How To Keep Wanderlust Alive When You Can’t Travel

As I’m sure everyone is aware, the world right now is a bit of a mess!

Amidst the confusion and stress, it can be a hard time to keep wanderlust alive, especially if you, like me, have had to cancel trips and future plans due to uncertainty and travel bans.

Thankfully, there is a lot of media out there that helps to bring the travel bug into your home! It has never been easier to vicariously live through others if you can’t travel, whether due to the virus or for any other reason.

Over the last few weeks I have been testing out many ways of keeping the travel bug alive!

Here are just a few of the ways that have worked for me:

1) Watch Travel TV Shows

Travel TV is a great way to experience the world through the eyes of professional videographers and, usually in my case, comedians. Whilst it typically isn’t the most authentic experience, it can be a really fun way of getting your travel fix.

To learn more about my favourite Films and TV shows that make me want to travel, check out this blog post!

Some of my favourite travel TV shows are:

Travels With My Father

Available on Netflix

Comedian Jack Whitehall and his father, Michael Whitehall go travelling together to make up for Jack’s lack of a Gap Year.

Travel Man

Available on All 4

Host Richard Ayoade and a celebrity visit some of the most popular cities around the world and explore over the course of 48 hours.

An Idiot Abroad

Available to purchase on Amazon Video

Available on Sky One

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant surprise their ‘close-minded’ friend, Karl Pilkington with a trip around the world. Pilkington has reservations, especially as his friends want him to become “one-with-the-locals”.

2) Rewatch Travel Vlogs / Discover New Travel Vloggers

One of my personal favourite ways to see places around the world through a more authentic lens is via travel vloggers.

Often, though not always, travel vloggers can show you the world in a realistic way that you could also experience. They are doing things on their own dime and not being paid for the sake of TV.

There are 1000s of travel vloggers out there and so, if you’ve already seen everything of interest that your favourites have put out, find another one!

Due to the current situation, there is a limit on new content coming out but that doesn’t mean that old videos can’t be just as good!

Here are some of my favourite travel vloggers right now:

Kara and Nate

Kara and Nate started daily vlogging in 2016 when they decided to go travelling for 1 year as a means of keeping family at home up to date on their travels. 4 years later they are still vlogging and have now reached 1 million subscribers and 100 countries.

I recommend watching their videos from the very start. There are over 700 of them but the early videos are so genuine and authentic it’s hard to dislike them.

Backpacking Bananas

Christianne is a solo backpacker with a focus on scuba diving and genuine experiences. She is such a cheerful person and sees the beauty in every place she goes.

My favourite series’ that Christianne has done are her Philippines videos and her current Colombia series.

Damon and Jo

Damon and Jo are two friends who got bored of “cheesy travel shows” and so started their own instead. They don’t really make videos anymore but their old videos are so fun that I can’t not rewatch them. They each have their own channels that they post on now if you can’t get enough.

I recommend starting on their favourite videos playlist.

3) Plan A Trip

One of my favourite things to do when the travel bug has bit is to plan a trip, regardless of whether it is hypothetical or not!

I am currently planning two trips: one long trip to South America (specifically Colombia, Ecuador and maybe Peru) and shorter, 2 week trip to Eastern Europe. They have really been helping me to keep wanderlust alive and feel hopeful about the future of travel.

When I’m planning a trip I like to compile packing lists, budgets, recommendations of where to go, sleep and eat, itineraries and look at tour groups.

Watch travel vloggers. Read itineraries by bloggers. Star places on google maps and plan your fictional transport between places.

Not only does planning a trip get me excited but it also helps if I am ever able to make these trips. I’ve already done a lot of the planning!

4) Play Geoguessr

Geoguessr is a really fun game that uses Google Earth to drop you almost anywhere in the world.

The aim of the game? Guess where you are.

The full game runs on your web browser for a subscription fee of £2.99 a month however there is a free version where you can play one game a day. You also currently get a 10 day free trial when you sign up/

If you are someone who loves exploring and want to see as much of the world from your living room as possible then this is the game for you! Perhaps you think you know the world inside out at this point? Test your knowledge.

I recommend the game mode ‘A Diverse World’ however there are a tonne of different ones depending on what you are interested in. From Capital Cities only to Country specific games.

Regardless of where you are in your travel journey, Geoguessr is a fun way to see more of the world without having to leave your house.

Check out Geoguessr here! (Not sponsored)

5) Read Books Based Around Travel

As a literature student, I have to find a way to bring books into everything else and why not combine my love of reading with travel?

