27 Great Books For Travelers

27 Great Books For Travelers

What are the best books for travelers? They are those that inspire you to visit a new place; those that push you to challenge yourself beyond your limits; those that make you dream and feed your wanderlust. 

We’ve all read one of those books. In fact, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the story of a trip. I remember reading Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth a few years ago. The story that was set in medieval Carcassonne and in modern times, and evokes real life events such as the massacre at Béziers. It is such a well written novel that I could not put it down until I was done reading it, and it left me wanting to visit Carcassonne and the Languedoc of France. 

Travel books are one of the best resources we have to travel when we can’t really travel. The are one of the best travel accessories. You can read them from the comfort of your home (I love reading in bed, actually); sitting at the park; laying in the shade at the beach (another one of my favorite things) and they are one of the best forms of entertainment during long haul flights. 

Make sure to read my post 23 Useful Tips For Long Haul Flights.”

I have asked a bunch of fellow travel bloggers to name their favorite books for travelers. Some of them are quite famous. Other lesser known but definitely worth a read. I will start with two of the travel books that most inspired me. 

Looking for inspiration on things to do when you can’t travel? Check out my posts

27 Books For Travelers You Have To Read

The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto Guevara

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: SOUTH AMERICA

There is little doubt that this is one of the most inspiring books for travelers – in fact, for readers and thinkers of any kind and age. It actually is not a novel, but literally a diary the Ernesto Guevara filled in as he, a medical student, traveled from his home in Argentina through South America with his friend Alberto Granado. 

During their trip on board of La Poderosa, a badly functioning motorbike that often abandons them in the middle of nowhere, Guevara and Granado get to admire some of the most breathtaking landscapes of the continent; they meet welcoming people as well as indigenous communities facing terrible social and economic problems. 

The book ends with Guevara’s declaration to commit his life to fight for the poor and disadvantaged – something we all know he did.

Buy it on Amazon here.

I Am A Cat by Natsume Sōseki

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: JAPAN

This is a weird book. It’s not necessarily one of the most classic book for travelers, but as you follow the adventures of the cat you will be transported into the lives and issues of the Japanese society of the beginning of the 20th century. With calm and sarcasm, the cat observes the actions of his owner, a teacher, and often proves to be way more sophisticated than most humans. 

Buy it on Amazon here

books for travelers

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

*Contributed by Bruna Venturinelli of I Heart Brazil

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: RIO DE JANEIRO

The Seven Sisters is an excellent historical novel that mixes with the history of Rio de Janeiro and some of its most popular attractions, such as Christ the Redeemer statue.

The story begins in Switzerland when six sisters are told their adoptive father has just passed away. And while each one of them receives a little clue about their heritage, the book focuses on only one of the sisters, Maia. Seeking her own story, she follows her hint, which leads her to Rio de Janeiro, and that’s where it all begins.

This is one of the nicest books for travelers, with a fascinating story, and Lucinda Riley’s writing is witty, whimsical, and seamless. The Seven Sisters is a long book, but you do not realize it. More importantly, this book can certainly give you some fantastic bucket list ideas.

Buy it on Amazon here.

best books for travelers

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

*Contributed by Michael of Books Like This One

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: INDIA

Shantaram is one of the most popular travel books to read, particularly for travelers embarking on a trip through India. It follows the story of Lin, an escaped convict from Australia, who travels to Mumbai to start a new life. His experiences take him through many facets of Indian society all the way from the time living in the slums to a life working for gangsters in the city. While some of the events are based on the author’s life, Shantaram is a fictional piece of work.

What makes Shantaram such a great read is that the author provides a fascinating insight into Indian culture, with many of the shocks, challenges and cultural quirks that Lin faces when he arrives in India undoubtedly being relatable to anybody that has travelled to India.

If you enjoy Shantaram, make sure to also check out the sequel, The Mountain Shadow, which was published in 2015.

Buy it on Amazon here.

books about travel

Inferno by Dan Brown

*Contributed by Corina or Another Milestone
 
WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: ITALY AND ISTANBUL

Dan Brown’s Inferno is not the common travel book type, but it is an excellent source of inspiration for all travelers. The main characters are trying to solve a mystery (the new pandemic that will affect the world) and along the way, they travel from Florence to Venice and to Istanbul.

Their journey starts in Florence, Italy with a chasing in the Vasarri Corridor, a secret passage, in the Boboli Gardens and in Palazzo Vecchio. On the way, the characters also reach the Baptistery of Saint John, one of the oldest buildings in Florence.

Once the main characters get to Venice, Italy, their adventure continues. Page after page, you follow them along the Grand Canal, running in the Doge’s Palace and exploring hidden signs in Saint Mark’s Basilica.

Istanbul, Turkey’s capital, is the place where they finally solve the mystery. They discover new clues inside Hagia Sophia, the amazing mosque with mosaics and they go underground, in the Basilica Cistern.

Even if you have already visited these cities, you will see them with different eyes after reading Dan Brown’s Inferno.

Buy it on Amazon here.

books about travel

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

*Contributed by Rachel of The Rx For Travel

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: SCOTLAND

Outlander is set in the Scottish Highlands and is a bit of time traveling, historical, romantic fiction. Claire (a British combat nurse) is on her second honeymoon with her husband, Frank after returning home from World War II.

One day, while out walking alone, she falls into one of the standing stones and goes back in time nearly 200 years to the 1700’s. She finds herself face to face with the spitting image of her husband who turns out to be one of his ancestors and the villain of the story. In an effort to escape his grasp, she falls into the midst of Highlanders who take her into their clan.

In order to continue to protect her, she must marry one of the young clansmen, Jamie Fraser. The struggle of life in that time period, trying to return to her husband, Frank, and falling in love with this Scottish Highlander is all part of the adventure of this book. Outlander is not for the faint of heart, but once started it cannot be put down. It is non-stop from start to finish and one of the best books for travelers out there. 

Buy it on Amazon here.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

*Contributed by Emily of Wander-Lush

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: ASIA

Nothing stokes your travel spirit quite like an overland journey by train. Published in 1975, The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia, perfectly captures the essence of slow travel, thus being one of the most inspiring books for travelers.

This is the first in American author Paul Theroux’s epic register of travelogues that span every continent. The novel is considered a classic – and for good reason. Over 350 pages, it documents the author’s journey by rail from London’s Victoria Station all the way to Tokyo and back again via the Soviet Union. Theroux traces parts of the legendary ‘hippie trail’, moving through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and traveling on tracks every train enthusiast dreams of, including the Trans-Siberian and the Orient Express.

Theroux doesn’t hold back when pouring his observations and inner dialogues onto the page. As he traverses the continent, his frank observations and humorous anecdotes bring an otherwise mundane journey to life, mostly told through oddball encounters with locals and curious conversations with fellow passengers. Some of the commentary is a bit dated (not to mention non-PC!), but many of Theroux’s observations are still very relevant to travelers today, including his musings on Singapore’s police state and evocative descriptions of India.

Buy it on Amazon here.

travel books

A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke

*Contributed by Pauline of Beeloved City

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: PARIS

Are you looking to delve into French culture? There are so many things to say about France and when it comes to decoding the French in a funny way, Stephen Clarke sets the standard! 

His main book, A Year in the Merde, is the perfect combination between facts and fun. This novel (inspired by real-life events) is about this english man, Paul, who moves from the UK to Paris and starts working for a tea room company.

The main character tackles every french stereotype you can think of. He meets rude people, has a cocky boss, a gorgeous girlfriend and lets himself succumb to many Parisian pleasures. All of which is put together in an amazingly funny way. 

Stephen Clarke is an extremely talented author and will make you laugh out loud. More importantly, A Year in the Merde translates to true love for the French and their culture. Never has a bashing been so loving – simply one of the most perfect books for travelers.

A Year in the Merde was followed by two sequels: Merde Actually and Merde Happens.

Buy it on Amazon here.

best books for travelers

New York: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd

*Contributed by Paula of Expert Abroad

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: NEW YORK

New York: The Novel, covers the history of NYC from the days of its settlement as New Amsterdam in 1664 until the early 2000s. It’s the perfect read before you embark of your first visit to NYC but equally as enjoyable if you have already been. I discovered it on returning home from my first visit and wished I had found it sooner – it turned out to be one of my favorite books for travelers.

Rutherford is well known for producing huge works of historical fiction, this one is over 800 pages, but he holds your attention with the strong character development. He draws you into the story of the city of New York by tracing a family, in this case, the Masters and their ancestors over 400 years from their start as traders in the early colony to upper middle class bankers in the 20th Century.

The book traces the major historical events of the city and illustrates their effects on the family and their community. While the Masters are fictional, Rutherford draws in real people, presidents, inventors, celebrities and events like the civil war to bring the history of the city to life. If you have not visited NYC before you read this book you will certainly be ready to book a ticket when you turn the final page.

Buy it on Amazon here.

best travel books

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer 

*Contributed by Rai of A Rai Of Light

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: ALASKA

This is one of the most popular travel books. It tells the tragic story of Chris McCandless, a young man who hiked across North America in the early 1990s. Disillusioned with a conventional life, McCandless quits his job, leaves his family and friends, and abandons most of his material possessions to live at one with nature. He makes his way to the Alaskan wilderness in the hope of discovering something better. Self-discovery and freedom are the focus of this non-fiction biography by Krakauer.

McCandless is painted as a man with a brilliant mind and the soul of an artist, who did not fit into the modern world or his family’s view of how he was supposed to live. Even though it may seem that McCandless was reckless and arrogant, he was also courageous in his search for meaning. The writing is so appealing that although it is clear from the beginning how McCandless’ story would end, you will be enthralled until the last page.

Buy it on Amazon here.

books for travelers

Little Princes by Conor Grennan

*Contributed by Ellis of Backpack Adventures

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: NEPAL

What started as a journey around the world, became a mission to reunite Nepali’s so called orphans with their own families. Like so many tourists Conor Grennan fell in love with Nepal. He decided to spend 3 months volunteering in an orphanage in the capital Kathmandu.

That’s when he learned about some of the darker sides of Nepal. For example, most of the ‘orphans’ he worked with had parents and families in remote mountain villages. They were brought to Kathmandu by smugglers who promised the poor families a better future for their children. He realized that orphanages in Kathmandu were a business and as a volunteer he was contributing to this.

What follows is his moving and engaging story of his journey through the mountains of Nepal trying to find the children’s families so they can go home where they belong. In the end he sets up his own organization that rescues trafficked children from abusive orphanages and then reunites them with their families whenever possible. One of the best books for travelers who want to be more involved in the communities they visit.

