easy to glorify your old home when you are homesick. Refer back to your list when you are in your new place and feel blue.


5.    Make a list of things you want to do when you are in your new city. When you are down, you can refer back to the list. Hopefully that will get you excited again about living in a new place.


6.    Be well informed about your new home, so that you can keep surprises to a minimum.


7.    If you are moving to a different country, it is vital that you learn the basics of the language and culture of the new country. You will feel very lost, if you can’t communicate at all.


8.    Contact and get to know someone in your new home. If you move internationally, then you should get to know someone from your home country and someone from the foreign country, before your move. Maybe through friends or work you can find a contact person. Knowing people is one of the best things you can do for preventing homesickness.


9.    If possible, find doctors in your new home before the move. Maybe you can get some recommendations from your contact person. It is very reassuring to know that you can easily get medical help when you need it.


10.   Even if you never suffered from homesickness, expect that it could happen to you. Have a list of coping techniques. You find tips in my article “Dealing with homesickness – 19 tips to overcome it”.


11.   Make sure that sport and a healthy diet are part of your life well before your move. You need to be strong and have lots of energy for the move.


12.   Give yourself the gift of self-compassion. The 3 basic elements of self-compassion are: mindfulness, self-kindness and common humanity. Be mindful about your emotions. Carefully examine how you are feeling. Shower yourself with kindness and use encouraging and kind words towards yourself. The sense of common humanity makes us realize that we are all in the same boat. Tell yourself that a move is difficult for other people as well. You will not be the only one who might be homesick. You can read more in my self-compassion article.


13.   Moving is a very stressful situation. If you already suffer from some form of anxiety or depression, then you need to tackle these before you undertake the additional stress of moving. You might need to seek professional help.


14.   Before you are moving, you need to resolve any pressing family matters. Problems will not go away because you are moving from home. These problems might even become more prominent.


15.   Take time to say your good-byes to friends and family. It is easy to get too wrapped up in packing and organizing everything for your move.


16.   Take things with you that remind you of home. Not everyone is able to take all their belongings with them. When I moved to the US, I didn’t have anything that reminded me of my home. I had to take bits and pieces with every visit I made back to Germany.


17.   Set up a blog where you can inform family and friends about your experience in your new place. This will give you also a chance to vent.


18.   Arrange to be in contact with home. Set up a day and time when you will call or skype with home. However, don’t spend all your time contacting friends from home. Your life is now in the new place and you need to spend time and energy to meet new people there. Read more here “To call or not to call? What helps when you are homesick” .


19.   People, who move away from home, love to go back for a visit at least once a year. If you move far away, so that only a plane flight will take you back to your loved ones, then you need to set up a savings account for a trip back home. Set aside monthly a sum of money, so that you will have saved enough for a flight after a year has passed.


20.   I often read in comments that people move to a new town or country and haven’t set up a job or a place to live before hand. It makes life for you so much easier if everything is established.


How did you prepare yourself for your move? What has helped you in preventing homesickness before moving? Please share some ideas!


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