We all often face situations when our travel plans get interrupted indefinitely. Don´t forget that when you are stuck at home, staying positive and motivated is the first thing you own to yourself. Take every challenge as a chance to do something you wouldn´t have tried otherwise. Can´t set out for your dream destination? – There are so many exciting things you can do from home to stay inspired. Let´s travel virtually!
We don’t always need to go far away to actually feel far away.
Our dreams, our imagination, and a few of our favorite travel activities can feed the travel bug straight from home. As the tech world is not sleeping, many new virtual tours and courses pop up every day on the world´s map. Now is the best time to travel virtually and learn more about our amazing world.
If you´re stuck at home for some reason and this is making you feel a bit off, try to recall all those moments in the past when you wanted to read a new book, watch a new movie, or even learn a new language. But in the end, you´ve never managed to find time for any of those things. Take advantage of not being able to travel and make your bucket-list activities finally happen.
Until I started to wrap up this article for my travel-missing readers, I was not fully aware myself of all the current opportunities to travel virtually. Believe me, if you do some good research there´s a lot to chew on in the virtual travel world.
Check this ultimate list of inspiring activities that will help to bring travel to you.
Travel virtually: Ideas to get inspired from home
1. Watch travel documentaries
What could possibly illuminate a traveler´s soul more than seeing some epic adventures? Travel documentaries can teleport you to the other side of the world straight from your home. They are the best way to combine visual pleasure with some scientific knowledge to broaden our outlook.
You can check the full list of my favorite travel documentaries here. Even if you don´t have Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, there are quite a few free channels on Youtube to fuel your Wanderlust:
- Rick Steves’ Europe
- National Geographic
- History (Full Episodes)
- DW Documentary
- Best Documentary
- Free Documentary / Deadliest Roads
- WELT Documentary
Besides, you can also currently find lots of free documentaries on the IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam) website.
2. Read inspiring books
While I´m currently focusing on the books set in my travel-bucket-list places, like Denmark, India, Iran, and Turkey, here are quite a few travel stories and memoirs that will leave you itching to see every single corner of our planet Earth. Parents can´t miss this ultimate list of Best Travel Books for Kids.
Here are a few picks every travel lover should have on his/her reading list:
- “On the road” by Jack Kerouac
- “The Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner
- “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” by Bill Bryson
- “The Art of Travel” by Alain de Botton
- “The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way” by Amanda Ripley
- “Delaying the Real World: A Twentysomething’s Guide to Seeking Adventure” by Colleen Kinder
- “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
- “The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost” by Rachel Friedman
- “The Geography of Genius” by Eric Weiner
- “Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel” by Rolf Potts
- “Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found” by Cheryl Strayed
If you want to improve your knowledge of World Literature, check Top Classical Romance Novels Around the World.
3. Listen to travel Podcasts
Travel podcasts are the best way to embrace multitasking and travel virtually at the same time. You can keep exercising or doing housework while dreaming and learning more about your next travel destination. A few podcasts to start with:
4. Take a Virtual Museum Tour
Do you travel virtually with Google Arts & Culture? – If not, you really should as it features content from over 2000 leading museums across the globe. Google Arts will take you anywhere from America’s White House to The Pyramids of Egypt, Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, or Vatican.
Additionally, you can visit quite a few iconic museums online – Moma, The Met Museum, The British Museum, Louvre, Guggenheim, National Gallery of Art. There´re so many unique art pieces you could enjoy online right now by visiting Art UK.
Also, check these 15 Amazing Car Museums You Can Visit Virtually Via Google Maps.
5. Broadway Plays, Musicals and other performances online
These days more live musicals are being filmed for streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or BroadwayHD. You can check the list here.
Moscow´s Bolshoy Theatre has made public their iconic “Swan Lake” on Youtube. Opera, ballet, and classical music lovers can also check Warner Classics, The Royal Opera House, and EuroArtsChannel. Vancouver Symphony offers Beethoven’s 6th Symphony concert online.
A few days ago, Cirque du Soleil has also launched a 60-min special to stay connected with its fans across the globe.
6. Create your Inspirational boards on Pinterest
Keep up the constant flow of beautiful visuals coming into your daily life! Whenever you have a moment to reflect on all the places you´d like to see, start creating Pinterest boards to make those dream trips happen one day.
You can focus on a certain destination, like Spain or the Greek Islands, and jam your collection with some jaw-dropping images, useful tips, travel guides, and complete itineraries. Another way to rock Pinterest is to create a Bucket list Board with all the places you want to visit one day.
