Planning a staycation at home?
Sometimes travel isn’t an option. Whether it’s for lack of money, family problems or health issues.
We are now experiencing a very difficult time with this global pandemic, and it’s very important that we stay home and not travel right now.
If you don’t know what to do at home, here you have 24 ideas to help you travel without leaving your home and passing this quarantine as good as possible.
Índice / Contents
- How to Plan a Staycation at Home
- Cultural activities during a staycation at home
- Reading travel books
- Organize your travel photos
- Playing board games
- Learn how to make your own soaps, shampoos, hand sanitizers
- Learning a new dance
- Watch travel-related movies
- Learn a new language
- Improve your phone photography skills
- Learn a new skill
- Bartend and recreate delicious drinks from around the world
- Listening to travel podcasts
- Plan about traveling for the future
- Virtual Museum Tours & Tourist Attractions
- Have a Pajama Day
- Start a kitchen garden
- Write a Travel Book or Guide
- Pin your trips on a world map or scratch them
- Cook Your Way Around the World
- Create a scrapbook from recent trips
- Take an art class on Facebook Live from a local studio
- Create an online yoga routine
- Create a Photo Mosaic
How to Plan a Staycation at Home
Cultural activities during a staycation at home
Staying home offers an endless array of opportunities to explore the rich cultural heritage of our planet from your couch.
Have you ever thought of going to New York, enjoying a performance at the Metropolitan Opera? Instead of traveling, you can watch a live HD opera for free on streaming.
But the Met Opera is not the only musical institution to offer free concerts. The Philharmonic Berlin, through the Digital Concert Hall, offers for free more than 600 performances.
Moreover, the list of classical music organizations that have made their streamed archive free for all is more extended, including London, Wien, Budapest, only to cite a few.
Similarly, many amazing museums offer virtual tours.
- Among them, the Vatican Museums let you enter inside all its collections, included the Sistine Chapel and Raphel’s Rooms.
- Also, the Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg in Russia welcomes you inside its buildings. Here you can discover art treasures by Leonardo, Matiss, Rubens, Poussin, only to cite a few masters.
- The Museum of Louvre in Paris only offers three virtual tours of as many areas, but to access them you need to download Flash on your pc.
- If you enjoy archeological heritage, it is possible to virtually tour the Acropolis in Athens and its most prominent monuments or to use Google Street View to roam among the ruins of Pompeii.
Federica Provolenti – A Stroll around the world
Reading travel books
Looking for an activity that will make you travel when you’re at home? Reading travel books is the perfect escape! You can learn so much from books especially if you have a certain interest in discovering and understanding other cultures.
Some authors are just wonderfully talented and manage to describe places in a way that will make you feel as if you were right there. That’s the case of Bill Bryson for example. He wrote many books about the USA, the UK, Australia or even Europe. My all time favorite is Down Under. It’s the perfect combination between factual statements and humor.
If you want something to brighten your day and make you laugh out loud, A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke will be ideal. This novel tells you the story of Paul West, an English man who moved to Paris. You will discover some amazingly funny facts about Paris and French culture.
There are all sorts of travel books out there. Memoirs, novels, adventure tales… And about every single country in the world. No matter what you are into, you will find the perfect fit.
Reading is a beautiful way to escape and travel even when we can’t. It also makes your future travels better and you will find yourself wanting to go to places you have never wanted to go to before.
Pauline – BeeLoved City
Maybe you are one of those who filled diaries and diaries since they were little.
You might like to draw or sketch while talking on the phone with your acquaintances. Or perhaps you are the kind that has several agendas full of plans and to-do lists.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t really matter what kind of writer or artist you are as long as you appreciate the art of sliding a pen or pencil on paper because if you are one of them, chances are you might love journaling too. Especially during a staycation at home like the one you may be in right now.
Forget about making it perfect (Instagram has done a lot of damage in this field) and simply dedicate five or ten minutes a day – at least – to record on paper what is going through your mind at the time. And don’t let a day go by without writing or drawing something. Here are some journal ideas to get you started.
Sooner than you imagine, you will adore that precious time for yourself and look forward to it. So therapeutic can it be.Enjoy.
