Best Things To Do At Home When You Can’t Travel

cover image for best things to do at home

You’ve just returned home from a life-changing backpacking experience or epic bucket list adventure and your wallet is empty. You have no more vacation days left anyway but you just can’t stop thinking about your next destination. If you’re wondering what to do next then don’t worry. I’ve come up with this list of the best things to do at home when you can’t travel just for you guys.

Let’s face it, not everyone gets to travel the world full-time. Not even me, unfortunately (sighs!) Those of us who work full-time or can’t afford to travel at the moment will spend most of our days at home. In the UK, we are given around 20-odd days vacation which isn’t really enough for a 3-month backpacking trip around South America!

Now that I’m a little older and wiser (don’t laugh) I enjoy the downtime a lot more. You may feel a little down at first but it won’t take you long to snap back to reality (whoop there goes gravity.) Even if you do just one of these activities it won’t be long before you forget those post-travel blues.

Explore Your Own Country

Jeff and Zuzi walk across a stone beach in front of Lindisfarne Castle

I often meet people from countries who tell me that I’ve seen more of their home than they have. I was also guilty of not exploring my own country and preferred to get as far away as possible.

I’ve learnt that it doesn’t matter where you’re from or where live, there is always something to see or do. Whether it’s a city to explore or a mountain to climb, you’ll find that you’ll soon start to travel your own country with the same mentality as if you were going abroad.

The best thing about it is that you can do it with friends from home, in your own car and (quite likely) without having to take time off work or spending a lot of money.

Organise Your Travel Photos & Videos

Image of several black and white photos

Who posts their best photos/videos onto their socials and then completely disregards the rest of their treasured memories? That’s right! We all do!

I’m guilty as anyone when it comes to media file organisation. I’m in the habit of backing up all my photos and videos to an external hard drive or the cloud and saying “done”. I have gigabytes of media stored somewhere but have never sifted through it all properly.

I do, however, have my media organised in folders by year and country and which camera (iPhone/GoPro). If you do nothing else than this then you’re already on your way to becoming better organised with your memories.

Cook Your Favourite Dish From A Trip

image of asian food

One of the many reasons people love to travel is to experience the delicious cuisine from those countries. Local dishes, exotic beers and even weird and wonderful ‘ingredients’.

What better way to replicate that at home than learning how to cook those dishes at home? There are literally thousands of recipes online and I guarantee you’ll find your favourite dish. I’ve already tried making pad thai, pho, tacos and different curries to name a few.

Decorate your table with a few of your favourite souvenirs from said country and viola!

Tip | If cooking isn’t for you then you should try and eat out at an authentic restaurant like Italian or Nepalese!

Take A Virtual Tour

image of the Taj Mahal
Credit: Google Arts & Culture

If you can’t go to your dream destination, then why not bring your dream destination to you?

Virtual tours are a great way to explore a country or site without leaving the comfort of your sofa. It’s also a great way to get a feel for a place you plan to visit. Many of the top tourist sites in the world already have virtual tours on their websites.

For an even more realistic experience, you can try one of the many virtual reality headsets for a truly immersive tour!

Read More | The Best Virtual Tours From Around The World

Learn A New Language

A selection of books with different language titles on them

Want to impress the locals and make friends on your future epic adventure? Then you’ll definitely want to learn a few choice words in the local language.

We all know that learning a new language takes some serious skill and dedication. I studied French at high school for 5 years and they still couldn’t understand me when I said bonjour! It may be my British accent?

Making the effort to learn the basics will get you a lot further than expecting the locals to speak your language. If nothing else, they will respect that you gave it a go!

Start A New Hobby

Image of a man strumming a guitar

Hobbies are an excellent way to fill the time when you’re at home. I’d go as far as saying that everyone needs to have a hobby! Are you really going to just sit there and be sad that you can’t travel till next month/year/century?

If you don’t have any then now is the time to have/learn one. Start learning a musical instrument or do some home yoga workouts on YouTube. Get creative and cook or write and if you already have a hobby or two then now is time to get really good at it!

Still unsure? Then pick one from this post!

Help Others In Need

Image of a pair of hands holding out look change with a note saying make a change

Volunteering is an excellent use of your time and highly rewarding. Don’t think of it as working for free but as a great way to meet people and make a difference in your community. There are many opportunities to either put your skills to use or even learn new skills.

Identify what kind of volunteer placement you’d like to be involved in and then contact the charity or organisation. If you love animals you could contact your local animal shelter and see if they need dog walkers or assistants. If animals aren’t for you then why not try a local charity shop or offer to help the elderly or disabled?

The chance to help others may even lead to a volunteering trip abroad in the future.

Immerse Yourself In A Travel Book

Image of a book with coffee

I have to admit that I’ve not read a book for a good few years. There’s nothing quite like reading a book where the story is based in a country you’ve visited or even in currently!

