I remember the first holiday I spent alone without my family like it was yesterday. I was living in Orlando, Florida and had work on Christmas day at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. When I arrived at work I immediately felt stressed out. Not spending such an important day with the most important people in my life was so hard! The next time was much harder as I was now living all the way in New Zealand. All my flatmates were gone to see their families and I was left alone in an empty apartment in a still fairly new city. I made the most of it though and enjoyed the sunshine on my deck and had a few great Skype sessions with my family back in the states to cheer me up. Travelling alone during the holidays or just spending your first one alone in general can be really hard. So here’s some ideas to make it a little easier on you!
Get Involved With Others In Your Area
There’s nothing like being in a foreign place and feeling totally left out during the holidays; so get involved! No matter where you are in the world, there will be people celebrating the same holiday as you are. A great way to find these people is to join a Facebook group for travellers in that area as well. I see loads of people for one here in New Zealand looking for other backpackers to connect with to share a Christmas meal with. There’s so many other people in the same boat as you, so get out there and celebrate together!
I arrived to work at the Top 10 Holiday Park in Whanganui, NZ the day before New Year’s by myself. Luckily my new co-worker, Nicolai, was very welcoming and we had an amazing New Year’s Eve watching the sunset over the Tasman Sea!
Make The Most Of Where You Are
Travelling on your own during the holidays can be a bit depressing, especially when you see how happy your family & friends are together. So try to make the most of where you are and how they celebrate or how they don’t! Europe is filled with Christmas markets you can explore and will still make you feel like it’s the holidays. Maybe you’re on a tropical island that doesn’t celebrate your holiday, well who cares cause you’re on a tropical island! But really, if you try to be positive in the environment you’re in then it will happen.
Celebrating the Christmas holiday in Wellington, New Zealand
Make Your Own Traditions
Since you can’t be with your family, do something on the holiday that you know makes you happy and can become your own tradition. On Christmas, me and my boyfriend always make a full English breakfast in the morning which reminds him of home and then we do a big roast dinner which reminds me of home as well as him. So this has become our tradition as it makes the holiday still feel special to us without being with our loved ones. Maybe you love going to the beach or drinking margaritas (I know I’m a sucker for both) so make it a tradition to do these things on your own on the holidays so it’s still a special & fun day for you!
Have Comforts of Home
I would give anything to have my grandma’s pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving every year. Unfortunately, that’s a bit far away and probably wouldn’t taste great once it arrived to me. Luckily, I received one from another American in New Zealand this year. It wasn’t jaw-dropping but it was a warm reminder of home. Maybe you always drink certain beer on July 4th or get a particular type of dessert, try to find this where you are staying! You may not be with your family, but there’s things you can still enjoy that you regularly would during the holidays with them.
Talk to your Family
This is obviously the best way to get through the holidays alone. I seriously look forward to getting up at 7am to be able to speak to my family regardless of the 18 hour time difference. Whether it be phone call, FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp; we are all connected online and it is so easy to communicate with each other no matter where we are in the world.
My first Christmas tree in nearly 3 years here in New Zealand! Can’t wait to show my family on Skype.
Ultimately, the holidays should be enjoyable wherever you are. There’s many of us that are exploring this great big world and can’t be with our families during such an important time though. But try to make the most of wherever you are and whoever you’re with! You will have amazing stories and adventures to share once you are back home. Enjoying your life in the moment is the best gift of all!
Me as the Easter Bunny in Whanganui, New Zealand for all our guests!