7. Discover new landscapes and cityscapes
If you´re not in the mood for a detailed documentary and just want to enjoy new landscapes and cityscapes, you can check:
- LoungeV Films – Relaxing Music and Nature Sound
- Cities in 4K
- The World from Above HD
- Amazing Places on Our Planet
If you’re not a fan of museums, but want to gaze at some gorgeous landmarks and wild outdoors don´t miss:
- Keukenhof tulip fields in the Netherlands
- Aurora Borealis Lifestream
- Live mountains and landscapes via Skyline webcams
- Africam life cameras in Africa
- Yosemite National Park / USA
8. Learn new useful skills via online courses
If you don´t know where to invest your time – invest it in self-education.
Any additional skills can help you to make the most of your future travels. SkillShare and FutureLearn are great platforms to find anything from photography to language & culture courses online. You can also find lots of free options.
9. Watch a movie that involves traveling
No matter whether you prefer romance, adventure or comedy, any movie with a travel spin is a double win. You can check my list of favorite romantic travel movies here. If you´re looking for more adventure or self-discovery films check:
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
- Dancing with Wolves (1990)
- Seven years in Tibet (1997)
- Into the Wild (2007)
- The Way (2010)
- Tracks (2013)
- Wild (2014)
- Everest (2015)
- Adrift (2018)
Fun comedies that involve traveling:
- Eurotrip (2004)
- The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
- Hangover 2 (2011)
- A Perfect Plan (2012)
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)
- Spy (2015)
- Quo Vado? (2016)
10. Learn a New Language
The best way to immerse yourself in a new culture is to learn a new language. With English being an international language we´ve all become quite accommodated lately. But learning languages is one of the best ways to communicate with the locals while on the road. Besides, travel becomes cheaper and easier when you learn a foreign language.
Let´s take my home country Spain, for example. Despite being one of the most touristic counties in the world it still offers quite different experiences to English and Spanish-speaking visitors. You definitely can get around easily in Barcelona or Madrid, but how about Teruel, Cuenca, or Castellon? – The local experiences will be always the privilege of locals unless you´re able to speak the same language.
Aside from being able to form meaningful friendships and understand local jokes, people always treat you differently when you try to speak their language. I could tell you thousands of stories on the road when even knowing a few phrases had been a game-changer for me. Therefore, learning a new language is one of my favorite ways to travel virtually and boost my cross-cultural understanding.
Explore Duolingo, OpenCulture, Busuu, Livemocha, or Babbel. If you want a more personal touch and one-to-one classes head to Preply. For German, I really recommend DW with lots of free programs and educational TV series adjusted to your language level.
11. Get into the world of exotic smells and spices
There are so many unique smells we experience on the road than can make us time-travel to any of our past (or future) trips in an instant. Lavender brings the French Provence to me. Ocean breeze reminds me of a whale watching in Iceland. Roasted walnuts and cinnamon drinks teleport me to European Christmas markets. Spices remind me of my recent visit to the Grand Bazar in Turkey. Truffles arouse the memories of eating the most delicious pasta in Tuscany.
You definitely have your personal palette of favorite scents and smells, inspired by your own travel experiences. If not – think of a place you want to visit. Think of its cuisine, landscapes, and let go of your imagination! Spices, essential oils, perfumes, body creams… Anything that could help you get in the mood totally works!
I believe in a unique connection between places and scents. No wonder some perfumes companies (like Demeter or The Scent of Departure) have their own Destination Collections. Not to mention, thousands of iconic French scents, including Grasse-based brands like Molinard and Galimard. Plus, don’t forget scented candles (Homesick has quite a few destination scents).
So do your own research depending on your tastes and preferences and start bringing the world to your home with scent magic.
12. Cultivate your creativity
How about creating something? – Make a travel-themed collage or a mood board. You can always use old postcards, travel photos, tickets, magazines, souvenirs… There are lots of Youtube tutorials to guide you through the whole process if you don´t know where to start.
Want to bring back memories of your Italian Vacation? Can´t wait to visit your new Bucket list destination? – Start collecting creative and visual information to prepare your future trips. Kick-start your imagination and turn it into something real and tangible.
13. Discover new inspiring travel blogs
If you´re not in the mood for travel books and memoirs you can start following new travel blogs and enjoy shorter stories from all over. What I love about travel blogging is the personal touch each journey has. You won´t get the same experience by reading a popular travel journal curated by hundreds of people.
Besides, we usually tend to follow someone´s journey if our personalities click. We all love being in touch with like-minded souls and the internet just makes this connection possible despite any distance.
You can always start your own blog and the right people will gravitate to you. Blogging has brought so many interesting people into my life, that if one day I don´t feel like blogging any longer, the whole journey will still be worth it because of all the friends and connections I´ve made along the way.
