2020, the year the world shut down. Thanks, COVID-19. So, with repeated or endless lockdowns for the year, and 2021 looking very much the same, what do you do when you love to travel, but the world is shut? Travel might be a privilege, but there are many people missing being able to explore the world. Many have been asking themselves “how can I travel the world without leaving home?” Luckily, there are ways to scratch that wanderlust itch. Although it will never replace travel fully, there are ways to travel from home that will help you to get through what is left of the pandemic. And you never know, you may find something you enjoy so much you use holiday time to do the same again in the future.
What To Do When You Can’t Travel
It can be hard looking at your holiday time, thinking you want to use it up, but can’t do anything. You may want to save it up for when we can travel again. But then again, you may be in need of a break. So what can you do? You need a staycation.
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What Is A Staycation?
Over the summer of 2020, there was a bit of a debate about what a staycation actually is. Some say that it is travelling in your home country, others state that it is having a holiday from your home. So which is the correct meaning of a staycation?
It’s both. According to the Oxford dictionary, a staycation is “A holiday spent at home or in one’s country of residence.”
Twelve Staycation Ideas For When You Can’t Travel
Travelling in your own country is great fun, but if you can’t leave your home due to lockdowns, you can still travel at home. In fact, even if you don’t have a holiday booked, some of these staycation ideas would work for a weekend, or some would even work for an evening for a bit of travel without leaving home.
1. Explore Your Local Area
One thing lockdowns have taught me is how lucky I am where I live. I have lots of local walks available from my front door. Literally, to get out into the countryside I don’t even have to drive. Apparently, I could even get to Mow Cop Castle by foot. Though I haven’t tried this yet, it’ll be quite the trek!
Whether you live in a city, or out in the countryside, getting out and exploring your local area is a great way to travel at home (and get some exercise).
If you’re unsure where you can go from your front door, why not purchase an Ordnance Survey Map? If you’re like me and live on the edge of the map, you can get a custom map with your local area in the centre.
I have discovered various local walks and even joined a few small walks up to make a large hike in my local area. All with the help of Ordnance Survey maps.
However, exploring your local area doesn’t mean you have to walk. Why not see what beauty spots or National Trust gardens or English Heritage are close by. Take a day trip to explore these areas, if you can. Be aware though, you may have to book first as many places (even outdoors) are limiting numbers.
2. Camp In Your Garden
Alright, not possible for everyone, but if you have a back garden, why not camp out? Have a weekend away from the TV and other electronic devices, pitch up your tent and relax in your yard.
If you’re missing camping and getting close to nature, this can be a great way to get outside and away from screens. Play out dorr games, have a BBQ, even sit next to a campfire telling stories.
It may not be as exciting as going camping elsewhere and exploring, but it does have it’s benefits. Firstly, you have your own nice, clean bathroom. And if the weather turns you can just give up and wait for the next nice weekend to try this “travelling at home”.
3. Have Your Own Spa Day
If you like to frequent spas when you travel, you can recreate the spa experience at home. Think homemade face masks, a long bubble bath, maybe even give yourself a manicure.
If you’re not locked-down on your own, you can take it in turns to give each other treatments. These can be the same or different, it’s you’re spa day! And if you don’t get it perfect, who cares?
If you are on your own, all is not lost! You could join a virtual pamper party and meet some new people at the same time. Check out these virtual parties.
4. Eat Your Way Around The World
Food is a big part of travel for me. I love a good food tour and cooking class to get to know the local cuisine. But as travelling to new places is out of the question, why not simply use your tastebuds to travel without leaving home?
Opt for local takeaways and have a different one each night or week. There’s plenty of types to choose from. You can easily go from Asia to the US and back to Europe, depending on what’s local to you.
If you don’t fancy takeaways, why not look up some of your favourite dishes from other countries and cook them yourself? You could even join a virtual cooking class, like these ones.
There are also loads of other food and drink experience you can have. You could order afternoon tea to your door and have an English themed day. Or there are various subscription boxes you could sign up to, such as beer, gin or cheeses. Have a look at these Online Food and Drink Experiences to see if anything tickles your fancy.
