Feeling the travel itch but stuck at home? Here are a few simple tricks to satisfy that sense of wanderlust and better prepare for your next big trip.
What to do When You’re Stuck at Home and Want to Travel
Learn a New Language
The best way to prepare for international travel at home is to learn a new language. There are countless phone apps or virtual classrooms you can join online to help you learn quickly. Duolingo is a free app you can download that offers personalized learning and will cater lessons to each individuals’ reasons for learning such as career, culture, school, and travel. Other language course apps include Babbel and Busuu.
Of course, it’s always best to actually speak with a native speaker when learning a new language and in the age of technology there are a few apps for that too. Tandem is a language exchange app that virtually connects people around the world who want to learn each other’s language. When signing up, it asks you a series of questions to match you with a native speaker to discuss topics of mutual interest. Other such apps that facilitate language exchange include HelloTalk and Bilingua.
There are also virtual classrooms you can sign up for where you can take a course like you were going to school, only from the comfort of your own home. Berlitz, one of the most established and well-known language schools in the world, offers live instructor-led online courses. Choose from private or group lessons and schedule classes around your availability. Verbling is another great tool to find teachers available for live one-on-one video lessons 24/7. And you can also choose to join group classes that are streamed live. FluentU is a unique school that teaches language through real-world videos such as music videos, movie trailers, and current news.
Cook Food from Around the World
Tasting the local cuisine is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. At home, I often get cravings for pad Thai, tacos al pastor, or jerk chicken, among many other international cuisines. If you live in a major metro area, chances are you can find take out dishes from around the world, but it can be fun to try your hand at cooking international meals from your own kitchen. Curious Cuisiniere is a website dedicated to recipes from around the world. It even has a neat map feature that allows you to choose a country where you can explore local ingredients and recipes.
If you aren’t a master chef just yet, there are online cooking classes you can take from free beginner-level courses all the way to special video courses with celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck. There are so many resources online to help cook your way around the world at home. One of my favorites is allrecipes.com, which includes several free cooking videos that make it much easier to understand and there is even a cooking school you can sign up for. The Food Network Kitchen also offers live classes with Food Network stars for those that want to cook like the chefs you see on TV.
If you’re just looking for a cookbook to get your taste buds flowing, there are several available on Amazon. Some of the best sellers include:
- Andina: The Heart of Peruvian Food
- Asma’s Indian Kitchen
- Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand
- The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great
- Cook Like A Local: Flavors That Can Change How You Cook and See the World
- The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook
- Made in Mexico
- Together: Our Community Cookbook
- The International Cookbook for Kids
- In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World
Related: How to Eat for Cheap While Traveling
Read a Book That Inspires Travel
If you can’t be poolside with a view of the beach, cozy up with a good book on the couch to inspire your travel daydreams. The library might be closed, but you can shop for some new reading material online. Flip through these books or add them to your e-reader while in quarantine.
- Wanderlust: A Traveler’s Guide to the Globe
- The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World
- World Travel: An Irreverent Guide
- Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips
- On the Road
- Travels (Vintage Departures)
- Everything & Everywhere: A Fact-Filled Adventure for Curious Globe-Trotters
Play a Traveling Game or Build a Puzzle
Sitting at home all day can get old fast so why not pass the time by playing a game or building a puzzle? Kids can learn geography in a fun way by putting together puzzles of world maps and adults can keep their brains ticking with puzzles of their favorite tourist sites or landscapes around the world. Some interesting puzzles include the 1,000-piece Ravensburger Doors of the World or the challenging 18,000-piece Paradise Sunset puzzle.
Card games and board games can also allow you to escape the confines of your home and get you in the travel spirit. The Lost Cities Card Game is for 2 players aged 10 and up where you take research journeys to remote corners of the world such as the Himalayan mountains, Central American rainforest, or the Egyptian desert. There is also a board game version for up to 4 players. Catan is a popular game where players create their own civilization by acquiring and trading resources. And you can’t forget the classic game of Risk, where you can take over the world by conquering your opponent’s territories.
Video games are also big on inspiring travel. There are plenty of post-apocalyptic game series set in cities around the world such as The Assassin’s Creed, Tomb Raider, and Unchartered. If you’re just missing the wonder of flight, you can see what it’s like to be a pilot by trying X-Plane 11 Global Flight Simulator. For those that like to stick closer to the ground, you can be a train conductor around the world with Train Sim World or drive goods (and take tours) throughout Europe with Euro Truck Simulator 2.
Related: 12 Best Family Board Games for 2020
Listen to Music from Around the World
You don’t have to travel to hear different musical styles from around the world. Streaming services such as Amazon Music, Spotify and Apple Music have millions of artists you can browse, from the many dances of South America to the spiritual tunes of Southeast Asia. Spotify even has a Top 50 by country feature so you can stay up to date on what is popular around the world.
If you’re missing live music while stuck at home, there are several platforms offering live-streaming concerts that you can attend directly from your home. Bandsintown has launched a LIVE channel on Twitch, which will feature streaming concerts by artists around the world. Other artists are using platforms such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live to broadcast concerts to their followers around the world. For a list of live streams and virtual concerts, check out this list from Billboard.
Create a Scrapbook of Past Travels
Do you have a bunch of unorganized photos of your travels? Use the time when you are stuck at home to organize your photos and be reminded of all the great trips you’ve taken over the years. Go old school and create a physical scrapbook with all of your printed photos. This PartyKindom Our Adventure Wooden Scrapbook is a great choice to create an easy way to look back at your memories. It’s the perfect size with 80 pages and can hold more than 160 4 x 6 photos. Plus, the cover features a world map that is fitting for a traveler’s scrapbook.
Like most travelers these days, most of your photos are likely to be in a digital format and there are online tools to create digital scrapbooks that present your past trips in a fun and memorable way. Shutterfly allows you to create a digital scrapbook, which you can then print in many different layouts from photo books to calendars and more. Smilebox lets you create slideshows, eCards, and more to celebrate any occasion. Canva takes the daunting task of creating a personalized scrapbook and simplifies everything with easy-to-use templates made by their professional team of designers.
Update Your Bucket List and Plan Your Next Trip
While we don’t know how long we’ll be asked to stay home for now, it is inevitable that the world will continue to travel once this pandemic has passed. Now is a great time to update your bucket list and research places you’ve been dreaming to visit further so you will be prepared once you are able to go. Since many of the most popular places in the world have been overrun with tourists in the past, I urge you to dig deeper and find some hidden gems away from the places everyone else flocks to see.
Most importantly, keep the travel bug alive. Traveling is one of the best forms of education and once the world is ready to travel again, we’ll be here for you to help you see the world affordably.
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