The Wanderful community firmly believes you can travel without leaving home — no matter the circumstances or reason for doing so. As long as you’re willing to try something new, to allow yourself to feel uncomfortable, and to challenge your preconceptions, the benefits of travel can be found right at home.
While many of us are staying home for extended periods of time, I still want you to get the benefits of travel. So I have a few (okay, many) suggestions to help you expand your horizon, even if you’re physically within four walls.
Read first: Don’t Travel. Here’s What to Do Instead
How to Travel Without Leaving Home
First, I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to join the Wanderful community!
Wanderful was built on the idea that women are each other’s greatest asset. Our focus is on helping all women travel more by fostering community, facilitating communication, encouraging sharing, and supporting our global sisterhood.
If you’re already a Wanderful member, you know what I mean!
The magic of the Wanderful community has been proven during this very challenging time.
Members have stepped up to share recommendations and inspiration for travel lovers to enjoy at home. They have created virtual brunches and virtual wine nights. There are even Netflix parties and shared yoga sessions in the works!
This community is filled with fabulous women from all walks of life and from all around the world. We have come together in this shared moment of chaos to lighten the load and to offer inspiration.
This is a time when we need to connect with each other and to support one another. Since we can’t do it in person, this online travel-loving community has taken on the challenge with such grace.
If you aren’t a member yet, join us to get great benefits, including:
- A members-only app for finding and connecting with other members anywhere in the world
- Travel discounts and deals from our partners
- 50 chapters in cities around the world so you can meet other travel-loving women at monthly events (which are free for members)
- Discounts at our global events like WITS and Wanderfest
- And so much more…
Looking for travel inspiration? Wanderful is a global community for travel-loving women. Connect with us!
Find out more about Wanderful membership right here.
Learn Through Travel Without Leaving Home
Just because we’re not flying around the world or sailing across the sea doesn’t mean we can’t experience other places and cultures. These virtual tours and seminars can keep your education up while keeping your costs way down. Take a look…
Explore Outside While Staying In
The US National Parks offer virtual tours. How amazing is that?!
Go ahead and bask in that natural beauty even if you live in the urban jungle. These tours can also be hugely beneficial in teaching appreciation and conservation of the environment.
From kids to adults, these tours are amazing. Check them out for yourself!
Take a Tour Without Leaving Home?
You read that right! As tour guides around the world are struggling, they’re also getting creative. As reported by Forbes, Context Tours has taken some of their tours online and they now offer virtual seminars by their professional guides. Learn about Beijing, Venice, or Tokyo…with more likely to come!
Test Your Knowledge With Pub Quizzes
Everyone loves a good pub quiz, right? In times when we can’t go socialize in person, we can get extra creative. My local Edinburgh quizmasters have taken the quizzes online (and came up with #QuizzicalNotPhysical, which is adorable).
You can join in the fun from home — check out their Instagram to find out how to play.
Learn About Artifacts and Historic Structures
With the Open Heritage program, Google’s Arts & Culture page offers an in-depth look at heritage sites and artifacts from around the world.
Plan Your Future Travels
Many folks had to cancel travel plans and there is no clear timeframe for when we might be able to get back out into the world. Borders are closed, airports are empty, and tourism businesses around the world are struggling.
This is not a time to give up on travel forever! In fact, it’s the perfect time to plan and to dream.
Here are a few top tips for planning your future travels without leaving home:
Read Travel Blogs
Travel bloggers are really struggling right now. Often overlooked as small businesses, most full-time bloggers are seeing a massive decline in website traffic. That means their income has also dramatically dropped.
If you already follow any bloggers, read through their content. Bookmark pages you want to reference again later. Share your favorite posts on social media.
Travel bloggers need some extra love right now if you want to continue being inspired by them in the future.
Creators: Get insights + tips to help you thrive.
Create Pinterest boards
Creating a dream board on Pinterest is such a fun way to plan future trips! Get inspired with beautiful images and interesting insights once you click through to the articles.
You can also make a dream travel board offline by cutting photos from magazines. Sometimes it helps to step away from the screen for a bit!
