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We love exploring the world, but with social distancing due to the coronavirus right now, we had to find a way to travel without leaving home. Here are more than a dozen ideas to curb your wanderlust when you’re confined to your own house.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions expressed are our own. 

Travel without leaving home with The Chef and The Dish

There’s a reason this tops our list of brilliant ways to travel without leaving home. The Chef and The Dish will skype a chef from a different place right into your kitchen to give you a lesson on preparing food from their home region. We learned to make Strawberry Risotto with Chef Paola in Milan, Italy, and Spanish Paella with Chef Ana from Spain. (Yes, we’ve lost weight since this photo was taken. To see how much, CLICK HERE.) 

The chef & the dish with Postcard Jar travel blog

In these private cooking classes, we learned all about the history of the dishes and the cultures that created them. In the process, we got step-by-step coaching and cooking tips from the chef who cooked alongside us from her own kitchen. We especially loved that we could ask all the questions we wanted because it was just us and the chef. The Chef and the Dish is a great opportunity to reinvent a night (or a week or month) in! 

Creep a travel blogger’s social media account

Where better to go for wanderlust inspiration than a travel blogger? The folks we know in the blogging world have worked hard to create entertaining and informative accounts that will give you a peek into the places they’ve been and you may want to go someday. Find a new travel blogger or two and scroll through their social media accounts to get travel inspiration for future trips. Be sure to also check out their highlight buttons on Instagram. 

travel bloggers Steve and Ann Teget of postcard jar

You know your interests. To find some new bloggers to follow just search for key phrases like:

  • Cruise travel
  • Couples travel
  • Girls trips
  • Midlife travel
  • Singles travel
  • Adventure travel
  • Outdoor travel
  • RV travel
  • You get the idea

Of course, you can follow all our adventures @postcardjar on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.


brilliant ways to travel without leaving home

Visit a local, state, or national park

This one does require a little travel, but remember social distancing can still take place outside, as well. It’s important to get out and see a little bit of the world if you can, and local parks are great places to do that. The photo below is from our first-ever trip to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. See, no one else around! 

Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota

Whether you spend time strolling the paths of a city park, or head out for a hike at a nearby state or national park, there is beauty to be found in nature. Be sure to plan ahead and purchase the state or national park permits you’ll need before you go. 

Travel without leaving home with a virtual museum tour

By now, you’ve most likely explored cities via Google Maps’ street-view camera. But did you know you can actually tour art museums on Google? We visited the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy, a few years ago. But we can still tour it virtually today without fighting the crowds, waiting in line, or even paying admission. 

uffizi gallery in Florence

In fact, you can also view thousands of works of art–all from your own home. You can also go to places like the pyramids in Egypt and even the Taj Mahal! Click [HERE] to go to the website and start exploring. It’s really pretty cool.

Organize your travel photos

If you’re like us, you have dozens thousands of vacation photos both in bins and on your phone or computer. Now is a perfect time to gather up your travel photographs and get them organized. We loved seeing this photo below and remembering the incredible time we had in Italy with Deb from Italy Unfiltered and her husband, Massi the Driver

Deb and Massi were so much fun to be around and we will likely be lifelong friends.

Select your favorites and send your digital files to an online printer or make a photo book. Group your printed photographs by vacation, year, or destination. Most importantly, take time to remember and reminisce about each travel experience. And when you are ready to plan a trip to Italy – be sure to contact Deb and Massi

Create or update your travel bucket list

So where do you want to go? You have some extra time, so start putting pen to paper and decide on your next destinations and turn those dream “someday” trips into goals. Need help getting started? Check out our friend Bill Clevlen’s book, 100 Things To Do In America Before You Die. 

travel bucket list

Then, hang your bucket list somewhere that you’ll see it regularly. This will help keep you focused to make “someday” come. 

