So you’re stuck in quarantine or just practicing your social distancing like the good member of society that you are and things are getting a little boring … Or maybe you’ve had to cut your travels short (like myself) and are struggling with not knowing when you’ll be able to travel again. Either way, it’s a hard time for everyone and the way I’ve been coping is by keeping busy. So here are 15 travel related activities that are sure to spark some inspiration and motivation right now!
1. Start a new craft
Now’s the perfect time to tap into your creative side! Not only will starting a new craft or project keep your mind off things but I find it to be quite therapeutic as well. I painted this world map cork board over the course of a few days. If you’d like to do the same here’s what you’ll need:
- A cork board – Can be found at most craft/paper supply stores.
- Acrylic paint – Choose two colours to create the colour scheme you’re after.
- A few paint brushes – One large and one smaller one for detail should be fine!
- A world map outline – A simple Google search will do the trick.
- Sharpie/marker – To outline the map.
- Old towel – To cover the workspace you’ll be using .
- Push pins – To pin where you’ve been on the map!
How to make one yourself
I chose a random world map outline and then used this website to print the outline on multiple sheets of paper. After carefully cutting out the outline, I placed it on the cork board and traced it with a sharpie. You can pin it down if you’d like but I had no problem drawing the outline without it being pinned down. Next I painted the countries carefully and did the background afterwards. The next day I did a second coat and painted the boarder of the cork board as well. And just like that it was complete and I was able to start pinning!
If painting isn’t really your thing, there’s so many other travel related activities/crafts you can do. You could create a vision board, recreate anklets or bracelets you’d find in Asian markets or a travel keepsake box! If you hold onto ticket stubs, collect shells etc from your travels, why not decorate a box where you can keep it all? You can label them by country or just have a general one if that works best.
Want more inspiration? You can head to Pinterest to find other travel related activities.
2. Cook an international meal
You may have to get creative with this one! When you’re travelling you get to experience food from so many different cultures that you might not typically have at home. So look up a new recipe and try out new cuisines or try to imitate a meal you’ve already had. I’ll admit the later is a risky option because it’s never going to taste like the real deal when you cook it at home but it’s worth giving it a shot!
I’m still dying to try making a Sri Lankan dish known as Kottu. What are you going to try making first?
3. Learn a new language
Learning a language takes time and consistency (making it an excellent quarantine activity if you ask me). I’ve used Duolingo in the past to try and learn Spanish but never had the time to properly dedicate to it.
Another way you can enforce new language skills while at home is by watching shows or movies in the language you’re trying to learn! You can either watch it in Spanish (for example) with English subtitles if it’s a new show – would highly recommend ‘Money Heist’ on Netflix. OR, you can take up a show that you’ve already seen such as ‘Friends’ and watch it in a new language without subtitles. This way you’ll already generally know what’s happening with the plot and characters and can focus more on how the language is spoken.
While these methods are just fine and dandy, I think we can all agree that the best way to learn a new language is by immersing yourself in that culture. And what better way to do that than by moving to a new country?! 👇🏽
4. Look into working holiday visas
Just because it’s not possible to live and work in another country at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t do some research! There’s no shame in doing so and if you’re asking me, you should get on it ASAP. It may take more preparation than anticipated so it never hurts to get started ahead of time.
After spending a year abroad living and working in Melbourne, Australia I’m itching to live in another country again. You can read my Ultimate Guide to doing a Working Holiday Visa in Australia here.
You’d be surprised with how many countries your home country has agreements with to live and work abroad! Explore a few options and think about what new place you could see yourself living in.
5. Look into studying abroad
Studying abroad is another great way you can live in a new place and travel! If you’re currently in University or College, now’s the time to see if your school has any study abroad programs. Studying abroad through an exchange with your current school is probably one of the cheapest ways you can travel as a student. With grants and no change in tuition, it’s worth looking into.
If you’re not currently studying, you could also consider starting your education or continuing your education through a post graduate program in a new country! There are so many courses and things you could choose to study even if you’re not following the ‘typical’ education path. You’d be surprised with what you could study, especially in other countries – so why not look into it now? In most cases tuition will cost a lot more for a foreign exchange student BUT there may be scholarships or other opportunities to help with the fees.
6. Create future travel itineraries
If you’re the type of person who likes to show up well prepared, now’s the time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and get crackin’ on your future travel plans!
With the entire world and hundreds of countries to choose from, you can spend heaps of time putting together possible itineraries! You can work with different timelines, budgets and variation of countries to see. Feel free to check out my backpacking itineraries to get an idea of how to structure one of your own.
If international travel is beyond your reach right now, why not plan a road trip or trip within your home country? I usually start my research by saving posts on Instagram from local accounts such as @ontariotravel and @explorecanada to get some inspiration. Then I map out places I’d like to go see and determine what would be doable for weekend trips, week long trips or longer and go from there. I never thought Canada was that exciting until I started doing some research!
Not really one to plan your travels? Read my list of pros and cons of spontaneous travel here!
7. Create a new playlist
I don’t know about you but I LOVE finding new music to add to my travel playlists! If you don’t have specific playlists yet, start with one that’s suited to places you want to travel. I’m constantly adding to my ‘beach’ playlist and starting on a road trip and hiking playlist now so when it comes down to that faithful moment when someone hands me the aux cord or busts out the speaker, I’m good to go!
