For those of us with a severe case of wanderlust, not being able to travel is hard. We just have those itchy feet and the travel bug can cause unrest and dissatisfaction. Right now the Corona virus is really messing up everybody’s travel plans and most of us are self-isolating or even in self-quarantine. Keep dreaming though, eventually travel will resume! But even without de pandemic COVID-19 there are many reasons why, even though you might want to travel, you can’t or won’t. Maybe you’re trying to save up enough money to go on a long rtw trip, perhaps you only have a limited number of vacation days, want to stay near an ailing family member that needs care or maybe you have health issues yourself. Let us tell you how you can still satisfy your urge to travel without leaving your house!
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- 1 Read travel novels
- 2 Plan your next trip
- 3 Go through your old travel photos and make a photo book
- 4 Work on a virtual junior ranger program
- 5 Virtual travel tours
- 6 Learn to cook a foreign dish
- 7 Create your family’s bucket list
- 8 Read travel blogs
- 9 Virtual museum tours
- 10 Relive past travel experiences through food
- 11 Set up a resort in your own home
- 12 Study previous travel destinations
- 13 Watch travel series
- 14 Listen to Travel Podcasts
- 15 Watch travel documentaries
- 16 Video chat with friends around the world
- 17 Follow a travel photographer online
- 18 Travel the world while exercising with iFit
- 19 Follow your favorite travel vloggers on YouTube
- 20 Learn a new language
- 21 Watch Travel Movies
- 22 Visit a zoo on the other side of the world
- 23 Go on a virtual field trip
- 24 Watch wildlife around the world through live webcams
You’ll be relieved to find there are many ways to satisfy your wanderlust from the comfort of your own home. You can still get your daily dose of travel vitamins… online! From more ‘conventional’ methods, such as reading travel blogs or travel books, to options you might not have thought about yourself like taking a virtual museum tour, watching wildlife webcams or doing a junior ranger program online. How about visiting the San Diego Zoo in your pajamas or taking a tour around Paris while relaxing on your own couch? It’s all possible! The internet and social media are opening up so many opportunities. Other countries and cultures have become so much more accessible, even while staying home.
We’ve asked the bloggers in our travel bloggers network to give you their best tips on how to travel from your own home. Many of our travel blogger friends responded to our request and contributed to this post. Together we came up with all these awesome tips. Have fun reading and discovering!
Also, if you are homeschooling (because of Corona, or just because – like us – it’s your way of life) keep reading! There are some great homeschooling ideas here as well.
Read travel novels
by Michael from Books Like This One
One of the best ways to continue to travel without leaving your home is by delving into some great travel books. This is a great way to dream about some of your favorite destinations and has been a popular option for many travelers over the years who, for whatever reason, couldn’t hit the road. Even if you have already read many of the most popular books from this genre, there are plenty of other books just like it!
There’s also the option to simply read books about your favorite destinations such as learning about ancient Greece in Circe by Madeline Miller or delving into Scottish history in Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.
Finally, if you have children, make sure to check out fantastic classic books such as The Wizard of Oz and the Narina series. But also take a look at books set in cities around the world, such as Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans and the Larry Gets Lost series by Michael Mullin and John Skewes.
Plan your next trip
Claudia from My Adventures Across The World
One of the best things to do at home when you can’t travel is to actually plan a trip.
Even if for the time being there is no prospect of the trip to actually take place, if you know that in the foreseeable future you want to visit a specific destination, you should definitely take advantage of the extra time you have to look into things such as crafting a good itinerary which will allow you to make the most of the place you want to visit in a limited amount of time.
Make sure to look into the attractions you want to visit. You may even want to start getting tickets for them – if you do so via third party sites such as Viator or Get Your Guide the cancellation policies are very flexible and you should not have any trouble getting your money back in case the trip doesn’t happen in the end.
You can also start researching places to stay – prices will likely change by the time you will be ready to make the bookings, but you can still note down a few hotels or apartments that you think may be suitable for your needs and budget.
Go through your old travel photos and make a photo book
by Bella from Passport & Pixels
How many folders of photos do you have from your holidays that you never look at? How many times do you get back from a trip determined to do something with all the hundreds of images you took, but then life takes over and you do nothing? Being stuck at home may suck, but it’s the perfect time to re-live and reminisce about past travel experiences by finally going back through your old pictures.
