Sometimes we forget that travel is a privilege. It’s easy to take our ability to travel for granted, but it can be taken away at any time for various reasons. Life must go on. It’s ok and normal to miss traveling. It may feel like there is a big hole in your life and you might be wondering what to do to fill it? Don’t worry, I have a few ideas for you. Let me share my suggestions on how to travel the world without leaving home.
11 Ways to Experience the World from Home
If you can’t go to the world, there are things you can do to bring the world home. It does take a little bit of creativity and imagination, but put in the effort, and I think these ideas will help fill the void when you can’t travel.
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#1 Cook international dishes
Trying different foods is one of my favorite parts of traveling. It’s an important part of a country’s culture. When possible, I love visiting local markets (like La Boqueria in Barcelona), taking food tours (like we did in Porto), and doing cooking classes (like we did in San Sebastian).
You can create this experience at home since many international foods can be sourced online. (For example, British Corner Shop is a good resource for British foods if you are in the US.) There are also plenty of authentic recipes on the web or in cookbooks. You can also try these international coffee recipes. Find a YouTube tutorial video and have a personal cooking lesson at home!
Alternatively, you could order a subscription box that provides a selection of international foods to enjoy. Try the World offers either a snack box option or one that includes foods from a different country each month. Get more information about Try the World here. Read about more travel subscription boxes here.
In some cases, you may be able to order an authentic dish from a local restaurant to be delivered to you. If you can’t order directly from the establishment, try one of the delivery services like Postmates or Seamless. Perfect for those that don’t enjoy cooking!
Don’t stop with just enjoying an international dish, make it a theme night. Add a complimentary wine and some music. Maybe you can even find a related movie. For example, you could do a France-themed date night. It will take a bit of planning but I think it would be worth it.
#2 Watch travel movies/youtube videos
Watching travel videos is a fun way to relive travel memories or dream about future trips. It’s easy and affordable to watch movies through Netflix or Amazon Prime. Some of my favorite travel movies are:
- Lost in Translation – It’s a story about two lonely Americans in Tokyo. I enjoyed watching it after I spent some time in Tokyo.
- National Lampoon’s European Vacation – This movie is part of a series of films starring Chevy Chase and all are hilarious. In this film, the family visits London, Paris, and Rome.
- Sideways – Go along with two men who take a week-long road trip before one gets married. Perfect to pair with a nice California wine, since it takes place in Santa Barbara County.
In addition to movies, there are lots of entertaining travel videos on youtube. We hope to have some more videos out about our past travels on our youtube channel soon, but in the meantime, some of my favorites that you should check out are:
- FunforLouis. I first discovered Louis when I saw him speak at the Borderlesslive Event in London. His videos are both funny and heartwarming. Check out his videos here.
- Vagabrothers – Marko and Alex Ayling are award-winning travel videographers who will fuel your wanderlust. Check out their videos here.
- One Shot Adventures – Ryan and his girlfriend, Emma, share their adventures and practical travel advice. Most of their videos are filmed in Asia. Check them out here.
#3 Read travel blog/books
Like travel videos, books can also transport you to another place or time. It’s a great way to learn about destinations to visit. My favorite type of book to read is historical fiction which is how I became interested in Mary Queen of Scots and visiting places where she stayed like Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace.
Some of my favorite books that have inspired me to travel to places are:
- The Ultimate Travel List from Lonely Planet – This book ranks the top 500 places to visit around the world. I learned about several places I never knew about.
- The Other Queen – This book tells the story of Mary Queen of Scots during her captivity in England. It made me want to visit sites where I could learn more about her.
- Eat, Pray, Love (I like the book much better than the movie) – The story of a woman trying to find herself after a failed relationship while she travels to Italy, India, and Bali.
- Under the Tuscan Sun – Read this book about an American writer who heads to Tuscany for a vacation and ends up buying a villa.
- Angels and Demons – Join Harvard professor Robert Langdon as he travels around Rome to solve the mystery. It’s the first book in Dan Brown’s popular series.
Some people like to read physical books which can be ordered and delivered from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I prefer reading ebooks. While you can also order ebooks through the same channels as physical books there are some options to get select ones for free at home with:
- The Libby App (requires a US Library card).
- Amazon Prime (read about the benefits of Prime membership).Kindle Unlimited is a convenient option for those that read a lot. (Get a free 30-day trial here).
Those that prefer audiobooks might enjoy a subscription to Audible (Get a free trial here). The Libby App also offers audiobooks to borrow.
Travel blogs are also an invaluable source of wanderlust. It’s an easy way to learn about destinations and attractions that you might not have heard about before. With the stunning pictures, it’s like you’re traveling without leaving home. Some of my favorite travel blogs are:
- Independent Travel Cats – Jessica and Lawrence provide lots of detailed information along with gorgeous photos. It’s a great source to plan your trips or get inspiration for new places to go.
- Adventurous Kate – While Kate writes about solo travel around the world, I find it is also very informative for those of us that travel with others. She is also unapologetically honest, sharing both the positive and negative sides of travel.
- A Lady in London – In spite of the name, Julie’s blog covers a lot more than just London. She knows about many places around the globe. Her photos are always pretty and inspirational. She also recently started a youtube channel.
#4 Listen to international music
Music can change your mood and instantly transport you to another land. Certain sounds are connected to specific destinations like a steel drum reminds me of Jamaica. Sometimes it’s the lyrics like “There’ll Be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover” that bring back travel memories.
Don’t just listen to the music. Make it more interactive by getting up and dancing. It could be fun to learn a traditional dance at home. You can probably find an instructional video on Youtube, depending on the dance that you want to learn.
