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How to feel closer to home when living abroad

How to feel closer to home when living abroad

Missing your friends and family back home as well as other comforts can make your new expat life just that little bit harder.

So, what can you do to feel closer to home when living abroad?

1. Live in the same time zone!
Actually, this was something I thought about before moving from the UK to Portugal, mostly because I still had a UK business which I was going to continue. Portugal and the UK are in the same timezone (the rest of Europe are not), this meant that when I spoke to people back home I actually didn’t feel that far away. Somehow just being on the same time meant that it was like being in the same country. Try it and see if you can!

2. Make sure you have cheap or free calls.
One of the most important things I found was having Skype. It meant that I could call back home any time I wanted without having to worry about the cost. International calls on landlines or mobile phones are usually horrific, but free Skype-to-Skype calls combined with one of their European subscription packages meant that my costs were drastically reduced (it also meant I could call anywhere in Portugal in my package as well).

Being able to call without worrying about the costs really does mean that your friends and family are not that far away, you can talk to them as often as you would back home.

3. Get satellite TV
If you really miss your old country, then maybe you should think about getting satellite television. I didn’t do this for the first 3 years but in the last year I lived in Portugal I lived in a house which received all the major British TV channels and this really made me feel much closer to home.

So there’s a few things that can make all the difference if you are feeling homesick, although no.1 really needs to be arranged before you move!

What have you done to feel closer to home?


  1. Christy

    Skype does make such a huge difference! It’s as close as you can get to a regular conversation.

  2. Sarah

    Hi Christy
    Thanks for leaving a comment – Skype is an absolute lifesaver for me and I wouldn’t be without it. I use it for business as well as keeping in touch with my family, I think it’s brilliant!

  3. Sabine Panneau

    I completely agree with both of you, Skype has been a lifesaver. I have experienced expatriations without and with Skype and it cannot be compared.
    I am now 6,000 miles from my family and I have nearly more contacts with some members of my family now than when we were living in the same city.
    I also use it for work, instant messaging and sending files (photos and documents). Here too in Argentina Skype calls are cheaper than with my local phone provider (for local and international calls!).
    I would also say that Facebook and the other social networks have helped me keeping in touch with people while living far away from them.

    Nice website by the way, Sarah! will certainly come back!

  4. Sarah

    Hi Sabine

    Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you like the site.

    Skype really has made living abroad so much easier, I wouldn’t be without it!


  5. Gail Monique Mallo

    Social media has become my lifeline when I am struck by inevitable homesickness. 🙂 Even if I want to shut down my social media sites I can’t because my family and I stay in touch through there.

    • Anca

      Welcome to the club, Gail! 🙂 Isn’t it great how connected you can still feel to your family by sharing updates or pics on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram? Life far away from them isn’t easy, but anything that can bring them closer to you, even virtually, matters. Love your blog, btw!

      • Gail Monique Mallo

        Thanks Anca!

        And yes, being connected through Facebook, for example, makes me feel that I’m nearby with photos of my baby nieces and nephews, etc. It keeps me up-to-date with everyone. My mother doesn’t even check her email anymore she’s on Facebook all the time.



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