There are times in our lives when we dream of travel but it’s not possible.  This may be due to financial, health or time constraints or something more sinister such as the world is facing right now with the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.  Personally I dream of travel all the time, there’s rarely a day that goes by when I’m not thinking of where to go next or planning a trip.  And right now being stuck at home in lockdown France I find I’m fantasising even more than usual: where will we go when we can travel again?  How can I keep my desire to travel satiated? In a bid to keep my passion alive I’ve come up with some ideas of how to travel without travelling.

travel without travelling | Lou Messugo

Virtually Visit Museums, National Parks, Cities etc

Plenty of museums and other cultural places have created virtual tours making it possible to visit them without leaving home: the ultimate way to travel without travelling!  Catherine’s Cultural Travels has put together a great list of museums for the armchair traveller.  Take a look at this YouTube Channel for walking tours in Asia and America. Many US national parks have webcams as do zoos with some amusing results.

Louvre pyramid Paris France

Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are hugely popular nowadays and you can find one to suit pretty much any interest. When you can’t travel out of your home, find one to inspire your future travels, subscribe and binge.  Podcasts are perfect to listen to while on a treadmill, exercise bike or out on your solitary daily walk! Here are some I recommend Women Who Travel, Untold Italy, Kidventures Family Travel Podcast, The Thoughtful Travel Podcast, Join us in France Podcast.

woman listening to music or podcast

Read Travel Blogs

Travel blogs are full of tips and tales to inspire your wanderlust and just like podcasts, you can find them covering just about any type of travel you can imagine. Solo female travel, family travel, adventure travel, long-term travel, country-specific travel, travel in retirement, travel with teens, travel with babies and so on.  A good place to find travel blogs (other than Google which will mainly point you to the biggest names) is Pinterest. Use Pinterest as a search engine, type in the niche you’re interested in and you’ll discover a phenomenal choice of blogs. Bloggers create pins to link to their blogs making this a very visual way to discover travel destinations, tips and stories. (Photo below is a screenshot of travel blog posts from my Pinterest feed). Reading travel blogs is a perfect way to indulge in travel without travelling.

travel without travelling | Lou Messugo

Read Travel Literature

There’s almost nothing better than being transported to a foreign land through a beautifully written piece of travel literature, allowing your imagination to soar. When you can’t actually travel take the time to reread old favourite travel books, download new ones on your Kindle or listen on Audible. Most audiobook subscriptions offer a free month’s trial. Check here for a list of choices. Here are some of my favourite travel writers for starters.  Bruce Chatwin, Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, Dervla Murphy, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Newby and Colin Thubron.

travel without travelling | Lou Messugo

Relive Past Travels

If you can’t physically travel then take a trip down memory lane. Wallow in old photos and relive the memories.  If you have boxes of old prints go through them, and organise them, whether in albums, collages, frames or some form of filing order. For digital photos edit, back up and get that system in place that you’ve been meaning to do for years, so as not to lose them if your computer fails!

travel with photo albums | Lou Messugo

Listen to World Music

This couldn’t be easier these days with music streaming services such as Spotify as well as online and digital radio stations. Travel without travelling to Korea with some K-Pop or go on a road trip across the USA by tuning into a local radio station on Route 66! Check out the Top 10 hits in Italy, mooch around Portugal to the haunting sounds of Fado or dance to calypso at carnival in Trinidad.  Put on some sitar music to accompany your Indian dreams. For several years now whenever we eat food from a certain country we find music to go with our meal, and imagine we’re in a restaurant in that country. The choice is endless and fun!

travel without travelling | Lou Messugo

Watch Travel Movies & Documentaries

Watching factual travel programmes is fairly obvious but watching movies set in foreign countries, or films in foreign languages is a great way to travel while stuck at home.  How about a Nordic noir series to transport you to Scandinavia (we’re currently watching Icelandic series The Valhalla Murders set in Reykjavik which takes me straight back to our recent trip to Iceland – murders aside!) A classic road movie like Thelma and Louise takes you across the States while epic love stories Out of Africa and The English Patient engulf you in sweeping African landscapes.  Here’s is a great list of 50 best travel films of all time. Enough for a serious scratch of those itchy feet!

travel without travelling | Lou Messugo

Eat Your Way Around the World

When you want to travel but you can’t, plan a feast from a country you’d like to visit. Involve the kids and if possible decorate the table in some way relevant to the location. (Don’t forget to find some appropriate music too!)  I love reading cookbooks from other countries and easily get transported to exotic places while salivating over their cuisine.  If you’re really motivated take an online course to learn to cook food from your dream destination. Here’s a great option from 84 year old Nonna Nerina who live-streams her traditional Italian cooking for pasta enthusiasts.

Vietnamese feast | Lou Messugo

Learn a Language

There’s nothing like getting under the skin of another culture than by learning its language.  If you can’t physically travel then now’s the time to learn at least a few phrases in the language of the place you’d like to go next.  Brush up on a language you learnt at school or master one you speak reasonably well.  We always learn a few key words and phrases before going to a new country and as a result, some of these words have worked their way into our everyday family language. We use the words bok and já já – “hi” in Croatian and “yes” in Icelandic respectively – all the time and every time I hear “bok” I’m transported back to our wonderful trip to the Balkans in 2013. Duolingo is a great free online platform with a huge choice of languages to learn.

foreign language books

Plan Future Trips

Now is the time to really plan a future trip, down to the minutiae! Get out a map, make lists, brainstorm what’s important with the kids/your partner, make mood boards and Pinterest boards. Check out train timetables with the wonderful Man in Seat 61 and create itineraries. Learn some travel hacks, such as how to find the best prices on flights etc while you have the time to not rush anything.  Join Facebook groups for the area you’re planning on visiting and ask questions from people who’ve been there.  Planning a trip is, in my opinion, the beginning of the fun and it really is a huge part of the pleasure for me.

map and guidebooks | Lou Messugo

And Finally, Swoon Over Instagram

Satiate your wanderlust by swiping through Instagram.  Use hashtags to find your bucket list destinations and start dreaming. It’s easy to waste hours clicking and scrolling on the Gram, but if you’ve got hours why not indulge in a bit of fantasy. Just remember to take Insta with a grain of salt, it is not all as it seems! But there’s no harm in fantasising….

Do you have any other ideas to keep us travel addicts travelling when we can’t actually travel?  Do add them in the comments.

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