39 VIRTUAL TRAVEL EXPERIENCES TO SATISFY YOUR WANDERLUST CRAVINGS AND FULFILL YOUR TRAVEL DESIRES WITHOUT LEAVING HOME.
With a reliable internet connection and modern technology, with some creativity and imagination, and by the kindness and generosity of many worldwide attractions, it has never been easier to virtually vacation and explore a new destination (when you can’t leave home).
If you thought packing your bags and taking off to a new destination is the only way to travel the world then you are in for a real surprise… you will soon realize that traveling is much more than just zipping away in a car or hopping on the plane.
Self-quarantined and (stuck, nope) safe at home!?
But the travel itch to take off and explore the world (especially when you feel like you have been in isolation for ages) has you down!?
Us too!! Ummm actually, yes and no!!!
Typically, I am either traveling (mostly with family) or always planning one (or many) in my head. But this time around things have been a little (actually, a whole lot) different here given the unprecedented, uncertain and extraordinary times we are currently living in.
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So when we realized the seriousness of the Coronavirus pandemic, our family was the first to put all our travel plans on hold, even before it was recommended by the government. Because it felt like the more responsible and sensible thing to do.
We had been closely monitoring how quickly the Coronavirus was spreading, and we believe in erring on the side of caution and took the necessary and much-needed precautions as soon as I returned from Palm Springs.
Having said that, my (our) favorite tourism & hospitality industry is hurting and suffering right now. Being a part of the travel world, I am first-hand witnessing the devastating repercussions the fast spread of Coronavirus is having. Airlines, hotels, tour vendors are all suffering huge losses.
My own blog traffic has plummeted as anyone is barely planning trips. My upcoming travel partnerships and campaigns have all been canceled/postponed (without a date). My income, just like most people in similar jobs (freelancers, hourly wage workers, anyone who does not earn a fixed salary, etc), has taken a huge hit.
So PLEASE, reconsider before you cancel any of your upcoming trips, by that I mean, postpone your trips if at all possible rather than outright cancel them. Because, the travel industry needs you just as much as you need them, if not more!
But until we can take off again, nothing stops us from creating these travel experiences as best as we can and explore the world from the comfort of our home.
We just need to get a little creative and also make the best use of what has been offered to us all (for free) and still explore the world when we can’t leave home.
From learning a new language to planning your next (real) vacation, from drinking your favorite (destination) wine to cooking your favorite exotic foreign dish, from exploring world cultures through binge-watching travel shows to indulging in travel stories through books, I hope these ideas aka virtual ways to travel the world will help you plan your first (or next) at-home travel experiences.
So pretend to pack your bags, put on our travel pants, pick up the sunglasses, and off you go explore the next destination(s), from home.
39 WAYS TO CURE YOUR WANDERLUST CRAVINGS AND FULFILL YOUR TRAVEL DESIRES WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR HOME.
- Make Google Earth and Google Street View your new best friends. Go explore Everest Base Camp or get romantic under Eiffel Tower, from making you feel awestruck by the grandeur of the many exotic locations to help you draw inspiration to plan your next real trip, these two Google tools will come to your rescue.
- While you are it, learn a new language or two. I am currently loving the Duolingo app to learn Spanish. My progress has been real slow, but by the time this pandemic is behind us I might learn a lot more than saying ‘hello’ and ‘where is this place?’ 😉
- And how about you do that while pouring yourself a glass of fine wine from your favorite destination and learn to also cook your favorite dish from that country. Just typing this is making me hungry! After all, food is one of the most important aspects of travel. So join the chefs and cooks in their (online kitchen), here and here.
- Then burn those calories as you take a virtual tour of some of the museums. Find a whole range of virtual tours and live streams information here. This is perfect for our family because we never seem to be able to go to museums and spend hours just at the museums when we are traveling (because there is so much to see and so little time and we always leave in an hour or so).