#5 Look at travel pictures
We take a lot of pictures when we travel. When we are home, it’s fun to look back at them and reminisce. I put them on my digital photo frame so that I am always seeing new photos. It’s one of the best birthday presents I have ever received, it just makes me smile.
If you don’t have many travel photos, don’t worry. There are plenty on the internet! Just block out some time to scroll through Instagram or Pinterest for some inspiration. Your bucket list will start to grow in no time.
Some of my favorite travel account on Instagram are:
- Eatlivetraveldrink – Nicole is a talented photographer. She loves to highlight amazing food, palm trees, sunsets, and more around the world.
- Heleneinbetween – Helene is a fellow Texan that spent a few years living in Germany. I love her photos of magical spots in Europe and she is entertaining on Instagram stories.
- Adventuresoflilnicki – Nicki feed is full of gorgeous shots from some of the lesser-known parts of the world. I have learned about many new destinations, thanks to her.
#6 Listen to travel podcasts
Podcasts are quickly growing in popularity. I only recently started listening to them. Now, I prefer listening to a podcast rather than music when I am exercising. For some reason, it seems to make the time go faster. We also like to listen to podcasts when we go to bed to help calm our minds.
If you would like to try listening to a travel podcast, here are some of my favorites:
- Extra Pack of Peanuts – Travis and Heather Sherry co-host this fun weekly podcast where they interview amazing travelers, give practical travel advice, and share the best things to do in a particular destination. More info here.
- Travel with Rick Steves – Rick Steves is one of the best-known names in European Travel for Americans. You may have seen his travel guide books, videos, or even taken one of his tours. Each episode focuses on three or four destinations. Rick talks to local experts on what to do, what to see, and particular local dishes and customs. More info here.
- Amateur Traveler – Chris Christensen interviews professional travelers who’ve spent time in a given region or country. It covers everything from road trips to swimming with whales in Tonga. Some episodes are also available as videos. More info here.
#7 Taste international wines
When I travel, I always try to make sure to try the local wine and there have been several `(like in the Alsace and Niagara-on-the-Lake) where I have been pleasantly surprised. You don’t have to travel to a specific wine region to taste their best wines.
It is easy to get these wines delivered to your door. We joined the Naked Wines club which gives us access to some of the smaller wineries around the world. They have different options to pick the different bottles that make up a case or you can choose a case that includes wines selected by their staff. It is more flexible than many of the typical wine clubs that are tied to a specific winery. Now through Dec 31, 2020, Naked Wines is offering a special where you get $50 off a $100 purchase. Get more information here.
Wines.com is another good website with an impressive selection of international wines. Unlike a club, there is no commitment to buy, it’s just like an online wine shop. They often run specials and you can find many reasonably priced wines that can be delivered. Get more information here.
Once you have the wines at home you can:
- Experiment pairing the wines with international dishes.
- Try a blind tasting. Cover up the label and try to guess the wine or grape?
- Develop a rating system to find out which wines you prefer.
#8 Visit places virtually
From the comfort of your own home, you can visit many popular tourist attractions online and take a tour. I know it’s not quite the same as visiting in person. Look at it as a way to decide if a place is worth visiting in the future and to learn more so you can plan that future visit.
I was impressed to see just how many attractions are now available to visit virtually and the number is increasing every day. Some of my favorites are:
- The Museum of Modern Art in NYC – View their collection and even see past exhibitions here.
- The Louvre in Paris – Take a virtual tour of some of the galleries here.
- The British Museum – Get a little insight into the museum’s huge collection here.
- Windsor Castle – Tour some of its most beautiful rooms virtually here. Read about more virtual tours of castles.
- Florida Beaches – Virtually roam along Florida’s coastline here (including places like Sanibel Island) and try to choose a favorite beach.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Take one of the video tours here.
There are also some online tours that you can take with expert guides from the company Take Walks. These tours include making pizza or pasta, learning about traditions like the Changing of the Guard in London, exploring the Roman Coliseum, and more.
Also, check out my list of the best virtual tours of London.
#9 Play a travel-themed game
Board games (or card games for that matter) can be a fun way to pass the time. In today’s world, you can find a wide variety of options – some are even travel-related. A travel-themed game can introduce you to new destinations and teach you about different cultures. There are lots of family-friendly options too. It’s a fabulous way to spend an evening. Check out my list of the best travel-themed games.
Another option would be to put together a travel-themed jigsaw puzzle. Check out this list of NYC puzzles.
#10 Do a travel-related craft
Arts and crafts can be an excellent creative outlet when you can’t travel. I am not artsy at all but I do have a few ideas for those that have that talent and want to make something travel-related:
- Draw or paint a famous landmark. Look for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram.
- Make beaded jewelry in the colors of your favorite country’s flag. Alternatively, knit or crochet a scarf with the colors.
- If you enjoy origami, like Russell does, then fold a model related to a travel destination. He folded an origami Eiffel Tower.
#11 Plan and research future trips
While travel may not be an option for the near term, it won’t always be that way. Use the downtime to start planning future trips. You might find my printable one-page travel planning checklist helpful.
There is more time to decide on the travel destination and out the itinerary. For example, what cities should you visit when on your trip to Italy? Should you visit Milan or focus on other Italian cities that are more popular with tourists.
Do the research and think about the kind of experience you would like to have, your budget, and what the destination can offer before deciding. Learn more about the options by reading, watching videos, or even talking to friends.
If you are not sure when you will be able to travel again, be cautious booking anything that is non-refundable. It may look like a good deal, but if you are unable to go and lose the money, it could be quite expensive.
You Don’t Have to Travel to Experience the World
While we may all want to be out traveling the world, it is not always possible. Sometimes we have to be responsible, but luckily there are ways to fill some of the void without leaving home.
What are your favorite ways to travel the world while staying home?
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Last Updated on April 1, 2021