There’s few things in life I love more than travelling, among those none that can’t be related back to travelling in one way or the other. Nevertheless, I do occasionally come across moments in which my excitement for going abroad is curbed by stress, anxiety and uncertainty of leaving home. I’m not even embarassed admitting this, since I know full well I’m not the only one. However, I wouldn’t be a Travelette if I didn’t reflect back upon my experiences and tried to do everything a little bit better and more effective the second time around…

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photo by Ting

Especially if you know you’ll be gone for a while, the last few days in your old home and the first few days in your new one will be everything else than easy-peasy lemon squeezy. Last-minute errands, medical appointments, packing (and unpacking and re-packing) and spending that last bit of quality time with friends and family do take up a lot of time and leave few opportunities for one to just sit back and unwind. Chances are that once you reach your destination, you’ll have equally as much to do and no intentions of staying in and resting. Before you start panicking, read my 5 Tips and Tricks for leaving and arriving and enjoy the positive aspects of travelling in their full potential!

1. Plan ahead

It sounds like something your mom would tell you, and quite frankly we’ve probably all crawled across our bedroom floor, stuffing stray clothing into a duffel bag as the taxi driver was already pulling up into the driveway… But honestly, there are better ways to spend your last hours in the homezone. Before I moved to Sheffield, I consciously scheduled dates with my friends during the day and night before I was leaving. That way, I was forced to organize and pack everything in advance and could spend the final hours getting drinks with friends and taking one last walk through the streets of Berlin. I also avoided the traditional last-minute baggage crises (massive overweight surcharge, anyone?).

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You don’t wanna end up like this girl! (photo by Chrissie White)

2. Avoid packing items you won’t need

To be honest, I’ve met few female travellers who were able to adhere to the “only pack what you absolutely can’t live without” rule. The best way to avoid bringing unneccesary items is actually to buy a couple of new things – before you leave! This probably sounds incredibly strange and just plain wrong to most of you, but I swear there’s proof to this ludicrous thesis. I found it much easier to part from a lot of my hand bags (which I didn’t wear frequently but nevertheless liked a lot) after I bought myself one really versatile, new bag. Same goes for shoes – so you have an array of high heels that you can’t bear to leave behind? Buy yourself a new pair for the 8 others which you sorted out. Sell the ones you will no longer need via Ebay or at a flea market (like the Travelettes did back in July) and you won’t strain your bank account with this one-of-a-kind self-disciplinary measure, either.

3. Smells Like Home Spirit

I really like it when every new living arrangement comes with its own kind of smell, since I tend to associate different smells with emotions and experiences. However, for those rare cases of homesickness, I always bring a tiny perfume tester of the scent my twin sister wears. Just a whiff of it will send me daydreaming and ease any anxiety I’m currently feeling. You could also try taking along your favorite kind of soap, a small flask of your boyfriend’s aftershave or some of those scented candles your aunt always has around her place.

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What does home smell like for you?

4. Keep up part of your daily routine

Different country, different customs. While its fun to mix things up a little by trying out as many new things as possible, it may be a good idea to integrate something you know from home into your new life. Jaclyn suggested taking along your own stove-top espresso maker in one of her previous posts. I followed her advice and couldn’t be happier with the result!

I went running regularely at home, and although my first few days in England were everything but boring, I managed to squeeze in some time for an early evening jog in the park. Working out is not only a great way to stay in shape, it also allows you to easily meet like-minded people and has a positive effect on your mental health as well. Maybe you’re not the running type of person, but then you could just go cycling, walking, longboarding or have yourself a nice sundown yoga session in the park?

photo by Ernst Moeksis

5. Friendly Faces

If you’re planning to put up some photographs of you and your friends in the new home, dont just take the first 20 you find on Facebook and print them out – boring! You’ll see these shots online all of the time, so having printed copies in your room isn’t exactly original. Instead, why don’t you drag your pals to a black-and-white instant photobooth, the kind that lets you take 4 different pictures and prints them out on a long strip for just 2€?

These are just some of my favourite techniques of making myself feel at home, wherever I am. I’d love to hear what other girls around the world do to ease the process of leaving home and arriving somewhere new. Please feel free to share your personal experiences!

Last but not least, remember that “Home is where your heart is”. Happy travels!