5. Watch Travel Films
We all know films are a great form of escapism, so why not use films as a way to travel at home? There are several ways you can do this.
You could choose films about travel. Think The Terminal, The Motorcycle Diaries and The Bucket List. Check out this list for inspiration.
Another option is to watch films that are based or filmed in your favourite country, or somewhere you want to travel to. May the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel if you dream of India, or the Lord of the Rings if New Zealand is where you want to go next.
Finally, watching foreign-language films is another option to travel without leaving home. How about Black Book? Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon? Roma? There’s plenty of films that aren’t from Hollywood and some decent hidden gems that you may not otherwise find. Take a look at this list for some suggestions.
6. Learn A New Language
We all know that being able to speak at least a bit of the language of your destination is a good idea. Thinking everyone should speak English is one of my Traveller Pet Peeves. So why not use the time to learn more than just the basics of your next destination?
There are free apps, like Duolingo you could use. Or there are plenty of Online Language Courses.
7. Read Travel Books
If you’re a bookworm, like me, you could travel at home by simply reading a book about travel.
Now, this isn’t something I’ve done, I’m more into high fantasy and classics. But I do like the odd Bill Bryson travel book. Check out this list for some ideas of what to read to inspire your wanderlust!
If you’re more of a listener than a reader, don’t disappear. You could always sign up to Audible to listen to a travel book instead.
8. Take A Virtual Tour
2020 was definitely the year of the virtual tour, allowing everyone to travel at home. Opening their doors virtually helped many people to satisfy their wanderlust. So if you have a favourite museum, or if there’s a museum you’ve always wanted to go to, why not hop on your computer and travel there without leaving home?
Not only are museums offering this, but you can even tour the wonders of the world without leaving home. There are national parks offering this virtual experience too. Even zoos and aquariums are opening their doors virtually.
Check out some of the best on here.
9. Listen To Music
Music can help you to escape lockdowns, transporting you to another time and place. And there’s plenty of ways to use music to travel at home.
Listen to some music in a foreign language (I like the 257ers and Calle 13). Or listen to music that is specific to a country. How about Mariachi if you’re dreaming of Mexico? Or listen to some bagpipes if Scotland is one of your favourite places.
Another option is to make yourself a playlist. How about a road trip playlist for when you can get on the road again? There are plenty of songs about travel you could add to it.
Explore the world by music, and don’t forget to dance too.
10. Make A Travel Scrapbook
Another option for travelling without leaving home is to simply relive your old trips. Look through your travel photos and make a scrapbook.
Making a scrapbook can be a big project. You can focus on one trip or several. Print out some old photos, stick them in a scrapbook, find old tickets, stick them in and any other memories of your trip(s). Decorate the scrapbook however you like, put in dates, how you felt or anything that feels right to you. There’s no right or wrong way to scrapbook.
If scrapbooking isn’t your thing, don’t worry, you could always get a Photobook printed to revisit your travel memories.
11. Learn A New Skill
Ever thought other countries have some amazing skills? Why not learn one? Think origami or calligraphy. You never know, you may find your calling in life!
Or you could try out meditation or yoga to help you to relax.
You could also learn a skill that would be useful for future travel, such as a photography course. A photography course could also help to encourage yourself to get out exploring your area too.
12. Plan Future Trips
Last but not least, a great way to travel at home is to plan future trips. Even if you don’t book anything yet, planning can help you scratch that wanderlust itch.
So why not come up with a bucket list for when the world opens up again? Or plan several city breaks that you’ve always wanted to do. Why not plan a big trip like a Gap Year? Get some guidebooks, read some travel blogs and get planning your next adventure. That way, when the world opens up again, you’ll be ready.
We may not actually be able to travel right now, but there are ways to satisfy your wanderlust. Whether this is through escapism, learning something, virtual tours, reliving trips or planning for when the world opens up again. You can travel at home, and although it isn’t the same as actual travel, it can help you to get through the pandemic. How have you travelled without leaving home?