Inma & Jose – A World to Travel
Organize your travel photos
Use this time to organize the hundreds of photos in your phone, on your computer, and in boxes around your house. You can relive your old vacations in the process!
For digital photos, start by transferring them to your computer or tablet so you can easily work with them. Create folders for each vacation, event, or category, and “file” photos accordingly. This is a great time to delete the 12 extra shots of the same scene you took in hopes of getting the perfect picture! You can use the images to create online albums or even fun videos to highlight the best photos from your vacations. If you want printed copies of some of your pictures, use a photo-printing service to download them.
For photos that you already have in hard copy, take them out of those envelopes and shoeboxes, organize them, and put them somewhere you can actually see them, whether it’s in photo albums, scrap books, or frames.
Whatever you do with your photos, find a way to label them with as much information as possible about the date and location while you still remember!
By going through and organizing your old photos, you can relive your great memories from past vacations. Who knows, you might even develop a system that will keep your photos organized in real time so that you don’t wait until the next time you’re homebound to go through them!
Stephanie Montague – Poppin’ Smoke
Playing board games
One of the best things to do while staying at home during the current situation if you want to escape to another world is to start playing some board games.
Board games are a great activity, whether you are living with children or with friends as there are different styles of games to suit all ages and interests! Even if you’re living by yourself, there are plenty of board games that you can enjoy online and play with other people from all over the world.
If you’re looking for a mental challenge or an educational board game, consider playing (or even learning!) classics such as Chess, Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit.
If you’re self-isolating with a group of friends and want to have some fun while enjoying a few drinks, then consider trying a popular hidden identity game such as Coup, Codenames or Bang! The Dice. Alternatively, if you have a family and want some games to help pass the time then consider a long game of Monopoly, Risk or The Game of Life.
Whichever game you choose, board games are a great way to enjoy the extra time you have at home and not get seduced by watching countless hours of TV instead.
Michael – Games Like this One
Learn how to make your own soaps, shampoos, hand sanitizers
These are crazy times, we all know. But these crazy times also offer a good occasion to acknowledge what’s really important to us. I’m talking about learning, self-improving; spending more quality time with our friends and our family; changing our habits to be more kind towards people and towards the environment.
One thing that had been on my mind for years and I got to do only now is to learn how to make my own soaps. And yet, we don’t need a pandemic to all start making our own soaps. It’s a very good way to use less plastic and chemicals, and therefore reduce our impact on the environment.
So off I go, looking for recipes to make shampoo, soap and washing-up liquid. There’s a lot of tutorials online, and I quickly realize how easy most of them are to prepare. I quickly move further to include air fresheners, bugs repellents, even natural remedies.
I buy the ingredients in bulk online, so I’m saving a lot of money compared to buying ready-made products. I really wonder why I didn’t make the switch earlier! It would have been incredibly convenient to have a homemade soap on my last backpacking trip to Bolivia.
Recently, I started making my own hand sanitizer. It’s very handy right now (see what I did there?). Just mix rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel and a bit of oil/glycerin in the right proportions. Add in an essential oil to give a nice smell – and there you are!
Anna & Anthony – Green Mochila
Learning a new dance
A staycation at home can be a wonderful thing? Why? Because finally you get the time to do all the things that you always wanted to do… but you never had the time to do so!
Indeed, in our daily grind, we often postpone things we’d like to do under the excuse that there is no time. And then we depart on vacation and we get busy with sightseeing. Thus, there is not really time to dedicate you to the thing that you’d actually like to do.
That’s where staycations come in!
A great thing to do during a staycation at home is learning a new dance. You don’t even have to leave your house for this! Indeed, there are plenty of Youtube videos that are teaching you the steps of almost every dance style in the world.
If you want to make it more social, invite some friends over or do a skype group call so that everybody can dance together. It’s also a great motivation to share your progress with your beloved ones.
Along with reading staycation quotes, learning a new dance with Youtube tutorials is one of my favorite things to do during a staycation at home.
Paulina – Paulina on the Road
One of the best methods to travel without stepping outside your door is indulging in Netflix & Chill-and I mean that in the most literal of ways. Be it a travel-related movie, a foreign documentary, or a historical drama, there are many films that can help us wander abroad.