If you can’t travel, why not relive the good times by going back through old photos, remembering the fun you had or the hilarious things that happened on the trip. And if you want to do more than just look, a great way to bring your travels back to life is to create something with them. There are hundreds of companies who will turn your holiday photos into wall art, t-shirts, mugs, sticky tiles, mouse mats, jigsaw puzzles and more – the possibilities are almost endless. Since I’m a travel photographer, my go-to is to create beautiful photobooks – you’re far more likely to look at these in future than you are to go digging back through an old folder on your computer. Making a photobook also gives you a great reason to look back at images of your past travels, and you never know what wonderful travel gems you may find to put a smile back on your face.
Work on a virtual junior ranger program
by Stephanie from Explore More Clean Less
The Junior Ranger badge program runs through the United States National Park system and is a fun, usually free way to learn about parks across the country. In person, kids explore the park while filling out a booklet full of activities. They then take a pledge to protect the park and get inducted as “junior ranger” by one of the actual park rangers, receiving a patch and/or small plastic park badge commemorating their achievement!
What some people don’t know is that many of these parks allow you to work on junior ranger badges from home, too! Print off the booklet at home and use the park’s website and Youtube to take a virtual tour, and then mail your completed booklet in to receive your badge in the mail. A few examples are Denali National Park, Point Reyes National Seashore, and the Appalachian Trail. Once you’ve earned badges, pick one of these junior ranger badge display ideas and show them off!
Virtual travel tours
by Corina from Another Milestone
Stuck inside and unable to travel – that is a nightmare for all those that love to explore the world. But in a situation when this is the only option you have, you must be creative and explore the world in alternative ways. Virtual tours are a very realistic manner to discover new places sitting on your couch. Google has launched a platform to create virtual tours using Google Maps or to enjoy the tours other already designed: https://poly.google.com/tours
Missing Paris? Just type “Paris” in the search tab and you will receive several options to see the best parts of Rome on your computer. Curious what Romania looks like? Search “Romania” and you will get multiple tours that will inspire you to visit this country once the things get better. Fabulous cities, amazing national parks and even important buildings can be visited on this platform. And if you want to visit a certain place and you don’t find it, there is always the alternative to craft your own tour.
Learn to cook a foreign dish
by Bruna from I Heart Brazil
Globalization is a blessing. Nowadays, we can travel the world without even leaving home.
And as an incurable foodie, one of the things I like to try at home is foreign dishes. For instance, many Brazilian dishes aren’t complicated, and chances are, you have the ingredients in your pantry.
If you don’t have dinner plans yet, you could cook a one-pot chicken and rice meal from Brazil called galinhada. It’s straightforward to prepare and fills up well! As for dessert, I’m completely in love with brigadeiros, which is a chocolate fudge truffle that melts in your mouth. Just be warned: it is addictive! To top it off, you could finish the night with a Brazilian cocktail. A strawberry caipirinha, for instance, tastes great on a warm evening.
By cooking foreign dishes, you not only learn a little more about other cultures, but you also impress your friends and family with delicious recipes. I’m sure they will love it!
Indulge yourself and get some cookbooks to discover new dishes to try. Have the ingredients delivered as well so you can start your journey around the world with food! Tasty cuisines to try are Brazilian, French, Vietnamese, Thai or Mexican.
Create your family’s bucket list
by Mal from Raw Mal Roams
An excellent way to travel while staying at home is creating your own ultimate bucket list. This activity will allow you to visit all the places you’ve ever dreamed about from the comfort of your house. Don’t be shy, put all your dreams on the paper however big or small they are!
You can add to your list a deadline like before I’m 30, next 2 year or leave yourself a lifetime to do it. And the best part is that when everything goes back to normal, you’ve got a ready plan and can start ticking activities off.
Be specific, what is it that you want, instead of just writing a location to visit. For example – I want to see the sunrise from Borobudur Temple, instead of just saying you want to visit Java.
Also, many destinations have yearly events and visiting them during that time will be particularly rewarding, for example, Rio de Janeiro at Carnival time, Chiang Mai and the Lantern Festival or India during the Hindu festival of colours. You can go a step further and research a rough budget and decide what year and month you can do it.