Buy it on Amazon here.

best travel books

Wild – A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed

*Contributed by Claudia Bastos of Travel Drafts
 
WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: THE PACIFIC NORTH WEST
 
Everyone has different reasons to travel – to experience an adventure, to discover the world, to endure different experiences, to learn, to rest, to escape from life, to feel free, or even to undergo a new start. The book Wild – A Journey from Lost to Found, explores all these reasons to travel.
 
Based on a true story the author, Cheryl Strayed decides to do something she never ever did, go and explore the wild by herself. Totally inexperienced she resolves to do the huge Pacific Crest Trail. During 3 months she will walk 1700 km on this long-distance trail that starts in California and ends in Canada, passing through the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade Range. Naturally, plenty of things will go wrong and you will suffer with the author but you will also enjoy the pleasures and the beauty of the journey.
 
Definitely one of the best books for travelers who love adventure.
 
Buy it on Amazon here.

books for travelers

Out of Africa by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)

*Contributed by Priya Vin of Outside Suburbia

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: KENYA

Out of Africa is a memoir by Karen Blixen but was published under the author’s pen name, Isak Dinesen.  It is about an aristocratic Ms. Blixen who travels to Africa to join her husband the young Baron in Kenya. The young couple run a coffee plantation below the Ngong Hills, a few miles southwest of Nairobi. Their marriage is in trouble after Blixen discovers that the Baron is unfaithful. Karen develops feelings for a hunter named Denys. While still struggling to make her coffee plantation work, she helps empower the local community especially the children.

The book and the movie of the same name transport you to colonial-era Kenya and scenes of safari. Today when visiting Nairobi, Kenya you can visit the house where Blixen lived. She lived in the farmhouse which is now a museum, between 1914 and 1931. Inside the museum, you can see her kitchen, her pots and pans, the cuckoo clock that the Masai children came to see every day and the place where she sat down to prescribe medicine to the people and even see the room where she started writing her book.

If you don’t mind traveling a little further, you can visit a lodge in the Great Rift Valley overlooking the plains of Masai Mara can pretend to be Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.  The staff can set up a picnic with views of Mara just like in the movie and book. Easily one of the most inspiring books for travelers.

Buy it on Amazon here.

books for travelers

The Return by Victoria Hislop

*Contributed by Or of My Path In The World

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: GRANADA

‘The Return’ offers the ultimate combination of love, history, and wanderlust, which makes it an incredible book for travelers.

The story starts in the present when Sonia Cameron, a young British woman, comes to the city of Granada for a weekend break. While wandering around, she meets an old man at one of the local cafes, and what starts as an innocent conversation, quickly turns into a journey through time. She gets an intriguing glimpse into the life in Granada (and Spain in general) during the devastating Spanish Civil War and hears about a love story that will stay in her heart forever.

The painful past events are not always easy to read about, but the author makes sure to balance it out by describing Granada’s beautiful sides as well. From its streets and squares to the typical cafes and tapas bars to the local Flamenco culture, Victoria Hislop knows how to transmit the atmosphere of the city of Granada and the entire region of Andalusia.

Buy it on Amazon here.

travel books

Over the Edge of the World by Laurence Bergreen

*Contributed by Talek of Travelswithtalek.com
 
WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: CAPE HORN

The Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, attempted the world’s first circumnavigation of and changed the world forever.The book, “Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe” by Laurence Bergreen is a harrowing description of all Magellan and his crew experienced. They confronted starvation, mutiny, disease, ravaging storms and hostile natives in their attempt to find a new route to the riches of the Spice Islands in the east.

Magellan himself was killed by native in the Philippines but his colleague, Juan Sebastian Elcano was able to lead the expedition back to Spain. Although Magellan’s fleet left Spain with five ships and over 270 men, Elcano returned to Spain with only one severely crippled ship and only a handful of diseased and hungry men.  

Although the route Magellan discovered was not economically feasible at the time, his discovery provided valuable information for future exploration. 

After reading this book you will be compelled to book a cruise circumnavigating Cape Horn and the Straits of Magellan to at least imagine what Magellan’s crew experienced. This makes it one of the most incredible books for travelers.

Buy it on Amazon here.

best travel books

Time Was Soft There by Jeremy Mercer

*Contributed by Wendy of The Nomadic Vegan

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: PARIS

Anyone who’s ever dreamed of living the bohemian life of a writer or artist in Paris will love this book. This is the memoir of Jeremy Mercer, a crime reporter who fled from his home in Canada after receiving death threats from a disgruntled criminal. Alone and close to broke, Jeremy is taken in by George Whitman, the eccentric, elderly owner of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore.

Having traveled the world on no money himself when he was younger, George lets writers and other lost souls sleep in the bookstore for free in exchange for helping out in the shop, writing a one-page autobiography and reading a book a day. During his five-month stay, Jeremy meets young vagabonds from all over the world who wander into the bookstore just like he did. And together, they even find a way to ensure that Shakespeare and Company will continue after George is no longer around.

Such a compelling, beautiful story make this one of the nicest books for travelers.

Buy it on Amazon here.

best travel books

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

*Contributed by Noel of Travel Photo Discovery

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: KYOTO

One of the most fascinating books for travelers is Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, an American writer. The book shares the intriguing and secret lives of Geisha in Japan, more specifically those in Kyoto – a city that you will visiting and looking for geisha in the popular haunts of the Gion and Pontocho district where geisha travel in costume to bars and restaurants entertaining guests.
 
The book tells the story of a fictional geisha working in Kyoto, Japan and as a young 9 year old sold from her parents into the world of geisha and a geisha boarding school and all the intrigue that happens in this secret society, downfalls and other ups and downs. It is colorful, tragic and also filled with so much cultural and historical presence to Kyoto.

Buy it on Amazon here.

best travel books

The Alchemist By Paulo Coelho

*Contributed by Daniel of Layer Culture

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: YOUR INNER SELF

When you are looking for the best books for travelers and are open to getting inspired by a novel story try reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Maybe a touch of motivation is what you need right now. Read about a boy named Santiago who traveled high and low in search of his treasure.
 
After a world of travel experiences, Santiago returns to unexpectedly find his treasure in the same place he had come from.
 
We often don’t look back to realize that what we learn on our travels is what makes them so special, and why we should treasure them to appreciate the everyday things around us. Many times you just need a little boost to get out of your comfort zone, if it means traveling to the other side of the world – so be it.
 
Translated into almost all languages, this book should be on your bookshelf if you’re an aspiring traveler.

Buy it on Amazon here.

The Count of Montecristo by Alexandre Dumas

*Contributed by Nikke of My Travel In Tuscany 

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: THE MEDITERRANEAN

The Count of Montecristo is a classic written at the end of 1800 by the French author Alexandre Dumas, also known for having written another masterpiece – The Three Musketeers. The novel talks about justice, revenge, and forgiveness.

The main character of this adventure set between France and the Italian Islands of Mediterranean Sea is Edmond Dantès, expert sailor as naive young man, future captain of the Pharaon vessel.

On the day of his engagement he gets arrested on an unfounded charge of being a Bonapartist traitor. Once imprisoned in the castle of Il, a cliff in the middle of the sea off Marseille, he meet the old abbot Faria who will change his life. After 14 years he manages to escape with a map of a hidden treasure that will take him to the small island of Montecristo in the Tuscan archipelago, and a desire of revenge against those people who betrayed him.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Open Mic Night in Moscow by Audrey Murray

*Contributed by Martha of Quirky Globetrotter

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: RUSSIA

Audrey Murray had had an inner calling to visit Russia, and her taste in men did help get the ball rolling. Keen on men who speak Russian, the literary and comedic rebel Audrey Murray traversed across Europe and Asia to visit countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. While on her journey, Murray also vows to learn about a slice of the world she’s unknowingly turned a blind eye toward.

Murray’s memoir is more about following those “flippant” daydreams that have glued themselves to your membrane. Sometimes you don’t need to know why a journey is beckoning, you just need to go. In short, follow your inner compass regardless of what the backstory is.

Murray takes you through a vast landscape of cultures and traveling mishaps. Whether it’s being leary of strangers’ kindness, debunking black market assumptions, or even be stranded in an unknown city, Murray uses each of these tales to reassure you that travel, even in all its messiness, is worth it. In each of these debacles, Murray comes out more self-assured and grateful for the life lessons former Soviet Union countries have doled out along the way.

As if your daydream wasn’t intense before, Murray will definitely ignite your desire to experience Russia – that’s what the best books for travelers do.

Buy it on Amazon here.

best books for travelers

Wild Women, edited by Mariella Frostrup

*Contributed by Kathi of Watch Me See

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: EVERYWHERE

Wild Women is possibly one of the most inspiring adventure books for travelers recently published. The book is an anthology of travel stories written by women. It features stories from pioneering research expeditions to the African savannah to crazy solo adventures like driving the length of the Americas on a motorbike.

Editor Mariella Frostrup has selected excerpts from texts written by daring women and put them all together in a book that is too big to carry around – but the perfect armchair inspiration.

Some of the contributions are by well-known authors, like Nan Shepherd’s outstanding The Living Mountain, while others feature the voices of less recognized writers. But don’t worry, each excerpt is preluded by a brief biography of the writer, so you know who’s story you’re reading.

If after reading all of the 50 stories gathered in this anthology, you don’t come away with a reading list of more adventure books by women, you at least got plenty of ideas for your own future travels.

Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne

*Contributed by Elisa of World In Paris

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: EVERYWHERE

The ultimate book for travelers tells the adventures of Mr. Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout around the world. Mr. Fogg is an English gentleman living a quiet and peaceful life in the London of the 19th century. He spends most of the time in London’s Reform Club, an elite club for English gentlemen, where he likes to read the newspaper and play whist.

After a heated discussion with his mates in the club, Mr. Fogg’s bets a very high sum of money that he can travel around the world and be back in London in 80 days.

During their journey, Mr. Fogg and Passepartout live many adventures but also some misadventures that threaten the success of the journey. The London Police believes Mr. Fogg is behind a very important bank robbery in the city and sends Detective Fix to follow him. Detective Fix will do the impossible to find proofs against him and he tries to boycott Mr. Fogg’s tour to arrest him! Will Mr. Fogg make it to London before the deadline?

Buy it on Amazon here.

A fine balance by Rohinton Mistry

*Contributed by Anne and Clemens of Travellersarchive.de 

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: INDIA

A fine balance is the best book to prepare for a trip to India. But also to get inspiration for a trip to any distant country. The story takes place in Bombay in 1975. Four very different people meet in crazy situations, the fate of which the author Rohinton Mistry masterfully combined into a great novel.