Here are a few movies that may help with your wanderlust:
- Seven Years in Tibet: A historical movie based on the life of Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, who escaped from a British internment camp in India to Tibet, and eventually became the teacher of the14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. This epic captures the beauty and wonders of Lhasa, and stars Brat Pitt!
- Under the Tuscan Sun: If you are a romantic like me, Under the Tuscan Sun will be perfect. This memoir-based movie has a bit of romance, a bit of comedy, and lots of character-development with the backdrop of Italy’s beautiful skyline. Every time after I watch Diane Lane’s character drag her suitcase through the front door of her newly-purchased ancient-looking country house in Tuscany, I have the immense desire of moving out to Italy myself. Even if you don’t can’t go on a 15-day trip to Italy, you can still experience a touch of its glamour through this film.
- Baraka: One of my all-time favorite documentaries. It’s an absolute masterpiece that captures the similarities and differences between various cultures, timelines, and people. This film will surely trigger your wanderlust and leave you longing for the serenity of mountains afar.
2020 hasn’t been exactly off to a great start. For those that are self-isolating at home, you can still travel through other means!
Daisy – Beyond my Border
Learn a new language
If you have a good connection to the internet and a smartphone you can use this solo time to make something really productive like learning or improving a language.
This can help you to connect with a new destination or with a past destination you’re looking forward to visiting again.
Nowadays, technology is on your side and with the help of some apps like Duolingo, Babbel or Memrise you can get to know the basics of a new language and start to plan how you ‘re gonna interact with locals in your next holidays.
- If you’re looking to have a glance of the language, you can use Memrise. This app focuses on local expressions and slang, it can be quite useful because you have videos of locals speaking and recreating some typical phrases.
- If you prefer to learn multiple languages at the time, Duolingo is a great app for that. You can easily swap from one language to another. Also the whole experience feels almost like a game, you have to match things with words and complete unfinished words.
- In case you decide to learn in an old-school kind of way, for that you have Babbel. The way the app is developed gives you the impression of being in an online course. Besides that, as in Memrise, you can also hear some locals speaking the language and putting the phrases you just learnt in practice.
Besides the app you choose, the most important thing is that you can do something productive that can make you like traveling without moving from your bed.
Laura – Laura No Está
Improve your phone photography skills
One of the projects I’m committed to while self-isolating–improving my phone photography skills, because let’s face it, that’s the camera we always have with us when traveling. I have a new iPhone 11 and the camera caused me some grief when I was on a trip last month.
There’s nothing worse than missing a great shot because you don’t know how to use your camera!
I’m not going to tell you how to use your phone because not everyone is not going to have the same phone and there are plenty of YouTube videos to help with that. I’m here to provide some fresh inspiration and ideas.
Here are my top 3 tips for improving your phone photography so when you can travel again, you’ll slay it!
- Pick one subject and photograph it from every angle possible. Get to know your subject; move it around if need be. Try lying down and looking up at it. You can do this with people too; find their best angle.
- Try to make something mundane look different. It could be a doorknob, an appliance, a magnet on your refrigerator. Zoom in. Zoom out. What do you see?
- Play with creating vignettes and then photographing them. Maybe even try to copy a famous master painting and put your own spin on it.
My #1 tip, enjoy the process. Find Penny perfecting her travel photography skills on her blog Adventures of a Carry-on.
Penny Sadler – Adventures of a Carry-On
Learn a new skill
Staycations can be just as fun and exciting as traveling away from home! The key to everyday adventures is your mindset!
A successful staycation at home means doing things that you don’t do in your normal everyday routine. Get outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself!
That lesson you never had time to fit into your schedule…well now is the time! Schedule time into your staycation to learn a new skill just like you might sign up for a cooking class while touring Italy. Whether you’ve always wanted to learn hand lettering, cake decorating, or photography, sign up for classes during your staycation at home.
Companies like Skillshare, Teachable, and Masterclass all offer online tutorial classes ranging from $.99 to $15 per month. Have a tight budget for your staycation? There are thousands of tutorials for free on YouTube and IGTV! So dig that old guitar out of your closet or dig through your craft cabinet for some paint brushes and get started learning that skill now!