- Or how about exploring one (or many) of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can also refer to this list for more stories and information. I am definitely starting with the Taj Mahal, which like many popular UNESCO sites also offers its own virtual tour.
- And also visit the many popular National Parks. “You can start exploring now by virtually touring some of the main attractions around the park. Included with each tour is additional information about visiting in person.” Here is a list of the best National Parks to visit virtually.
- Or if local botanical gardens and parks, or zoos and aquariums are more your thing (especially if you have kids), then there are several virtual options available for that too. And even better, how about a 3D 360 Virtual Tour?
- Also, don’t forget to make a stop at the most magical Walt Disney World. This will also give you an excuse to get out of your pajamas and put on some real (and cute) clothes. So go on, get that mickey tee or headband out, nobody is judging you! Do check out this list as well.
- And not to forget other theme parks. Legoland and Seaworld are also bringing their virtual tours to your doorstep.
- Once you are all toured out, head back home (oh wait, you are already home), enjoy one of the travel movies to satisfy your wanderlust. Or are you the more binge-watch types, either way, these two sites have you covered with a whole range of travel movie recommendations – best travel movies, best travel movies of the past 50 years.
- Or how about a travel documentary to learn more about the history, culture, and tradition of a new destination? Best travel documentaries that are streaming on Netflix right now.
- Have more time on your hands, then indulge in a new travel-inspired book. Nomadic Matt always comes to the rescue for best travel book recommendations. And if you make it through that list, then here are more wanderlust books to keep you occupied.
- Once you decide on the book, head over to New York Public Library to find a digital copy of the book. NYPL has more than 180,000 of the items in its Digital Collections in the public domain. So anyone can enjoy and reuse their materials in almost limitless ways. Apply for an NYPL library card online and borrow books for free using the NYPL’s e-reader app.
- Put that new language you are learning to test by watching a foreign movie. Here is a list of the best foreign movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime. Amélie is a fantastic one to start with if you have never watched a foreign film.
- Challenge your brain while also calming those anxious nerves as you put together the pieces of a travel puzzle. My little one (he is not even 3 years yet) gives me a serious complex with his puzzle-solving skills, he can put together 12 pieces, 40 pieces or 54 pieces puzzles in minutes. So I sure need to learn this skill from him, in the meantime, here is a list of travel puzzles for adults.
- Not to forget, exploring your taste in music by listening to foreign music. It is also a great way to learn about different cultures around the world. Check out these sites to get you started – AccuRadio and TheCultureTrip.
- Learn about popular cultural festivals and carnivals around the world. It is a great way to learn and celebrate different cultures. Immerse yourself in these festivals by watching past celebrations online. 12 best cultural festivals around the globe, and here’s more.
- Catch live performances online without spending a dime (or you could also make a small donation if you would like). So take advantage of these performances and spend a night at the Opera from the comfort of your home – Nightly Met Opera, Opera, Seattle Symphony.
- As you discover new locations, make a new bucket list of all the new places and cultures you want to experience for when things go back to normal. I bet there will be at least a dozen new finds that you hadn’t thought about until you went on these recent virtual tours and adventures. So get working on that list.
- Make handicrafts from another country. For example, make Cartonería aka papier-mâché from Mexico. Sure you might not have all the supplies you need but get creative and make do with what you have at home.
- And until you are able to take off anywhere, sit down and reminisce about your past travel experiences with your family. Now is the time to really slow down and relive your previous travel adventures. I mean, when was the last time you actually went down that travel memory lane? No time right!? Well, now you do!
- As you go down that travel memory lane, start writing in a travel journal to capture the highlights of your past trips. Isn’t it such a joy to look back and see how that first trip you went on with your partner, the first time you traveled with your baby, the time when you decided to go on a solo trip, etc, were?
- BTW how many times have you looked at those 752391 pictures that you so enthusiastically captured on your past trips? Not once, right? So go through your travel photos and organize them (on your computer and phone) as you revisit those destinations (in your head).