We have Dina Dalal, a woman in her early forties, and Maneck Kohlah, a student from the Himalayas. We meet the incredibly optimistic Ishvar Darji and his stubborn nephew, two tailors who fled from the countryside to the city.

The author spans his great narrative arches from the green valleys of the Himalayas to the wild streets of Bombay. As a reader, you travel all over India with the protagonists. The book A fine balance lets the Indian subcontinent emerge before the eyes of the readers and invites you to dream. Suddenly you are in the middle of Bombay and can smell, feel and taste the city. Your follow your inner cinema into a long-awaited journey. That’s exactly what all books for travelers are meant to do.

Buy it on Amazon here.

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

*Contributed by Ed and Jackie of Safaris Africana

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: AFRICA

Safari means ‘journey’ in Swahili, and this inspirational travel book by Paul Theroux covers his overland trip from Cairo to Cape Town – the length of Africa – by car, bus and train.

The book is a definite must-read if you’re considering traveling in Africa. It combines enchanted writing, plenty of practical information and unique insights into African life and culture. Descriptions of Theroux’s experiences of countryside, villages and towns across the multiple African countries he travels through are so vivid you almost feel you’re there with him.

Dark Star Safari incorporates plenty of humor, and is mostly a fun read, though from time to time delves into politics and state of the nation contemplation, giving a multi-layered take on Africa. It’s no over-exaggeration to say that reading Dark Star Safari will help establish a deep and lifelong passion for traveling this beautiful continent, thus being one of the best books for travelers who want to go to Africa.

Buy it on Amazon here.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

*Contributed by Sam of Alternative Travelers

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: BARCELONA

Set in Barcelona, The Shadow of the Wind is a transporting book that will whisk you back to post-Civil War Spain. Daniel, the protagonist and son of an antiquarian book dealer, becomes enraptured by a book in the city’s Cemetery of Lost Books. In his search to learn more about the author and his other works, Daniel discovers that someone has been collecting all of the author’s books and burning them.

As he digs deeper, Daniel begins to uncover Barcelona’s dark history and inadvertently becomes tangled up in a family’s deepest secrets. The more he learns, the more questions arise, and he quickly becomes obsessed with laying bare stories that others tried to keep hidden. What follows is a captivating story within a story, filled with rich descriptions of post-war Barcelona and a winding plot driven by the novel’s complex characters, each with their own motives, secrets, and desires. 

Buy it on Amazon here.

Grounded: A Down to Earth Journey Around the World by Seth Stevenson

*Contributed by Nathan of Travel Lemming

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: THE WORLD
 
A modern-day remix of Jules Verne’s classic Around the World in 180 Days, this travelogue is perfect if you yearn for a world where travelers had to earn their stripes through something a little more challenging than simply settling in for a 12 hour flight across the globe. 
 
The premise of Grounded is simple: author Seth Stevenson and his partner Rebecca set out for a journey around the world with one rule: no planes allowed! 
 
Charming, witty, and easy to read, the book tells the tale of the couple’s trials and tribulations as they seek to complete their quixotic trip. Though at times Stevenson does seem a little shallow in his treatment of other cultures (and at other times, a little heavy-handed with his anti-air-travel message), his words flow off the page and really transport the reader around the world. The book is the perfect read for anyone looking to satiate their wanderlust without leaving the couch. In other words one of the greatest books for travelers. 
 
Buy it on Amazon here.

best books for travelers

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami

*Contributed by Will of Books and Bao

WHERE YOU WILL WANT TO GO: JAPAN

This is Murakami’s first full-length novel, and it’s one that takes its unwitting protagonist on a strange journey from the bustle of Tokyo to the cold and barren wastes of Hokkaido, all to track down a sheep.

The reason is mysterious and the journey is bizarre, but this is a novel that highlights the real beauty of Japan’s mountainous and snowy north, as well as the kind and eccentric people who live there. The small towns and isolated villagers of Hokkaido, in this novel, are shrouded in mystery and offer both our protagonist and the reader a window into a side of Japanese life that is rarely seen.

What makes A Wild Sheep Chase so alluring is that it begins in normality, with a familiar city setting, and gradually drags the reader away on an adventure across the white, snowy wastes of the magical, haunting beauty of Hokkaido. Our protagonist must survive outside of his comfort zone and grow stronger as a result. Definitely one of the best travel books.

Buy it on Amazon here.

What are your favorite books for travelers? Have we missed one that should be on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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Discover the best books for travelers - via @clautavani

Paris In 3 Days: A Great Itinerary To Make The Most Of It

Paris In 3 Days: A Great Itinerary To Make The Most Of It

You don’t nearly get to see all of Paris in 3 days. Should you bother going if you have so little time? You most certainly should! The French capital is such a wonderful city that I’d go just to be infused in its fabulous atmosphere, even if only for a few hours. 

Let me tell you: 3 days in Paris are not sufficient to explore all that the city has to offer. But if that is all you have, you may as well try to make the most of it. You will have enough time to visit only the most iconic attractions – and definitely not all of them.

Sure enough, you have to plan things carefully and stick to an itinerary. You will also have to get skip the line tickets to the various attractions, and pick a time for your visit – or else, you may end up stuck in line at the ticket counter or (worse) end up with no ticket at all.

I appreciate that planning may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But guess what – I am a massive fan of it. That’s why I thought of drafting an easy to follow itinerary that will allow you to see a lot of Paris in 3 days. You will only have to buy your flights, book your hotel, and get tickets to attractions beforehand (I will let you know which).

Continue reading do find out what to see and do if you are visiting Paris in 3 days, and get all the help needed to plan your trip.

Paris in 4 days

You can discover hidden gems even when you see Paris in 3 days

How To Use This Paris In 3 Days Itinerary

Before showing you all the things to do and see in this Paris in 3 days itinerary, let me point out once again that 3 days are really not enough to properly see Paris. You must get skip the line, timed entrance tickets to all the tourist attractions. 

The issue is that Paris is crowded with tourists. It was the second most visited city in the world in 2019, second only to Bangkok. Attractions such as the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower gets sold out weeks in advance. You can’t just show up and hope to go in swiftly – not when you only have 3 days in Paris and no time to waste. 

But don’t worry. I will explain the practical facts about the various attractions mentioned here and where to get tickets in advance. 

This itinerary is based on the assumption that you have at least 3 full days in Paris – that is, 3 full days and 4 nights. You can still do it if you have 3 nights, provided your flight gets in very early in the morning or leaves very late in the evening. 

TIP: You may be jet lagged after a long haul flight. Take it easy! Explore the area where you are staying, maybe do a guided food tour

TIP: Head out as early as possible in the morning.

GOOD TO KNOW: Though I have crafted this itinerary so that you visit attractions that are close to each other, on some occasions you will have to use the subway to get to your next stop. Be prepared – buy a carnet of tickets in advance!

PRO TIP: If one of your 3 days in Paris is a Wednesday or Friday, go the Louvre on one of those days and in the evening, when it is less crowded. That way, you can follow the itinerary in reserve and have more time to explore the other attractions

TIP: Exploring can be tiring! Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.

TIP: You won’t have much time for a sit down meal at lunch. Opt for a good sandwich on the go – there are many excellent bakeries in Paris.

Follow my tips and I promise you will enjoy your visit of Paris in 3 days.

Eiffel Tower from Trocadero

The stunning views of the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero

A Day By Day Itinerary To Visit Paris In 3 Days

Day 1: Palais-Royale, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower and Seine River Cruise

Your first of your Paris in 3 days itinerary will take you to some of the most important landmarks in town. It will be a packed day so brace yourself for it. You will be going to Palais Royale; the Louvre; head to Arc de Triomphe; get impressive views of the Eiffel Tower and from it; and finish with a panoramic cruise along the Seine.

Map of day one Paris itinerary 

To see the map of your day 1 itinerary, click here. I recommend taking the subway to get from the Louvre to Arc de Triomphe and, depending on how good your are on timing, from there to the Trocadero. You will be boarding your Seine river cruise directly from the Eiffel Tower.

Palais-Royal

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The opening times of Palais-Royal vary with the season but they roughly are from 7:30 am (7:00 between June and August) till late. There is no entry fee.

Your very first stop in your Paris in 3 days itinerary is the Palais-Royal. It opens so early that it won’t take precious time from other attractions, and it is really close to the Louvre. This palace was once the home of Cardinal Richelieu, who lived there until his death in 1642.

It then became property of Philippe II Duke of Orléans, who held the throne for Louis XV when he became king aged 5 in 1715. It now houses the Constitutional Council and the Ministry of Culture.

You can pop in to take photos – I am sure you will enjoy the art installation of striped columns of various sizes. 

Palais Royal

Palais Royal is a fun place for photos

Louvre

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Louvre is open every day but Tuesdays from 9:00 am to at 6:00 pm, except on Wednesdays and Fridays when it closes at 9:45 pm. The Louvre is closed on Tuesdays, on 1 January, 1 May and 25 December. 

There are many great museums in Paris, but you really have to narrow down the ones you visit when you try to see Paris in 3 days. If you want my opinion, I think the Louvre is unmissable. 

Once a fortress, the Louvre became an art gallery in the 1700s and now houses some of the finest paintings and sculptures in the world, including Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo.

Sorry to break the news, but the Louvre is very crowded and it often gets sold out. You have to get your tickets in advance. It’s actually best to go on a guided tour, especially if you don’t have much time. Guides are usually knowledgeable the art on display and they know their way around the building so that they can keep you away from the worst crowds.

The following are the best skip the line ticket options and guided tours for the Louvre:

GOOD TO KNOW: It would normally take a full day to visit the Louvre but since you have just 3 days in Paris, plan to spend around 4 hours there.

SMART TIP: If are in Paris on a Wednesday or Friday, you may want to walk this itinerary in reverse and leave the Louvre as your last stop, since it stays open until 9:45 pm.

Make sure to read my post Nine Smart Ways To Get Tickets To The Louvre And Skip The Line.”

Arc de Triomphe

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Arc de Triomphe is open every day from 10:00 am to 10:30 or 11:00 pm depending on the season. It is closed on 1 January, 1 May, 8 May (morning), 14 July, 11 November (morning) and 25 December.

If you visit Paris in 3 days, you will have enough time to see the Arc de Triomphe, and even go up. The views from the terrace are lovely – you get to see La Défense, the modern side of Paris.

The Arc is located on Place de l’Etoile, at one end of the Champs-Elysées. It was built to celebrate war victories and to pay respect to the many people who died during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. 

TIP: If you intend to go up, make sure to get skip the line tickets in advance here or here.

