Quarantining for this long can be hard. Let’s be honest, as much as we’re all enjoying drinking any time of the day or “bettering ourselves” by learning a new skill (is anyone actually doing that?), being stuck at home still sucks. As someone who travels full-time, like many of you, I’m bored with being home all the time. Taking walks in my neighborhood just isn’t cutting it, so I’ve decided to travel—travel from home, that is.
In this fast-paced digital work-from-home age, we can do almost anything from home. It’s time we started traveling from the comfort of our own homes too. Below, I’m sharing several ways you can satisfy your wanderlust without ever setting foot outside your house. No need to shower, get dressed, or pack a bag. Just sit back and enjoy these travel experiences from your bed, couch, or other indoor destination of choice.
Virtual travel may be the next best thing to actual travel. Destinations and attractions do not want to be forgotten about while we’re all stuck at home, so many of them have set up ways you can “visit” from wherever you are. Capture the essence of Santa Barbara, explore Australia, or even visit one of my favorite UNESCO World Heritage sites, Angkor Wat, all without having to put on pants.
Virtual tours of Santa Barbara allow you to drop in on a wave at Campus Point, stroll the Santa Barbara waterfront, or get a glimpse of the animals at Santa Barbara Zoo or see what’s blooming at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
Ventura Harbor Village offers webcam viewing of the harbor, plus a nightly live stream from the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club.
Italy’s Emilia Romagna region has crafted a list of virtual tours and experiences for those of us who would rather be in Italy right now. Tour art exhibits, street art, or take a virtual history lesson. The City of Bologna broadcasts filmed concerts every Friday and Saturday.
Prefer to travel down under? Australia Tourism has curated a YouTube playlist of 18 quintessential Australian experiences. Ride along the Great Ocean Road or go underwater at the Great Barrier Reef.
If you missed out on your bachelorette party, the City of New Orleans also has several virtual tours, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, National WWII Museum, the Audubon Zoo, and many others. Okay, so that’s probably not exactly the bachelorette rager you had planned, but there’s something to be said for a little cultural enrichment (and you can bring your mixed drink along for the tour).
Did you know you can use Google Maps to travel virtually? Yeah, it’s not only good for directions. Google Maps Treks offers street-view treks of some of the most amazing spots on the planet. One of my personal favorites is a trek through the temples of Angkor. You can also raft down the Colorado River, head out on a polar bear safari in Canada, or visit the Taj Mahal. Your solitary walk around the block just got a little more interesting to look at.
Movies & TV Shows To Inspire Your Wanderlust
I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a basic bitch when it comes to my favorite travel movie: Eat Pray Love is one of my biggest inspirations that led me to a life of full-time travel. I’m pretty much living proof that a movie can do more than satisfy your wanderlust temporarily; it may just lead to a lifetime as a travel addict.
Catch Me If You Can – Follow Frank Abagnale Jr (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he forges and fibs his way around the world, impersonating an airline pilot. Just don’t try the cons at home, ok?
Midnight In Paris – Starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams, this movie takes you back to the Jazz age of Paris.
The Motorcycle Diaries – This 2004 film is based on the memoirs of Che Guevara as he and his friend travel from Brazil to Peru by motorcycle.
Up In The Air – After months of quarantine, even business travel sounds exotic. Watch Anna Kendrick and George Clooney navigate the world of corporate downsizing and the road warrior life. Honestly, I would kill to pay $15 for a beer at an airport bar at this point.
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – This British comedy-drama takes you to India with a group of British retirees that includes Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. This is a great movie for those who want to move overseas for a simpler life.
Under The Tuscan Sun – The Eat Pray Love before Eat Pray Love. Diane Lane plays a middle-aged American divorcée who buys a villa in Tuscany. Goals, tbh.
The Bucket List – Follow Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman as they stare down mortality by knocking items off their bucket list. From the French Alps to the Taj Mahal, this movie will definitely feed your wanderlust.
Parts Unknown – Anthony Bourdain breaks down borders around the globe while breaking bread with people from every walk of life.
Bizarre Foods – Andrew Zimmern travels the globe and eats anything and everything.
Booze Traveler – This Travel Channel show follows Jack Maxwell as he travels to learn about local drinks and the stories behind them.
Places to Love – The OG solo female traveler, Samantha Brown, shares all of the places around the world that we should check out. Watching her show is like getting the inside scoop on the best non-overdone places to travel, before it becomes saturated by everyone on Instagram.
Online Cultural Experiences
Looking for a more interactive cultural travel experience? Look no further than Airbnb Experiences Online, where you can experience the local culture and connect with locals. Learn magic tricks, musical instruments, or learn how to make Mexican street tacos with a professional chef.
Travel By Taste
Nothing helps you dive deep into a culture quite like the local cuisine. One of the best parts of travel is trying authentic dishes and drinks in each destination. Recreating one of your favorite travel meals at home is a great way to relive memories of your trip. Check out some of these international inspirations and start making your grocery list.
New Orleans is one of the best foodie cities in the world, and they’ve compiled a list of traditional New Orleans dishes that you can make at home.
My Switzerland has a huge list of Typically Swiss Recipes, from Rack of Lamb to fondue and meringue.
If cooking seems a bit overwhelming, how about this recipe for the Original Cuban El Floridita Daquiri recipe?
Or you can try these easy travel-inspired recipes that don’t require a ton of ingredients or equipment.
Plan A Trip
The anticipation of an upcoming trip has been proven to make you just as happy as the trip itself. So now is the perfect time to start planning your next vacation—just maybe hold off on making any non-refundable purchases. Not only will trip planning boost your mood during quarantine and give you something to look forward to, but travel has never been cheaper than right now. Airlines are being super flexible with flight credits, so you can book a trip now and get a flight credit if you have to cancel. I’ve spotted round-trip flights from New York to Paris for less than $300. If that’s not an instant mood-boost, I don’t know what is.
Images: Valerie Wilson