Are you stuck at home right now? We feel for you as we’re in the same situation. Instead of sitting on our couch in yoga pants (don’t judge me, they’re just sooo comfortable), I should be walking along a beach on Mallorca right now. But here I am, still in Frankfurt where we’re going to stay for a while.
Chances are high that you’re in a similar situation. Maybe you also had to cancel a trip or you don’t dare to start planning the next one. Nobody knows how long until we can go out again. So what do you do when you really want to travel but can’t?
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can relive your favourite travel moments and start looking forward to the next trip. Here’s our advice on what to do when the desire to leave home becomes too strong:
#1 Write a bucket list
Bucket lists are a great outlet for all of your travel dreams. You can go wild and think of anything. No place is too remote, no experience too exotic. And those lists are a lot of fun to write. We spent a few evenings working on ours and really enjoyed talking about all of those things we want to do in the future.
If you’re unsure about where to start, get a blank piece of paper and write down a list of places where you’d like to go. Look at a world map for inspiration. Then, from there, try to think of any experiences you’ve heard of that sound really cool. I once read an article about ziplining through a cave in Wales, for example. And that article impressed me so much that I just had to include it in the list.
If you’re running out of ideas, why not go to our destinations page to look into countries you’ve always wanted to go to? Or you could head over to Google and do a quick search. We’re sure you’ll end up with more ideas than you can fit on your list.
Oh, and while you’re at it, there’s nothing that stops you from making that list not just about travel. Is there anything else you’ve always wanted to achieve in life? Maybe even something you can do from home? Then now could be a great moment to get started.
#2 Research your next trip
While you can’t travel right now, nothing stops you from researching your next trip. You don’t have to book anything yet (and if you do, we advise you to look into offers that are fully refundable in case you cannot go). Instead, you can just get lost in blogs and travel magazines and dream about your next trip.
Once you’ve found a destination where you’d like to go, start reading up on it in detail. Let’s say you want to go to Peru. Take a look at the best things to do in Peru. Pick out those experiences that you wouldn’t want to miss and try to fit them into an itinerary.
Something that we like doing before leaving on a trip is reading and researching about our destination’s culture, history and traditions. A minaret is not a random minaret anymore when you know it is still there because Genghis Khan spared it due to its beauty, like the one in Bukhara.
And remember, you can plan as many trips as you want to. One day, we’ll be able to travel again and then you’ll have lots of inspiration on where to go.
#3 Plan a photo book
Do you have lots of photos from previous trips on your computer that you never look at again? Maybe now is a good moment to turn those memories into a book. Photo books are easy to make these days. If you google, you will find lots of options. Make sure to pick a company that delivers to whatever country you’re currently stuck in and then get started.
Most companies require you to download software, which has the advantage that you can easily save the project and keep working on it over several days. You are free to design your book however you want. You’ll have to make choices on whether or not to include text with your photos. You could also include a map of your travels, or scanned tickets. It’s up to you!
I made a few photo books three years ago. From time to time, I will take them out and look at them and it’s a great chance to relive a trip and see details that I had already forgotten about.
#4 Cook foreign food
You might not be able to travel and go to foreign restaurants. But nothing will stop you from cooking the local cuisine of your favourite country at home.
As we cannot go on our trip to Belgium, I have already looked up recipes for Belgian waffles. Yes, we do not have the proper waffle iron (the Belgian one is usually higher), but we can at least make the batter according to a Belgian recipe. I’m already getting hungry just writing about it!
The good news is that these days, you can find recipes from all over the world online. If you don’t cook often, start with ones that look simple and don’t use too many foreign ingredients. You’ll be surprised at what kind of delicious food you can prepare.
One of my favourite sources for foreign recipes is the book Spices and Spandex. It’s both a travel book as well as a collection of recipes from the Balkans, the Middle East and Africa. Even if you don’t have the book, you can find a few recipes on their website.
#5 Organize your souvenirs
Now that you can’t leave your home, you finally have the time to organize all of your travel souvenirs! I collect magnets and Daniel has a large collection of keychains from all over the world. On top of that, I also like postcards and we usually keep all tickets and flyers that we come across on our travels. These tickets are all flying around in a drawer right now.
To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to organize them yet. I used to write in a travel journal and then my tickets would go in there. Then, I got lazier (and concentrated more on the blog), so I only glued the tickets into the journal. But it’s a lot nicer when there’s some text to go with them! So right now, we are still in the process of pondering about what to do with them. Maybe a binder? Or a scrapbook? They look really nice (go and google them, to get some inspiration), but also like a lot of work. If you have any suggestions, please let us know! And make sure to organize your own souvenirs.
#6 Visit a tourist attraction online
We know, it sucks, not being able to visit all those places you’ve been dreaming about. But we have good news. These days, you can already visit a lot of tourist attractions online. My personal favourite is Yosemite National Park, because it almost makes you feel like you’re outside.
The good news is that, no matter what you’re interested in, you’ll find something that you like. As you can see from our example, a few national parks already offer virtual tours. If you’re interested in paintings, then maybe you’ll prefer visiting the Louvre. Or go to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, where you can take a look at Mayan relics. You can listen to music at the Metropolitan Opera, explore the sky above Stonehenge and watch animals live at the San Diego Zoo.
To make it easier to find all of those virtual tours, we’ve put together an article with the 12 best ones. There are, however, many more out there – enough to keep you busy for at least a few months.
#7 Read a travel book
We don’t mean a guidebook by this, although if you’d like to read one to plan your next trip, then go ahead. Guidebooks can be very inspiring. But for this point, we’re talking about travel tales.
A few years ago, my brother gave me the book “A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar” for my birthday. I found that book so inspiring that I started looking into trips along the Silk Road. Books are a great way to forget what’s going on around you and to delve into a foreign world. You have the chance of using your imagination to transport you far away! And you know what’s best? With that many people in lockdown and libraries closed around the world, many of them have started allowing you to rent e-books online. That’s a great way of picking up books without even leaving your house!
I like randomly browsing through books to see if anything inspires me. Usually, I walk away with a few (just ask Daniel, he’s been complaining often enough about my giant piles of books). But if you prefer a list of good travel books, Two Wandering Soles has put together a pretty good one.
#8 Learn a foreign language
Now that you have a lot of time to prepare your next trip, we suggest that you use that time to brush up on your foreign language skills. Duolingo is a great platform that is free and offers many different languages, but if you don’t like it (or want more advanced language training), then there are many others out there.
Depending on where you travel, people will speak more or less English. We were surprised by how well everyone spoke English on our recent trip to Lithuania. When we went to Japan, however, and Daniel ended up in the hospital with a ruptured appendix, we had to rely on electronic translators and one nurse who spoke English. It sure made us wish that we spoke some basic Japanese!
Speaking a bit of Spanish also proved very useful in South America, when I didn’t travel with Daniel. Most people there couldn’t understand English at all, so we learned basic phrases to ask for bus timetables and directions. For the time tables, we would make people write down the answer and for the directions, even if we didn’t understand anything, we could at least start walking in the direction that people had pointed at. But without at least a bit of basic knowledge, that wouldn’t have been possible.
Plus, people usually appreciate it if you went through the effort of learning a few basic words in their language.
We know that none of the above options can replace a real trip. But right now, they will at least help you remember your past trips, take you to far-away places in your imagination and let you plan your future travels. And once this is over, we will go out again and travel. Until then, it’s important to stay at home.
What are you doing right now, from the safety of your home?
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