Trocadero

The Trocadéro is right on the other side of the river from the Tour Eiffel and from there you can get stunning views of the tower.

GOOD TO KNOW: The best views of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadero are at sunrise. 

Seine river cruise

A Seine river cruise is a must when in Paris

Eiffel Tower

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The Eiffel Tower is open every day from 9:00 or 9:30 am to 6:30 pm (for stair users) or 00:45 am (for lift users). Double check the opening times before going as they vary with seasons. 

The Eiffel Tower is the most famous landmark in Paris. Whether you are visiting Paris in 3 days or more, you have to go!

The Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 for the World Expo, it measures 324 meters and it used to be the tallest building in France. It now is holds the highest man made observation deck in Europe, located at 276 meters.

WARNING: Whether you take the stairs or the elevator, the lines to visit the Eiffel Tower are long. You need to buy tickets in advance. 

Make sure to read my full guide on visiting the Eiffel Tower.

TIP: Factor in around 2 hours for your visit, from the moment you get there till the moment you leave.

These are the best skip the line tickets and tours of the Eiffel Tower:

River Seine Cruise

One of the best things to do in Paris in 3 days is a cruise along the Seine. The views during the cruise are magnificent – you will see Notre-Dame (currently under restoration work and not accessible), the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Pont Alexandre and the Eiffel Tower in all its glory. The sunset or evening cruises provide the best views.

You can have a dinner cruise or a guided one, and even a plain hop on hop off.

GOOD TO KNOW: Cruises usually depart from and return to the Eiffel Tower, so it makes sense to leave it as the last step in your first day itinerary. 

This is a selection of good cruises:

Eiffel Tower

The stunning views from Montparnasse Tower

Day 2: Montparnasse Tower, Musee d’Orsay, Montmartre

Day 2 of your Paris in 3 days itinerary will take you across town and you will need to use public transportation. You will start with the most incredible views in town, then head to a great museum and finish off in the most charming neighborhood in Paris. 

Map of day one Paris itinerary  

You can download a map of your day 2 itinerary here. You will need to use public transportation to get to Montparnasse Tower, from there to the Musee d’Orsay and eventually to Blanche, from where you can explore Montmartre.

Montparnasse Tower

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The observation deck of Montparnasse Tower is open from 9:30 am to either 10:30 or 11:30 pm depending on the day of the week and the season.

It would be nice to explore Montparnasse neighborhood, but if you only have 3 days in Paris you won’t really have time for it. The good news is that you will have time to go up Montparnasse Tower. The building probably is the ugliest one in town, but the good news is that if you are inside you don’t get to see it!

Built in the early 1970s and currently Paris’ second highest building with its 210 meters, from there you will enjoy the best views of the Eiffel Tower.

TIP: Get tickets to the roof terrace in advance to save some time. You can get them here.

Musee d’Orsay

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. It closes at 9:45 pm on Thursdays. It is closed on Mondays.

If you decide to visit two museums during your 3 days in Paris, one of them should be the Louvre, and the other has to be Musee d’Orsay. This is the best one for art lovers, as it has fantastic collection of impressionist art with a permanent exhibit of the works of Monet, Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh and many more.

The building is gorgeous too: it once was a train station (Gare D’Orsay, built for the universal expo) turned museum.

TIP: Make sure to check the website to find out if on the day of your visit there will be a special exhibit. 

A guided or audio-guided tour of the museum may help you make the most of the exhibit. Either way, make sure to get a skip the line ticket – even though the entrance is not timed, it will help you save precious time.

These are the best guided tours and skip the line tickets for Musée d’Orsay:

Make sure to read my post “Eight Incredibly Smart Ways To Get Musee D’Orsay Tickets And Skip The Lines.”

Montmartre

Montmartre is another charming neighborhood you really need to visit

Moulin Rouge

Unless you pay for a show, you can only really see the Moulin Rouge from the outside. As it is right by the subway exit, you will definitely bump into it and may as well take a photo. In the heart of Pigalle and close to Montmartre, this is the birthplace of the can-can dance. 

Sacré-Coeur

If you visit just one church while in Paris, it has to be this. A Romano-Byzantine basilica, it’s located on top of a hill from where you can enjoy splendid views of the city. The church was built around 1875. Tours of Montmartre usually go there. 

Montmartre

Even when visiting Paris in 3 days, you should go to Montmartre. This is one of the quaint areas of town. The overall bohemian feel, the lovely small buildings, the artists, the cafés and boutiques make it a special place to explore. The area became popular with artists in the 19th century. Back then Monet, Renoir, Modigliani and even Van Gogh lived in this part of town.

I recommend taking a guided tour of Montmartre to make the most of it. I took the Montmartre 2 hour walking tour and enjoyed the secret places that the guide showed me.

Versailles

Versailles is an easy day trip from Paris

Day 3: Versailles

Some would say that if you only have 3 days in Paris you should skip Versailles. I dissent! This is just as much part of the city as many other places, and such an important part of French history took place there that you really can’t miss it. 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION: The easiest and cheapest way to get from Paris to Versailles is by RER C. Make sure to get your return ticket from the train station in Paris. Versailles train station may get packed with people trying to get their tickets and you may end up stuck in line there. 

The symbol of all the excesses of the French Monarchy, Versailles was a hunting lodge that was enlarged upon wishes of Louis XIV, who moved his court there in an attempt to control it. Not far from it you will find the Trianon estates. The large one is where Napoleon established his residence; whereas the small one was Marie Antoinette escape from the court. 

I recommend a guided tour of Versailles to make the most of it. 

These are some good guided tours of Versailles:

Make sure to read my post Seven Smart Ways To Get Versailles Tickets And Skip The Line.”

Les Marais

If you make it back from Versailles relatively early, go for a walk around Les Marais, one of Paris nicest neighborhoods. There are some lovely restaurants, cafés and bars; beautiful boutiques, and most of all the atmosphere is relaxed and it still very much retains a local feel. You can even go on a food tour there.

This private food tour is a good option as it lets you pick the starting time. You can book it here.

4 days in Paris

Another quaint corner of Paris

Practical Tips To Make The Most Of Paris In 3 Days

Where to stay in Paris

If you plan to visit Paris in 3 days, you have to carefully pick the area where your hotel or apartment is located. You want a place that is close to the subway station and from where you can move around easily. I recommend staying in Les Marais as it is close to the Louvre and Notre-Dame, safe and with good restaurants and cafés. 

You may want to look into one of these places.

Using a Paris Pass to explore Paris in 3 days

You may want to get a Paris Pass to make the most of Paris in 3 days. It will include tickets to many attractions, with skip the line options, as well as transportation (make sure to double check though).

Paris Passes do not usually include the Eiffel Tower. The only one that does is Paris PassLib. It costs €139 for the 3-day option which is the one you would have to get. You can get it here.

GOOD TO KNOW: You will have to make separate reservations for all the attractions you intend to visit.

TIP: Make sure to carefully read the terms and conditions and the inclusions of your Paris Pass.

When to visit Paris

Any time is a good time to visit Paris. However, if you are planning to visit Paris in 3 days I suggest going when days are a bit longer, between the late spring (May) and the fall (October). 

Les Marais

Les Marais is the nicest neighborhood in Paris

How to get to Paris

Paris is very well connected to the rest of the world by either by plane or train.

Charles de Gaulle Airport is the main hub for Air France, which has good, convenient flights from many airports in the US and Europe. You can look for flights here.

The train is the fastest and cheapest option to get to the center of Paris from Charles de Gaulle.

How to move around Paris

If you are visiting Paris in 3 days, I recommend using public transportation – it works well. A one way ticket for metro and buses costs €1.90.

You may also want to consider using a 3-days hop-on hop-off bus pass to take you to the various attractions. You can get your ticket here.

Luggage storage in Paris

Luggage storage facilities are scattered all around Paris, usually close to train and bus stations. Storage starts at €5 per day. You must book it in advance. BagBnB is a good place to look.

Other useful tips

Get a data plan for your smartphone

Make sure your smartphone plan covers you for trips outside of your country. You need to have data so you can access apps such as Google Maps.

Get a guide book

Take a good guide book with you. Good guide books include maps, restaurant and hotel recommendations. These are some good ones:

Mind the scams

Scams and touts are common in Paris. Watch out for things such as: the friendship bracelet, the golden ring, the cup and ball. Don’t trust people who approach you claiming to be raising funds for disadvantaged categories such as the deaf. Mind pickpockets on the bus or the metro.

Get a good travel insurance

Even if you just have 3 days in Paris, you still need to get travel insurance. Make sure to read my post Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.” Get a good travel insurance here.

Further readings about Paris

Make sure to read my other posts that will provide insights about the many attractions of Paris:

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Virtual Traveling: 13 Ways To Travel Without Traveling

Virtual Traveling: 13 Ways To Travel Without Traveling

What is virtual traveling? How can you travel without traveling? 

Hans Christian Andersen once said that “to travel is to live.” To travel bloggers like me, it certainly is a necessity and a livelihood. We do this for a living, and if we don’t we almost lose purpose. To many others, traveling is a pastime, a way to evade from the stress of daily life, to regain their energy and focus. But now, traveling is not an option. 

Make sure to read my post Please Stop Traveling. At Least For A While.”

What should you do, then, when traveling isn’t really possible and when you are stuck in a place for a prolonged period of time? You should surely think about travel. In fact, with virtual traveling there are ways you can travel without traveling and I promise you they help feed your wanderlust almost as much as the real thing. 

Stuck at home? Check out my post 19 Productive Things To Do At Home When You Can’t Travel.”

Continue reading to discover more about virtual traveling and the best ways to travel without traveling. 

travel without traveling

Get dreaming!

Virtual Traveling: 13 Cool Ways To Travel Without Traveling

Make a list of places you’d love to visit 

With so many cool places to visit in the world, one of the best ways to do virtual traveling and to travel without traveling is to start with the basics. Make a list of places you would love to visit, starting from the one that seems more feasible and slowing working your way to the place you think is hardest to get to. My sister and I always do it when we are coming back from a trip, and it helps us a lot in lifting our moods and in making us dream about our next trip.

Keep the list short – I suggest adding no more than 10 destinations or it may become overwhelming to just even think about it. 

Need a little help to start virtual traveling and dreaming? I will get started sharing the places I really want to travel to, and then sharing a list of destinations you should think about. 

Claudia’s personal list of places she’s dreaming of:

NAPLES AND THE AMALFI COAST – I am ashamed to admit I haven’t been there yet.

KENYA AND TANZANIA – because it is time to smell the savannah and admire lions and cheetahs again.

