With the COVID-19 pandemic, these are such tricky and unprecedented times for us all. Most of us have been advised to stay at home and only leave or interact with others for essential needs. If you’re like me, you crave adventures and new people, places and things to stimulate your mind. The good news: fun has not been cancelled! There are still many ways to feel like you’re traveling the world and getting your creative juices flowing.
Below are 8 great ways to satisfy that wanderlust deep within you, from the comfort of your own home!
#1 Watch travel-themed movies & TV shows
There’s no better time to sign up for online streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. Here’s a well rounded list of my favorite travel inspiring movies and shows that are currently available to stream across the internet…
Netflix: P.S. I Love You, Julie & Julia, The Hundred Foot Journey, Roma, The Tourist, Ugly Delicious, Travels with my Father, Street Food, Instant Hotel and Chef Show
Hulu: Up in the Air, Under the Tuscan Sun, Where’d You Go Bernadette, Leap Year, Lost in Translation, Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, Man vs. Wild, House Hunters international and Travels in Europe with Rick Steves
Amazon Prime: Chef, Roman Holiday, Rat Race, Downton Abbey, Ken Burns: The National Parks – America’s Best Idea, Blue Planet
HBO Now/Go: Gulliver’s Travels, Notting Hill, Madagascar, Game of Thrones, Catherine The Great
Disney Plus: Ratatouille, Mulan, Aladdin (live action), Lost Cities with Albert Lin, Continent 7 Antartica
#2 Read a book about a faraway place
With more time on our hands, it’s important to keep our brains active with a great book. While travel might be at a standstill, books can transport you to another place… all from the comfort of your own home! Some favorites of mine include Into the Wild, Eat Pray Love, Wild, Notes From a Small Island (or anything by Bill Bryson!), The Art of Travel, and A Year of Living Danishly.
I suggest finding amazing recommendations through Goodreads . You can even create a goal of how many books you’d like to read in a year and keep track. If you own a library card, check if your local library offers free ebooks online, many do these days. For those who use Amazon, there’s Kindle Unlimited which is a subscription service that will grant you access to over a million titles and thousands of audiobooks. Speaking of audiobooks, if you prefer those, I’d recommend Audible.
#3 Visit museums or National Parks – virtually!
Many places around the globe are getting very creative with their tourism. From world famous museums (including the British Museum, Met, Vatican Museums, The Louvre and The Guggenheim), to stunning National Parks in the United States (including Kenai Fjords, Hawaii Volcanoes, Carlsbad Caverns, Bryce Canyon, and Dry Tortugas), you can virtually explore places that are on your bucket list. This would also be a fun activity for kids as well who are now being homeschooled.
#4 Learn a new language or unique skill
While English is universally accepted, I often wish I knew multiple languages when I’m traveling. For those who’ve always had an interest in learning a language, or perfecting your foreign language skills, now is the time to do so! If you’re looking for a convenient and free way to learn, I recommend downloading Duolingo onto your phone or tablet. If you have more time on your hands, a bigger budget, and a determination to master a language, I’d recommend downloading Pimsleur software onto your computer.
If you already know more than one language, I suggest learning a new skill! From photography lessons, to cake decorating and everything in between, there are many companies online who offer virtual classes. Two of my top recommendations are Skill Share and Brit + Co.
#5 Create a travel bucket list
Whenever I’m in a travel lull, it always helps to work on my bucket list for places I’d love to go in my lifetime! There are even some apps now that can help you organize your bucket lists, like Woovly, Soon, iWish, and more.
Here are some examples from my travel bucketlist: visit every continent, travel to all 50 states, see all 9 National Park in California, attend the Olympics or World Cup, and explore one of the Great Pyramids of Egypt.
#6 FaceTime with friends in another state or country
I just spoke with my friend in Germany and it was so refreshing to hear about how other parts of the world are handling this pandemic. You can even show each other your outside views to compare! Catching up with friends in general really helps the time pass when you can’t meet up in person.
Thanks to Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime, it’s easier now more than ever to connect with your loved ones around the world. I suggest getting creative and playing games with them virtually; Jackbox TV and Playing Cards are both great options. You can even watch movies together with Netflix Party, a browser extension app exclusive to Chrome.
#7 Do a travel-themed puzzle
Another fun way to keep your mind occupied are puzzles! They’re an enjoyable activity for anyone in your family, no matter what age. While puzzles are in high demand now and may be difficult to find through megastores like Target, Walmart, or Amazon, I’d suggest shopping locally. Check out the independent bookshops or toy shops in your area by either visiting their website or calling them directly. I know many places now are offering free delivery or curbside pickup.
#8 Cook a meal from a different culture
Everyone has to eat, and while we currently cannot go out to restaurants, we might as well have as much fun as we can in our own kitchens. Dreaming about a faraway place? Google famous dishes from those destinations and start cooking! A few of my favorite international recipes include Chicken Tikka Masala, Japanese Fried Rice, Hawaiian Loco Moco, Greek Salad and Italian Meatballs.