This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using them, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps to keep this site running – thank you!
Waiting for a big trip comes with a lot of excitement for the future but also a fair bit of agony. I mean who wants to wait to get out there and explore the world?!
Sometimes, like in the current situation today, we just have to. So, to keep that travel spirit alive (and to keep ourselves from going stir-crazy), here is a list of ways to stay busy and focused on adventures that are sure to come.
Read travel books
When the news and social media are starting to get you down instead of filling you with inspiration, lose yourself in the pages of a good travel travel book.
You can go for the classics:
- Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
- A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
- The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux
- On the Road by Jack Kerouac
- Any book by Bill Bryson
There’s also the backpacker bible The Beach by Alex Garland and the blueprint for travelers looking for inspiration and enlightenment, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (read the review here on HPL).
If you’re looking for something different, why not try:
- Unlikely Destination: The Lonely Planet Story by founders Maureen and Tony Wheeler – See how the world’s most popular guidebook came to be.
- Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer – Great if you’re into hidden gems and going off the beaten path.
Love to ride a bike? How about Vroom with a View by Peter Moore, an account of his travels through Italy on a Vespa.
Foodies would likewise enjoy Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by the late Anthony Bourdain.
Inspire young travelers with The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé, though it’s an engaging read for the not-so-young too!
- Check out this list of inspiring travel books about women.
Watch travel movies and videos
There’s nothing more inspiring than seeing images and videos of places around the world. Case in point: many of the classic travel books we’ve listed above have already been adapted for TV or movies.
Other inspiring films that would get you excited to travel include:
- The Motorcycle Diaries (South America)
- Lost in Translation (Japan)
- Amélie (France)
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Iceland and Greenland)
Travelers young and old can both enjoy the story and adventure in the Pixar movie, Up. Watch out though, it’s a tearjerker!
You can also watch reruns of your favorite travel reality show, The Amazing Race (or catch up, if you haven’t). Another great series, which can be really inspirational for those who love to ride bikes is Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s Long Way Round.
Take a virtual tour or attend a virtual concert
With everyone advised to stay put in their homes, organizations are opening their doors virtually to let the public explore and enjoy their exhibits, works, and fluffy animals.
Google Arts & Culture has made it possible to see some of the most amazing masterpieces in the world where ever you may be.
The Weiner Staatsoper has a live stream of opera performances, the same as the Metropolitan Opera. If opera is not to your tastes, the Social Distancing Festival has a pretty extensive database of upcoming live streams of different events and performances around the world.
Learn another language or a new skill
Thanks to the internet, everything is now within your grasp, including free education. Why not make your time in wait more productive by learning something new?
Planning to travel to places where English is not the first language? Learn some helpful phrases or know how to have a simple conversation using online language learning apps or websites like Duolingo, Open Culture, and Surface Languages.
You can learn a new skill, hone your existing ones, and even gain some course credits through online learning websites. Sites like Coursera lets you study at your own pace and earn industry-related credentials that can be used for finding professional opportunities.
Save money for your future trips by working online
Working online or being a digital nomad is one of the career options for many of today’s long time travelers. But you don’t really need to travel to do those jobs.
Make your time home really productive and financially rewarding by working online. You can sign up for freelancing websites like Upwork. Upwork is great for looking for opportunities that can evolve into full-time work. If you’re looking to transition into working from home (or as a digital nomad), this may be a good option for you.
If you’re more into project-based work or work that can be easily done within days or hours, fiverr might have the job for you.
You can also look into teaching English online (or any language you are proficient in). Websites like italki provide a platform for language learners to connect with teachers and tutors that they can learn from and practice with.
All you need is a native or advance mastery of the language, a computer/laptop, a webcam, a headset, and a stable internet connection.
Connect with other travelers
Beat cabin fever by meeting new people online. Facebook groups (like our group HPLWorld) let you meet other likeminded people.
You don’t even have to travel to use Couchsurfing – they have an active online community where you can share ideas, meet fellow travelers, and even attend online events.
If you are a Local Guide for Google Maps, you can also check out Local Guides Connect, where you can, well, connect with other local guides.
Get fit and train for that dream hike
Have you been dreaming of visiting Machu Picchu? Counting down the days when you summit Kilimanjaro or walk the Camino? Whether you’re planning on a major expedition or just aimlessly wandering about, it’s always a good idea to keep healthy and fit.
Even if you’re stuck at home, or trying to conserve every dollar by avoiding gym memberships, it doesn’t mean you can’t work out.
Free apps like Workout for Women by 7M run through 7-minute workouts that you can do at home. FitOn App has workouts you can follow whether you’re on your laptop, tablet, or your phone. They even have celebrities like Gabriel Union and Jonathan Van Ness counted as their trainers!
If you’re looking to challenge yourself, why not follow along with the workout regimen of Cirque du Soleil artists?
Take stock of your travel gear and upgrade
Are there items that you bought because of glowing reviews online, but found out later that they didn’t work for you? Is there a particular item that you really loved and now you’d like to invest in a newer model?
Use this time to take stock of your current travel gear and gadgets and assess which ones worked and which ones should go. Also check for any damaged products that can be repaired.
By paring down your gear, gadgets, and wardrobe to the best performing essentials, you’ll find it easier to pack for future trips.
- Now’s also a great time to simply give your luggage a good scrub and clean! Or, you can finally test out how long your travel toiletries last so you’re prepared the next time you travel.
- And just because you’re not out on the road doesn’t mean you can’t put that gear to use. Check out this list of travel gear you can use around the house!
Start and finish your travel projects
We all go on a trip vowing to take lots of pictures and maybe even write a memoir. We enjoy too much while we are traveling, and life ends up overwhelming us with the reality of everyday routine when we return home.
These travel projects often get shelved and ultimately forgotten.
Take this downtime to finish these projects once and for all. Write that travel book that you’ve always wanted to. Or start that travel blog to explore all your past adventures and share them with the world.
Did you take lots of pictures and videos? You can create a photo book or make a video highlight of your travels so you can always have something to look back on.
You can also organize your travel souvenirs and mementos, display them around your home so whenever you see them, you’re reminded of the good memories and adventures you had while on the road.
- Check our favorite Etsy shops with travel themed art for your walls.
We hope we’ve given you plenty of ideas on how you can pass the time while waiting for your next big trip. But just in case, here is a post that can help you organize your home using our best minimalist packing tips!
What is your favorite activity that helps keep your travel excitement alive when you can’t be out on the road?