NORWAY – but in the winter, to see the northern lights.

JAPAN – I’d go just for a bowl of good ramen, but then there’s Mount Fuji and Kyoto so I guess I’d spend a few weeks there.

BRAZIL – with my love for all things South America, it’s about time I make my way there.

My list of places you should start thinking about, and to travel without traveling:

ITALY – The world crisis has badly hit my country, which heavily relies on tourism. Here, you will find anything to satisfy your wanderlust – incredible landscapes; gorgeous beaches; charming cities; unique archeological sites; art galleries; delicious food and fabulous wines. Not sure where to start with your trip and your planning? Rome is a good place! Head over to my post 30 Unmissable, Fun And Cheap Things To Do In Rome” and work your way through my blog for itineraries and tips. Read my post A Local’s Guide To The Things To Do In Sardinia” for inspiration to visit my beloved island.

NEW YORK – because it’s such a vibrant city. Get an idea of what you can expect by reading my post 35 Incredible Things To Do In New York City” and browse my blog for itineraries and tips. I have lots of posts planned that will help you plan your trip.

ARGENTINA – One of my favorite countries in the world, it’s the perfect place for nature and wildlife lovers, and the ultimate place to go if you love hiking. Start dreaming by reading my post 30 Things You Should Consider Before Traveling To Patagonia” and continue browsing for inspiration, tips, itineraries and more. 

PARIS – My favorite city in Europe (other than Rome, obviously). It’s the kind of place you will never tire of exploring. Go from the most famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower to the quaint streets of Les Marais. It’s just magic. Start your planning with my post 33 Incredible Places To Visit In Paris” and work your way through my blog for itineraries, tips and travel hacks.

ISRAEL – My home away from home, this is one of the easiest countries to travel to. It really has something for all kind of travelers (well ok, it is not the most budget friendly place, but anyways). Jerusalem and Tel Aviv should not miss from your itinerary. Start from my post The 10 Best Places To Visit During A Trip To Israel” and continue reading for more places to visit, things to do and tips for food and more. 

SOUTH AFRICA – It’s like Argentina: you get everything you need to make your trip perfect. But as you add lions, cheetahs and rhinos to the picture, you can see perfection taken to the next level. Oh, and wine and food are fabulous. My post 20 Fabulous Places To Visit In South Africa” is a good starting point. Needless to say, I have many more for your! 

MALDIVES – Think of a perfect holiday and I bet the Maldives come to mind. Then you quickly go to erase that thought, thinking you don’t have the budget. But wait, leave it! Did you know that you can actually visit the Maldives on a budget? Read my post A Complete Guide To Visiting The Maldives On A Budget” to find out more.

virtual traveling

Start planning!

Plan a trip

One of my favorite things about virtual traveling and one of the best ways to travel without traveling is to plan a trip. Indeed, I find that the planning stages of a trip are almost as fun as the trip itself. Whenever I travel with my sister, we literally spend days sitting around, drowning in guide books, looking at travel blogs, booking sites and what not, enjoying ourselves thinking that we will soon hit the road. 

Even if you can’t travel in the foreseeable future, nothing stops you from actually planning a trip. I don’t mean booking things, by the way. But you can start researching, looking at or putting together itineraries, consider the places you want to visit, the amount of time you want to spend in each of them, the budget. It’s fun thing to do. 

Below are some useful resources to help you plan a trip.

Good resources to help you plan your trip

Get Your Guide

I always recommend using third party sites such as Get Your Guide to book guided tours of attractions, skip the line tickets, or day trips. It has a great selection of destination so you can find tickets to the Colosseum and the Louvre; tours of Cape Point Peninsula; cooking classes in Hanoi and more. 

What I love about third party booking sites and especially Get Your Guide is that they are very user friendly. You can book a tour or a ticket well ahead of time and at times even before the official site of an attraction actually starts selling the tickets – so it is perfect if you want to plan in advance. Get Your Guide employs local companies and guides to run the tours (so you know your money is staying locally). 

Skip the line tickets for attractions usually cost just the same amount as displayed on the official website, or a few extra euro – worth spending if you consider how easy canceling is (read further).

The best feature of third party sites like Get Your Guide, however, is that you can easily cancel your ticket or tour without any hassle – so this is particularly handy when you travel without traveling. This means you can book, and should the trip not happen, you can cancel and get a full refund without any hassle. 

Booking.com

Booking.com is my recommended site to book hotels, villas, hostels and apartments. You can use it to browse for accommodation that you may be interested in – you can even save the places you like to compare the price and characteristics.

TIP: Carefully read the cancellation policy and if in doubt, do pay that little be extra for a flexible cancellation policy. 

Blog posts

The following posts may come of help when planning a trip. 

23 Useful Tips For Long Haul Flights explains you how to better prepare for a long flight, with tips on how to pick the right seat, what to pack for the flight and code of behavior. 

A Complete List Of Travel Essentials For Women is a useful resource for girls who travel, so that they know what to take on their trip.

The Best Long Distance Hiking Packing List another good resource for hiking geeks, with all the gear you need to take with you. 

Why You Always Need Travel Insurance is a post that explains the reason why you should get yourself a travel insurance – in case you are still wondering if you should.

The complete guide to becoming a more responsible traveler gives you tips on what to do and what to avoid when traveling, in order to be a more responsible tourist.

Virtual traveling

Social media and blogs will help you virtual traveling

Turn to travel blogs

You know I have a travel blog, and I did say just above that blogs are among the best resources to look for information about travel. But really, they are also the best places for virtual traveling and to travel without traveling. All you have to do is find your favorite blog and browse around in search of a destination you’d like, reading the text and looking at the photos. 

If you don’t have a favorite blog (apart from this, that is) you simply need to google. Hit google some keywords and see what comes up. Interested in Cuba? Google “things to do in Cuba” or “best beaches in Cuba” and then click on whichever link you think answers your question or tickles your curiosity. Really that is all it takes. 

Or social media

Much like travel blogs, social media are a great resource for virtual traveling. The best one is probably Instagram. It’s a great source of inspiration – photo after photo of amazing places, beaches, mountains, deserts. It really has everything you may possibly want and it’s so easy to use. You can start following my account and then follow the people I follow to get our regular updates in your feed. 

Look or organize photos from previous trips

You don’t even need to have internet to get into virtual traveling mode. Just switch on your computer and look at the photos you took on your last trip. Perhaps you can organize them in a nice album, and share them with your family. Maybe you can edit them and improve their quality. I bet this will lift your spirits!

Read or watch a movie

One of my favorite ways to travel without traveling is by reading a book or watching a movie. There really is a plethora of material out there, and it’s just a matter of picking what inspires you. You don’t even have to specifically watch a travel story to get dreaming. For example, I love watching Woody Allen movies to get a fix for New York, Paris, Barcelona and Italy. Into the Wild will make you dream about Alaska. 

The Motorcycle Diaries is a movie inspired by Ernesto Guevara book and will have you drooling about the immense landscapes of South American. 

Wild – both the book and the movie – is the best way to virtual traveling across the Pacific North West. And Shantaram will inspire you to visit India.

Need inspiration? Make sure to read my post 27 Great Books For Travelers.”

responsible tourism

Watch documentaries and travel shows

This is one of the best ways to travel without traveling. You get to explore lots of places, to admire their majestic beauty from the comfort of your couch, and as soon as you can travel, they will be there waiting for you. One of my favorite travel shows and documentaries is Eden, Un Pianeta da Salvare. It’s aired on Italian television and it is absolutely brilliant, with a strong focus on responsible travel and the delicate ecosystem we live in. 

For English language documentaries, Anthony Bourdain is where to start. Top Gear is another great one. An Idiot Abroad is another fun one. And if you don’t want to look for a show, just turn your TV on and look for Nat Geo channel. It’s 24/7 virtual traveling fun. 

Listen to music 

One of my best friends wants to travel to Lisbon just to listen to fado music. He learned about this music years ago, has been listening to it since and got truly passionate about it. I got obsessed with the Balkans listening to Goran Bregovic. This is to say that music is a great way to practice virtual traveling. Of course, pop music won’t really do the trick. You need to look for a kind of music that is typical of a country you have in mind. Or perhaps as you will stumble upon a tune you enjoy, this will tickle your curiosity to visit that country. 

Virtually visit a museum or an attraction

In dire times, when you can’t leave the house, you can virtually visit a museum or an attraction. Many of them are now fully accessible online, giving proper guided tours that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home. Among them, there are Musee d’Orsay in Paris, Guggenheim Museum in New York, Uffizi Gallery in Florence. You can read a partial list of museums that you can tour virtually here. Here you can virtually visit the Vatican Museums. And click on this link for a wealth of guided virtual tours in Rome, Florence, New York, Venice, Paris, London and more.

If museums are not your thing, you may want to do a virtual safari. And Beyond has launched its virtual safaris and every day, at 5:30 am and 3:30 pm (CET) rangers go live from various parks around South Africa, showing the incredible wildlife. I have seen some of these streaming myself and admired animals such as giraffes, elephants, lions, hyenas and even wild dogs. The easiest way to join these live streaming is via Facebook here.

food in Latvia

Get cooking 

People travel for food. No matter how we put it, food truly enhances our traveling experience and makes our trip even more memorable. I mean – just look at some of the places I have recommended for trip dreaming above. For a few of them I say that one of the reasons I recommend them is the fabulous food. 

If you can’t travel for food, bring that food into your kitchen! Do you want to have a taste of Thailand? Make your own Pad Thai. Pho Bo will fix your craving for Vietnamese food, and it is super easy to make. It is Italy you are missing? Come on, this is an easy one – everyone knows how to cook a good pasta dish (but look for good online recipes as too often people mess it up). And the list can go on forever. Let me inspire you a bit more with some food posts:

Visit your backyard

This isn’t really virtual traveling, but more like local traveling. If you can’t travel overseas or to far away places, go local. I am sure there are places you haven’t explored in your own backyard, and for which a few hours or even just a day trip are enough. Now is the time to finally explore those places. 

Talk to a stranger

One of the things we do the most when we travel is connecting with people we don’t know, on a regular basis. Some end up becoming friends for life. Why not try the same at home? You just need to walk out, go to a shop, chat to the person next to you in line. Talk to the lady that you cross path with when you walk your dog. I talk to strangers all the time in my hometown and love it – it brightens my day!

Check out my post 20 Useful Tips For Learning A New Language.”

backpacking essentials

Organize your travel closet

Last but not least, one thing you may want to do to travel without really traveling is reviewing or organizing your travel gear.