Julie Thorne – More Than Main Street
Bartend and recreate delicious drinks from around the world
At 10 a.m., with a hurricane glass in hand, I joked with my partner in a comedic drawl, “There are no rules in these parts.” It was day five of self-isolation and we were in desperate need of some comedic relief.
Many of us joke that an airport is also a place with no rules. Grabbing a mid-morning martini or margarita before your flight is encouraged, so the same mentality applies to us while self-isolating.
I decided that on day five of self-isolation, I was going to recreate a piña colada recipe I had during my adventurous jaunt through Puerto Rico. It wasn’t just the coconut rum that gave me a rush, but it was the thrill of relieving my memory of bumming it on the beach within the confines of my living room. Before I knew it, I was sipping my way around the globe. Suddenly, finding relaxation wasn’t as hard.
Martha – Quirky Globetrotter
Listening to travel podcasts
Listening to travel podcasts can be a great way to explore new places right from your own home. I find that it engages my brain more than watching travel videos or documentaries because I have to use my imagination to envision the destination in my mind rather than seeing everything on a screen.
Podcasts are also handy because you can listen to them while you’re doing other things, like cooking, washing the dishes or even exercising.
Amateur Traveler is a good one to start with, simply because it has been around for a very long time and has covered just about every corner of the globe. If there’s a particular place that you want to know about, there’s a good chance that you’ll find an episode about it in Amateur Traveler’s back catalog of nearly 700 episodes and counting.
And if you have a more specialized interest in a particular travel niche, you’ll probably find someone who has made a podcast about that as well. For example, as a vegan traveler, I love listening to the World Vegan Travel podcast.
For couples’ travel, I recommend the Extra Pack of Peanuts podcast, and for family travel, you could check out Yellow Van Travel or Join Our Vida Loca.
Wendy – The Nomadic Vegan
Plan about traveling for the future
One of the best things to do at home when at a time when you can’t travel is to actually plan a trip, because you will have all the time in the world to sit around, browse many websites and study your itinerary this is the time to do it!
Although you may have no real prospect of when the trip is going to happen, if you know where you want to go next, you should start putting together an itinerary.
What you need to do once you have the destination is set yourself a budget and an amount of time. With that in mind, decide which places you want to visit, and for each of them the attractions you don’t want to miss. Place them against the number of days you want to travel and see if it is feasible – I recommend not packing your itinerary too much as it will blow your budget and force you to rush from one place to the other.
Start getting an idea of the prices of attractions by looking at sites such as Get Your Guide or Viator – you can even book attractions and tours, counting on the very flexible cancellation policies.
You can even research the places to stay – chances are that by the time you are ready to book prices will have changed, but you may want to jot down a few names for when you finally will be able to book your hotel.
Claudia Tavani – My Adventures Across The World
Virtual Museum Tours & Tourist Attractions
Escaping to the countryside is neither a safe nor a responsible option for a change of scenery. Luckily, the Internet is stepping up and provides many ways in which we can venture beyond our own four walls.
One of my favorite things to do these days is to go on virtual museum tours or watch walkthrough videos from tourist attractions around the world. From The Louvre in Paris which offers free online tours to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City – many museums make their collections and special exhibitions virtually accessible.
Even NASA offers virtual tours through their research centers and you can try augmented reality experiences via their app.
But museums are not the only attractions that open their virtual doors to armchair visitors. Many zoos and aquariums like Edinburgh Zoo or Monterey Bay Aquarium, US National Parks such as Yosemite and other tourist sites like the Great Wall of China provide online tours or web cams to give people a sense of being there.
In Scotland, where I live, a local festival called Doors Open Days has created a Digital Doors Open page that lists virtual tours and 360 videos from tourist attractions and heritage sites all over Scotland.
Whether you had to cancel a trip or you’re just sad about not being able to plan future adventures, virtual museum and attractions tours are the next best thing.
Kathi – Watch Me See
Have a Pajama Day
One of the hardest things about a staycation is that it’s hard to resist doing laundry, tackling that list of home improvement projects and checking in with work. The answer to that for our family is Pajama Day.
It’s the day we designate for being incredibly, pointedly lazy and not feeling a bit guilty about it.
