7 Ways to Keep the Blues at Bay if You’re Traveling Solo During the Holidays …and Yes, One Tip Involves Manatees

Photo: manatee By: psyberartist via flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/psyberartist/4292444316

Maybe you’re flying on Christmas Day because it was the only way to get home for the holidays without breaking the bank or perhaps you’re stuck celebrating the last night of Hanukkah abroad because you’re on a work trip.

Either way, it’s hard not to feel lonely if you’re away from the ones you love.

Here are seven ways to beat the blues if you’re alone on the road:

  1. Fuzzy Slippers — Even if your bag is stuffed, you can usually find a bit of extra room to squeeze in something that reminds you of home (or the holidays). Bring small objects to help keep homesickness at bay. A pair of slippers, a photo of your family for your nightstand or a DVD of your favorite holiday movie (Elf, Eight Crazy Nights, etc.) can help you feel cozier if you’re away this holiday season.
  2. Feel Good by Doing Good on the Go — Sometimes the best way to beat the blues is by thinking less about what you don’t have and focusing more on how you can help others. Search for microvoluntourism opportunities from organizations like Give a Day Global (which lists all of its one day volunteer opportunities in places like Mexico and India on Gogobot). During a recent trip to Italy, my fiancé and I spent the day volunteering at Società del Pane Quotidiano in Milan, giving food to those in need. We were there for about five hours and left feeling thankful for what we have (each other). We also gained new friends and great local recommendations on things we could check out during the rest of our trip.
  3. Get Creative with Your Workouts — Don’t let travel disrupt your fitness schedule. Staying active is one of the best ways to beat the holiday blues and you don’t need a gym membership to get some FitBit steps in. While you’re traveling, look not only for hikes and trails to hit, but also take advantage of unique local activities that give you an opportunity to experience your new surroundings. For instance, if you call sunny SoCal home (where outdoor ice skating rinks are a rarity) and are in Boston for the holidays, try ice skating at Frog Pond. If you normally swim laps and you’re from Chicago, but you’re going to be in Florida for the holidays, what better way to get a workout than to swim or dive with the manatees in Three Sisters Springs? Horseback riding, flying a kite and even snowshoeing are great ways to break a sweat when you’re away. Bonus points if they’re activities you can’t try back home.
  4. Surround Yourself with People — Sure, nothing beats being around the ones you love, but connecting with new people can keep thoughts of loneliness away. Instead of snagging room service and huddling in by yourself, see if there are local events you can check out. From Austin to Boston, GoGo This Week gives you 10 -15 local events that are happening this week in major cities around the world. If you’re going to be far away from friends and family, maybe a Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl or a Latke Festival will help cheer you up.
  5. Splurge Wisely — While you’re on the road during the holidays and feeling a bit blue, it can be easy to indulge in immediate gratification that ends up torpedoing your plans to feel better. Making room in your budget for a special glass of mulled wine or a seasonal holiday brew is fine, but resist the urge to splurge on an entire bottle of bubbles. Instead think about spending a bit of money on little indulgences that will have a long-term impact. Download that book you’ve been meaning to read or that new Coldplay album that just dropped. Go see the new movie that just came out. These little indulgences make you feel good in the moment and they’ll also give you things to talk about with the person next to you on your flight or your family once you get back home.
  6. HomeAway from Home — If you’re a business traveler, you might be inclined to book a hotel room, but vacation rentals can be a cheaper (and homier) option during the holidays. On Gogobot, you can find not only hotels, but campgrounds, hostels and vacation rentals. Even though hostel options offer less privacy, they save you money and you get to meet new people if you’re spending the holidays abroad.
  7. Take a Mental Get Away — Even though you feel lonely because you’re away from your support system, and not where you want to be spending the holidays, just thinking about the next weekend getaway or vacation with your loved ones can lift your spirits. Surf around for new restaurants to try with your friends or local events you want to go to with your significant other the weekend you get back. Start researching fun emerging destinations you might want to explore with your family in the new year. While you may be stuck in a spot you don’t want to be right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning for your next microadventure or minication with the ones you love. Get inspired by places you want to go and think about the people you want to be with. Plus, sharing these ideas (over the phone, Skype or via text) helps the people you care about know you’re thinking about them …and that you’re excited to spend quality time with them once you’re back.

How do you keep the blues away when you’re on the road? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments section below.

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