If you are the messy kind like me, you may take the chance of having to stay at home for a period of time longer than expected to go through the clothes you usually take with you on your trips – you know, we all have that one t-shirt that we don’t want to throw away because it’s comfortable and easy to wash, perfect when traveling; or those shorts and that hat that are perfect for visiting a sunny place.

You may want to give it a good cycle in the washing machine, dry it properly and fold it nicely to place it in a specific drawer so that you can find it more easily when you are ready to travel again. 

You can do the same thing with toiletries and your toiletry bag – rinse the travel size bottles and put them aside, store them with the rest of your travel stuff.  

Finally, organize your travel documents in a drawer in your desk, where you carefully place your passport, your travel insurance, and other small stuff you need when traveling (ie plug adaptors).

What other things do you do to travel without traveling? What’s your favorite way of virtual traveling?

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Discover how to travel without traveling - via @clautavani

A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Mykonos

A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Mykonos

Finding where to stay in Mykonos is easier than you can imagine. This beautiful island is a fantastic holiday destination, packed as it is with gorgeous beaches with the clearest waters; nice narrow cobbled alleys; shops, cafés and restaurants galore and the fantastic nightlife. Add to this the incredible array of accommodation options and it’s easy to see why people love it.

Make sure to check out my post17 Incredible Things To Do In Mykonos” for inspiration on things to do and places to visit on the island.

The bad news about Mykonos is that it’s possibly the most popular island among the Cyclades and one of the most popular islands in Greece, which means that you have to plan your holiday really carefully and well in advance in order to find the perfect place to stay. Try to book anything last minute, and you’ll find that not only the best luxury hotels in Mykonos will cost you an arm and a leg, but even the supposedly budget friendly accommodation options are more expensive than you’d hope to pay.

TIP: Booking in advance is an essential thing to do when traveling to Mykonos. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

But worry not! I am here to help you decide where you should be staying in Mykonos. This post highlights all the best hotels in Mykonos, the best areas to stay and selects something suitable for all budgets.

where to stay in Mykonos

If you are looking for a place that is bustling with life, Chora is your place

3 Things To Consider When Deciding Where To Stay In Mykonos

What’s your scene?

The main thing you need to consider when looking for a place to stay in Mykonos is what scene you are looking for. Do you want a city or a town that buzzes with life, or are you desperate for a more peaceful place?

Keep in mind that the towns and villages have anything you may possibly want in terms of restaurants, cafés and bars, shops and city charm. But they are significantly busier and you will need to drive or use public transportation to get to the beach.

On the other hand, beach areas have easy access to the main ingredient you need for a beach vacation: an amazing beach. They also have some nice restaurants and bars. However, you will be away from the cultural life of the cities and villages and won’t be able to mingle with the locals unless you drive to town.

What are you looking forward to do while on vacation?

Deciding where to stay is also a matter of considering you are looking forward to do while on vacation.

Are you desperate for sleep? Does noise bother you, or do you feel energized by the buzz of a city?

Do you want to try a different restaurant every night, or would you rather have a quiet night in and head out for a meal just once or twice?

Do you want to go to every single and every party on the island, or are you not interested in partying and would rather read a book to fall asleep?

Do you want to chill by the pool all day? Then in this case you may have to opt for something a bit more expensive. But if you want to explore from the crack of dawn until the late hours, you will just need a plain room to crash that is conveniently located – and in this case you’ll probably find more budget friendly options.

What’s your budget?

Mykonos doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, it is considered one of the ten best Mediterranean islands that can  be enjoyed on a budget.

Your budget definitely has an important role to play when picking your hotel in Mykonos. Needless to say, places with a pool which are close to the beach and views of the sea tend to be more expensive. The majority of budget friendly options tend to be in town, where you can find small guest houses and bed and breakfast with simple yet clean rooms.

TIP: Just for the sake of stressing this one more time, remember that if you want to find a good place to stay in Mykonos that won’t completely blow your budget you have to book months in advance!

Place to stay in Mykonos

Mykonos is packed with excellent hotels

My Views On The Best Area To Stay In Mykonos

Keep in mind this is just my personal preference – but if you ask me for a personal recommendation on the best places to stay in Mykonos, I have little doubt. I’d opt for Mykonos City any time over, because I love staying in a place where life is thriving; where there are plenty of hotels and guest houses to choose from; restaurants, bars and cafés and the famous Greek tavernas on the waterfront. This is where most shops are located, with nice little boutiques, art galleries and even souvenir shops.

Keep in mind that public transportation in Mykonos works very well during the day, and it’s extremely easy to reach the beaches and then at the end of the day get back to town to shower and get prepared for a night out.

Where To Stay In Mykonos – The Best Overall Options

Before getting into the details of the best areas to stay in Mykonos, let me cut the chase and tell you which are the best options in terms of hotels, villas and budget accommodation.

Best hotels in Mykonos

Mykonos Grand Hotel and Resort

This beautiful property is located in Agios Ioannis and overlooks Delos Island. It features a spa, a fitness center, a restaurant and a fabulous swimming pool. Rooms are very big – some have sea views, some include a sharing pool and some even have a jacuzzi. It’s the perfect place if you want to splurge. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Paradise View Hotel

Located on Paradise Beach and literally a minute away from the beach, this is possibly the best hotel in Mykonos in terms of value for money. Featuring an outdoor pool and a bar, the price includes an excellent breakfast. The spacious rooms have a balcony – some enjoy fabulous sea views. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Mykonos Bay Resort And Villas

This wonderful hotel is set in Megali Ammos beach, and very close to Mykonos City- as such offering the best of both worlds. It offers private beach facilities, and it has a pool and a restaurant. Rooms are plush. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Best luxury villas in Mykonos

Mykonos Ark Villas

This complex of villas is located in Ftelia. Each villa is so large that it can host up to 8 guests. All villas face the sea and have a private pool. They are perfectly equipped to make your stay comfortable. They are expensive, but if you share the costs with a group of friends it may end up to be a real steal. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Sofia’s Bungalows Mykonos 

This bed and breakfast and villas complex is located in Mykonos City and has fantastic sea views – thus offering the best of everything Mykonos has to offer. Villas are furnished in a beautiful marine style and have a beautiful terrace and patio to hang out. There is a common pool. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Blue Ocean Mykonos

This gorgeous villa located in Ornos has the most breathtaking sea views. It can accommodate up to 8 persons. There is no pool, but with the sea close by you won’t feel the need for it. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Best budget accommodation in Mykonos

Makis Place

You don’t have to splurge to enjoy a comfortable room with a view in Mykonos – as long as you book in advance. Makis Place is located in Tourlos and thought to be one of the best budget friendly options on the island, with spacious clean rooms with a view – some even have a balcony. Breakfast is included in the price – what else could you ask for? A pool? Yes – there’s a pool as well. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Tropicana

This nice hotel located on Paradise Beach offers spacious, modern and clean rooms and it is minutes away from the beach. There is a pool and an on site bar. They even have small apartments which are fully equipped for self catering. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Hotel Nazos

Located in the heart of Mykonos City and built in the traditional local style, Hotel Nazos has plain but comfortable and clean rooms. Some have sea views. It’s perfect if you want to stay in town where all the action is. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Mykonos City

Mykonos City is a good option if you want to experience nightlife

Where To Stay In Mykonos – The Best Areas And Places To Stay

Here’s a quick answer to your question about the best area to stay in Mykonos.

Mykonos City is the best place to stay in Mykonos for nightlife.

Platys Gialos and Ornos are the best places to stay in Mykonos for families and budget travelers.

Agios Ioannis, Psarou and Mykonos City are perfect for couples looking for romance.

Let me now get into some more details about the best areas to stay in Mykonos.

Mykonos City: Where to stay in Mykonos for nightlife

Locals refer to Mykonos City as “Chora.” This is the biggest town on the island, and it’s quintessentially Greek. Picture bright white buildings with blue doors, windows and banisters; balconies adorned with colorful flowers; narrow cobbled alleys where you’ll find a plethora of shops, cafés and excellent restaurants.

In Chora, make sure to hit Little Venice, which is known as the waterfront, and a great place to admire sunset – just as the famous windmills of Mykonos located in Kato Mili. You will also find a couple of interesting museums and an open air cinema.

What’s more, moving around the island from Mykonos City is very easy, as there are plenty of public buses going to the beaches and to other small towns on the island.

Mykonos City is by far the best place to stay in Mykonos if you are a night owl and plan to hit the best bars and restaurants on the island.

TIP: Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach are two other locations that excel in terms of nightlife, with beach parties and lots of clubs. The reason I don’t recommend staying there is that this is pretty much all they have to offer, and they are far away from anything else. Besides, if you really want to hit a party at Paradise Beach, you can easily get there by bus or car.

Best places to stay in Mykonos City

Platys Gialos: Where to stay in Mykonos for the best of both

Platys Gialos offers the best of both worlds. It’s home to one of the best beaches in Mykonos, perfect for water sports lover who can practice kite surfing, stand up paddle boarding and kayak; but where families with children will be able to enjoy its fine golden sand and clear waters:

There are plenty of good restaurants with incredible sea views and offering food that ranges from typical Greek dishes to fusion cuisine. You will be able to find a few good bars for evening drinks. And last but not least there are some excellent hotels that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

If this is not enough, you should be pleased to know that Platys Gialos is at just 4.5 km from Mykonos City, where you can easily escape to thanks to excellent web of public buses and water taxis.

Best places to stay in Platys Gialos

Mykonos hotels

There are plenty of good hotels for any budget

Ornos: Where to stay in Mykonos for families

Ornos may well be a dream. At a mere 3.4 km from Mykonos City, this small fishing village is an absolute must see when in Mykonos. It has a lovely harbor and provides easy access to some of the best beaches on the island, where families with small children will be able to count on white sand, shallow clear and typically calm waters.

The beach can get crowded in peak months, but within easy distance you’ll find Korfos, a beach that is significantly less crowded – though mind you, it’s also more exposed to the wind. Apaggio, one of the best restaurants in Mykonos, is also at easy walking distance.

In Ornos, you will find plenty of shops, a nice flea market and lots of small tavernas (local eateries) and cafés, as well as hotels for any budget.

Best places to stay in Ornos

Agios Ioannis: Where to stay in Mykonos for couples

Mykonos is packed with places that are perfect for a romantic getaway, but Agios Ioannis is unbeatable for its sunsets. Besides, it’s home to one of the best beaches on the island.

Compared to other places in Mykonos, Agios Ioannis is quiet – so it’s a good place to stay if you are looking forward to relax away from the noise and chaos. There aren’t as many restaurants as in Chora, but you will find some good tavernas, as well as Hippie Fish – known as the best fish and seafood restaurant in Mykonos.