Spin the Globe
Why not?! If we’re looking at hypothetical travel for a while, then go ahead and spin the globe to see where you can go next.
The tech version of this is the Skyscanner “Everywhere” search. I dare you to try not getting addicted to that!
Learn to Plan Trips More Efficiently
While you’re staying home instead of traveling, this is a perfect time to learn! Take a course to learn tricks and tips for more efficiently planning your travels. Wanderful member Samantha Burmeister, aka the 9to5Nomad, offers a free course to get you started. Check it out here.
Stay Fit to Travel More…Eventually
Staying fit and healthy means you’ll be able to travel more and venture farther when it’s safe to do so. Planet Fitness is offering free online classes for at-home workouts. The best part? These are available to non-members, too!
Workouts will be live-streamed on Facebook at 7pm EST daily, with on-demand access if you can’t make it live. Watch the videos and stay active right here.
In our own Wanderful community, we have women leading virtual yoga sessions and virtual HIIT classes! Members, take a look right here.
Read next: Travel fitness starts at home
45+ Travel-Themed Film & TV Suggestions
Netflix and Amazon Prime have recently become seemingly as important as groceries. As more people find themselves staying home instead of traveling — even traveling to work! — the need to fill time grows.
Why not use this time to inspire your future travels?
We asked our community what they’re watching to stay inspired. They definitely delivered with some great suggestions of favorite shows or movies! Join our private Facebook group to add your suggestions to the list!
Watch any of these to feel like you’re traveling without leaving home (some added commentary included!):
- Black Panther
- The Talented Mr Ripley — The views of Italy make my heart ache because I miss that place so much and I am so sorry for what they are all going through now.
- All of Anthony Bourdain
- Before Sunrise made me fall in love with Vienna long before I ever got to visit.
- Under the Tuscan Sun
- We surf, so when we can’t travel to catch a wave, we watch the Blue Crush movies. It’s our guilty pleasure!
- The Darjeeling Limited
- Three Coins in a Fountain
- The Amazing Race!!! Best. Reality. Show. Ever.
- To Catch a Thief, Lord of the Rings, the English Patient and some of the original Lara Croft. There are a lot of older movies that come to mind
- Travel Man series with Richard Ayoade
- Good old Rick Steves. So cheesy, but oh so good.
- Fav movies about travel: Only You (Italy), Under a Tuscan Sun (Italy), Enchanted April (Italy) – – wow, there are a lot of movies about traveling to Italy… – – Shirley Valentine (Greece), Mama Mia (Greece), Eat Pray Love (Italy, India, Bali), The Holiday (England), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Hawaii), and Passengers (Space).
- A Room with a View – fabulous Florence
- Midnight in Paris
- Lost in Translation, Doctor Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia
- Amelié! Midnight in Paris. The Grand Budapest Hotel. Outlander
- Crazy Rich Asians for Singapore
- Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
- Out of Africa
- I loved The Way about the Camino de Santiago. It made me want to go on long journeys by foot.
- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants!
- Australia with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman
- I love Letters to Juliet
- Bond, James Bond ; ) 007
- “The Climb” or “L’ascension”** , Thi Mai**, Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, Un plus une**, The Motorcycle Diaries, Midnight in Paris, About Time, Crazy Rich Asians, Just Married and the Invisible Guest**. This last one isn’t about travel but it’s by far one of the best movies I have seen, all the ones with ** are on Netflix for sure!
- Roman Holiday
- The Beach – “I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for. Because it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something. And if you find that moment… It lasts forever”
Enjoy Cultural Activities Without Leaving Home
We could all use a little extra culture to balance out the Netflix binging! Take a break from the auto-play and enjoy these extraordinary experiences from around the world.
Visit Museums Without the Lines
Google Arts & Culture has partnered with over 2,500 museums around the world to offer virtual tours and online exhibitions you can view from home.
You can explore the Guggenheim Museum in New York or the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul.
Wander around the Uffizi Gallery in Florence or the Museu de Arte de São Paulo.
