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Whether you can’t travel right now because of your job, you’re dealing with a personal issue that requires you to stay home, or you just can’t afford to travel at this moment, I’m here for you. I want you to make the most of your time at home, so here are 33 brilliant ideas of things to do when you can’t travel.
THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU CAN’T TRAVEL: WAYS TO TRAVEL WITHOUT LEAVING HOME AT ALL
Sometimes the circumstances can force us to stay home, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get creative and find unique ideas to enjoy travel inside our house. I know nothing will ever compare to a real trip, but here are a few ways to spark that wanderlust and bring the world to you.
READ BOOKS SET IN ANOTHER CITY/REGION/COUNTRY
Trust me when I say that a good novel can transport you to another place on Earth. From ‘Outlander’ which is one of the best books about Scotland to ‘The Return’ that will leave you dreaming about Andalusia (southern Spain) to ‘The Island’ that will transport you to Crete and Spinalonga Island, my list of wanderlust-fueling novels just keeps growing and growing.
TAKE VIRTUAL TOURS
Tons of museums and destinations across the globe offer virtual tours, whether it’s on their official website or on Google Arts & Culture online platform. If you love Europe as much as I do, check out these European museums that you can visit at home, virtual castle tours, or virtual tours of Spain.
WATCH MOVIES AND TV SHOWS THAT INSPIRE TRAVEL
You can always go for the classic and fun-to-watch travel movies like ‘Midnight in Paris’ and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ (or other great movies set in Italy), but you should also check out foreign movies like ‘Thi Mai’ (a Spanish movie set in Vietnam) and ‘My Summer in Provence’ on Netflix.
You can also binge watch some of these travel shows:
- Magical Andes (Netflix) – This one is actually AMAZING.
- National Parks Adventure (Netflix).
- Rick Steves’ Europe (Youtube).
- The World from Above (Youtube).
USE GOOGLE STREET VIEW
When I’m not traveling, one of my guilty pleasures is stalking my favorite cities on Google Street View. I try to explore every nook and cranny and find some surprises, so even though it’ll never feel like actually walking these streets, I still seem to find it enjoyable.
WATCH SOME 360° VR TRAVEL VIDEOS
These videos are actually pretty cool and they do offer a more realistic glimpse into beautiful places around the world. I recommend checking out Youtube channels like CAPTIVISION and VR Gorilla that have great videos of dozens of destinations. I’ve also tried a few VR travel apps, but I didn’t find them very good.
LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
Forget about apps that mostly teach you sentences you’ll never use and take a real language course. On websites like Skillshare (where you’ll also find free courses) and Udemy, the content is pretty high quality, and you can read the reviews of other users.
SET UP A TRAVEL BUCKET LIST BOARD ON PINTEREST
Travel inspiration is not difficult to find, but I just love Pinterest. So if you don’t already have a board dedicated to traveling, now will be a great time to set it up and start filling it with great posts and photos.
COOK A MEAL INSPIRED BY ANOTHER COUNTRY’S CUISINE
We all know that food is one of the biggest joys of traveling, so why not have a themed dinner inspired by your favorite foodie destination? Here are a few ideas:
- Italian (classic)
- Spanish: You can make paella, gazpacho, tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelet), churros, crema Catalana.
- Greek: Make dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), Greek salad, gyros, moussaka, tzatziki.
CREATE A TRAVEL SCRAPBOOK
Were you planning to get some of your travel photos developed but never did? Or do you already have photos from previous trips just lying around the house? Stop procrastinating and start scrapbooking! It’s so fun to reminisce about old trips, and I promise you’ll be proud of yourself once you’re done.
PLAN A TRIP
I have tons of destinations on my bucket list, but I always have a few that I’m much more obsessed about. So even when I have zero booked trips and got no clue when will be my next time on a plane, I start planning one of my dream trips.
It’s not yet relevant, so I avoid planning a detailed itinerary, but I at least start reading about places to visit, things to do, and restaurants and cafes. I also create a new map on Google’s My Maps and mark the places I want to visit.
STAYCATION IDEAS: HOW TO ENJOY YOUR OWN CITY/TOWN
BOOK A NIGHT OR WEEKEND AT A HOTEL IN YOUR CITY
I understand that it can feel like a total waste, but if you can’t travel yet you still want to be pampered and have a little getaway, staying at a hotel in your city is a great way to treat yourself with a close-to-home vacation.
READ BLOGS THAT FOCUS ON YOUR CITY TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WHAT IT HAS TO OFFER
If you’re living in a big city, there’s a good chance that you’ll find at least one blog that’s entirely dedicated to it. Even if you think you know you’re city well, I’m sure you’ll find a couple of places you still haven’t heard of. So use these blogs to catch up on new restaurants that were opened or discover some hidden gems.
TURN TO INSTAGRAM TO FIND NEW PLACES TO VISIT IN YOUR CITY
Similarly to blogs, you’ll surely find a few Instagram accounts dedicated to your city. Alternatively, search your city in tags and geotags, and you might find some hidden gems (even though you’ll probably have to scroll through hundreds of irrelevant photos).
