Life back home doesn’t simply get put on hold when we travel. Although many of us welcome any chance we get to escape the monotony of our everyday lives by heading off to some exotic location around the globe, you can never really cut all ties with home in today’s world.
Thankfully, today’s technology easily allows us to stay connected to any responsibilities we may have back home while also allowing us to connect with friends and family to reduce the feeling of homesickness setting in.
Whether you’re jetting off for two weeks in the Bahamas or a year of backpacking across Europe, here are some of my top tips for how you can keep up to date with your life back home.
It’s always worthwhile staying close to the ones you love and maintaining your normal life back home so that it’s ready for you when you return without having to deal with any unfortunate surprises.
How to Keep Up to Date with Life Back Home When You’re Abroad
Avoiding Getting Homesick
One of the main reasons you should keep up to date with life back home is for your own mental health, especially when traveling for extended periods. Many of us don’t realize just how quickly homesickness can set in and how debilitating it can be for some people.
Humans are creatures of habit and we tend to get comfortable with our daily routines. While it may be exciting to break free of those normal routines for short periods, we tend to quickly miss our normal foods, TV programs, and rooting for our favorite sports teams.
Thanks to streaming services, you can now stay up to date with your beloved TV shows from nearly anywhere in the world and can even watch and bet on your favorite sporting matches such as the football Euros thanks to simple betting apps that allow you to stay involved with each important match.
There’s a reason why there’s such a thing as expat bars in nearly every country. As much as we love to travel, most of us take pride in our home towns and find it hard to let go of all the things that shape our everyday life.
You can easily stay informed with current news happening back home by reading online newspapers based back home or possibly even stream your normal local news live with the help of a VPN set to your home country.
Maintaining and Securing Your Home
While you may be off having fun traveling the world, your home is forced to remain, well…back at home of course. There are a number of things you should consider doing before you take off to ensure your home remains in the condition you left it.
You need to make sure your home is secured and remains that way for the duration of your travels. You may also have various ongoing maintenance issues that need to be dealt with.
The longer you leave your home vacant, the greater the chance for unfortunate incidents such as vandalism, burglary, and storm damage to occur while you’re away.
If you’re planning on forgoing a house sitter, invest in a safe to lock up valuables such as expensive jewelry and important documents. You should also hide your car keys and disable your automatic garage door so it cannot be opened as easily by thieves.
Of course, remember to lock all doors and windows, and maybe invest in a home monitoring system. Many systems these days can be controlled remotely from anywhere in the world using your smartphone, allowing you to check up on your place whenever you wish.
Secure from Natural Disasters
Replace your fire alarm batteries and clean out your gutters and storm drains in case there’s a major storm while you’re away which could lead to a backup of water and flooding within your home.
Leaf litter left in your gutters can also become a fire hazard during bush fire season. You may also want to shut off gas valves and internal water valves.
Keep in mind that your home and contents insurance which can cover you for floods, fires, and burglary may no longer be valid if you leave your home vacant for more than a certain period, often more than 60 days for example.
Some last few tips include making sure to take out all your garbage before you go so you don’t come home to a smelly home possibly plagued by unwanted pests.
Purchase outdoor sensor lights if you don’t want to pay for a home monitoring system, and remember to have your mail held so it doesn’t pile up.
Get a Health Checkup Before You Go
Hopefully you won’t run into any health problems while traveling, but you can possibly mitigate the risk by getting a check up before you go.
While you may feel like a new person when you travel, you’re bringing your normal everyday body with you. It may be quite difficult or expensive to get medical, eye, and dental treatment overseas, so get everything checked before you go.
If it’s been a while since your last dental checkup, a quick cleaning/maintenance appointment can check for potential problems that could get worse while you’re traveling. Similarly, you should get your vision checked if you wear glasses or contacts and make sure your eye health is all on the up and up.
Make sure you have all phone numbers for your various physicians saved in your phone in case you need to contact them if something arises while you’re away. They know your medical history best and can help offer helpful advice if you experience any dramas while traveling.
While traveling is a great time to reduce stress and relax a bit, you should try to stay in touch with your normal exercise/fitness routine as well as maintain a healthy diet. This becomes even more important when travelling for long periods of time.
Stay Connected With Family and Friends
Not only can staying in touch with family and friends boost our mood and knock back our homesickness, it can also be a great safety tool. Having someone who knows our travel plans means they can raise an alert if something doesn’t seem right.
There’s no excuse for not staying in touch as it’s so incredibly easy these days to connect for little to no cost thanks to countless messaging apps and social media platforms.
Just remember to turn off your phone’s mobile data unless you have a generous international roaming plan and always make use of free Wi-Fi whenever possible. One option is also to purchase a local SIM card for cheaper calls and data.
You can also write daily emails that get sent to a list of family of friends you wish to stay connected with. This allows you to share your adventures and be kept in the loop of events that you may be missing back home with just sending a single email.
Another option is to start your own online blog where loved ones can read about your travels and comment whenever they wish.
Do keep in mind that just because you’re off having fun traveling with a relaxed schedule, your friends and family back home are likely still going to work or school and have daily responsibilities to attend to. Be sure to factor in time differences to your catch-ups with loved ones and select a time that is ideal for both parties.
Reduce Home Costs While You’re Away & Manage Your Bills Online
Another thing to remember, if you enjoy saving money, is that despite you not being home while traveling there are still ongoing expenses that keep accumulating. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to reduce these costs.
If you aren’t arranging a house sitter to watch over your property while you’re away, you can reduce your utility costs by doing things like turning off the heat/AC and unplugging unessential devices and appliances. Anything that is using up water, gas, or electricity is costing you money while you’re away, so if it can be turned off then do so.
Not only does unplugging appliances and devices save money, it also reduces the chance of electric surges and shorts that could lead to fires, not something you want to happen when you aren’t home monitoring things.
While traveling, you will also most likely have a number of bills to stay on top of such as your mortgage, car loan, and credit card bills. Failure to pay bills on time can of course result in financial penalties. Luckily, nearly every bill these days can be paid online which leaves little excuse for not staying on top of payments.
If you plan on traveling for a long period, see if you can temporarily halt any subscriptions such as internet, streaming services, gym memberships, etc. Some may have you stuck in lock-in contracts or may have hefty termination/restart fees, so keep this in mind.
These are just some of the top ways you can stay in touch with everything that goes on back home while you’re off exploring the world.
The last thing you want is for your memorable travel moments to be quickly overshadowed by having to deal with situations back home upon your return.