Summer is almost here! For many Third Culture Kids (TCKs), the arrival of summer break means they will finally have a chance to go visit that overseas best friend.
Long-distance friendships can be rough. Skype dates and late night phone calls help, but unfortunately that best friend telepathy you’ve spent years perfecting only works in person.
We’ve put together a list of eight tips to help you get ready for your visit so that you can focus on excitedly telling everyone you know (and some people you don’t) about your trip.
How to beat jet lag
Don’t let jet lag keep you from making the most of your visit. If you’re going to be spending a considerable amount of time in a different time zone, you might want to consider trying to gradually adjust your sleep cycle beforehand.
A few days before you leave, force yourself to wake up an hour earlier in the morning or stay up an hour later at night (depending on which direction you’re travelling). Each day, increase this time by an extra hour. By the time you reach your destination, you’ll already be used to waking up at the right time of day.
If you’re planning a shorter visit, controlling your exposure to light and eating well on the first day there will help you adjust faster. Within the first few hours after waking up each day, try to spend some time in the sun. This will help tell your body that it’s morning and it should start making the chemicals which make you feel awake and alert. On your first day there, try to eat healthy and drink lots of water. Avoid alcohol and spicy food before bedtime. This will help you feel better waking up in the morning.
Plan out activities before you go
This may seem obvious, but having a plan for your trip before you leave is essential. Talk to your friend beforehand and have a list of things you want to do ready to go. This will help you feel like you got the most out of your trip.
Tour all of your old favorite summer places
If you are travelling back to a city you used to live in, set aside time to visit your old favorite hangouts.
Revisiting the places you and your friend used to love going to is a perfect way to reminisce about old memories and make some new ones.
Go see all the awesome new places your friend has found
Since you moved away, your friend has probably found some great new restaurants, bars and venues. Ask your friend to show you the awesome new places they’ve found.
Make time for shared interests
Discussing the shows, books, games or movies that both of you love has helped keep your friendship going despite the distance. During your visit, make time to do or talk about these activities together. It’s a great way to reconnect and, if we’re being honest, no one else quite understands your obsession.
Spend some summer time outdoors
Go for a hike, take a bike ride or enjoy a picnic in the park. Outdoor activities give you plenty of time to catch up while enjoying some beautiful scenery. They’re also perfect for photos!
Meet the new friends
Spend some of your visit hanging out with the new friends you friend has made. Getting to know their new friends will help you match faces with names and feel more invested in all of the stories your friend tells you over Skype later. You might even make some new friends in the process.
Start planning your next summer visit
The best way to ease the pain of saying goodbye is planning all of the awesome things you’ll do next time you get to see each other!