The day begins with sleeping in and not getting dressed, other than maybe a pair of cozy socks. Pajama Day activities can include bubble baths, DIY mani-pedis, facials, naps, reading, playing board games and binge-watching movies. We have breakfast for dinner, because who doesn’t want to eat pancakes for dinner?
If we’re feeling ambitious we might make kasierschmarm, Bavarian comfort food that consists of fluffy pancakes cut into pieces and topped with powdered sugar, plum sauce or jam and whipped cream. If we’re feeling especially lazy we just order take-out.
You can read more staycation tips for families on FamiliesGo!
Eileen Gunn – Families Go!
Start a kitchen garden
Staying at home quarantine is tough when you love to travel, go out and try new things and eat new foods but that shouldn’t restrict you in times of self quarantine.
I’ve actually started a kitchen garden here in Hawaii first to help with growing things that aren’t always fresh and available here on the island but also save on cost which is very expensive here for a few veggies or fresh fruits.
Even better is spending time outdoors and getting your hands dirty with fresh dirt and planting seeds or seedlings into the ground and see progress and growth from your own doing. It’s a fantastic feeling to go out every morning to see what is new happening in the garden, watering, fertilizing and yes getting rid of unwanted slugs and insects starting to create havoc in the garden.
It’s also fun to experiment and grow foods that are not readily available and can be used to making dishes of places I’ve visited and explored in the past. I’m planning on using the harvest to make delicious foods fresh from the garden and trying new recipes of favorite dishes I’ve had from all my travels.
Noel Morata – Travel Photo Discovery
Write a Travel Book or Guide
If you find yourself in quarantine at home unable to make travel plans and quickly running out of ideas. Why not try publishing your own travel book?
There are thousands of people who are still looking to learn from a first-hand travel experience. After doing solo travel, backpacking and spending one week in Colombia getting to know the Caribbean coast, I’m going to be transferring all my best tips and recommendations into online book format.
You could try creating short travel books and guides describing what you’ve learned from your previous travels. Self-publishing platforms such as Amazon make the process simpler than ever for travel writers to get their content out to the masses.
Maybe you can’t stop daydreaming about the day trip you went on last year, or, you have special knowledge of a particular place.
If you frequently write about travel, why not collate some of your top-performing articles and re-purpose them into a book format?
Depending on how you decide to promote your latest book or guide, it may not just give you an extra income stream, but a brand new medium to create travel content for during and after your staycation at home.
Daniel James – Layer Culture
Pin your trips on a world map or scratch them
What’s better than dreaming about travels while being at home? We can’t imagine anything better, to be honest.
Hence, we spend our time during these days finally getting our scratch map out of its frame and scratching all the countries that we have been to in the past couple of years.
It’s a perfect opportunity to travel back in time, to think about the beaches we have lied on, the oceans we have swam in and the road trips we took. Usually one country we scratch ends up in half an hour of talks about why this country has been amazing. It’s a great way to get this travel smile back in the face. Don’t you think?
Also, you could easily just buy a new scratch map and use it to plan upcoming trips – even though this might take some time. But you could spend an evening scratching off countries and think about what you could do when traveling to them.
Have you always wanted to travel to Chile? Perfect, find it on your map and scratch it. Have a look at the countries surrounding Chile – wouldn’t it be amazing to go on a longer trip and travel to those countries too?
Trust us, we miss traveling as much as you do, but doing this gives us at least a little feeling of the sun shining on our noses or of salty skin after a day on the beach.
Clemens – Travellers Archive
Cook Your Way Around the World
One of the best ways to have a vacation at home is by delving into diverse international cuisines. When travelling, one of the first things I do to immerse myself into a new culture is try the local food.
Luckily there are 1000s of recipes online that can give you that same exposure to a new and foreign land, all from the comfort of your home.
Cooking faraway cuisines at home will make meals that much more exciting, and serve as a great way to learn about new ingredients, and cooking techniques whilst educating yourself, and friends and families about other cultures.
I recommend “Around the World in 80 Dishes: Classic Recipes from the World’s Favourite Chefs”. The book follows in the steps of Phileas Fogg on his journey to the four corners of the world, and collates recipes from chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Heston Blumenthal and Atul Kochhar. As well as beautiful food photography, each recipe comes with an interesting little anecdote that transports you straight to the destination, a great way to learn new recipes and “travel” at the same time!
