Still trapped at home?
Have you read the first 16 things to do when you can’t travel, and want some more?
You’ve come to the right place.
Regardless of whether you can’t travel for financial reasons, responsibilities, or travel shut-downs, there is always something you can do to experience the pleasure of travel, even when your wings are clipped. Whether it is experiences from home, preparations for when you can travel, or small scale adventures, there is a way for you to enjoy the thrill of far-off places right now.
Try a new travel-specific podcast each week.
Travel is a huge passion for so many people so there are a ton of travel-focused podcasts out there. Assemble a list of the ones that most appeal to you, and try out a new one every week. You will soon find ones that click with you, and then each commute or each session cleaning the house can help you keep in touch with your passion.
Start here in your quest.
Read travel blogs
The travel blog business is huge these days, and there are blogs out there for every taste and every style of travel. Here are a few to get you started.
Take a virtual tour of famous museums and tourist locations
During the pandemic, many museums, zoos, and other tourist locations have taken the opportunity to set up virtual tours, so even though people can’t be there in person, they can still experience the place.
This is a lovely opportunity for anybody who is kept home for any reason, giving them a taste of places that can’t go at that moment.
Google is your friend in this, but here and here are a few to start you off.
Visit local ethnic grocery stores
A quick search of your area should turn up a number of ethnic grocery stores you can visit. They are usually hole-in-the-wall places, though some large cities have amazing Meijer-sized ethnic grocery stores). Try something new every time you go. Especially try new ingredients that you have never used before. These can add a whole new dimension even to familiar dishes.
Make dishes from other countries
Throw yourself into the flavors and textures from far-flung places. If you really want to get a sense of the tastes of a location, get a cookbook of the cuisine of wherever you want to go next, and go through it systematically, making every recipe in the book.
Write about the experience of making each one in your journal, so you can go back and re-visit it.
If it is going to be a year before you can take that much anticipated trip, you might be able to get through the whole book during that time. Then when you finally wing away, you will be able to compare the versions that the locals make to the ones that you did, and write about the differences.
Source wines from the region, or traditional teas.
Find out what the most common ingredient combinations are for that area and experiment with those.
If you hate cooking (perish the thought!), you can also find local authentic ethnic restaurants. You get to experience a taste of far away while supporting local business.
Create a playlist or Pandora channel of music from the region you will be traveling to next
Music touches our emotions in a way that other things can not. The music of a region reflects the culture, traditions, and moods of the people there. And it’s something that we can experience without having to be there.
You can build anticipation for your next trip by enjoying the regional music, while you go about your day.
Throw a location-themed dinner party
This is great fun if you happen to have travel-loving friends. Organize it well in advance, with a location as the theme.
Ask each guest to bring a dish or a beverage from that locale, and wear something inspired by that region.
Decorate the space based on your theme, and play the playlist you just created as background music.
Try to add in details that make it feel more authentic. If the location you are featuring eats in a specific way (on the floor, with their hands, using a specific type of bread as a utinsil, etc.), try to imitate it. Make it casual so it feels like a big loving family meal in that place.
Take the opportunity to collect travel items that will make your next trip easier
As you put together your next packing list, start collecting items that can make travel lighter, easier, and more organized. Whether that be getting your first set of packing cubes, or investing in that perfect rolling carry-on, there is a myriad of brilliant items that make the whole experience so much easier.
Start with some great lists of popular gear like this and this, and then explore through Amazon to see what else people rate highly.
Make a wishlist of travel supplies and then you can slowly build your collection over time. Btw, long-desired travel items make wonderful rewards to yourself for tackling difficult tasks.
Join travel Facebook groups
There are hundreds of Facebook groups dedicated to the travel lifestyle. Even if you don’t have anybody in real life who shares your wanderlust, there are tens of thousands of kindred spirits online to keep you encouraged. Plus, since many of them deal with the same obstacles to travel that you are, you have a built-in think tank that can help you overcome any impediment. Plus you have years worth of posts that you can mine to answer any question, just by searching.
Work on the language of the next place you want to visit
If your next destination doesn’t share your language, take this time to hone your skills. Every little bit helps. A handful of key phrases is better than not speaking a word. A ragged and awkward grasp of the tongue is better than a handful of phrases. Understanding what the people around you are saying, and being able to read the signage, even if your speaking is slow and your grammar is rough, is must better than a ragged grasp. So don’t worry that you don’t have “enough time”. Every step forward will make your pleasure in the trip greater.
You can even incorporate language exposure into your everyday life right now in a variety of ways.
When you watch movies, turn on the subtitles in your target language, so you can get familiar with the words.
Look up the “News in Slow _” podcast channels to see if they have the language you are learning. You can listen to the news on the way to work each day.
Here’s a list of other ways that you can incorporate language learning into your life.
Work on photography skills for your next trip
It is so frustrating to see something amazing, but when you try to capture the moment, the picture ends up boring and disappointing.
You don’t have to make photography your next hobby. Just learning the basics of how to take great pictures can pay off in spades.
Plus it’s all kinds of fun to post your gorgeous pics on social media and show your friends all the glamorous and exciting adventures you are living.
Even a little bit of study and practice with your phone camera can massively improve your photographs and make scrolling back through your memories much more satisfying.
Get tourist information packets from your state, and every state that borders yours
Often tourists who travel to your neck of the woods know more about the fun and exciting options in the area, than people who have lived there all their lives. That’s because they have taken the time to research what the region has to offer. Locals often just take it all for granted.
It’s easy to feel like excitement and adventure only exists in a far-flung locale, and home is boring. But if you act like a tourist in your home area, you will be stunned by the interesting things that you can turn up.
Start by contacting the tourism resources for your state and the states bordering yours. Ask each for an information packet, and have them put you on their mailing lists. Then you can start compiling your local travel bucket list from there. There is something there for everybody, no matter what you are interested in.
You can also go to Only In Your State to find things within driving range. I followed the Facebook version for Indiana, so I’m regularly seeing posts about fun things to go do and see.
Go to cultural celebrations and festivals
One fun way to experience another culture without going very far is to go to cultural celebrations and festivals. Just about every large city has a variety of these through the year.
You can often attend a giant Greek festival one weekend, go to an International foods festival two weeks later, and follow it up a couple weeks later with a lavish Octoberfest. What you have available will be very dependent on the cultural makeup of the city. But there’s usually a wide variety, each offering a profusion of traditional foods, music, costumes, and art.
Most of these are annual events, so plan ahead and pencil them into your calender to enjoy each year.
Go camping and hiking
Another way to replace the adventures that you CAN’T do right now, is to go on the adventures that you CAN. A weekend away camping gets you out of the house, puts you in a new situation that recharges your brain and inspires you to think new thoughts. You get to have all the fun of preparing for a trip, getting in your car and taking off on an adventure, and coming home with new memories. If you scout out your options well enough you can camp for very little cost.
If you need something with less time investment than that, try going for an afternoon hike. There are abundant resources online as well as guides at the library for finding places to hike. You could go someplace new every week for the next year and not run out. If you are willing to drive a little further, your options increase even more.
Plus there are tons of facebook groups where you can enjoy being part of a vibrant community of enthusiastic campers and hikers. There are likely groups dedicated to camping and hiking in your particular region.
Do you have a favorite on this list, or have you found a way to scratch the wanderlust itch that I forgot? If so, tell me in the comments below.
I’d love to hear about your adventures!