What do you do if you NEED to travel but are locked down due to a worldwide quarantine? Is it possible to travel from home?
We asked ourselves the same question. The wanderlust has always been strong in us, and being locked down feels very strange. So, strange times call for strange measures.
Normally we would say “heck no, get off of your couch and go out into the world!” but…yeah. That’s not really possible for the foreseeable future. All “non-essential” travel will probably be grounded for months to come. Those of us with powerful wanderlust have got to get creative.
We’ve come up with a variety of different ways that you can “travel from home”. From virtual tours of museums to travel shows, there is a LOT of travel related content on the internet. So keep your dreams of world travel alive, feed your wanderlust, travel virtually. And when borders across the world re-open book those flights and see the beauty of our planet for yourself!
We will be updating this article periodically to add new tourism and cultural events as we come across them. Please let us know if you have any to recommend, or any other tips about traveling from home in the comments below. Or on Twitter!
How to Travel From Home (If You Have To)
Please note – Some of our selections contain affiliate links. These allow us to earn a small percentage every time you make a booking. Using our links enables us to provide all the information found on this site free of charge.
Virtual Museum Tours
There are a lot of really awesome museums that offer virtual tours of their collections. And we have a feeling there will soon be a whole lot more.
From the Guggenheim Museum in New York City to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence some of the best museums and galleries in the world have collections that you can explore from home. Even the Prague National Gallery has created an online program.
Some of these virtual tours are incredibly curated and extremely fun to browse. Check out the British Museum as a prime example of that. Some “tours” are less ambitious, simply offering photos and text of exhibits. Either way the ability to check out a museum from your living room is pretty darn cool. It’s not close to visiting in person, of course, but it fits into the theme of traveling from home.
Below is a list of museums you can browse virtually. There will be more popping up all the time but this list should be a nice starting point.
- The Louvre
- Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
- Art Institute of Chicago
- The Uffizi Gallery
- The British Museum of London
- The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
- The Met – The Metropolitan Museum of Art
- The New York Botanical Garden
- The American Museum of Natural History
- The Frick Collection
- The Dali Theatre Museum
- The National Women’s History Museum
- MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo
- The Vatican Museums
- Musée d’Orsay, Paris
- Prague National Gallery
- The Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum
- The Seoul National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
And here is a starting list of museums for kids that you can have a look at with your little ones.
- Boston Children Museum
- Children’s Museum of Houston
- The Glenn Research Center – NASA
- The Children’s Museum of the Arts
- The American Museum of Natural History
Let us know which of these virtual tours you have browsed, and your thoughts, in the comments below!
Virtual Cultural Events
While outdoor gatherings, concerts, and large cultural events will likely be heavily cut back for the remainder of the year, there are many that are moving to virtual platforms for the duration of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Try looking up the official tourism board for whatever country or city event you are interested in to see if there is an online way to watch or participate. And keep an eye out on Facebook as well, we have seen a LOT of really cool live streams linked there.
Some examples of online events taking place during the pandemic –
- Prague Spring International Music Festival
- The Tribeca Film Festival Online
- An updating online musical concert list, thanks to Billboard
- UNESCO Share Our Heritage Campaign
- The Wonders of Italy Tour
We would be extremely remiss if we did not mention travel blogs as a great source of travel inspiration. You really CAN sort of travel from home while browsing some of the many awesome travel blogs out there. Maybe even this one? Hint hint; nudge nudge.
Scroll down to the bottom of this article to see some related posts that might inspire you when planning your future travel adventures!
There are some travel shows our there that can absolutely transport you to other places, and to experience other cultures. Anthony Bourdain’s brilliant Parts Unknown series is one that immediately comes to mind.
There are many others to be discovered, simply by searching YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. Here are a few recommendations. Let us know if you have others!
Google Arts and Culture
Formerly known as the Google Arts Project this ambitious site is an online platform through which you can view images and videos of artworks and cultural artifacts from cultural organizations across the world.
Some of the museums we listed above are already on the Google Arts and Culture platform, such as the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul. You can also access art work from private collections, and a whole lot more, which makes this sort of a one stop virtual cultural experience.
The platform is available in 18 languages and counting. It will take you days, and weeks, to get through everything offered on this ambitious site. So, if you are starved for some cultural browsing, you’re in luck!
360 Degree Video Tours
Have you ever wanted to fly over Tokyo at night? Have you dreamed of seeing the Milky Way glide above your head in the Sahara Dessert? Well now you can! Er, sort of.
Thanks to the folks of AirPano the above experiences are all available on video, along with many others.
Virtual Reality Exploration
Virtual reality travel. Just a few weeks ago those words would have brought a grimace to our faces, and send a shiver running down our spines. For some years now the writing has been on the wall with virtual reality (VR) travel. You can almost feel the marketing campaigns building, trying to convince people that a virtual reality stroll through the streets of Paris was just as good as the real thing.
But let’s face it…VR will never ever be able to replace the real thing. And it should never ever be marketed as something that can.
However, VR can inspire travel. And for that reason we want to recommend it as a cool way to help you plan future travels…physical ones of course.
So if you have an Oculus VR headset, or a similar VR rig, you can load up some nifty 360 degree travel experiences. Here are some options –
Virtual Tour of American National Parks
Google Earth is offering a pretty cool list of American National Parks to view online. Badlands, Arches, The Grand Canyon, Yellowstone…all of America’s gorgeous National Parks on displaying using Google Earth technology.
Again, these virtual hikes are no real replacement for doing it in person. We really can’t stress that enough We would hate to see a world where physical travel is replaced by real travel. However, you can use this technology for some short term good. Use these little “tours” as inspiration for planning your visit to these amazing bits of preserved natural beauty!
Movies and Books
Literature and cinema have a way of transporting us to far away places. Before we became world travelers we dreamed of lands afar, which we glimpsed in the movie theater, or within the well worn binding of our favorite books.
For a list of books that inspired us to travel check out this article.
As for movies, well, there are way too many to list. Let us know some of your favorite inspirational travel movies!
Travel From Home Final Thoughts
So, is travel from home possible? In a round-about-way, we guess it is. We don’t want to be bummers about this fact, really. We are grateful to be living in a time where we can stay together even when forced to be apart. And it’s great that anyone in the world with an internet connection can look beyond their borders, and catch a glimpse of life elsewhere.
When all this is over we want to see global travel return to “normal”. Well, maybe not EXACTLY how it used to be. We want to see people take a bit more joy, and a bit more responsibility, when traveling. Put down the selfie sticks, stay in the moment, be kind, be curious, and EXPLORE.
When things are taken away from us we really start to learn how much we loved them. And everyone reading this right now loves to travel. So let’s get back to it, when we can, and let us never forget how much we LOVE it.
As always folks, stay safe, stay healthy, and happy travels (even from home). We’ll see you on the road.