A lot has changed in the past month. The country and the world have gone into lockdown in reaction to the COVID-19 Coronavirus and many of us (including me *sob*) have seen our travel plans cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Whilst working remotely has allowed me to keep working full time, my evenings, weekends and bank holidays have seen me swapping the travel adventures for a home-based staycation.
With that in mind, I’ve found some alternative ways to fuel my wanderlust with a ton of travel-themed activities to satisfy the travel bug for the time being. Here are some of my favourite travel-related lockdown activities to get you exploring the world from the comfort of your own home.
1. Read All About it
One of my favourite ways of exploring the world has always been to travel there through reading. There are a whole host of travel-themed books to fuel your wanderlust from home and make you feel like you are taking the journey alongside the protagonist. Some of my favourites for literary escapes are Wild by Cheryl Strayed (seriously, read it), Eat pray Love (so many dreamy places) and for those who prefer a blend of fictional places and real, Literary Places. This last one is perfect for a bit of escapism based on some of the world’s most intriguing places and the novels that feature them.
If you prefer living vicariously online, why not discover a world of new destinations through a new blog? There are an abundance of amazing travel bloggers out there just itching to share their experiences with you. Why not take the lockdown as your opportunity to follow a new travel blog or ten?
2. Give Your Travel Essentials Some TLC & Build the Perfect Travel Kit
Give your suitcase a good clean, organise your carry on and invest in some decent packing cubes. Trust me, they are incredibly handy when you need to find something in your case quickly, and so neat! Have an endless array of travel minis like shampoos and soaps? If you have bits of shampoo in multiple bottles, condense them all into one, travel-sized bottle so when the time comes you are ready to go with everything you need.
Always hunting around for documents, currency and other travel essentials before you go? Organise them all now in a travel wallet ready to grab and go on your next trip. Make a list of everything you need for your future travels and take this time to get them all sorted, it will save a lot of time further down the line when life gets more hectic again.
3. Indulge in Some Virtual Tours
From Paris’s Louvre to Walt Disney World, sights from around the world are opening up their doors to those sitting at home during the lockdown. It’s not often that you get a quiet visit to many of these sights so these virtual tours allow you to see some fascinating places like you will probably never get to see them. If animals are your thing, cue adorable red panda, zoos and aquariums across the globe are opening their doors to the virtual world providing up-close-and-personal encounters with their inhabitants. Check out some of the places going virtual here.
Did anyone else find the shelter puppies and kittens visiting Atlanta Aquarium to be the cutest thing in the world or is it just me?
4. Cook up Some International Inspiration
Have that one dish you absolutely loved whilst you were travelling abroad? Why not find the recipe and have a go at making it yourself? The internet is your oyster for finding obscure regional dishes and their recipes so you can cook your way around the world during the lockdown and find something new in the process. For an extra challenge, why not find a dish for each country in the world and check them off your list each day. This is something that can continue past the lockdown and might give you some ideas for dishes to try when you finally get to visit that country after the travel ban.
5. Catch Up on Some Scrapbooking
One of my favourite ways of documenting my trip is to keep a scrapbook of my adventures with tickets, photographs and any odds and ends I have picked up along the way. I know I have a whole heap of pages that need finishing from my own travels so this is the perfect travel-related lockdown activity to fuel my wanderlust until I can get back out there again. For inspiration, head to Pinterest (check out my scrapbooking inspiration board here).
If photo albums are more your thing, why not take your time indoors during the lockdown to pick your favourite travel pictures and either print them out or use an online photobook builder to create your own travel memory book.
6. Create a Travel Playlist
Planning on some long-distance flights or train journeys in the future? Pick out your favourite tracks and create your own travel playlist to fill those endless travel hours. If you are planning on travelling to a specific destination, why not build a custom playlist filled with songs inspired by your new travel destination? Spotify is a great low-cost way to do this, just make sure you download your playlists first if you won’t be connected to the internet whilst listening!
7. Learn a Language
Looking for a practical travel-related activity to do during the lockdown? Why not learn that language you have always wanted to speak? There are a ton of free online resources to make learning a new language easy and fun so you can chat to locals with ease (or almost) when you finally get to visit the country you have been dreaming of. Whilst there are a load of free online courses to choose from, apps like Duolingo (find it here) create a game-like learning experience that I personally have found really useful when learning a new language. You can also find a load of audiobooks and language-learning podcasts to help you find your flow in your new language.
8. Plan Your Dream, Money-no-Object Trip
Whilst many are taking the new enforced lockdown as a chance to reflect, why not use this time to map out your travel dreams? Get your wanderlust flowing by making a list of all of the countries in the world you want to travel to, put them in order of need-to-visit and check out some of the incredible sights to be found there. Then, plan out how you will get there, online sites such as Skyscanner let you see when the cheapest times of year are to visit your chosen destination and can let you map out rough costs for your dream trip. Get all of this mapped out and you will be rearing to go once travel is fully up and running again.
9. Drool over Wanderlust Inspiration
One thing I absolutely LOVE doing when not travelling is dreaming about my next trip and checking out some of the amazing places out there. For this Pinterest is my go-to place (as well as Twitter blog trains) to check out the amazing pictures and blogs pinned there by would-be travellers, bloggers and anyone with a computer. Just beware, plunging down the Pinterest rabbit hole with give you serious wanderlust but might furnish you with an idea or million for your next trip! Why not check out my Wanderlust Pinterest board here to get you started?
10. Get Save-Savvy – Set Yourself Some Travel Savings Goals
Find yourself saying no to dream trips that always seem just outside of your reach? Want to fly with an airline that doesn’t charge you for every tiny extra just once? Or are you saving up for some decent travel gear to use trip after trip? Set yourself some savings goals and build some realistic ways to save towards them. Whilst you are at it, why not check out some of the many loyalty cards and schemes available in the travel industry to help you get that one step closer to your goal and help you save money whilst booking it.
Use tools like savings pots if you use online banking to separate your travel money from your main account and add to it at the start of the month to stop you being tempted to spend it later on in the month. Some savings apps (such as Monzo among many others) come with a card you can use abroad with no extra charge on your spending, perfect for when you are trying to stick to a budget and a great way to manage your money otherwise!
Bonus Activity: Find Out How You Can Be an Eco-Traveller
From alternative travel methods to staycations, moon cups to travel cups, there are endless ways you can do your bit to make the travel world a better place, why not take this time to put in some ways you can give back to the communities you travel to or investigate some more sustainable ways of living and travelling? Whilst zero-waste goddesses may have you feeling like you can’t ever match up, even the smallest difference like saying no to straws and single-use cups can make the world of a difference.
From exploring the world from your screen to indoor picnics, what are some of your favourite stay-at-home lockdown travel activities? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!
*A note on the travel industry: Whilst this has been a tough time for many, those working in the travel industry have been particularly hard-hit by the lockdown. With travel now out of bounds for the foreseeable, many people have found themselves unexpectedly out of work or furloughed by struggling companies. Whilst many of us, me included, have had to cancel travel plans and put our adventures on hold, please spare a thought for those who are potentially jobless during this and be kind!