Exploring the world is an addictive experience, so it’s hard to know what things to do when you can’t travel. You might not be able to get the time off work, or perhaps it’s just not financially viable this year. Maybe you’re in the middle of a global pandemic where your entire country is on lockdown (usually I’d think this unfathomable but, well… here we are).
Whatever the reason, that wanderlust we experience as travellers and modern-day nomads just isn’t fun. Sure, it’s not as important as other issues, but there are some things you can do to immerse yourself in travel even if you can’t go abroad.
Plan a future trip
Nothing gets me more excited than planning my next trip. There’s a little bit of disappointment in knowing that it’s so far away, but I just love planning where I’m going and what I’m going to do while I’m there. I’m one of those extreme planners that plans it even down to what I’ll be wearing each day!
If you can’t travel right now then get thinking about which country is next on your list. Research accommodation and activities in the area, and maybe even put together a preliminary itinerary. Then make it the first thing you book once you can finally travel again!
Write up a travel bucket list
I love planning travel bucket lists… I have one for the UK, one for adventurous locations, and one purely for mountains I want to summit. If you can’t travel then it’s a great time to think about all the places you can visit later.
Pinterest is a great tool for organising travel bucket lists but be careful -it’s easy to lose hours on there!
Join an online travel community
Online travel communities are great to be a part of when you’re not able to travel. They’re brilliant sources of inspiration, plus you can meet loads of like-minded people and share your experiences together.
I’m part of a couple, myself – the local Facebook page for Corralejo (so I can still be there virtually even when I’m at home) plus I’m also a part of The YesTribe from SayYesMore, designed for people who want to start saying “yes” more and taking on exciting opportunities and experiences (which are often travel-focused). There are loads of communities across pretty much the whole of social media. #TravelTribe is a great hashtag to use on Twitter and Instagram, plus there are loads of public and private groups on Facebook.
Start a travel savings fund
Not as exciting as the other options on this list, but starting a travel savings fund is a wise move. Especially if your bucket list is full to the brim! The perfect time to start is when you can’t travel, as then you won’t accidentally spend it on trips.
It doesn’t have to be a crazy amount – even just £10 a month is still something. Most months we save less than that, but that’s okay! It all adds up, and once you’ve saved you can use it to book the holiday of your dreams.
Escape with travel writing
Reading about travel is a great way to use it as a means of escapism without leaving the house. I’ve already mentioned how online communities can be a great way to do this, but you can also use books, travel blogs, and films or Youtube.
I love reading about other travellers’ experiences on their blogs, plus there’s nothing better than sitting down to a travel documentary whilst stuck at home. It’s always great to learn about new places, even if you can’t experience the culture directly. There are also some excellent travel memoirs out there, such as Into Adventure And Sunshine by Iam M. Packham and A Kiss Behind The Castanets by Jean Roberts.
Bring foreign cuisine to you
You don’t have to wait until you’re on holiday to eat foreign food as you can make it yourself! Think about your favourite cuisine, or maybe one you really want to try, and then research the different types of food and find recipes for them online.
Supermarkets and smaller stores offer so much cultural variety with their food nowadays so making food from a different cuisine shouldn’t be too difficult. Plus, the simple act of cooking something new can be a treat in itself.
Learn or improve a language
Something I’ve been working on whilst not travelling is improving my Spanish to help me next time I go abroad. We want to live in the Canaries one day, so this is something that is both fun and essential! Choose a language that you like and will be useful to you and use your spare time to get learning.
There are loads of ways to learn a language but I’d recommend mixing it up as much as you can. Use apps like Duolingo or Memrise, but also read and write in the language. Listen to a podcast like Coffee Break Spanish whilst also practising with a native (you can find people willing to practise with you on Facebook language groups – I now have a Colombian friend I practise Spanish with through this method). Immerse yourself in it and you’ll improve in no time.
Write up your own travel experiences
If you travel a lot then it’s likely you’ve had some interesting experiences whilst abroad. I know I’ve had a few interesting ones – some comedy, some tragedy, and some just pure bizarre.
People love to read about other people’s experiences, so if you really want to relive some of your favourite travel moments then get them written down! This could be a personal account just for yourself (like a post-holiday travel diary) or it could be a series of blog posts or a book for others to read and maybe even purchase. Or use your experiences to teach others – the best places to visit in a certain country, or perhaps interesting things you’ve learnt about a particular culture.
Support others with travel reviews
Businesses work hard to provide an excellent experience for their customers. If you’ve visited some wonderful places in the past but haven’t thanked them or alerted others to how great the experience was then now is a great time to do it.
I try and upload a review to TripAdvisor every time I have a new experience. What I love about it as that it alerts you when people find your reviews helpful, so you know that people are actually gaining from your thoughts. You could also send thank you emails to places that really stood out, or share some positivity on social media. Companies, food establishments, and accommodation businesses will be grateful for it!
Holiday in your own home
It may not be as amazing as going abroad, but “fake it ’til you make it” does work in some ways. If you’re stuck inside with no way of going on holiday for a while then maybe it’s time to get creative!
Plan a day or two inside your home where you essentially pretend that you’re on holiday. Decorate your room like a hotel room (you could even pack if you’re super into it) and plan a bunch of activities that you might do whilst abroad, like going to the beach, sunbathing in your back garden, or even just resting in the shade with a good book and a midday tipple. Order takeaway instead of cooking for yourself, and just do whatever it is that shakes up your routine and makes you feel like you’re on holiday.
I’m yet to do this but I have tried something similar with a home-based retreat and it was great! Despite being in my own home I really felt like I’d been on a proper self-care experience. Try it, and see what you can get out of it!
What do you think are the best things to do when you can’t travel? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to like and pin! You can read some of my travel review posts for bucket list inspiration here: