It’s been a fair few years since my family has seen me home for the holidays, for no other reason than my insane addiction for traveling the world. Christmas 2010 was spent in the Qantas Club Lounge in Melbourne before catching an international flight to Edinburgh; Christmas 2011 was spent in New York City while dating Mike; Christmas 2012 was spent in Tasmania, (a little far out from my home State, though at least I was in the same country that year!), and Christmas 2013 in Florida, 9,433 miles away from home.
It’s not that I don’t love my family. I’m part of a very tight knit group. Though when you’re addicted to travel you often miss the birthdays. You’re overseas for the anniversary’s. You have to settle for video replays of weddings you should have been at. And you settle for Skyping in on Christmas day.
So how do you deal with Christmas when you’re never home for the holidays? This is how I do. How to stay in touch with people during the holidays.
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FaceTime & Skype
Apps like FaceTime and Skype are a godsend, and I have attended many family dinners through my computer screen. I wished my nephew a happy first day at school via video chat, counted halloween candy with both nephews online, and my webcam is always on when it comes time to open presents!
Depending on your time difference, you may have to suck it up and wake up at 5am, however you learn to take what you can get when it’s the only way of seeing your family on Christmas day. Use facetime for Christmas.
Additionally, international calls are incredibly cheap via Skype – something to the effect of 3-10 cents per minute depending on which country you’re calling to/from. So even if your parents, grandparents or siblings don’t have a computer, throw on $10 of Skype credit and start making calls! There’s nothing more special than receiving a phone call from the other side of the world just to say “Merry Christmas” and that you’re thinking of them that day.
If you are buying gifts for your loved ones, buy online and have them shipped directly. This saves more money than you could possibly imagine in international shipping costs. Ship gifts directly
Shipping birthday gifts last year from the United States to Australia was going to cost $80 for some clothes and a plastic toy for my 1 yr old nephew; 4 times what the gifts cost themselves! Or you can look into social shopping platforms like Grabr where travelers already heading your country of choice will deliver goods/presents for you in exchange for a small fee.
Related: Gift Ideas For the World Traveler
Personal Emails/Social Media Messages:
After moving to the United States my phone went silent. It’s too expensive for most people to send international texts, so don’t expect the 100 or so group text messages you’re used to receiving on Christmas or New Years if you’ve changed to a new number overseas. But it’s still nice to let your friends know you’re thinking of them. Stay in touch while traveling
Everybody on earth seems to post a “Merry Christmas” status update on Facebook or twitter, however make it personal by sending your closest friends private, personalized messages. They’ll appreciate the thought, and you’ll more than likely get messages back – everyone likes to feel loved on Christmas!
I learned quite quickly that staying in touch with friends and family back home while traveling is a two way street. Sure, you may not have heard from them, but you have the ability to start a conversation too. So don’t take it to heart if you don’t hear from people. You’re the one who left, so if you want to stay in touch it’s often going to be you who has to make the first move.
Celebrate Like a Local:
Christmas traditions vary from country to country, and each different destination has their own unique way of celebrating the holidays. Christmas in Australia includes a BBQ and a couple of beers. Christmas in Colombia includes huge fireworks displays. Christmas celebrations around the world.
Go out and celebrate Christmas with the local community, and embrace the differences in culture. Find out how the locals celebrate and mirror these traditions too. How is Christmas celebrated around the world
Get in touch with people you may know in that part of the world and let them know you’re in town – you could be lucky enough to be invited into a family celebration. Which country should I visit for Christmas
Do Something Awesome:
Distraction is often the best cure for homesickness around the holidays, so plan to do something awesome and fulfill one of those dreams on your bucket list.
Christmas 2010 for me was spent in the lounge of the Qantas Club in Melbourne – not necessarily something ‘awesome’, but that night I arrived in Edinburgh and spent the evening in a proper Scottish Castle!
Make Sure You’re Insured
The holidays are called “the silly season” for a reason – alcohol flows, folks behave foolishly and self indulge, and people do crazy things. Occurrences of theft tend to spike around the holidays too.
There’s literally nothing worse than having to spend the holidays sick, hurt, or banged up abroad. So make sure you have international health insurance so that if something happens you can afford to have it taken care of, and it doesn’t ruin your whole holiday.
Travelers are often under the misconception that health insurance is for the small stuff; a cold, the flu, or a nasty bruise. But it actually exists for emergency situations and life threatening events beyond your control. Like a serious car accident, or if you need an emergency evacuation so that you can afford a helicopter transfer.
Knowing that you’ll be taken care of no matter what happens during the holidays eliminates a huge amount of stress. Having an international travel insurance policy which covers health and medical is absolutely essential when spending the holidays abroad.
Pro Tip: If you haven’t yet purchased international travel health insurance, obviously make sure you do. Our guy is Timothy Jennings at Individual Health who has a huge range of insurance plans which includes insurance with #GeoBlue.
GeoBlue is a worldwide insurer who offer the most complete set of benefits and services in the industry, and make their best attempt to arrange direct payment no matter which medical provider you see. That means no need to lay out any of your holiday cash, and you don’t have to even worry about filing a claim.
For more information on health insurance contact Tim Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org or click for a free quote.
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