Itching to travel but can’t? Here’s how to experience the world from home.

You can’t always go out and experience the world for real (unfortunately!) but that doesn’t mean you can’t experience it from home.

One of the things I cherish most about travel is being able to bring a piece of my travels home with me. From home decor to new foodie finds, there’s nothing like reliving the memories of a treasured trip.

Every time I pick up a souvenir, product or other item I acquired from around the world, I get a taste of travel without leaving home.

 

It’s also a great way to get excited about an upcoming trip – even if you don’t know when the real thing will happen.

Experiencing other cultures at home can be a great way to enhance your trip when you finally arrive. You’ll have a deeper understanding, form stronger connections and have a better travel experience when it finally comes around.

For anyone who’s itching to travel right now, these little dopamine hits can go a long way. If you’re looking for a travel fix at home, here’s how to experience the world when you can’t get out and travel for real.

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Ways to travel without leaving home

 


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How to enjoy these travel from home experiences

This curated lists explores ways to bring the best of the entire world into your home.

Some of these ideas include ways to travel from home, either virtually or through interactive activities. Others are more practical, such as products and foods that will immerse you in a place.

There are also some ideas that also support destinations and causes in need right now. As I’m sure you’re aware, the entire travel industry is suffering right now. For some, it’s not just a case of economical struggle but of life and death. From increases in poaching to tourism-dependent businesses that can’t support their owners, it’s a sad time for us all.

I’ve included some ways you can support the people, destinations and wildlife in need while also enjoying travel from home. If you only indulge in one or two of these ways to travel without leaving home, I’d urge you to consider these.

Since there’s a lot of ground to cover – both metaphorically and literally! – I’ve broken destinations down by continent.


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How to experience Africa from home

Travelling Africa from home might seem impossible, but it’s easier to add a touch of this magical continent to your daily life than you might think.

While going on safari is out of the question, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy African travel without leaving home. Here are some of my favourites:

Eswatini

I was lucky enough to learn about candle making directly from an employee of Swazi Candles while I was in Eswatini. But you don’t need to visit Eswatini to enjoy their organic candles.

Swazi Candles exports to over 20 countries, so you can bring a touch of Eswatini to your home. Many of them feature locals prints and designs.


Swazi candles Swaziland
An employee at Swazi Candles show how the candles are made.

Ethiopia

Ethiopian coffee is some of the best in the world, but you don’t need to travel there to enjoy it.

Transport yourself to Ethiopia with a cup of yirgacheffe, a coffee grown in Southern Ethiopia with a tea-like finish.

Ghana

Have you ever heard of African black soap? This Ghanaian soap is made using locally sourced ingredients and is said to have numerous benefits for skin.

While you may not be able to travel to Ghana right now, you can try this traditional soap from home.

 

Kenya

I sadly had to cancel a trip to Kenya later this year… but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to travel there.

Right now, one of the easiest ways to do so is by trying some local recipes. This ginger crab recipe by Hemingways Collection chef Archie Alvin will transport you straight to ecotourism hotspot Watamu.

Or, if you fancy something stronger, he also shared how to make the famous Watamu DAWA cocktail in this video.

Morocco

One of the most heart-warming experiences you can have in Morocco is a campfire story night in the desert. Storytelling is an important part of Moroccan heritage and a must for every Morocco bucket list.

Even though you can’t do that right now, you can enjoy some of the world’s most powerful stories without leaving your home.

World Story Telling Cafe was launched by a riad owner in response to current crisis to bring together the best storytellers across the world.

The Seychelles

Bring a little piece of island life into your home and support a good cause with Little Splash.

This Seychelles-born water bottle brand is inspired by the ocean and donates 10% of profits to marine conservation.

A reusable water bottle is one of my travel essentials, so a Little Splash bottle will also help you travel more sustainably when you do travel – wherever that may be!

 

South Africa

Dreaming of a South African safari while stuck at home? Thanda Safari has created a new ‘pop-up’ website full of South Africa travel activities for all ages to enjoy.

As well as colouring, quizzes and stories to share at home, the staff who have remained on-site also upload videos of the conservation work they’re doing.

If you’re looking for some age-appropriate colouring, Leeu Collection has also created an adult-friendly lion mask for some mindful colouring relaxation.


self drive safari in kgalagadi transfrontier park lions on the road
You may not be able to see real lions from home, but you can learn about them.

Experience Asia without leaving home

Travelling Asia usually involves exploring temples, trying unique foods and immersing yourself in street life.

While you can’t do all of that home, there are lots of Asia travel experiences you can enjoy when you can’t travel. Here are some ideas for how to travel Asia without leaving home.