I also recommend adding some activities to your bucket list like running London Marathon, learning how to cook Thai curry in Ko Samui or climbing Kilimanjaro. Just have fun with it and get inspired!
Read travel blogs
by Jenn and Ed from Coleman Concierge
If you’re looking for a way to feel the joy of travel without ever leaving your house, consider reading a travel blog. Bloggers are real people who love travel, not corporations. You’ll get to see the world through their lens, and meet all kinds of colorful people along the way. Reading travel blogs is like going to a coffee shop and sharing a cup of joe with someone who just came back from an incredible journey.
It’s the personal touches that make blogs unique. A good writer will bring you into the scene and let you experience the trip alongside them. They’ll have original photographs and always be looking for new angles to explore. Of course, they’ll have their niche and brand of travel, so if you find someone you like, you should subscribe to their blog to always get updates. We write to adult-professional who travel experience and adventure first, but that’s just us. You want to find people who resonate with you, spark your imagination, and take you to exotic places like watching the sunrise over Chichen Itza without you ever leaving your couch. Check out this overview of the best family travel bloggers.
Virtual museum tours
By Emily from Wander-Lush
Walking through a good museum can feel like you’ve been transported to a different time and place. If you can’t leave home or your favorite institutions are currently closed, why not recreate that sensation with a virtual tour.
There are dozens of museums and galleries around the world that now offer online ‘tours’ of their exhibits through interactive web platforms you can access on desktop or mobile. It’s a wonderful way to stay curious and keep the spirit of discovery alive, and especially great for kids as it doubles as a learning experience. Some virtual museums recreate the experience of moving through a building on foot. Others provide detailed information by ‘zooming in’ on particular objects in the collection.
Browse the Egyptian Antiquities exhibit at The Louvre, wander the Hall of Mammals at the Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., check out Rembrandt’s famous Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam or participate in a virtual reality experience hosted by The Space Center Houston. If you’re an art buff, the Google Art Project brings together key works from more than 1,200 global institutions, all available to browse online at your leisure.
No queues, no sore feet, and the ability to spend as long as you like examining objects of interest. Plus, when you seek out independent institutions, a virtual museum tour can be a great way to support a small business that is doing it tough right now.
Relive past travel experiences through food
by Alana from Family Bites Travel
When we get back from a family holiday, we get in a post-holiday-funk. We often will talk about our travel experiences in the context of a memorable meal. We worked out many years ago we can prolong a travel experience by learning to cook local dishes.
Even if you are unable to leave home, you can easily be transported back to places you have visited by recreating a memorable meal. As a family, we can feel like we are back in Sri Lanka while eating a Lankan curry with string-hoppers as we reminisce about seeing a wild leopard. Or, we laugh about our pimped-up trishaw rides in Melaka whilst trying to reconstruct Malaysian chicken balls.
We have discussed the unbelievable selection of lentils available in India versus the dismal selection we can buy in Australia when making daal. We have tried to recreate our favorite desserts like Balinese condensed milk pancakes or rolled ice-cream from Thailand, although our street vendor theatrics need work.
Reminiscing about past travels while trying to recreate a memorable meal can transport you back to a feeling, a place, a smell or a memory of your family travel experiences. So, get cooking!
Set up a resort in your own home
by Rachel from The Rx For Travel
As a teen, I remember my cousins and I would get dressed in our bathing suits, lay out our beach towels on the tan carpet and pretend we were at the beach. It was so simple, and yet we are still talking about that memory 20+ years later. Now that I have kids of my own, I remember that sometimes you don’t have to leave your house to make special memories that they will carry with them throughout life. If you can’t travel far, it can be fun to set up a resort in your own home.
In our backyard, we turned it into a kid-friendly water park with a mini pool, water sprinkler toys, and a water table. Our front yard is full of recreational activities: frisbees, soccer balls, tennis equipment, and kid-size golf clubs. When it’s time to come inside, you can have a dance party in your living room while listening to your favorite Pandora station or go see a concert via YouTube. You can even do a special art or craft focused on the pretend location you are visiting. Years from now, you may find that the pretend vacation at home is the one they look back on with the fondest memories.