Agios Ioannis is well connected to Mykonos City by public transportation, and within 10 minutes you can reach Kapari Beach, a lovely small cove that never gets too crowded.

Best places to stay in Agios Ioannis

best beaches in Mykonos

Elia beach is one of the best on the island

Psarou: Where to stay in Mykonos for access to a gorgeous beach

There is little doubt that Psarou is one of the best beaches in Mykonos – just picture white sand and clear waters. Perfect for families as well as couples who can both count on a few restaurants and on good public transportation to Mykonos City. There also are some very good hotels.

Best places to stay in Psarou

Other areas to stay in Mykonos

Elia

Elia is the luxury hotspot of Mykonos and the best place to stay if budget is not an issue. It’s located on the southern coast and a bit isolated, but there are a few excellent boutique hotels. It’s perfect for anybody looking to stay away from the crowds.

Mykonian Villa Collection has wonderful rooms – some with sea views, others with a hot tub or a private pool. There even is a small villa. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Megali Ammos

Megali Ammos is the perfect place to stay in Mykonos if you are looking to stay in a very quiet area, yet close to Chora and all that it has to offer. It’s at a mere 500 meters from Mykonos City, and close to the mills. As it’s a bit less popular, it’s your best bet to find a place to stay if you are booking last minute.

Mykonos Bay Resort And Villas is the best place to stay in Megali Ammos. There are a pool, a restaurant, and easy access to the beach. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Agios Stefanos

Perhaps this isn’t the best beach on the island, but it’s protected from the wind so it is safe to swim. It’s at easy distance from the harbor and from the center of Mykonos City, so you can move between the two with no major difficulty. There are a few restaurants, the sunset views are gorgeous and you can even easily reach Delos.

Mykonos Princess Hotel is the best place to stay in Agios Stefanos. Right by the beach, it also has a swimming pool and a spa and fitness center. The best rooms are those with a sea view. Some even have a hot tub. Click here for the latest rates and here for reviews.

Final Tips 

As I have mentioned throughout this post, public transportation works well in Mykonos. If you’d rather move around independently, you may want to consider renting a car. You can get a quote for car rental here.

As for any other trip, make sure to get a good travel insurance for your trip to Mykonos. Read my post Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.” Get your travel insurance here.

Looking for more ideas for your holidays in the Mediterranean? Make sure to check my posts about Sardinia:

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Discover the best places to stay in Mykonos - via @clautavani

Find out where to stay in Mykonos - via @clautavani

Discover where to stay in Mykonos - via @clautavani

19 Productive Things To Do At Home When You Can’t Travel

19 Productive Things To Do At Home When You Can’t Travel

There are more things to do at home to keep busy and avoid boredom than you can imagine. 

Writing from the comfort of my lockdown haven in Italy, I have been trying to remain optimistic and to continue, as much as possible, with my daily routine. A routine that has inevitably changed in many aspects – no more training at the pool for me; no more running close to the beach; no more glasses of wine and dinners with friends; and sure enough no more traveling until this emergency passes.

Before you ask yourself if it is ok to travel at this time in history, go ahead and read my post “Please Stop Traveling. At Least For A While.”

This lockdown is relieving, in a way. No more uncertainties on what we can or cannot do: the government decided for us. The entire country is forced to do the same thing – staying inside for safety. We all have to do our bit for the sake of common good – something humans aren’t naturally good at. And this is bringing out the best in us. We are rediscovering a sense of patriotism, a sense of community which seemed to be long lost. 

Yet, I must admit that for any hyperactive person like me, being forced indoors can be boring. I have always thought that there aren’t many fun things to do at home. In fact, things that I have always taken for granted (like the freedom to go out as I please) have been taken away from me, from all of us here in Italy, since the outbreak of this disease. We are quickly realizing how important social life is to maintain our sanity. 

Make sure to read my post “What You Need To Know About The Current Situation In Italy.”

It’s now day 9 into my lockdown, and like most I am trying to keep myself busy to avoid boredom and to make this experience a constructive one even on a personal and professional level. Boredom is just one end of the lockdown spectrum. Others are feeling anxiety (in this case, you may want to read a post on how to deal with anxiety during a world crisis).

As more and more countries are moving towards a lockdown, I thought you may want to learn from me – in lockdown more for already a full week – what you can do to keep yourself entertained. I truly hope this helps you as much as it’s been helping me. 

Continue reading to discover the coolest things to do at home when you are forced not to go out.

things to do at home

Who wouldn’t rather be there now?

19 Things To Do During At Home That Are Fun And Productive

Work from home

Working is actually one of the most productive things to do at home.

In an effort to contain the outbreak of the virus, the government of Italy has invited all companies to implement measures to allow anybody who can easily do so to work from home. Most companies are obliging. Others aren’t so quick at reacting – my sister for example works as a fraud analyst at a bank group and apparently they don’t have enough laptops for all the employees, so she has to go to work, with all the risks this implies. 

I know – working from home is easier said than done in some cases (like in my sister’s case). I am self employed (this blog is my one and only livelihood) and I am in the group of those that can easily work from home even during a lockdown. In fact, unless I am traveling somewhere to gather material for this blog, I normally work from my office in my apartment in Cagliari. 

If you can easily work from home, now it’s the time to do test it. It takes a while getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, you will see that it’s actually not so bad and there definitely are some positive sides to it

Work on that long postponed project 

We all have a side project we have been meaning to work on but never found the time for. It may be for money and work related. But it honestly doesn’t have to be. The whole point is that now it’s the time to work on it – it’s one of the things to do at home when you really aren’t allowed to leave the house.

Personally, I am taking advantage of this time at home and the extra time I have on my hands to work on a niche blog I have wanted to launch forever and never found the time for.  

I appreciate that we are all different and not all of us want an online business. But really, there are just about a million things you can do from the comfort of your home. I am just going to throw in a couple of ideas below.

Learn a language 

Speaking a language other than your own helps enormously when traveling. Locals love it when you can exchange a few words with them in their language – and that’s pretty much in every country around the world. Are you dreaming of a trip to Italy and worry that you won’t be able to read the menu in Italian? Then learn the language! It’s one of the easiest things to do at home.

Learning a new language is a great way to keep busy when you are forced to stay at home – and always, to be honest. You can enroll in an online class to begin with. I am particularly good at learning languages (probably the only talent I have) so here are some other tips I have for you to practice and improve your language skills:

  • Watching movies or tv series in the original language – I generally recommend putting subtitles, also in the original language, as it helps you make out the pronunciation of difficult words.
  • Listening to podcasts in the original language – there are many you can look for. I am a fan of Radio Ambulante, in Spanish. 
  • Listening to music with the lyrics. 

Check out my post 20 Useful Tips For Learning A New Language.”

Learn a new skill

This one can be anything, really! I am lame at photo editing, so I am trying to make use of the extra time I have to watch tutorials that teach me how to turn a good photo into an eye catching one. Other useful skills for bloggers like me include Pinterest management – which during normal times is a great way of driving traffic to a blog; and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). There are tons of courses that teach both!

Another great idea for things to do at home may be a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) course, so that you can get qualified to teach English abroad and use your skills as soon as you can travel again. Many do this to support themselves as they travel around the world.  

Other skills you may want to work on include writing – it can be anything from travel writing to fiction and again, you can find a wealth of courses you can follow from your sofa. Do you enjoy painting? Perhaps you can finally catch up on those tutorials to improve your touch. And the same goes for do it yourself things and even embroidery or knitting. The web is a wonderful resource for this. All it takes is a quick Google or Youtube and voilà, you can set yourself on track! 

Also, don’t forget that activities such as knitting, embroidery, painting and DIY are excellent to overcome anxiety – a common issue when you are forced indoors.

dream of traveling

Stuck at home? Dreaming about traveling is fun and it’s FREE!

Dream about travel

One of the nicest things to do at home when you can’t leave the house and travel is to simply daydream about traveling. Even when I am terribly stressed, the thought of the many beautiful places I may be visiting makes me relax and it sends me all sorts of positive vibes. And it costs nothing. 

Below are a few tips to help you dream.

Focus on a destination

There are way too many destinations you can dream of. This blog is meant to give you inspiration and information on the many places you can visit. But here is a short list of my favorite places to fill your dreams is:

  • New York – because it’s one of the most incredible cities in the world. 
  • Rome – no matter what, it remains majestic.
  • Paris – romance, Eiffel Tower and all the charm.
  • Sardinia – because it is the most beautiful island in the world.
  • Patagonia – its immense landscapes will keep you dreaming endlessly.
  • South Africa – because we all want to see lions, rhinos, penguins and whales.
  • The Maldives – especially now that they are also opening to budget travel (read more here).

Watch a movie or read a book that will inspire you to travel

One of the coolest things to do at home is reading and watching movies. They can be travel related too! The choice of movies you can watch and books you can read to feed your travel dreams is immense. Below you can find a selection of my favorite ones:

  • The Motorcycle Diaries – this movie is inspired by Ernesto Guevara book and it’s what prompted me to travel to South America. It’s as dreamy as it gets. 
  • Wild – a great book, and a great pick me up.
  • Shantaram – if this book doesn’t inspire you to visit India, I don’t know what will.

Virtually visit a museum or an attraction

One of the best things to do at home when you can’t travel is to do a virtual tour of a museum or attraction. A bunch of museums around the world are now offering virtual tours you can take from the comfort of your home. Among them there are Musee d’Orsay in Paris, Guggenheim Museum in New York, Uffizi Gallery in Florence. You can read the full list here. And click on this link for a wealth of guided virtual tours of cities such as Rome, Venice, Paris and New York (among many others).

Plan travel 

Fair enough, now it is not really a good time to travel. Yet nothing stops you from planning a trip. I know – you really don’t want to make any flight or hotel reservations when you don’t even know when traveling will be allowed again. But you can still plan a good itinerary (hint: I have itineraries for many places on this blog!) where you factor in the places you want to visit, the amount of time you want to spend in each place, the budget. It’s a useful exercise, and one of the most fun things to do at home. 

