Around the world, countries are closing their borders, citizens are being advised (or ordered) to stay at home, gatherings are banned or severely limited. Airlines are cancelling services or cutting them back severely, and many will go out of business if governments don’t help them out.
It goes without saying that international travel is severely affected. If you haven’t cancelled a trip yourself, I bet you know someone who has. If you have an upcoming trip planned, even several months from now, it’s difficult to know if you’ll be able to take it, because nobody really knows how this will play out.
So, if you’re a travel-lover whose travel plans have been put on indefinite hold, how can you feed your travel addiction?
Explore your own area
If you’re not confined to your own house, explore your neighbourhood or city. Turn on your “tourist vision” and try to see your local area with the eyes of an outsider. Take your camera and take photos of anything that catches your attention.
If you are in self-isolation, think about how you can support local businesses who may depend on (now non-existent) tourists. Perhaps you can order a meal to be delivered from a restaurant you’ve been meaning to try? Here in Auckland, which is still a lot more open than a lot of the world, some local restaurants which were previously dine-in-only now allow pick up, or provide a delivery service.
Plan a domestic trip
If you’re still able to move around, plan a trip to another part of your country, state, or region. If you’re stuck at home, start thinking about where you’d like to go, so you’re ready to take off when the quarantine is over. A road trip with a friend or significant other could be a good choice as it would limit time in shared vehicles like buses, trains, and planes. Or perhaps you could go on a bike trip or hike?
Keep planning and dreaming
Just because you can’t travel now doesn’t mean you won’t be able to in the future. Think about your next trip, where you’d like to go, in which season, what you’d like to do there. Sure, it might not be the best idea to make any bookings right now, but you can create a rough plan and fill in the details when the world is open again. Travel planning can be one of the best parts of a trip — my mother-in-law recently had to cancel her trip to Europe, but she said she doesn’t regret all the planning she’d put in. She’ll be able to build an even better itinerary in the future.
You can also travel virtually by watching travel shows, reading books about travel, and listening to travel podcasts.
Learn a language and make an international friend
Being stuck at home is not great, but you can use the time to learn a new language in preparation for those trips you’ll be going on in the future. Find a conversation exchange partner who speaks the language you’re learning and who is learning your language, and hop on Skype or Zoom to practice together. Look for someone in the country you’d most like to visit — you’ll end up getting a taste of their culture, even if it is from a distance.
Have themed dinners
Sure, you can’t go to Spain, but you can create the taste of Spain in your own kitchen. Look up some recipes online, open a bottle of Spanish red (I’m a fan of Tempranillo), blare some Spanish music, and you’re away. If you’re feeling lazy, just order in from a local restaurant. Make it an event by virtually inviting friends to your party, and set up a video conference so you can all eat together. I’m thinking tonight might be Thai night.
It’s a difficult time for the world right now, but we’ll get through this! Remember to wash your hands, support people who need your help, and stay positive.