Of the over 3 billion people that are currently
stuck staying at home, here are some great things for travelers to do during this down time. Sure, it is tough to be at home with so much of the world still unexplored but there are some things you can do that will get you ready to jump right back.
5 Great Ways for Travelers Stuck at Home to Stay Inspired
To me, it is kind of insane to see the amount of people who are posting about how there is nothing to do at home during these times of quarantine and isolation. We live in an age when we have a lifetime of knowledge available at our fingertips, thanks to the internet. I remember when it was before dial-up internet and you could only access some library-hosted boards or you had to pay a lot to have the encyclopedia on your computer to research things.
So, don’t feel like there is nothing to do – especially if you are a traveler! Here are some things to help you be prepared to enjoy travel like you never had before!
Learn a Language
While I certainly hope we are not locked down long enough to become fluent in another language, there is certainly enough time to pick up the basics of a language. This can help you to make new friends on your next international trip or to be able to read the street signs so that you don’t park in a place that will get your car towed (yep, I’ve done that!).
We do have the awesome Google Translate that will translate for us but now is the time to let it teach us how to say some phrases. If you want to root yourselves more in the basics or to hear a native speaker, you can consider some YouTube courses (just search on YouTube for “learn (insert language) basics/101/easily) that will connect you with some great people who can not only help you learn through videos but possibly even interact. How cool to learn from someone on YouTube and then meet them on your next trip to their country!
There are also some courses you can download that are more structured. One is Rosetta Stone that offers a host of languages that can learn. Now, they offer a $199 package that lets you download it and have a lifetime subscription to all 24 languages they have! That way, you can switch between languages!
Another one is Babbel. Right now, you can get 40% off (or earn 40 Amex points per dollar!) through Rakuten so that could be a good way to dip your tow into the language pool for less! You can only pick one language and there are fewer options than Rosetta Stone but you can pay just $23.85 for 3 months (click on the Rakuten link for 50% off to get the 50% off and the 40 points per dollar).
Read Up on Your Destination Countries
If you are like me and many other travelers, you are compiling a list of countries where you may want to visit when you can hit the air again. While the internet has a host of information, I personally love the Lonely Planet series of guidebooks. They are laid out nicely and you can get much of what you need as a visitor.
The best part about the Lonely Planet guidebooks is that they are all available through the Kindle Unlimited program. That means you can pay $9.99 per month (or free the first month) and download up to 10 at a time to any of your devices that can download the Kindle app. Get inspiration in the palm of your hand for your next trips!
Try Out International Cuisine – from Home!
Support a Restaurant and Try Out New Food!
One of the great things about international travel is the ability to try out different kinds of foods that many places are famous for. While you will never get the exact same thing outside of the country, there are plenty of big cities that have restaurants that make that kind of food. If you are in such a city (and it does not break the law to go for take-out), you can kill two birds with one stone – start learning about a country’s cuisine with some “native” takeout while supporting a small business. Win-win!
Learn to Cook the Dishes Yourself!
If you cannot go to a restaurant or you don’t have one that serves such food locally, cook it yourself! Yes, it won’t taste the same at all – at least not the first try! But, you can learn a bit about the ingredients of the country you are going to visit and get an idea of what it takes to cook some of those dishes. Head to Amazon’s Kindle store to check for such a cookbook (check Kindle Unlimited if you sign-up for it for the Lonely Planet books!) or search on YouTube.
One word of warning – read the comments on a YouTube video before you follow the instructions! Some of the videos can get incredibly difficult but not until you are halfway into it! See what other aspiring “local” cooks have to say about it!
Listen or Watch About Your Next Destination
YouTube Travel Videos
There are some great YouTube travel destination videos out there – even ones that show you parts of a country that you may never know existed! Search for those or search for local travelogue videos by natives. They can give some incredible insight and many are also incredibly kind about helping out in the comments. These can be so much more helpful than some YouTubers who hit a city for 12 hours and try to tell you “everything” about a place they barely experienced. 😉 Check out Expedia as one example.
But, if you are kind of watched out from binge-watching other stuff, shut your eyes for a bit or stretch for some exercise while listening to some travel podcasts. I do not actually have any favorites or any that I actually often listen to but hit your favorite podcast app and check out the Top Ten in the travel section to get started. Trust me – it can let your imagination go wild about and get you really excited about visiting someplace!
Make New Friends in Your Future Destinations
Use social media to connect with some “local” people in the countries you want to visit. Not only can you learn some more about a new destination firsthand but you may also make some friends that you could visit when you arrive in country!
I have made friends in many countries and it is such an amazing experience (and humbling) to be invited to that new friend’s house to meet their family and share in some holiday meal or experience. Even a regular meal can be amazing!
Plus, it can give you a chance to see what is going on in other countries at the same time. In situations like this, it can get easy to become so focused on all the bad news in your own region. But, this is worldwide right now and some places do not have the same infrastructure or medical care that you may have. It can broaden your awareness to hear about the experiences of others.
Bonus! Learn a Travel Program!
I didn’t make this one of the main points because the possibilities are there that we may see some changes to frequent flyer programs. But, if you want to be ready to book some amazing trips when the quarantine ends, read up on the frequent flyer program where you have many of your miles. Or, check out some of the amazing hotels that your hotel points could put you in!
I will be doing some posts on both of those things in the next couple of weeks to help us stay ready to burn our miles and points when travel is back. In the meantime, check out Upgraded Points for some serious in-depth guides to programs.
It is inevitable – the day will come when we can travel once again. But, you don’t have to go stir crazy at home in the meantime! Put some of this downtime to work by using some of the tips above to keep your inspiration fresh. Or, leave some of your own tips in the comments below!