Study previous travel destinations
by Derek & Mike from Robe Trotting
One great way to travel from home without leaving the house is through the power of learning. Many parents are suddenly taking the role of homeschooling educator and travel topics can fit nicely into many curriculums.
One way to insert travel into your childrens’ schooling is to select one of your previous travel destinations and study the geography of the region. The geology and ecological features of the destination also make for great subjects in a science lesson. Perhaps the local language of the destination can be reviewed and studied. All of these are ways to incorporate travel in your childrens’ learning and revisit family memories.
You can also work with your children to develop future travel plans. As an exercise in mathematics, you can assign a budget and have your children plan a trip to a destination of their choice. Your children can do a report on the destination and practice their research skills to provide you with the same information you look up while trip planning. Maybe you’ll even use their itinerary for a holiday once travel becomes available again. There are so many educational opportunities to come from travel, even if they’re done from home.
Watch travel series
by Tiffany from A Girl and Her Passport
Many of us now have a Netflix subscription now. I know I have had one since it came to your house by disk. This is a great option to keep traveling without leaving the house, especially since Netflix is constantly updating its offerings.
Keep in mind what I am going to suggest you watch may not be available in your country.
Secrets to Great British Castles – I love these PBS series. They show you around the castle but also reveal all the things you probably wouldn’t hear about when you go visit in person. Then when you can finally go, you will know where to look. PBS has several of these types of series in many UK locations.
Dark Tourist – This series may not be for the faint of heart but it does reveal an interesting side of places. Plus, if you are like me, you will probably never go to these places in person anyway. **Disclaimer – some episodes may be graphic.
Rick Steves anything – Rick Steves is the king of travel shows even before Netflix came along. While he can be a bit dry, he does give you a full range of places in Europe to armchair travel to.
House Hunters International – Ok, this isn’t a travel show. But I love getting to see what houses look like in other countries. They usually show you around the town as well. I also like it because they aren’t always in the big cities of a place so you many get to learn about a place you never heard of.
If you need more options, just search for travel and you will get tons. Food travel shows are also really popular right now as well.
Some travel shows for kids you might look into are Wild Kratts, Let’s Go Luna and Hogie the Globehopper.
Listen to Travel Podcasts
by Wendy Werneth from The Nomadic Vegan
Listening to podcasts is a great way to discover new places without leaving your own home. It also exercises your brain more than just watching a video or documentary about travel, because you get to use your imagination to picture what the destination is like. The Amateur Traveler podcast is one that has been around for a long time and has a huge back catalog of more than 600 episodes! If you want to know about an off-the-beaten-track destination, odds are there’s an episode about it. In addition to the general travel podcasts, there’s a podcast for pretty much every kind of travel niche these days, so if you have a special interest you’ll probably find a podcast about it.
For example, as a vegan traveler, I really love listening to the World Vegan Travel podcast. And for families that love to travel together, there are plenty of options too, of course. Some, like Family Travel Radio and Kidventures, feature interviews with various family travel experts. While others, such as Yellow Van Travels and Join Our Vida Loca, are hosted by a single family who brings you along on their journeys around the world.
Watch travel documentaries
by Cath from Passports and Adventures
You don’t have to leave your home to fulfill some wanderlust. One way to still enjoy traveling is to watch travel-related documentaries, especially with kids. There are some great miniseries based in specific locations that are very inspiring. Some will have a focus on nature in specific places and some will mix nature with culture and the local community. And any child who loves animals will enjoy the nature angle of these shows.
One such documentary that inspired one of our trips was a three-part documentary on Yellowstone National Park. It showed viewers how the park changes from winter, through summer and back again and how the animals cope in the depths of winter. It was so fascinating that it inspired our visit to Yellowstone with kids.
Another series that has put a country onto our bucket list is Wild China. This six-part documentary covers different regions and cities in China and shares some fascinating insights and stories about the country and the nature within it. We’d love to visit with our son one day. And likewise, South Pacific, another six-part series based around islands in the South Pacific such as New Zealand, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Watching any of these travel-related documentaries will inspire your wanderlust without having to leave your home.