14. Try stomach travel: cook a new meal
Foodie adventures form a huge part of my travel experiences around the world. I love sailing through the internet in search of new local recipes to test in my kitchen. My endless cookbook shelf grows with each country I visit. Italian, Russian, Indian, Spanish, Thai, Greek, Chinese – destination tag is the first one for me when it comes to recipes research.
Even if you don´t have any multinational cookbooks – Pinterest is full of international recipes you can check out for free. There are lots of foodie TV shows on Netflix ( like The Chef Show; Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner; Chef´s Table; Sugar Rush; Street Food; Restaurants on the Edge) to inspire you. Youtube is another major place to find great cooking channels.
15. Explore the streaming platforms
If you don´t like travel documentaries and scientific stuff, there are lots of TV shows that will make you travel virtually through its unique filming locations.
Game of Thrones (2011) showcase some of the most magical landmarks in Europe. Outlander (2014) will make you time-travel to Scotland in 1743 (also France and America in the latest seasons). I doubt you can resist visiting Norway after seeing Vikings(2013). Sherlock(2010) will show you London at its best. Peaky Blinders (2013) will teleport you to Birmingham in 1919. War and Peace (2016) will expose to you the Russian Empire during the Napoleonic wars.
I´ve literally scratched the surface with travel-inspiring TV shows. That´s a whole separate blog post I plan to wrap up for you.
16. Networking: Meet New Friends
Travel destinations are 100% about all the amazing people we meet along the way: from a random seller on a local market to a professional tour guide taking you to the country´s most secret locations. Therefore, one of the best ways to travel virtually from home is by making friends.
Here´s where technology comes in. There are quite a few platforms you can check to embrace networking with like-minded travelers.
You can find fellow-globetrotters via Meet up or Couchsurfing. Also, simply shoot a message to your favorite travel blogger or influencer. The ones with millions of followers might never get back to you, but you´ll be surprised to find out that some actually might. Because every traveler deep-inside loves connecting with like-minded souls all over the world. It just comes with a travel bug.
If you´re already planning your future trips check Eat With (to book cooking classes and food tours with locals around the world) and LikeLocal (if you enjoy off-the-beaten-track travels and making an impact on the local communities).
17. Learn new travel hacks
If traveling is something you truly enjoy, learn new Travel hacks and start packing and planning like a pro. There are thousands of articles on travel tips written by travel gurus. Check out my Pinterest board Travel Tips, Tricks & Ideas for some travel advice from bloggers across the globe.
18. Travel Puzzle
Enhance your memory and meditate at the same time with puzzles. Psychologists claim it´s a great way to lower your stress and improve your current mood. How about Travel Puzzles with beautiful locations across the globe? You can find Canada, Africa, or Hawaii-themed puzzles on Amazon. Just pick your destination of choice and boost learning, traveling and problem-solving all at the same time.
19. Find new places on IG
Although Instagram has evolved from my all-time favorite social media to the one I currently ignore [lol], it is still one of the best places to find inspiring travel locations around the world via hashtags and geotags. Despite the fact that I don´t enjoy their constant ads, Instagram is a creative hub for many talented photographers and travelers from around the world.
20. Make a Photobook
If you enjoy globetrotting, you might already have a bunch of travel photos from different places. You can always use them to make your own photobook, coffee table book, or scrapbook. It´s a great way to preserve your quality memories and show off your best photos.
After every special trip, I take a moment to create a unique Photobook that can take me back to the place I loved at any moment. It´s also a great way to share your adventures with friends and family, as you can always show them the visual side of your experiences around the world.
If you don´t know where to start – there are quite a few Youtube tutorials to guide you, plus some free online apps (like FlipHTML5 , Cliptomize, Canva).
21. Channel your inner history geek
Use any stay-at-home time to channel your inner history geek. You can check Netflix or Amazon Prime for some history documentaries. Don´t miss Youtube channels like History, Timeline, Crash Course, or Horrible Histories. From books, I currently recommend “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari – it is extremely educational and easy to read.
22. Get a Travel Journal and plan your future trip
Do you have a travel journal? – It´s one of my must-have travel companions on and off the road. Plus it serves as a small driving force to move from the dreaming stage to the planning stage. Travel Journal is a creative hub for your adventure plans.
