Travel is one of life’s true pleasures. The opportunity to experience different places, food and cultures is a gift many of us are realizing we may have taken for granted in the past. We may not be able to travel right now but with a little imagination we CAN take a “virtual vacation”.
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How to Take a Virtual Vacation
There are several reasons travel might not be a possibility, aside from a pandemic. Late stage pregnancy, a newborn in the family, health concerns, lack of vacation days and budget constraints are a few things that might make travel impossible. My parents used to enjoy traveling but my dad’s health is too bad to allow that anymore. Whatever the reason, there are still ways to enjoy at least part of the joys of travel.
We cancelled our trip to North Myrtle Beach in March and I have no idea when we will be able to go anywhere. I’ve been feeling pretty disappointed about that so I decided to brainstorm some alternatives. Now I’ll be the first to admit nothing fully replaces real travel. But why not at least try to recreate the parts we can?
10 Tips for Taking a Virtual Vacation
1. Create a travel binder
With a 3-ring binder, some page protectors and perhaps some dividers you can create your own travel binder. Do you have old travel magazines lying about? Cut out pictures of places you’d like to visit. Or print some off the internet. You can also include travel articles, maps and perhaps your own ideas and thoughts about travel. The cool thing about this is that the sky’s the limit. You are in no way limited by your budget. Always wanted to take a 6-month tour of Europe? What about a train trip across Canada or European river cruise? Fill your travel binder with the grandest trips you can envision.
2. Make a scrapbook
Part of the joy of travel are the memories. Do you have a box full of trip mementos that you never got around to putting in a scrapbook? I’m guilty of this one. Now is a great time to relive those vacations by creating a travel scrapbook. And if all the pictures you have of your trips reside solely on your phone or computer this would be the perfect opportunity to have some of them printed. Wouldn’t it be a lot more fun to thumb through a well-designed scrapbook filled with your best travel pics than to try to locate them on your phone?
3. Collect travel resources you already have
Pull out all your travel magazines, vacation brochures, maps, etc. Consider putting them together in a basket or decorative box and keeping them handy for easy access when you are feeling the need for a bit of adventure.
4. Make list of travel programs, movies and documentaries
Research lists of these shows, choose the ones that sound most interesting and then create a schedule to watch them. If you are old enough to remember the days of the TV Guide you may also recall the excitement of reading through the upcoming week’s television listings and deciding which shows you wanted to watch. In these days of round-the-clock access via streaming services we’ve lost the anticipation we used to enjoy. Consider making your own weekly schedule for travel programs you’d like to watch and maybe even put them on your calendar. (Apparently there is still a print version of the TV Guide which I didn’t realize. It’s not quite the same as the regional digests we used to get, though.)
5. Subscribe to a travel magazine or two
I’ve linked several good ones later in this post. You can, of course, get most magazines online these days and ordinarily that’s a handy format. But there’s also something exciting about receiving a brand new magazine in the mail and thumbing through those glossy pages. Go ahead and indulge. Think of all the money you aren’t spending on travel right now. You deserve it.
6. Make list of travel books to read
There is more than a lifetime of travel and adventure just waiting for you in the pages of good travel books. Whether you choose fiction, non-fiction or picture-heavy coffee table travel books, you can enjoy a respite from your everyday life simply by picking up a book. There are countless lists of “the best travel books” available online. Read through a few of these and make a list of several books that most tickle your fancy. Create time in your daily schedule to escape somewhere exciting by reading for an hour or so. Or enjoy an audio version. I shared a few of my favorites in this blog post:
7. Take a virtual tour
One of the unexpected gifts of this time are the many virtual tours that have been made available. You can tour the Louvre in Paris, enjoy numerous webcams at the San Diego Zoo, experience the magic of Disney World, or explore Machu Picchu, just to name a few options.
8. Cook some regional or international recipes
Most of us are eating at home a lot more than usual and it’s easy to get a bit bored with the same old meals. Break out of this rut by experimenting with different ethnic cuisines. Pull out that Asian or Indian cookbook gathering dust on a shelf and actually try a recipe or two. You can even make an event of it. Pair a travel movie or documentary with a corresponding meal. This can be especially fun for kids and very educational.
9. Hang up a map or two
There’s just something about a good map that inspires dreams of distant lands. Consider framing a beautiful map to hang in the family room. Tack up old travel maps from previous vacations on a bulletin board. And if you happen to have a globe, occasionally give it a spin with your eyes closed and then see where your finger lands as it slows to a stop.
10. Plan a future vacation
Half the fun of travel is in the planning. Where do you most want to go when it’s safe to do so again? David and I have long been planning a 3-week trip to Europe in 2021 to celebrate our 40th anniversary. I truly hope this will happen so now is the time to begin planning in detail. I have a 3-ring binder to hold magazine pictures, articles, travel brochures, packing lists, lists of places to see, hotels, tours, etc. As I begin to put this together I’ll start dreaming of this special trip and enjoying the anticipation. I encourage you to plan a trip, too. Or plan several, if you’d like. There’s no limit!
Here are some travel resources to help you plan YOUR “Virtual Vacation”:
This one is now a digital resource only – no print version. However, it’s also free!
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations – Seasons 6 and 7 on Hulu
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – HBO Max
Virtual Travel and Tours
I hope this has inspired you to create your own virtual vacation experience. If so, I’d love to hear about your plans. Leave me a comment and tell me where you plan to go on your virtual vacation.