Imagine reading The Beach while on a beach in Thailand or finishing Shantaram before heading off to India. Books can take us anywhere in the world, without even leaving the house! And while a physical copy is still a popular choice you can now read books on your tablet, Kindle or even smartphone if you’ve got one big enough.

With features like inbuilt dictionaries and adjustable screen brightness, you might not miss the feel of paper as much as you think. Plus it’s cheaper to download an ebook and think of all the trees you’ll save (maybe not just you alone?)

Watch A Travel Movie Or Show

A laptop is open with Columbia written across the screen

How many of you searched online for flights to New Zealand after watching The Lord Of The Rings trilogy? Or ordered thousands of balloons so you could tie them to your house in Disney’s Up? That last one might’ve been just me!

It’s easy to transport yourself to a place through a good travel movie or show and there are endless choices on platforms like Netflix. Just like a good book, a travel movie can inspire you and take you to locations around the world without having to leave your home.

When the time does come for you to travel, just think how much cooler it will be to step foot in the real King’s Landing in Dubrovnik. Or to shout “are you not entertained?” when you stand in the middle of the Colosseum in Rome!

Read A Travel Blog

Open laptop with coffee and notepad on the table

There are so many travel blogs out there to help you fill that void. You’re reading an awesome one right now in fact!

Travel blogs are a great source of information to help inspire you or to help you plan a future trip. The best thing about these blogs is that they’re written by people who have been there and done that.

Have a search through the internet and see which blog appeals to you the most. Each blogger has their own style and their own way of travelling. For example, I don’t read luxury travel blogs because the blogger’s handbag is worth more than my year’s salary!

Take A Course And Learn A New Skill

Image showing many people in diving gear on a beach ready to get into the water

One of the best ways to spend your money is by investing in yourself (if you can’t spend in on travelling, of course!) Take a course and learn a new skill that may or may not be useful on a future trip, but still could be useful to you in life.

A good example is diving – maybe you’d like to dive the Great Barrier Reef one day in the future? Then you’ll need to be PADI certified for that. Or you could take a Bear Grylls type survival camp. I’m not saying drink your own urine and eat wriggling insects but you may learn a few useful skills.

Save Money For That Dream Trip

Image showing a Piggy bank on the grass with Euros sticking out the top

This is an obvious one and probably one of the main reason why you’re stuck at home right now!

If you’re really serious about travel, whatever the cost, then material things are the first thing to go from your spending. You don’t need the latest Italian designer dress or that TV that barely fits on your wall. Pick up extra shifts at work, make your own meals and skip that daily $4 take-out coffee!

Get into the mindset of a budget traveller and make your money last longer. Learn to live more frugally and you’ll reach your goal even quicker!

Get Licensed For Your Next Road Trip

Jeff is on a motorcycle in Myanmar

This may be me putting my grown-up hat on but getting licensed is one of the best ways to enjoy your trip safely and responsibly.

I’m talking about your driver’s license. Most of you might already have a car license but I bet you already have plans to ride a scooter around SE Asia? If you don’t want to end up in bandages, like most of the tourists I see around Asia, then get a motorcycle license or at least some basic training.

You should also check to see if you will need an International Driver’s Permit. You’ll soon learn that having the correct license will open up a whole range of vehicles for you to take on your next road trip.

Start Planning Your Next Adventure

Image of a world map with a magnifying glass, photograph and other items on top

After all is said and done, the thing you want to do most when you can’t travel is… travel!

Planning your next trip, whether it be a few months or even years away, is one of the most satisfying things you can do! Researching the best things to do or the prices of hotels for your future trip is a great way to start looking forwards and getting to know your destination.

You can also learn how to budget or plan your trip. Find the best travel apps to get the best prices on flights/hotels or the best time to visit your chosen destination.

Save the websites to your bookmarks but remember, the travel industry moves fast and that best restaurant in ‘X’ may not exist anymore so keep yourself up to date!

Who Knew That Being Stuck At Home Was So Great?

With all these things you can do at home, you’ll soon be forgetting about that thing called ‘travel’!

Well, maybe not but you can’t spend all your time dreaming about travelling! Put that time into good use and make yourself a better cook, photographer or driver. The more you learn the more you will benefit and enjoy the time you’re at home.

I’ve been in that situation too many times but the difference now is that I know how to use my time well. While I wish I could be on the road forever I’m never ever bored at home. It’s a great chance to see my friends, learn new skills and just enjoy myself in general.

Take the time to be creative and you’ll see that being at home isn’t as bad as you imagined.

I think you’ll agree that these are the best things to do at home when you can’t travel! If you have any questions about something that I may not have covered then feel free to get in contact. Or just let me know in the comments below.

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