Read a fiction book about a destination

Reading is a great way to explore the world from the comfort of your own living room chair. A fiction book set in a destination that interests you is a wonderful way to explore that place through the eyes of the main character. Authors extensively research these places and work to make the story as authentic as possible. 

There are literally thousands and thousands of books available for download from the internet, and you can use these to help whet your appetite for your next trip. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Dan Brown’s books starring Professor Robert Langdon will take you on a suspense-filled journey through symbolism and art history in modern-day Europe.
  • Prepare for your visit to the Eternal City with Colleen McCullough’s First Man in Rome series. She’ll transport you to the streets of Ancient Rome and will bring them to life with her vivid, detailed descriptions.
  • Have you always wanted to visit the Florida Keys? Tom Corcoran has some mysteries recommended by Steve’s Dad–the first in the series is The Mango Opera.
  • Anything by Bill Bryson. Seriously. He always chooses the exact, right word.

Travel without leaving home by exploring your own city/area

Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t leave your house, so hop in the car and drive around your own city or town. A couple years ago we finally stopped at a wildlife safari near Omaha, Nebraska, we’d driven past for years. 

Often we get so consumed with our lives that we don’t notice how things are changing, so go for a ride and reacquaint yourself with your town and area. See what’s new, and see if there have been any changes. Sometimes exploring near home can be eye-opening!

Celebrate every day

Last summer on our trip to North Dakota, we met National Day Calendar Founder Marlo Anderson. It didn’t take long for him to convince us to celebrate every day like National Barbecue Day on May 16. (We celebrated this one a last fall in Kansas City, Kansas, at Rosedale Bar-B-Q.) 

Rosedale Bar-b-que Kansas City Kansas

Sign up for daily email reminders on the National Day Calendar website. Then find ways to celebrate days like National Virtual Vacation Day (March 30), National Beer Day (April 7), and National Roadtrip Day (Friday before Memorial Day).  

Cook a dish from a foreign land

One of the things we love most about traveling is tasting new foods and learning how to make new dishes. We learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy and layer a spinach pie in Greece. Now is a perfect time to hone our cooking skills at home. Need a recommendation for a great ethnic cookbook? We were given a complimentary copy of “Famous Dishes from Around the World” last year. This cookbook, filled with gorgeous photos, is a fantastic resource for creating well-known dishes from around the world. 

famous dishes from around the world

“Famous Dishes from Around the World” includes recipes like Moroccan Tagine, Greek Moussaka, Polish Lentil Stew, and Spanish Paella. With background information on each dish, this cookbook honors the vast array of ethnic recipes that have been introduced in America over time by generations of immigrants. 

Create a new travel-related Pinterest board

Pinterest is a great way to gather and collect travel-related ideas. We have a Postcard Jar Pinterest page full of ideas for everything from Midwest destinations, places to visit in Italy, decorating with travel, and packing tips. Follow our boards and make new ones for yourself! 

postcard jar pinterest boards

Travel without leaving home by prepping for your next trip

We have really tried to keep all of our travel essentials organized so we’re not racing around the house like crazy people before a trip. While spending time at home and social distancing, take a little time to gather things you use for travel such as:

  • Luggage scale
  • Toiletries
  • Packing cubes
  • Electronics cords
  • Outlet extenders/converters
  • Camera equipment
  • Passport
  • Towel clips
  • Neck wallet pouch
  • Wrap
  • Waterproof cell phone case
  • Satin pillowcase
  • Hair towel
  • Sunblock

Learn a new language with an on-line class

Steve was a Spanish teacher. Over the years, he’s heard from a number of former students who regret not working harder in class because as adults they wish they knew a second language. Extra time at home opens up that opportunity. 

learn a new language at home

There are a number of on-line programs available including Babbel, Duolingo, and Rosetta Stone. We haven’t used one of these, yet, so don’t know which to endorse, but Steve is really considering learning Italian before our next trip overseas.

Do you have other ideas on how to travel without leaving home? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you and add to our list.

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