Now more than ever, we are all spending a lot more time indoors than we are used to which means there is no excuse to not pick up that book you’ve been putting off reading.

Whether it is a travel guide, a fiction book or your favourite travel bloggers free ebook – reading is a great way to be able to envision the world.

Some of my favourite travel related books are:

Around The World In 80 Days by Jules Verne

Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager set by his friends in 1872.

I think this book is so much fun and has such a sense of adventure behind it. There is also a video game based on the book if you want to experience the adventure yourself.

The Dogs of ‘Nam by Christopher Kevin Oldfield

The Dogs of ‘Nam is a collection of short travel stories from over a decade of world travel.

This book is so entertaining and funny. Not only is it true stories of a budget backpacker, which many of us can relate to, but it is so inspiring and fun. This is the kind of book that really makes you want to go out and see the world. I couldn’t put it down.

6) Go On A Virtual Tour

The current situation has left pretty much everyone unable to travel and so tour companies, museums and famous landmarks have put together virtual tours to allow people to experience them and to help keep wanderlust alive in their visitors.

A whole host of museums are offering virtual tours including some exhibitions at The Louvre and the Van Gogh Museum.

Napoleon courtyard of the Louvre museum at night time, with Ieoh Ming Pei’s pyramid in the middle.

Some of the worlds natural wonders are also available to experience online.

You can experience the beauty of Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland or the stunning Namib Desert Dunes in Namibia.

One of my favourite online experiences right now is the ability to experience The Northern Lights through the Lights over Lapland project. They have worked to bring a 5 minute long, 360 degree video tour to anyone who is unable to experience the beauty of the Northern Lights in person.

7) Go on a Walk

Whilst it isn’t necessarily the most exciting adventure, if you are still able to then go out and explore your local area.

Whilst it has to be done safely and within guidelines set for your area, going places you aren’t super familiar and exploring is what travel is all about and a nice walk is a great way to keep wanderlust alive.

Wandering around our local area (my second home of Nottingham) we discovered some actually stunning views in the Park Estate. It is honestly beautiful and we wouldn’t have explored it nearly as much if we weren’t stuck here. We’re making the most of a bad situation to have a bit of a staycation.

That is all of the ways that I have been keeping busy and trying to keep wanderlust alive whilst trapped indoors.

How are you keeping the travel bug alive in these trying times?

Is there anything I’ve missed?

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  1. Lot of good advice there! A few other things we are doing :
    – Ordering our photos and printing albums
    – Sport – getting ready for long hikes
    – Learning languages of where we will travel next
    – Checking hotels prices to already book a few holidays for next year

    1. Sounds like you’re doing loads of things to keep up with the travel bug! Language learning is a really great way to prepare and a great skill to have in general!

    1. I am a huge VR fan when I can get my hands on it! I know there are a few national park tours you can do with the Google Cardboard but I haven’t had a chance to explore them myself. What VR kit do you use?

  2. Thank you for sharing these ideas! I love the sound of Geoguessr, that sounds like a lot of fun, I’ll have to give it a go. I really enjoy watching travel programmes, they are such a great form of escapism. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Travels With My Father, I will have to add it to my list! Fab post, can’t wait to book some trips when all this is over! <3 xx

    Bexa |

  3. I think I’ve been mentally inside of book worlds more than the real world since quarantine started! Love the idea to find a good book to get buried in!

  4. I am always planning trips whether I actually go on them or not. I wish I could travel more. I have kids and sometimes I just want to hit the road and go wherever it takes me but I can’t do that. I love travel books, searching websites, reading travel Vlogs etc. This was a very good post. very helpful tips with all this COVID stuff going one!

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Sometimes planning trips can be just as fun as going on it. I have whole notebooks filled with itineraries and stuff that I may never do! Hope you’re doing well

  5. Love this blog article!! Some really good tips here to keep us wanderlust whilst we’re at home… I actually might start jotting down some ideas of the places I want to visit in the future! And I’ve got a travel video of my own going live tonight!



    1. Travel videos are something I would love to venture into myself one day! I spend all my free time watching them! And yes planning future trips is so much fun, sometimes I’ll even just plan fictional ones that aren’t on the cards for anytime soon. I’m glad you enjoyed my post! xx

  6. I feel like we are very similar people and the lockdown is really challenging not being able to travel but I have definitely loved watching travel documentaries. Thanks for the great read and I look forward to reading some more.

  7. I love this post! I’m currently planning the interrail trip I hope to take whenever I am able. Also, obsessed with rewatching all of Kara and Nate’s vlogs. Fab post, thank you for sharing xx

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