There’s no doubt: it’s hard to have to be far away from your family and friends for any length of time. And of course, the longer the time period, the harder it gets. If you’re getting ready to start a long period of traveling or living abroad, take some time to do some advance planning to help make the period of separation easier on everyone.
It’s important that all your loved ones go into the situation with realistic expectations of what the circumstances mean. Make a plan in advance for when you will all talk and how you will do it. These days, with options like Skype available, it’s much easier to talk to your family every day, face-to-face, without paying too much. They will need to keep in mind that different time zones will mean you won’t always be available at the most convenient times to talk.
Plan a regular time to talk on Skype or on the service Call2Friends, either face-to-face or over the phone, every day or every few days, depending on your preference. Decide how you will handle emergency situations, if you each need to get a hold of each other right away. For example, you can purchase cheap calls from Call2Friends to make international calls to mobile phones and landlines at a reasonable price.
Decide in advance if you will do this regularly or if you need to save it for emergencies.
The last thing you want while living abroad is a fight about the regularity of your conversations! Depending on where you are in the world, there should be an abundance of cafes with Wi-Fi for you to use. However, the price for this can add up and some places don’t have very reliable connections. It might be a good idea to invest in a portable Wi-Fi hotspot to carry around with you.
It can be very hard for you and your family members to be separated during important events like graduations and birthdays, but it’s really just as hard to miss each other on all the other days in between. Show that you are thinking of them in a few ways:
As you find ways to support your loved ones during your time abroad, don’t forget to take care of yourself and deal with your own emotions! Allow yourself to miss them and give yourself time and space to deal with the emotions of separation. And do all of the same things for yourself that you are doing for your family. Set realistic expectations, find times to spoil yourself, and deal with things on a day to day basis. Enjoy every minute abroad and don’t let your fear of missing out get the better of you!
How do you stay connected with loved ones when you are abroad?