There are so many unique ways to use a travel journal as a source of inspiration:
- cozy up with a cup of tea and try to reflect on your recent adventures, write down a few important moments: things you´ve learned, people you´ve met, foods you´ve tried
- plan your future trips, even if you currently can´t travel
- artsy people can even sketch landscapes, people, things they’ve seen (or want to see) on the road
- write down a few favorite travel quotes so that you can always run through them in search of some inspiration
- take notes of everything you might find useful to keep your current travel mood – Reading list, Playlist, Podcast list
- involve your kids: my oldest daughter adores painting and stickers, so I always let her write down a few things
23. Shop new travel gear
A right Travel Gear is one of the things that can make or break your trip. If you´re planning to travel a lot, there are quite a few things you never want to miss on your packet list.
To give you some research ideas: dry shampoo, multi-use soap, sanitizing wipes, reusable squeeze tubes, packing cubes, travel locks, microfiber travel towel, light wear wind and rain jacket, travel blanket poncho, compression socks, iPhone flash drive, international travel adaptor, windproof travel umbrella, collapsible water bottle ( I really like Nomader), airplane footrest, small reading lamp, travel yoga mat.
24. Virtual Wellness Travel
Wellness travel has been one of the top touristic trends over the last few years. Even if you can´t escape to a Yoga Retreat in India right now, you can always get a Yoga Course with some gorgeous views on the background (personally, I love “Yoga on the Edge” with Sara Ivanhoe), find a Detox meal plan, and make the most of your off-the-road time.
25. Home SPA with an international twist
How about a self-care staycation? – Find unique experiences and smells that fill you up in whatever way you need right now.
Dreaming of Japan? – You can always get Japanese bath salts (like Tabino Yado Hot Springs Milky) and try to organize a Japanese onsen experience at home. There are lots of beautiful books that can provide you with some visual inspiration, like “The Japanese Bath” by Yoshiko Yamamoto and Bruce Smith, or “Japanese Inns and Hot Springs” by Rob Goss. In Japan, one takes a bath to cleanse the soul – that´s a self-care moment you absolutely deserve.
If you´re not into Japanese simplicity, how about the flowery smells of Hawaii? – Hawaiian cosmetic brands like Malie or Bubble Shack have everything from soaps&lotions to candles to get you in the mood. You can add to this a cup of Hawaiian Vanilla Macadamia Coffee.
With a little imagination, you can take any exotic SPA location you like and bring it to your home.
Invest in an Essential Oil Diffuser to enjoy your favorite essential oils. If you love everything natural, there are lots of homemade SPA recipes on Pinterest: bath salts, healthy lotions, body butters – all to make it with your own hands.
26. Dances around the world
Dance is a hidden language of the soul. Try to replace your traditional work out routine with online dance classes. Nowadays Youtube can teach you anything from Hula dances to Flamenco, or even Bollywood dance moves!
Just pick a rhythm and dance with all your heart.
27. Shop for Travel-themed Decor
Travel-themed decor is a unique and creative way to fuel your wanderlust from home constantly.
Surrounding yourself with the right accessories completely changes the stay-at-home vibe. How about a Corkboard Map, Vinyl Travel Wall Decor, World Map Bedspread, Vintage Suitcases, Vinyl Record Player with some international hits?
28. Google Earth and Google Street View
Google Earth and Google Steet View can make you travel virtually to almost any place on our planet. You can spy on holiday destinations, historical landmarks, and your own driveway from your couch. Check Google Earth VR to explore the world from totally new perspectives and teleport across the globe.
29. Create Inspiring Collections on Mix and Flipboard
If you don’t have a favorite travel magazine, how about creating your own? You can download Mix and Flipboard extensions/ browser buttons on Chrome and Firefox to surf and save your favorite parts of the travel webs into personal collections. Check my Mix and Flipboard journals for some inspiration.
30. Join online communities and FB groups
Don´t underestimate FB groups! – It´s a great wat to connect and get some support from the traveling community.
There are many general groups for travelers to exchange tips, pictures and ask for advice: Lonely Planet, Couchsurfing, Reddit´s Travel, Feet Do Travel . For blogging ladies, my favorites are Wandering Women Travel Bloggers and Female Travel Bloggers. You can always find a group focused on your favorite Travel Destination like Spain or New Zeland.
31. Music to get into the local “vibe”
There´s a special kind of joy that comes with soaking up in the sound of regional music, especially when we are talking about our all-time favorite travel destinations. Any song takes you back into a specific time and place once it hits the air. Head to Spotify or Youtube, or even Pinterest to find inspirational playlists for different countries and travel virtually.
For more inspiring Virtual travel tips and Staycation ideas from top bloggers around the world check my Pinterest board – Travel From Home, if you’re looking for more Books&Movies suggestions don´t miss – Travel Books + Movies, What to Watch, and Bookish Inspiration.
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