Whether it’s a lack of funds, not enough vacation time, an incurable travel bug, or a pandemic like COVID-19, sometimes you’re forced to satisfy your wanderlust at home. Here’s how to use this perfect time to plan for future travels and how to cure wanderlust by exploring the world without leaving the house.
1. Tour a Dream Destination’s Website
Are you dreaming of the desert blooming in the spring, Montana in the summer, or New England’s fall foliage? One cure for wanderlust (when you’re stuck at home) is to visit your dream destination’s website.
From coast-to-coast and around the world, convention and visitors bureau (CVB) websites typically provide travel guides, trip itineraries, blog articles, and other helpful resources that will digitally transport you to their corner of the world without leaving your house.
Check out the best travel and tourism websites in the US to add amazing destinations, fun attractions, and delicious restaurants to your travel bucket list.
2. Read a Travel Blog
From young Millennials to midlife travelers, from solo females to families, travel blogs cover a variety of places and spaces around the globe. When you have to satisfy your wanderlust at home, reading a travel blog is one sure cure to scratch the itch caused by a travel bug.
Here at Everyday Wanderer, I know I enjoy exploring the world via the Everyday Postcards sent in from around the world. Explore the gorgeous Greek island of Crete, Japan’s sacred Mount Fuji, the sandy beaches of Bali, and other destinations that range from every day to exotic.
3. Visit a World-Class Museum Online
As the world’s largest museum complex, many of the Smithsonian museums offer virtual tours that provide a cure for wanderlust. Explore the National Museum of Natural History’s permanent, current, and past exhibits through these virtual tours. You can also explore the Smithsonian Castle, Enid A. Haupt Garden, and Hirshhorn Museum via virtual tours.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, the Louvre holds the title of the world’s largest art museum. While there’s no substitute to gazing into the mysterious eyes of the Mona Lisa or looking up at the headless Winged Victory of Samothrace, you can cure wanderlust with an online tour of the Louvre.
Sage Advice: Bring zoos and safaris to you with these 35+ live animal feeds.
4. Travel the World by Reading a Book
For thousands of years, books have been a cure for wanderlust. Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, travel books or an engaging novel set in a bucket list destination, reading allows you to transport yourself to a variety of times and places.
Some of my favorite wanderlust-curing books are:
- Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck – Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Or traveling with a poodle?
- Dogging Steinbeck – Because it turns out the Nobel prize-winning author made up his “non-fiction” Travels with Charley
- James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club Series – Each thrilling novel takes me back to my high school years in the San Francisco Bay Area
- Any of Dan Brown’s books featuring Professor Robert Langdon – They transport me to some of my favorite places in Europe, albeit with a bigger sense of adventure than I’ve ever experienced in real life
- My Life in France by Julia Child – Although now I picture Meryl Streep as Julia every time I read it…
- Two Lane Gems by Theresa Goodrich – Especially now that the queen of the great American road trip is currently serializing her books on The Local Tourist as America battles COVID-19. True royalty right there, people!
One of my favorite sites for reading recommendations is Book Thoughts from Bed. Written by a very dear friend of mine who used to travel the world and is now confined to a hospital bed, her book reviews have never steered me wrong!
Here are some of Michelle’s favorite books to help cure wanderlust while stuck at home:
- Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. Visit rainy Seattle and snowy Antarctica in this hilarious book that’s now a movie staring Billy Crudup and Cate Blanchette.
- The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson. Visit Great Britain through the eyes of the author as he travels between the nation’s two farthest points.
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This coming of age novel will transport you to rural North Carolina no matter where in the world you read it. And if you’d rather visit Africa, Owens co-wrote Cry of the Kalahari with her husband. It’s a non-fiction account of their trek deep into the desert.
5. Watch a Movie
Forget the Target vs. Walmart, Coke vs. Pepsi, or any political debate. In my family, there’s no topic more divisive as book vs. movie. If a movie is based on a book, I’ll read the book and rarely see the movie. I don’t want Hollywood’s take to ruin the image I have of the characters or to deny me all of the backstories that can be incorporated into a book. But some people in my family (who shall remain nameless) want to watch the movie to see how Hollywood shakes things up. If you enjoy movies, one cure for wanderlust at home is to travel through the small screen.
And despite not being able to watch a movie without Googling the cast, filming locations, and historical facts, these are some of the films that help me cure wanderlust at home:
- Crazy Rich Asians – Because there would be nothing quite like visiting Singapore on the arm of a smokin’ hot mega-rich dude!
- Eat Pray Love – After all, travel is the best way to heal a broken heart and patch up shattered dreams, especially if gelato and pasta are involved.
- Julie & Julia – This travel blogger loves seeing a food blogger rise from the ashes of September 11th. Plus also, fantastic French food is involved!
- The Bucket List – Although I’m still not interested in trying civet coffee.
6. Relive Your Favorite Travel Memories
One of the reasons most of us travel is to create experiences rather than collect more stuff. So one way to satisfy your wanderlust at home is to relive your favorite travel memories. Sit down and thumb through your favorite travel album, create a slideshow or video from your favorite travel photos, or write about a past adventure.
7. Learn a Foreign Language
If your wanderlusty dreams take you to a foreign land, one cure for wanderlust is to learn a foreign language in anticipation of your next trip. While you can certainly go for the gold, there’s no need to achieve full fluency. However, these are good phrases to know in the local language when you travel abroad.
One of my favorite ways to develop language skills is through Babbel. This affordably-priced subscription-based language learning app offers bite-sized language lessons that are just 10 to 15 minutes long and available on any device.
Rosetta Stone is another software solution that makes it easy to learn a foreign language in just a few minutes per day.
You can also check out the world languages section of PBS Learning Media. Learn about the countries and cultures where Spanish, Japanese, French, German, and Chinese are spoken while building your vocabulary and conversational skills.
8. Cook a Dish That Reminds You of Your Travels
- Lobster rolls in Maine,
- Burnt ends in the Barbeque Capital of the World,
- A Friday fish fry in Wisconsin,
- Escargots in France or
- Bitterballen in the Netherlands,
one of the best parts of traveling is savoring the local flavors. If you are experiencing a wanderlust homestay, then bring the world to you by preparing one of your favorite dishes from your travels at home.
Not sure you can successfully cook up clotted cream for scones or whip up a batch of Dutch poffertjes from scratch, purchase ready-made ingredients and mixes online as a bonafide shortcut for success with international dishes.
9. Add to Your Travel Bucket List
Use your wanderlust homestay as an opportunity to add destinations and experiences to your travel bucket list. My travel bucket list is broken into sections that include local activities, day trips from my home base, weekend trips, and overseas destinations. This approach makes it easy for me to jot down travel plans for future travels of all lengths and distances from home.
10. Create a Travel Playlist
From Katy Perry’s California Gurls to Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York, from The Chainsmokers’s Paris to They Might Be Giants’s Istanbul (Not Constantinople), there are hundreds and hundreds of songs about destinations around the world. Pick your favorite genre (or destination) and create a playlist as a cure for wanderlust when you’re stuck at home.
Have You Discovered How to Cure Wanderlust?
What did you do to travel when you were stuck at home? Any additional tips or tricks to pass along? Share your experiences in the comments section below.