- Once you organize them, choose the best photos and create an album. Stream the travel album on your smart devices and TV. So you can live vicariously through your own past adventures.
- Also, make a travel video or vlog from your past travels. And share it with your family and friends and virtually take them on that trip. This is one of the best ways to stay connected with your family who live far from you (instead of talking about what you did during the day or how crazy grocery shopping has been this side of the world).
- Now pick some of those pictures, print them out and make a travel gallery wall at home. I mean, you didn’t take those (many) photos for nothing! And if you are anything like me then I know you have been meaning to do this like forever!
- Or if you are into scrapbooking (or even if you are not, give it a try), take some of your favorite travel photos, the souvenir postcards, etc, that you have collected over the years from your travel adventures and make a scrapbook. How fun would this be to do it with your kids?
- And if you feel like you haven’t been doing a good job at capturing your travels well through your photos, then now is the time to take out your camera and learn/practice how to take the best travel photos. So you can put it to test the next time you get to travel.
- And to get some photography inspiration check out 360 Giga Pixels and 360 Cities. It is a website that shows panoramic photos of cities around the world. You can zoom in to see the streets or even into the windows.
- Plus, stalk (in a good way) your favorite travel bloggers and travel vloggers on social media and their blogs. Draw inspiration from their travels and their photos, reach out to them, connect with them, and engage with them by leaving a comment or two on their posts.
- Make/buy a travel map and check off the places that you have traveled to. And instead of stowing your travel map in some corner put it up in your home and remind yourself about how far you have traveled and how far there is still to go 😉
- As you get busy with these travel arts and crafts projects, listen to a few travel podcasts to keep you inspired as well as to get new travel ideas and inspiration. Some favorite travel podcasts are Indie Travel, Travel With Rick Steves, Amateur Traveler, Women Who Travel, The Expat Chat.
- Create a Travel Pinterest Board and get pinning. Research and save destinations, inspirations, bucket lists, etc, on Pinterest to make it easier to travel when you do get the chance to go exploring again.
- While you are at it, learn how to plan your trips on a budget, so you can travel more 😉 Here are some tips and tricks to get you started on how to travel more and on a budget.
- Have a wine tasting from around the world with your friends, but virtually! And play travel trivia games.
- And host a travel destination themed party, virtually! As you do the tasting, exchange your travel stories from your past travels. Make it a themed party (every time a specific travel destination theme). Each of you shares your experience from traveling to that destination, say Italy. How fun would that be?
- Create a vacation set-up and atmosphere at home, say your own virtual reality. Would you want to go glamping or would you rather set sail on a cruise? I mean, if this 73-year-old couple who recreated a cruise experience is not an inspiration then I do not know what is!?
- The above set-up complete with dressing up as if you were on a real vacation. What would you wear if you were on an exotic beach in Hawaii or if you wear walking the streets of Paris? Your imagination is your only limit!
- With all this new-found knowledge and ideas, and with a newfound appreciation for the world and even more enthusiasm to explore different parts of the world, plan your next trip aka post-quarantine adventure. When it comes to traveling, planning a trip is half the fun!!
There you have it, a whole range of ideas on How To Travel The World When You Can’t Leave Home?
While nothing beats physically traveling to a new destination and immersing yourself in the experience of exploring a new city/country, creating these virtual travel experiences at home is as good as it gets until we can leave the home and head out on those travel adventures.
Maybe this will even redefine what it is to travel the world? And maybe this will even become a new way of exploring the world without leaving your home when you are short on time, money or due to any other commitments.
Also, there are too many places to see and too little time and $$, so like I said, let’s use this time to see what the new digital way of traveling looks and feels like.
Plus, imagine all that you would now learn about different parts of the world, their history, their culture, their traditions, their festivals, their attractions, etc! Oh my, that thought in itself is oh-so-exciting!!!
Now off you go and plan your next (virtual) vacation!
Or even better, travel with me (especially for those who keep asking me to sneak into my luggage) and let’s go on a virtual vacation together!!
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”