A homebody's guide to travel

August 24, 2018

Quiet Saturday mornings are your jam. After a night of Netflix in the confines of paradise, you rise from your heavenly bed and creep into the kitchen. You avoid every memorized creak in the floor of your apartment, which reminds you exactly of your childhood home (and you love it). You grab the mug you’ve had since you were seven to make some tea. Like most things in your home, you treasure it, hold it tight and plan to keep it forever.

If this sounds like you, you’re probably a homebody.

For someone who likes to stick to known parameters, the idea of travel can be scary and unattractive. Why should you go somewhere else when you have everything you need and love in your home city? Besides, being stared down as a blatant tourist is probably the last feeling you want to have.

But seeing new places and gaining new experiences is worth the potential discomfort of travelling as a homebody, so here’s what you can do make it easier.

1. Establish a routine

Create a routine from the day you arrive and don’t neglect it. This is the lifeblood of a successful homebody travel experience. When you travel, things are unfamiliar and that can make you uncomfortable, emotional and likely unpleasant to be around. This is not the image you want to project when you’re trying to meet people and enjoy your experience. While you can’t always bring the physical items that provide a sense of comfort, you can definitely mimic your usual at-home routine.

Stick to regular wake up and bedtimes, and maintain morning rituals like making tea. Pack your workout gear because jogging is as much of a burden or blessing abroad as it is at home—it’s like you never left at all. If your hostel mates look at you funny, just tell them it’s the jetlag. They’ll totally get you.

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2.  Become a “regular”

Find your breakfast perch or afternoon coffee shop and craft a regular order. Homebodies love things that feel like their own. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days for the routine staff to recognize you as “decaf iced americano with coconut milk in a personal mug,” and when they do, may your little clingy heart soar.

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3. Get a transit pass

Get a transit pass and stop fumbling for change at every station. Boarding a bus or train like everyone else, with that reassuring beep sound, is like a one-way ticket to normalcy.

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4. Take a yoga class

Or any kind of class for that matter! If you’re staying somewhere for an extended period of time, there might be a punch-pass or temporary membership you can buy. Coming home that much more grounded or with a fancy new skill is a definite win.

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5. Learn someone’s name

It’s so easy to feel isolated when everything in a new place is foreign, especially while travelling alone. There are streets you’ve never been on, foods you can’t pronounce and you don’t know the name of a single person you interact with. Even if it’s just reading a name tag at a grocery store and verbalizing it. It will make you feel more connected.

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6. Go to the farmer’s market

How cool did you feel the first time you went to the farmer’s market in your home city? Probably extremely. This will be like that all over again. Prepare yourself.

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7. Pet a dog

Or cat, or snake, or ferret—whatever. Animals have a way of alleviating stress, especially if they remind us of our own.

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8. Volunteer at an event

Donating your time to a community is a sure way to feel like you’re part of it, and you’re guaranteed to meet some decent-minded locals while you’re at it. Search opportunities in the area before you arrive and slide in there like the samaritan hero you are!

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9. Visit the library

Browsing at the bookstore? Choose the public library instead. In most places, libraries are for residents only, but nobody needs to know you’re not a local. It won’t even come up unless you try to borrow something. Also, the internet. Running out of cell data before your trip’s end is a legitimate fear friends.

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10. Go beyond the tourist hot spots

Seek out lesser-known attractions instead of only visiting main tourist spots. Searching Reddit or an old fashioned paper map are great options for finding these. When you stroll through a sparsely populated community park, you’ll feel like an exclusive member of the best-kept secrets club. Sure you’ve never been there in your life. But nobody else knows that. It’s like being in your own backyard again.

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