EXPLORE YOUR CITY WITH A CAMERA
When I’m walking around with my camera, I always pay more attention to everything surrounding me. Even if I’m visiting a place for the hundredth time, it will always help me get a new perspective.
So grab your camera (or your phone) and start exploring. Focus on the architectural details of the buildings, take some photos of your favorite park, look at things from several different angles, and just get creative. Even if you’re not much of a photographer – this is not about perfection but about rediscovering your city and having fun!
TAKE A HIKE
Are there any natural areas you can explore near you? Put on your most comfortable shoes (or hiking boots, if you’re an avid hiker) and take a little journey outside the city.
TRY A NEW RESTAURANT/CAFE
We all have our go-to restaurants and cafes, but this is the time to mix things up. Chances are you still haven’t tried every single restaurant and cafe in your city (kudos if you have), so make a bucket list of all the places you want to go to and start ticking some items off.
TAKE A WALKING TOUR
Even if you think you know everything there is to know about your city, don’t underestimate walking tours. From a classic free walking tour to food tours to other themed tours, you can always learn something new and get a fresh perspective on your city. You can look for tours on my favorite website – Get Your Guide.
VISIT A LOCAL MARKET
Who doesn’t love strolling through markets when traveling? And there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy them in your own city. Whether it’s a farmers’ market, a food market, or a flea market, take a couple of hours and wander around.
GO ON A SHORT ROAD TRIP NEAR YOUR CITY
Think of a few visit-worthy spots outside your city and treat yourself with a short but sweet one-day road trip.
VISIT A MUSEUM
If there’s a museum you haven’t visited yet, now it will be a good time to go. Also, many museums have changing exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.
LOOK FOR LOCAL EVENTS
From concerts to lectures to exhibitions, by simply searching your city’s calendar on the official tourism or municipality website, you’ll easily find all the local cultural events. Alternatively, you can also look for Facebook groups and pages dedicated to your city or events in it.
HAVE A PICNIC
Go for something simple yet always fun – grab your favorite snacks and head to your favorite park with your favorite person.
OTHER THINGS TO DO AT HOME WHEN YOU CAN’T TRAVEL
Here are a few ideas for non-travel-related things you can do at home.
TAKE ONLINE CLASSES
Are there any new skills you want to learn? Take advantage of this time at home and take some online classes and webinars you’ve been putting off.
Like I already mentioned, I especially love Skillshare because they also have free classes, but there’s no shortage of other great websites like Udemy and Coursera, where you’ll find hundreds of courses. From photography and hand lettering to marketing and programming, everything can be learned online.
INVEST IN YOUR EMOTIONAL AND MENTAL HEALTH
I personally think it’s something everyone should do on a daily basis but tend to neglect. This subject is not taboo, even if sometimes it feels like it is.
So dive into a self-development book, meditate, listen to mental health podcasts, or attend an NLP webinar. Do things that make you feel good and learn new tools that will help you live an emotionally and mentally balanced life.
Continuing with the profundity, get ready for some serious deepness (which I never thought you’d see on this blog, but I guess there’s a first time for everything).
Instead of waiting for the end of the year or your birthday to stop and reflect on your life, do it now. I know it can feel uncomfortable, but seriously ask yourself if you’re content with your life.
Do you love what you do? Are you happy in your own skin? Are you neglecting important aspects of your life (hobbies, friends, etc.)? Set some new goals and break them down to actionable steps.
INVEST TIME IN YOUR HOBBIES
Another thing we sometimes neglect is our hobbies, so use the time you have at home to get back on track. Bake, paint, write, dance – do whatever it is that fills your soul.
HAVE A GAME NIGHT WITH YOUR FAMILY OR FRIENDS
From charades to Monopoly to Scrabble, sometimes there’s nothing like a good old game night. Apart from the fact that it’s fun to get together, it doesn’t require much preparation and your only expense will probably be the pizza (because what’s a game night without pizza?).
REARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE
Refreshing your house is a brilliant use of your time at home, and it doesn’t mean spending a lot of money on new furniture. Try things like moving things around, adding some new wall art, or changing the curtains.
DECLUTTER YOUR HOUSE
I LOVE finding things I no longer need and throw them away (or donate if possible). Seriously, it makes me feel lighter, cleaner, and more organized, so I do it several times throughout the year.
I know getting rid of things is not always easy, but take advantage of your spare time at home, and make decluttering your house your mission.
DO A PUZZLE
You’re never too old to do a puzzle, especially if you’re challenging yourself with 1000+ pieces. Plus, it’s extremely therapeutic.
HAVE A KARAOKE NIGHT
I never thought I would love karaoke, but with the right group of people, it can be pretty amusing. It’s all about lightening up, not taking things too seriously, and just going crazy and having fun with it.
HAVE A SPA NIGHT AT HOME
Pamper yourself with a relaxing night – light some scented candles, put on some quiet music, have a bubble bath, and give yourself a facial.
I’m not a gym person at all, so I much prefer going for walks and exercise at home (as much as I can get myself motivated). Now, when it comes to motivation to get started with working out at home, I find fitness apps helpful, and I specifically love Jillian Michael’s app. It’s suitable for every level, the fitness plans are very diverse, and most of the exercises are actually fun (but they still kick your butt).