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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Make sure to read my post “A Completely Honest GetYourGuide Review.”
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.
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.
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.
Need inspiration? Make sure to read my post “27 Great Books For Travelers.”
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.
The following are the best guided virtual tours in Italy:
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.
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:
- A Complete Guide To Israeli Food
- All The Sardinian Food You Should Try
- All The Food In Rome You Should Eat: 25 Delicious Dishes
- Mouthwatering Egyptian Food: 15 Egyptian Dishes You Have To Try
- 21 Mouthwatering Guyanese Food And Drinks You Need To Try
- The Most Delicious Cuban Food: 35 Mouthwatering Cuban Dishes
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.”
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?