PRO TIP: Having a good playlist is just one of many ways to make friends while travelling solo! I’ve even had new friends turn down money for car rental/gas expenses and just asked to send them my playlist instead. So it’s safe to say that having a solid playlist comes in handy! 😉
8. Organize your best travel photos
Of all the travel related activities on my list, this may be the most daunting. Now that’s not to say you should skip it (especially if you’ve been putting it off for years like myself 🙈). Organizing your travel photos can offer a fun trip down memory lane and put together either electronic or physical photo albums to look back on! I personally love the idea of having physical albums I could show my family one day and bring myself back to such an exciting time in my life.
I’ve also kept a polaroid camera sine 2016 and have brought it with me throughout my travels. I decided only recently to label all my polaroids and organize them in a photo album. If you’re looking for your own polaroid album there are plenty to choose from on Amazon.
9. Start to save
Start working on your travel budget today! Whether you’re looking to plan a short getaway or around the world trip, it never hurts to have a budget in place so that once you’re away you know how much money you have to work with.
Here are a few ways you can start saving towards your next trip:
- Organize clothing, jewelry etc that you can sell online – I’ve used Facebook groups, Depop, Carousell and stores like Plato’s Closet that buy used items, in the past.
- Stop buying new & start thrifting – While you’re getting rid of things you no longer need, think twice before you buy something new. If you do need something, try out ThredUp (an online thrift store) and head to your local thrift stores once they’re open again!
- Keep a money jar – If you work in the service industry where you make tips, keep them all in one place and dedicate that money to be used towards a specific trip/goal.
10. Learn more about photography
If you’re anything like myself, having photos to capture amazing memories is all part of the fun! I’ve had a DSLR camera for a few years now and I’m utterly ASHAMED to admit that I barely know how to use it! If you’ve found yourself in a similar position, let’s dive into the vast world of photography together. YouTube is a great resource for free and enjoyable content but you can also find more professional/structured information on sites like Udemy for a small fee!
While I’m by no means a photographer I’ve definitely learnt a lot about photography during my past few years of travelling. I have a few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to getting the perfect shot while travelling solo. Want to know more? Read my solo travel photo tips here!
11. Start a packing list
Got a trip in mind? Start your packing list now. It will definitely come in handy to have specific guidelines of how many things you should bring with you. I can tell you from personal experience that you don’t need that extra sweater you’re debating bringing! It will also ensure that you don’t forget something important when you’re onto your next adventure.
If you’re really getting into the spirit of travel related activities you can do from home, try to challenge yourself to fit everything you’ll need for a backpacking trip in a carry on bag! Every time I travel I try to pack less with the intention of eventually travelling with just a carry on and being more of a minimalistic traveller.
Stay tuned for a full packing guide coming soon!
12. Learn more about sustainable travel
Learning how to travel sustainably and ethically is SO important! Travel can take a huge toll on the environment so it’s good to know how you can do more to help the planet rather than hurt it. Here are a few simple things you can do to start travelling more sustainably:
- Invest in a reusable water bottle (preferably one that can filter water from countries where you can’t drip water from the tap)! This will help lessen the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans. My favourite bottle is from GRAYL. It can be a bit pricey so I’d suggest waiting to buy one around a holiday when there are sales!
- Grab some reusable ziplock bags – Whenever I travel I like to have snacks on hand so I brought two reusable ziplock bags from Stasher. I’d put fruit from markets, peanut butter sandwiches etc in it while I was on the go. This is also a great way to save money on food.
- Eat at plastic free/sustainable/vegan restaurants – I never really considered this much before my most recent travels. Supporting sustainable restaurants (as well as eating local food of course) really helps promote travelling ethically and sustainably. You can use HappyCow to find these types of restaurants anywhere you go!
- Offset your flights – Ever think about how your personal transportation is affecting the environment? Travelling by land will always be the best option but if you need to take a flight learn how you can offset those carbon emissions! There are many sites you can use to do this. Recently I’ve used Co2nsensus and less.
If you take anything away from these travel related activities, please do your own research on sustainable travel & how you can do your part.
13. Create a travel drawer/bin
To make the packing process much easier next time you travel, empty a drawer or find a bin where you can keep all of the essentials! It’s one of the most practical travel related activities you can do from home while cleaning out or decluttering other spaces.
14. Start a travel bucket list
Whether you’ve been travelling for years or new to the world of wanderlust, a travel bucket list is key! I find that having a list of specific places I want to visit as well as certain activities I want to do, keeps me motivated to continue travelling. There’s just something so satisfying about checking something off a list!
It also works well when you’re trying to explore more of your home country. You can use my Toronto Summer Bucket List for some inspiration here.
15. Find inspiration in new ways
Look for a new book, podcast, YouTube channel etc that will spark inspiration for your next trip! Once you get on a roll, you’ll realize that the possibilities are endless. If you know of any travel books or podcasts please send them my way!
So that concludes my travel related activities you can do from home. I hope they help you stay busy during this unsettling time and that you stay safe and happy while planning your next adventures! And as always you can follow my past, present and future travels on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.