Roshni – The Wanderlust Within
Create a scrapbook from recent trips
My favorite staycation idea is creating a scrapbook from my recent trips. This is something that I love doing but never get the time. Browsing through my travel photos take me back to the places I’ve been to and remind me how awesome they were. It also makes me appreciate all the beautiful and funny travel experiences I’ve had.
All you need for this is a blank page scrapbook which you can get from Amazon, glue and a pen. You can go artier adding drawings, stickers and whatever else you feel like or simply stick to photos and comments.
I also tend to keep all the pretty entrance tickets to different attractions, maps and bus tickets. I cut up maps and use them as a background or draw on them to show which places I’ve visited on my trip.
And last but certainly not least, I fill my scrapbook with short comments about incredible or funny things that happened to me during my trip. I include things like: forgetting a visa on a solo trip to Myanmar, queuing 3 hours to get an awesome Instagram worthy shot at the Gates of Heaven in Bali and partying with newly met Irish couple until dawn in Boracay.
Mal Hellyer – Raw Mal Roams
Take an art class on Facebook Live from a local studio
While my kids are doing distance learning in the mornings, they are usually done right around lunchtime. This means that I could either send them off into device land and let them binge-watch shows, play Xbox, or venture into YouTube or do something productive.
I have chosen the productive route and decided to take an art class offered by a local studio on Facebook Live.
My kids are 12 and 10, and both enjoy drawing but aren’t particularly “great” at it. I am not an artist myself but wanted a challenge and try something new. This art class happens every afternoon at 1 PM and is usually some type of animal or landscape image.
We usually pause along the way to fix mistakes or adjust lines, but so far, we have enjoyed the class. We laugh and we get frustrated, but after it is finished, we take pictures of our art and send it to our family.
It has become part of our new afternoon routine, and am trying to stay positive and thankful for this pause from hectic schedules and sports practices. Learning this new skill has been calming and helped us bond just a little bit more.
Margie DQ – DQ Family Travel
Looking for more staycation at home ideas for kids? Check out these activities for inspiring wanderlust in young children.
Create an online yoga routine
Under the current stay-at-home conditions, we can’t even go to a yoga class so, take a yoga class online using your favorite smart device. It’s the next best thing. I tried the first class of a 30-day series. Then I tied the next day and now it looks like I’ll probably finish the entire series. I hope.
To make it more interesting, I get my iPad and set it for the class but without starting it. Then I get my iPhone and start playing some soft, mystical yoga music. Finally, I lite 2 incense sticks and wait till the room starts smelling nice. I like lavender. It’s supposed to be relaxing. Then and only then will I start the yoga video.
I go through the set- its about 30 minutes – and I actually feel better later. It’s a good way to spend some self-love time as long as you’re stuck self-isolating.
Talek Nantes – Travels With Talek
Create a Photo Mosaic
Photo mosaics are a great way to mindfully pass the time while taking a staycation at home.
What is a photo mosaic? It’s a photo recreated using dozens of tiny photos.
Here are some ideas for how to turn a photo mosaic project into a proper staycation at home:
First, think back on your favorite travel memory of the past year. Review your digital photo albums to find the perfect picture that captures that memory. Close-ups of people work really well. Avoid photos that have a lot of fine grained detail that is hard to reproduce.
Next, select at least 50 of your best photos from that trip. Better yet, pick a selection of top photos from each of the trips you’ve taken in the last year. You could even go all-in and select one photo from every trip you’ve ever taken!
The goal of this staycation at home exercise is to reminisce about your previous travels while creating a digital work of art. This is armchair travel at its finest!
With your shortlist of curated photos in hand, select an online photo mosaic service to put it all together. I recommend EasyMoza based on my personal experience. Follow the simple web dialog in EasyMoza to upload the main photo followed by supporting tile photos. EazyMoza offers Instagram integration for those who prefer to select the tile photos from an Instagram feed rather than curating them manually.
Online services will typically charge for a high res print-out or an infinitely zoomable version of your photo mosaic.
Jennifer P. (aka Dr. J) – Sidewalk Safari
Do you want to share other staycation ideas? Share your armchair travel ideas in the comments below and I will add them to the post!
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