Video chat with friends around the world
by Kate from Rolling Along with Kids
Our family loves traveling to Bali and we have made such great friends with our beautiful nannies that help us out each holiday. Their care and affection for our kids makes our hearts smile. With our recent travel plans having to adjust, we love to keep connected with our Balinese nannies.
Many Balinese have access to What’s App and Facebook Messenger so it makes it easy to stay connected with them. Using the video chat function, we can chat with our nannies and feel that we are in Bali. Each call is different, from learning to count to 10 in Bahasa, to chatting about Balinese culture and even learning Balinese dance! It is a perfect way to pass the long days at home with the kids but also brings something even more important into their day, culture.
So if you have ever made contact with a local while traveling overseas now is a perfect time to reconnect. They will appreciate the connection with another human being around the world.
Follow a travel photographer online
By David from Delve Into Europe
We’re crawling up the walls in an apartment in Prague in the hope that lockdown conditions may be partly eased in the not-too-distant future. All the beauty and stunning architecture of this amazing city is just a few miles up the tramline, but frustratingly out of bounds.
One thing that we do to ease this frustration is to indulge in some lengthy online virtual journeys around the Czech Republic and Europe. There has always been a bit of an escapist in both of us, and there’s nothing we enjoy more than seeking out photography of smaller places we wouldn’t necessarily have looked up. The result is that we find more and more places to add to our bucket lists.
We go through some of the usual channels – Google images, image libraries, Instagram – and when we chance upon somewhere we like the look of we also seek out photographers based in these places and investigate further. So without being locked down in Prague, we may never have discovered the likes of Loket, Kolin, Hradec Kralove and Pisek in the Czech Republic. And as long as we are locked down, we’ll discover more and more.
Travel the world while exercising with iFit
by Lizzie from Lizzie Lau Travels
My nine year old and I are signed up for iFit, and we’re traveling the world on a stationary bike and a rowing machine. Yesterday I was rowing in Portugal and she was mountain biking in Switzerland. I’ve been suffering from acute plantar fasciitis for several years, so I’m not able to make use of the treadmill right now. We got these fantastic NordicTrack machines just over a year ago, and they work with iFit, a subscription program that streams hundreds of workouts filmed in incredible locations around the world, led by world-renowned trainers. It’s so realistic that more than once when I’ve been riding trails I’ve leaned as if I need to turn the bike!
My daughter is currently doing a 19 ride mountain bike series through the alps in Switzerland, led by a Kiwi instructor with a great sense of humor. The scenery is outstanding. I’m doing a series in Alaska, cycling through breathtaking landscapes. I’m looking forward to finding some new family vacation spots for future travel. We’re both enjoying the virtual travel combined with endorphins and fitness.
Follow your favorite travel vloggers on YouTube
by Halef from The Round The World Guys
One great way to “travel without leaving home” is by watching your favorite YouTube travelers. By following a good YouTuber through their travels, you can feel like you’re traveling along with them.
Several great YouTube travelers have specific goals, from visiting all 197 countries in the world to something like a quest to do a trip in Indonesia without flying. Some channels combine their culinary interests with their videos, capturing their expressions and funny stories and giving you all the information you need for your future travels.
Great travel videos will also help kids to visually learn about other places in the world. Our channel, the Round The World Guys, captures our experience of quitting our full-time jobs to travel around the world – from East Timor to Svalbard and even Antarctica.
Give it a try. Pick your favorite YouTubers! In no time, you will be traveling around the world with them!
Learn a new language
by Diana from The Elusive Family
Being limited to the home can be difficult if you aren’t too sure what to do with your time. If you have a list a million miles long, it’s also hard to decide where to start and many people don’t do anything as they become overwhelmed. However, one thing that can help you, in travel as well as challenging your brain, is learning a new language.
Learning a new language does not have to be difficult. There are hundreds of resources out there to help you learn. Some of the most popular resources include Duolingo which I highly recommend as it ensures you are actually repeating the language and creating the proper sentence structure from the beginning. The app is designed to listen to you speak so that it can determine your progress. Rype and Verbling are websites that pair you with a personal tutor where you schedule calls and the instructor will teach you the language. Rosetta Stone is a well-known language learning program and works for many people. Finally, Memrise is a fun way to learn a language through games.