Travel + Leisure offers some more details or go straight to Google’s curated top 10 virtual tours. Or view the full collection with online exhibitions and tours.
Bonus: How about visiting the Louvre without worrying about the lines?!
Go to the Opera in Your PJs
The Metropolitan Opera is streaming performances to bring opera to everyone at home. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. EST and will be available to stream for 20 hours. Stay cozy on the couch with a front-row seat to the most iconic operatic performances.
Learn more on the Met Opera site.
Take Free Online Courses
If you’re finding yourself stuck at home with lots of free time, take advantage of the wide variety of online learning options available. Open Culture offers more than 1,500 free online courses in various subjects.
Whatever interests you, delve deeper and expand your understanding! Take a look at the many Open Culture courses.
Learning to blog? Take Wanderful’s FREE intro to blogging course
Let Books Take You on a Journey
There are so many books that inspire us to travel and to learn! No matter where you’re from, you can learn about places all around the world through literature. I asked our Wanderful community and got some great recommendations right away!
Here are some top book suggestions to make you feel like you can travel without leaving home:
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Takes place in: Kyoto, Japan
Recommended by: Brittany Quaglieri
Why she loves it: When I read it as a teenager, I knew nothing about geisha traditions and history, except for the widespread misconception that “geisha” and “prostitute” were synonymous. This book started a great love of learning and reading about culture and history in all Asian countries.
Wander Lust by Taddie McCallister
Takes place in: The whole world!
Recommended by Lorna Williams
Recommendations from Barbara Frisch-Klopper:
The Coroners Lunch by Colin Cotterill
Takes place in: Laos, during the Communist occupation
Why she loves it: It’s very entertaining and I learned much about Laos before my independent exploration.
The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason
Why she loves it: A fictional story about a piano in the Jungles of Burma and the travel of the Piano through the jungle to an entitled war surgeon. This surgeon demands a piano tuner, and his journey is a beautiful tale to his location. I read this on my way to a hiking trip to Burma.
Recommendations from Annie Sission:
Turn Right At Macchu Pichu by Mark Adams
Lunatic Express by Carl Hoffman
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Recommendations from me, Amanda Walkins:
The Tenth Island by Diana Marcum
Takes place in: The Azores, Portugal
Why I love it: I read it while visiting the Azores and it was such a lovely way to further connect with the destination. I learned more about the Azorean diaspora and history, so it added depth to my visit.
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Takes place in: All around the world
Why I love it: I’m a geographer by education, so this obviously called to me! But I loved learning how different societies and political frameworks affect the general feeling of happiness in different countries. It’s a fascinating global read!
Book Suggestions for Travel-Loving Parents
If you’re trying to inspire a love of travel in your kiddos, books are a perfect way to start! Show them all around the world without leaving the house.
Teach your kids to appreciate travel by opening up the stories of other people and places. Here are a few lists compiled by others:
- Travel-themed children’s books by black authors
- Books that teach kids to care about the environment
- Children’s books that teach your kids about the world
- Little Leaders books by Vashti Harrison
- Travel books for kids to help inspire wanderlust
Read next: Travel books by women writers to tempt your itchy feet!
Remember the Benefits of Travel
The best parts of travel are those moments of connection with people from other places. We travel to learn and to share, to ask questions of others in order to question our own ideas and biases.
Just because we cannot travel right now doesn’t mean we shouldn’t challenge ourselves to connect and to learn.
We can connect on such basic levels of humanity, in spite of language barriers or distance.
I often like to use the advice from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Always look for the helpers.
When we’re in uncertain times, the best thing to do is to look for the goodness in others. Regardless of our backgrounds or our current circumstances, we can always look for those who are doing good in the world.
Here are just a few examples of people doing good around the world…
Shop owners in Scotland helping their elderly neighbors
Canadians spreading “Caremongering”
Neighbors singing together while in lockdown in Italy
Restaurants turning into community kitchens in DC and NYC
This neighborhood happy birthday moment in Madrid
And a message from space:
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
Experience travel without leaving home, and then come share your stories and adventures with us in the Wanderful community!
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