For us travel addicts, it can be hard to fill the stretches of time between trips. But unless you’ve made the jump to full-time nomad, down time at home is necessary. So how do you scratch that travel itch when you don’t have the budget or time off to take that dream vacation? Check out my top ten favorite things to do to cure wanderlust when you can’t travel.
Cook a meal inspired by your travels.
One of the things I love to do most when traveling is to take a cooking class and bring back authentic recipes. That way, I can always conjure beloved vacation memories by whipping up a batch of homemade lasagna or attempting to make dumplings at home. If you’re not a master chef in the kitchen, explore your city for cooking classes or simply enjoy a meal out at a local ethnic restaurant.
Better yet, toast to your favorite travel destination!
Savoring a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc that you brought back from New Zealand will put you right back in that vacation mindset. Or try an at-home wine tasting from a region on your bucket list, so that when you do finally take that dream vacation, you’ll be an expert on local pairings. Online learning platforms like Skillshare and Masterclass offer a variety of tasting courses without you ever having to leave your living room.
Get creative and think beyond alcoholic beverages. For example, attempt to brew the perfect cuppa tea that would earn the approval of Her Majesty herself. Or try learning how to top your cappuccino with Insta-worthy foam art or sip espresso like a native Italian, an art in and of itself!
Learn a new language.
If you’re planning to travel to a foreign country, use this time to learn the native language. Two free resources that I really love are Duolingo, an app that’s great for learning vocabulary especially on the go, and CoffeeBreak Languages, a podcast that helps with practicing pronunciation and picking up conversational skills.
Even better if you can learn with a friend or travel partner. Set aside time together (maybe while cooking a meal or doing a wine tasting) and vow only to speak to each other in your chosen language.
Read a travel-inspired book.
Let your mind take you where your budget won’t. Settle in with a glass of wine or cup of coffee inspired by the destination and lose yourself in a book set in distant lands. Bonus points if you read a book in the foreign language you’re learning!
Watch a foreign film.
Immerse yourself in another culture for a few hours with a foreign flick. You’ll learn something new and can practice your language skills. Or if subtitles aren’t your thing, settle for a classic movie set in a foreign country, like Midnight in Paris or Roman Holiday
Now is the perfect time to learn how to fill your Instagram feed with professional-looking travel photos. Take an in-person class or discover resources to learn online. Practice around your home and neighborhood so that you will be a pro when it comes time to capture vacation memories. Or take existing travel photos to the next level by learning how to edit them in a program like Adobe Lightroom.
Create a travel keepsake.
You finally have time to get around to editing and printing photos, framing them, scrapbooking, you name it! Seeing all of your wonderful vacation memories around your home is sure to lift your spirits. One of my favorite things to do is put together a year in review book of all of my travels using an easy-to-use, online service like Mixbook.
Have a spa day.
Light a candle, don a hotel-quality robe, and treat yourself to some self-care. Creating your own personal oasis at home will make you feel like you’re a VIP guest at a luxury resort, without having to go anywhere or shell out the extra dollars.
Get inspired to plan your next trip.
Sometimes, the best part of a vacation is actually planning it! Don’t be afraid to dream big and narrow down to what’s feasible later. While you’re saving up your time and money, do your research. Get your hands on everything from guidebooks and magazines to travel blogs (like mine!). Make a Pinterest board to compile your inspiration in one place. Then use an organization tool like Google sheets to start laying out your itinerary, day by day. That way, when the next flight deal lands in your inbox, you’ll be ready to pounce!
Explore your city and surrounding areas.
Get out and explore your city through the eyes of a tourist. Pretend you’re visiting for the first time, and get ready to see it in a whole new light. Spend the day hanging out in your local Chinatown or Little Italy. Maybe hop on board one of those bus tours that stops at all the tourist spots. Even if you’ve lived in your area for a long time, you’ll be surprised at how much you learn. Or plan a day trip and hit the road for adventures unknown!