Watch Travel Movies
by Anjali from Travel Melodies
Have you ever experienced an urge or desire to travel to someplace after seeing it in a movie? It happens to me all the time!
Copenhagen is one such movie. I fell head over heels in love with Denmark’s capital city, so much that I mentally planned a trip before even the movie was over.
There are times when you can’t take a trip to your bucket-list destination and are stuck at home because of one or the other reason. Watching a travel movie is a great way to travel without even leaving your home. Travel movies have the power to transport you to the exciting and unique destinations from the comfort of your couch. We, as a family, binge-watch travel movies when we’re not traveling. The movies not only feed our wanderlust but help kids learn about new cultures while sitting at home. Plus, they help us add new adventures to our ever-growing bucket-list.
My daughter visited Salzburg many times by watching the movie “The Sound Of Music” even before we visited the city of Mozart in reality. She at once recognized the Pegasus Statue Fountain and the stairs leading up to the rose hill at Mirabell Gardens featured in the “Do, Re, Mi” song. She sang and danced around the fountain just the way Maria and kids did in the movie 🙂
Some of the best travel movies that made my daughter travel to exciting places while enjoying popcorn on our own couch include Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda, Frozen, Moana, the Polar Express, RV: Runaway Vacation, and Coco.
No matter which of these you watch, you’re sure to explore new places and indulge in a fun adventure with your kids.
Visit a zoo on the other side of the world
Did you know zoos offer virtual tours as well? Take your kids on a virtual zoo visit!
Let’s take a trip to Atlanta to check out the Giant Pandas with Zoo Atlanta’s PandaCam. After Atlanta, why not travel to San Diego, to the famous San Diego Zoo. On the zoo’s many live cams you can see koalas, owls, giraffes, baboons, tigers and condors. Of course, since the cams broadcast ‘live’ you won’t see much when it’s night in San Diego.
Or go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see sharks glide by, watch the jellyfish pulse, enjoy the frolicking sea otters, or see the penguins as they waddle across your screen. You can also check out the open sea exhibit or see the colorful and busy inhabitants of the coral reef. The aquarium offers 10 different live cams to choose from.
If your kids prefer ‘walking’ amongst the exhibits instead of watching live cams, the National Aquarium in Baltimore has a great virtual tour.
Go on a virtual field trip
If you can’t go on an actual field trip, these virtual ones are a great idea. Most of them don’t only include fun and interesting videos on various trips in different countries but also teaching materials and student handouts. Very suitable for teachers wanting to take their students on an online trip, but also for parents who homeschool or just enjoy exploring new places with their kids. Now you don’t have to limit yourself to the local forest, farm or museum, but can also explore places you normally wouldn’t go, such as the Borneo rain forest or the coral reefs of Palau.
These 11 amazing virtual field trips from Nature Works Everywhere, an initiative of The Nature Conservancy, take you all over the world. Learn about the biodiversity of the coastal ecosystem in Peru or the animals that live in deserts and grasslands of Africa.
Discovery Education also offers a number of fantastic online field trips. We especially like the ‘Tundra Connections’ where you can experience the tundra and polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Some of the teaching materials are only available in Canada or with a subscription. You can also check out Discovery Education UK for more online field trip ideas and resources.
Watch wildlife around the world through live webcams
by Alexander from Gourmand Trotter
As an avid traveler, being on lockdown is quite frustrating, although it is necessary to save people’s lives. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get that wanderlust fulfilled in the meantime.
I believe watching live cams is highly underrated, and it’s a lot more exciting than one might think. Contrary to travel shows that are scripted, the live cams are non-censored and happen in real-time, giving the watching experience that extra feeling because you have no idea what will happen next.
It’s almost as you’re being out in nature, waiting for the animals to come forward. These wildlife cams are not always the highest quality though, but you can still see the animals clearly and some of them are filming live during nighttime as well.
My favorite website to find live wildlife cams from around the world is https://explore.org/livecams/ who list live wildlife cams from interesting places such as waterholes in Africa, Birds nests, Gorilla trails, Polar Bear territory and much more.
Nonetheless, for a moment I can picture myself in these places and get my daily dose of virtual travel inspiration. It’s a great activity to do with your kids as well and a chance for them and you to learn more about nature and animals.