It’s not something they might consider when first moving abroad, but for expats, deciding what to do with their holidays can be a fraught process.
Home or… home?
There will always be some debate among expats about how they will spend longer holidays during an assignment. It could even be called a dilemma. Should they return home for the duration of their holidays and maximise time with family and friends? Or, should they explore their new ‘home’ – the host country where they live or countries nearby – about which they may know little?
A no-brainer (for some)
For many expats it’s a no-brainer. They not only miss family and friends but also the food, the weather, being understood everywhere they go and always being in on the joke. Yearning for home so badly, they might not even hesitate booking tickets. But while home comforts and familiar faces are wonderful, family holidays are not necessarily stress-free. A visit will need to be strategised. For example, assuming they no longer have a house at home anymore, where will they stay, and for how long?
Treading with care
Some expats might feel obliged to return home. It’s often true that family will assume they are coming back. So for those expats considering going somewhere else, whether for Christmas, Lunar New Year, or Summer, their families back home will need plenty of advance warning. Reasons for not visiting home might need to be explained, if diplomatically or delicately. For example: “We’d love to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore other cultures and destinations, while we have the chance.” Intentions must be made clear.
Maybe a ‘staycation’?
Yes, expats may feel guilty about not going home, but then they might feel resentful as well, if they did go home. One option might be flying home to see family and friends before taking a holiday-within-a-holiday. But that could invite exhaustion from multiple flights. That’s why for some expats, having a ‘staycation’ in their host country, or going somewhere close to where they are based, makes more sense. Less packing, less travelling and more time to unwind. But if they happen to be going somewhere particularly wonderful, their family back home might even be tempted to join them. Well, that’s a whole new dilemma…