Exploring new regions and exotic cities can be such a fun way to experience some of the world’s most beautiful places. Experiencing them alone can be a great way to discover more of who you are, and many people try to venture out on their own for a season of solo travel after or before college. However, one thing that can so commonly afflict travelers is homesickness. While it’s normal to miss your friends and family, sinking deeper into homesickness can potentially ruin your trip. Here are a few ways to battle homesickness when you find yourself travelling for lengths of time.

One great way to stave off homesickness before it has a chance to develop is to bring photos of friends, family, or even your home to look at when you start to miss them. Also, sharing the photos with people you meet on the road who are interested in where you’re from can be fun, too.

Writing can be a great way to get your thoughts and emotions out and onto paper, and doing so while traveling can keep the sad emotions from building up. One way to do this is to write postcards to the people you miss the most. Let them know what you’re doing and that you miss them. It will be great to hear about how happy they were to receive them, too. You can also keep a journal, in which you can write down anything that comes to mind during your travels. Write about your thoughts and feelings, make lists of the things you saw each day, or even the weird food you’ve eaten so far. Reflecting on each day by writing down bits and pieces of the experience can help keep your mind busy.

If you’re really missing your home, it can be helpful to read books or watch that take place in your home city or country. While this can sometimes make you less lonely, it can also make you more homesick, so use your best judgment in this case.

Finally, we travel to new places, especially foreign locations, to experience a different culture and broaden our lives. That being said, a good way to side-step potential loneliness is to spend some time in social areas, such as cafes, markets, parks, restaurants, or attractions. Don’t be afraid to meet new people, either, since doing so is reasonably safe in public areas. Do not go anywhere alone with anyone you don’t know, though. Keep it public and make sure there are people around.

Homesickness is a normal part of being away from the people and places you love and are familiar with, but it doesn’t have to get so bad that it ruins your travels. The tips outlined above will help prevent loneliness from growing and will also help alleviate it once it crops up.