7 ways to keep the wanderlust alive at home during travel bans

As the coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to force border closures and spark worldwide lockdowns, many of us have had to put our travel plans on hold. If you’re in Sydney or Melbourne the current lockdowns really bite.

Yet, while we may not be able to physically travel, it certainly doesn’t mean we can’t keep dreaming about it.

For those of us who are adventurers at heart and might be finding it hard to twiddle their thumbs at home instead of exploring the world, we’ve rounded up a bunch of activities that will keep you busy and keep your wanderlust spirit alive.

1. Indulge in armchair travel

Indulge in travel from the comfort of your own couch and explore new destinations through books and movies. It may be an obvious recommendation but it truly is a great way to live vicariously for the time being.

Whether you want to learn something new with the likes of travel documentaries or guidebooks or simply admire new scenery in movies filmed exotic locations, there are a wide range of options and genres to choose from to suit your style. Some popular options which you can easily find on Netflix include The Kindness Diaries, which follows one man’s journey around the world relying on the kindness of strangers; Street Food, exploring cultural cuisines around the world and the comedy Travels with Father. 

If you would prefer to read, you can choose from destination-specific books or gain more general inspiration with classics like, World Walk by Steven Newman, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

Travel wanderlust amid coronavirus

2. Cultural cooking

A big part of travelling is learning about other cultures and trying out their local cuisine. However, you don’t actually need to leave your house to do this. There are thousands of cookbooks and recipes online that will help you explore new cultures through food. Rather than waiting to book a cooking class in another country (as many tourists like to do), why not try to master the cuisine before you arrive and then see how it compares. 

We recommend having a bit of fun with cultural cooking and try a new theme every week. One night you might be mastering a traditional Vietnamese pancake while another night you could be learning how to make pasta from scratch as the Italians do. Putting some cultural music on in the background while you cook will also make it feel more authentic and set the mood.

You can also order lockdown cocktail kits with pre-mixed cocktails from Cocktail Porter or Bev Mart. Sip one by the pool, or sitting around the fire and you will feel like you’ve gone on a mini holiday.

3. Revisit old memories

While now is not the time to make new travel memories, it sure is a good time to look back on old ones. Especially if you’re someone who likes to take countless photos while overseas only to have them get lost in a digital photo album on your computer when you return.

We recommend taking this time to get crafty and do a little scrapbooking of your past adventures or perhaps, write a blog post and share your travel experiences with others. Or simply, pick your favourite photos and get some framed to display around your home.

4. Learning a new language

Now that you have extended time to prepare for your next holiday, you might as well go the extra mile and learn the lingo of the destination. Or you might just want to learn a new language for the fun of it. It’s a great way to kill time if you’re in lockdown.  

Thanks to technology, learning a new language can be easily done at home. Duolingo and Babbel are among the most popular apps that are free to use and have all the common languages on offer.

The Centre of Italian Studies also offers a new accelerated beginner course, offering 15 hours of online classes from 16 August-16 September 2021. The online classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays, with a free one-hour private lesson when two friends join together.

travel ideas in lockdown

5. Keep planning & researching

Now is not the time to panic, but the time to plan. Don’t rule out travel altogether, instead, consider postponing your trip or start planning a new one. Now is the perfect time to revisit your bucket-list and start refining where you want to go and what you want to do because if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t take the opportunity to travel for granted. 

So, get out your world maps, start doing your research (read some of our top travel stories for inspiration) and be prepared to book those trips once it’s safe to do so. Plus, your tourism will be much appreciated once this is all over. 

Travel wanderlust amid coronavirus

6. Try out new hobbies

With so many tours out there tailored to specific interests, now might be the perfect time to pick up a new hobby that may influence your travels down the track. For instance, Asia has become the hotspot for surf and yoga retreats, while photography lovers are often drawn to African safari adventures or Northern Light expeditions in Europe. Whether your hobby is cooking, writing, any form of art or learning the history of a new place, chances are, there will be a tour somewhere around the world that will cater to just that.

If you’ve ever dreamed of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or walking the Camino, now’s your perfect chance to start training. Use that exercise time wisely. Set a goal and challenge your friends to keep yourself motivated.

7. Treat your home like a hotel

By this, we mean do things you’d normally do on vacation, at home. Of course, it won’t be exactly the same as you’ll still need to do the prep work and cleaning, but it may feel at least a little refreshing if you’re stuck in lockdown.

To start with, clear your space from clutter, make your bed and give yourself clean sheets and fresh towels. Use subtle background music and scents to set a new tone, for instance, something floral or coconut-like will remind you of somewhere tropical whereas something with a bit of spice might give off an Arabian feel. Treat yourself to simple pleasures like flowers in the bathroom or turning down your bed and leaving a little chocolate on your pillow for later. Find yourself a robe and do something relaxing whether it be a face mask treatment or a meditation session. Try to avoid your usual home habits  – minimise your wifi use, choose to read over watching TV or take a bath instead of a shower.

You can even do some ‘hotel activities’ that you might not normally do, like a yoga class in the morning or a cooking class in which you teach yourself how to cook a new recipe.

Need more inspiration? Try these stories…

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