Here are some helpful resources to help you plan:

  • Get Your Guide – this is my go to third party site to book guided tours and attractions. You can buy skip the line tickets for the Colosseum or the Eiffel Tower; a guided tour of Cape Point Peninsula; a food tour of Bangkok or a cooking class in Hanoi. What’s great about it is that you can book months in advance (some attractions only allow you to book up to 30 or 60 days in advance, but you may want to move ahead with your planning); it uses local companies to run the tours; and if things go wrong and you need to cancel your trip you can cancel and get a refund without any hassle. Skip the line tickets usually cost just the same amount as on the official attraction website, or a couple of extra euro – worth spending for the ease of mind of free cancellation.
  • Booking.com – the most reliable site to book hotels, villas, hostels and apartments. Make sure to fully read the cancellation policy as it varies depending on the hotel you want to book. I always recommend to book something a bit more expensive for the sake of having a fully flexible cancellation policy.
  • 23 Useful Tips For Long Haul Flights – this post explains you how to better prepare for a long flight, from the moment you book it to the time on board. 
  • A Complete List Of Travel Essentials For Women – girls’ ultimate list of what they must take with them on a trip.
  • The Best Long Distance Hiking Packing List – in case you are planning an adventure trip.
  • Why You Always Need Travel Insurance – this post tells you why you really want to invest on a good insurance for your trips. Now more than ever.
  • The complete guide to becoming a more responsible traveler – because there is no other way to travel in 2020. 

Make sure to read my post Virtual Traveling: 13 Ways To Travel Without Traveling.”

read a book

Time to finish that novel

Catch up on your readings

Now it’s the time to read all the books that you have accumulated on your shelf, coffee or bed side table. It’s a great way to relax and disconnect for a bit. And one of the most relaxing things to do at home. 

TOP TIP: If you have a garden, drag a reclining chair there, wear sunblock and a hat, and take a drink with you. It’s not the beach, but close enough. Don’t have a garden? A balcony is good too, or a bay window, or a window. As long as you get a good dose of daylight and – with it – your much needed dose of Vitamin D.

Need inspiration? Make sure to read my post 27 Great Books For Travelers.”

Spend time with loved ones 

Being forced indoors often means getting on each others’ nerves – it’s inevitable. But please, for as much as it can be done, try to turn this into something positive. If you live with your parents or your partner, talk to them about your worries and your hopes. And listen to them. If you have roommates, now is the time to get to know them better

Minnie

Meet my Minnie

And your pets

Cats, dogs and pets in general have always proved excellent company to humans, and now more than ever. Being forced at home, you will have more time to pet your cat – my Minnie is certainly loving the increased attention she’s been receiving. If you have a dog, make sure to play with him / her: they will love the extra time spent with you. If you have been trying to train your dog, this may be a good time to try new tricks. 

GOOD TO KNOW: Even during a lockdown, you will be allowed to take your dog out for a walk. We are allowed to do so in Italy and I would imagine it will be the same for most countries. 

Get connected with friends online

The worst thing about being forced to stay at home is the complete lack of social life. Well guys, it’s tough but it’s just how things are at the moment and we have to live with it till it passes. Now it’s the time to get creative in the way you see your friends. 

My friends and I are using Skype for virtual drinks (but you can also use Zoom, Facetime and other apps). We agree on a meeting time, get a glass of our favorite drink, start a call and chat.  

You don’t even have to use internet to connect with friends. One of the most fun things to do at home that some of my family are experimenting is balcony drinks. For example, my cousin and her husband now have regular sunset drinks with their neighbors – each from the comfort of their balcony. 

The whole point here is to be creative!

Sing a song for solidarity

One way we are coping with the stress of being forced to stay at home in Italy is all sorts of flashmob. Each day, at a given time, we all go to our balconies, our gardens, and sing together. At times we play our national anthem; other times just some popular songs. Yesterday at lunch time we all just applauded the efforts of our doctors and nurses. Last night we all lit our torches. Each time it brings tears to my eyes – I am reminded of how beautiful a country I was born in, a country of artists, of genius, of loving and lovely people. 

There are tens of videos of people singing from the balcony. Some are plain funny; others are just touching. A Girl In Florence wrapped up the best in this post

Andrà tutto bene

Italian kids get creative when forced to remain indoors

Home schooling 

Home schooling isn’t much of a thing in Italy as it is in other countries like the United States, but I guess one of the things to do at home is homeschooling, during which parents take a more pro-active approach in their kids’ education. With schools and university closed, students of all ages are now forced to use distance learning, with lessons being aired online for pretty much all levels of education. Perhaps this will set a new trend in education in the years to come.

Get creative with the kids

With children being forced at home, it’s important to keep them busy with games as well as tasks. One of the things to do at home that Italian kids have all participated in is a project that saw them drawing or painting a rainbow, accompanied by the text “andrà tutto bene” (it will all go well). Many balconies are now exhibiting the paintings. I will keep you posted on Italian kids’ next project and you may try and replicate it at home! 

things to do at home

Supplì are easy to make – not it’s the time to learn how

Cook

Cooking is one of the most obvious things to do at home. But you can take it to a whole new level. When you have to stay indoors and can’t go to your local restaurants for a meal, you may as well try to cook your favorite meals. Lame chefs of the world, now it’s our time (yes, mine too: shame on me for I am Italian) to put our cooking skills to a test!

You may even want to take a cooking class. There are many courses available on the web. Some even do live streaming, and you get your Italian nonna sharing her secret recipes. 

Gardening

Is your garden turning into a jungle? Use the extra time you have to prune the branches, mow the lawn, clean it up from dead leaves and what not. More like turning into a desert? Why not plant new bulbs? It’s pretty much spring time so this is the time to do it, anyways. 

Clean that house!

Hey guess what? It’s spring time. It’s time to spring clean your house. It’s one of the things to do at home and now more than ever we are being reminded of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene – whether it is personal or at home. So, get to work and start cleaning. These are some tasks for you:

  • Take down all curtains and wash them – those things accumulate massive levels of dust.
  • Vacuum clean and sanitize your carpets and rugs – again, you want to get rid of dust and mites that cause allergies.
  • Dust all the shelves – especially book shelves. 
  • Clean inside kitchen cabinets and drawers – food and dirt spreads easily there. 
  • Sanitize your bathroom and toilet – in fact, you should be doing this at least twice a week as a norm!

Declutter

This one is very much linked with cleaning the house and one of the easiest things to do at home. As you go through the shelves and closets, you will definitely come across stuff that you haven’t used in years and that you really don’t need. Clothes, home appliances – it really can be anything. What should you do with it? First of all, bag it. Some will suggest that you sell it online or take it to thrift shops so that you can make some cash from it.

But honestly, most of the time it will literally be just pennies. Besides, at such as sad moment in history, when many people will be left with no jobs, you may as well want to make a donation to a local charity

Training for the Great Ethiopian Run

While you can’t run freely, you can still try to keep fit at home

Exercise from home

For many of us, one of the hardest aspects of being forced to stay at home is the fact that we can’t exercise like we normally would. I usually train at a local pool 3 to 4 times a week and go running close to the beach once or twice a week. With the lockdown, all gyms and pools have closed.

We can go running – as long as we do it by ourselves and we make sure to distance ourselves from others. However, we can’t go to a park (they have all been closed because people ended up gathering there) and sure enough we shouldn’t be driving around to reach a place where we can exercise (I live at the other end of the city compared to the beach where I’d go running). 

Other than running close to home (the lockdown means there is no traffic anyways), you may want to get hold of a skipping rope – it’s great exercise.

Among the things to do at home, make sure to exercise by using one of the many great apps and online tutorials that will help you create a routine you can easily follow. Freeletics is a great one. Yoga apps such as Down Dog are free until the end of the month, and so are many others. You can even simply ask your trainer at the gym you usually exercise at to send you a few routines and pay him for that (my swimming trainer does that for me any time I travel and go to a different pool).

Take a nap

One of the nicest things to do at home is sleeping. Let’s admit it. This is something we have always wanted to do and never been able to – because with work, social life, and all things normal, we do feel guilty if we actually choose to nap in the middle of the day. Guess what though? You can now finally take that nap without thinking you should be doing something else instead. 

GOOD TO KNOW: Many people are actually having a hard time sleeping at night due to the increased anxiety following the world crisis. There are several natural remedies you can count on to help you sleep and enhance the quality of your sleep. I use melatonin drops and they help me out. Though they are a natural remedy, you may want to consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking it.

Catch up on the latest shows

I am leaving this among the last things to do at home because I am not exactly the biggest fan of shows, series and all. I have never even seen an episode of Game of Thrones and I certainly don’t intend to catch up on that now that I am forced indoors. Besides, I believe there are way more constructive ways to spend your time.

However, if you really can’t find better things to do at home, you may as well catch up on your favorite series, or look for new ones. Netflix remains the place to look for good shows. Here are a few series I have been enjoying:

  • The Messiah – I know, sounds prophetic. But I guess somehow appropriate. And one of the lead characters is incredibly sexy (if you do decide to watch this show, please comment on this post and tell me who you think is the sexiest character.
  • Marcella – the name would probably be more appropriate for a Brazilian telenovela, but this British crime series is guaranteed to have you glued to the screen. I can’t wait for the next season.
  • Suburra – one of the best Italian shows of the last few years. It’s inspired by a real-life political scandal.
  • Sex Education – honestly one of the best shows on Netflix.

Learn to filter fake news 

The amount of fake news circulating online at this time in history is ridiculous. I have never really understood the purpose of it, except scaring the most vulnerable parts of society – those who aren’t internet savvy and can’t easily distinguish what is a piece of valid information from plain junk. 

Below are a few examples of fake news that have recently circulated in Italy (and possibly overseas):

  • 30000 US soldiers would be on the way to Italy – for what purpose, it remains unclear. A quick google search reveals this is fake news.
  • Helicopters and small planes would be flying above our heads to spray and disinfect the entire country – this was easy to spot as even the wording of the message was poor. And a quick search proved this was, indeed, fake news.

So please, if you come across some news that seem absurd, don’t forward it to your friends and family. Take the time to read it a couple of times; copy the text into google and see what happens. More often than not, the first thing that will come up is that it’s fake news.

markets in Israel

2 Things Not To Do Even When You Must Remain Home

Going out

There is a reason your government tells you to remain home. It’s for safety. It’s for the common good. It’s for the benefit of the entire society. Please listen to the advice of your government, to that of your doctor, to that of the relevant authorities. Don’t go out thinking you will just be fine. It’s not just about you. It’s about all of us. 

Raiding the stores

There is absolutely no need to raid a store and stock on years’ provisions of whatever good. Stores that sell necessary good such as food and personal or house hygiene material, as well as pharmacies are guaranteed to remain open all the time and you will still be able to do your grocery shopping regularly. 
 
TIP: Smaller businesses are the ones that will inevitably suffer the most from the crisis that the world is facing. Try to buy local and from small shops instead of big chains for as much as possible.
 

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Find out what to do at home when you can't travel - via @clautavani