Azerbaijan

Sat in the heart of the Silk Road region, Azerbaijan is well known for its silk products to this day.

The ancient city of Sheki was at the heart of silk production in the Caucasus region, and its heritage is one of the main draws to area.

While you can’t travel to Azerbaijan right now, you can take a tour of Sheki Khan’s palace online. Since summer 2019, the palace – along with the Historic Centre of Sheki – has been designated as a World Heritage Site.

India

There are lots of reasons why you might want to visit India, and you can enjoy lots of them from home.

India is the birthplace of meditation, and there are lots of benefits of this now global practice.

Even if you can’t travel to India right now, you can enjoy your own at-home meditation retreat with Art of Living’s online yoga sessions.

 

Japan

Nothing takes me back to Japan faster than a warm cup of matcha. Luckily, it’s easy to enjoy matcha from home.

JING’s matcha tea comes from Shizuoka, Japan’s biggest producer of green tea. The region is known for its premium food and drink, as well as its traditional onsen springs and ryokan inns.


Japanese tea ceremony in japan
You might not be able to take part in a Japanese tea ceremony, but you can enjoy matcha at home.

Jordan

What’s the next best thing to bathing in the Dead Sea? Taking a bath with Dead Sea bath salts, of course!

Every time I go back to Jordan, I stock up on Dead Sea products because they’re SO good on the skin.

C-Products is an Amman-based company whose Dead Sea products are vegan and paraben-free, so you can indulge guilt-free.

The Maldives

Even if you don’t live by the beach, you can still get fit at home with a HIIT workout from Club Med Kani resort in the Maldives.

If you prefer to join live workouts, Amilla Maldives is hosting a new routine every week on their IGTV.

 

Mongolia

You don’t need to travel to Mongolia to support the local communities. Providing a sustainable alternative to cashmere production, Tengri uses ethically sourced yak fibres to create luxury fabrics and products.

In doing so, the brand, which sources its yak fibres from Mongolia, helps to preserve and protect indigenous communities, land and wildlife.

As well as supplying luxury brands in London and beyond, Tengri also has its own range of outerwear, throws and accessories to purchase online.

Nepal

Mahaguthi is a fair trade organisation that exports and sells Nepalese crafts. This not-for-profit store has lots of products all created by local artists in Nepal.

The project provides an income for many remote communities in Nepal, as well as offering a great way to add a touch of travel to your own daily life.

Saudi Arabia

I’m only full of regret that I wasn’t a coffee drinker when I lived in the Middle East. The region’s coffee is some of the most fragrant in the world, and that tradition comes from Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia, it’s never too early or too late for coffee. As a country that prohibits alcohol (along with a lot of other things), social situations revolve around coffee (or “qahwa”).

Nescafe is pretty much the only coffee brand in the Middle East – so much so that they often refer to coffee as ‘Nescafe’!

 

Thailand

One of the best things about visiting Thailand is the incredible massages.

While a Thai massage might (sadly) be off the table, the Chiva-Som health resort has the next best thing. Every day, the resort is uploading wellness videos to its blog and other channels so you can learn yoga, meditation and self-massage from home.

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan‘s handmade fabrics make it easy to incorporate a piece of this Central Asian country into your home.

Samarkand-Bukhara Silk Carpets sells handwoven carpets coloured with natural dyes directly from Uzbekistan on a made-to-order basis.

For hand painted ceramics and hand embroidered suzanis that also come directly from Uzbekistan, check out Gijduvan Crafts.


A woman weaving in Uzbekistan

European experiences to enjoy at home

While you may not be able to visit the impressive castles, unique cities or endless festivals that attract many tourists to Europe every year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a little European culture at home.

When you’re looking for ways to travel without leaving home, there are lots of ways to experience European culture in your daily life.

Austria

Austria is the setting of many films and TV shows, so there are plenty of ways to enjoy a little bit of this charming European country from home.

If you’re disappointed that the latest James Bond release has been delayed, why not catch up on the last one? The major action sequence was filmed in a Austrian ski resort in the East Tyrol region.

Or, if can’t resist a classic, The Sound of Music – which was filmed in Salzburgerland – is now available on Disney+. If you’re not already signed up, you can get a 7-day free trial here.

 

Denmark

By now, most of us are familiar with the Danish term ‘hygge‘.

This untranslatable word roughly equates with ‘cosiness’. It’s the idea of creating a comforting space and it’s easy to do at home.

Grab some cushions, light a candle or snuggle up with blanket to enjoy a little bit of Danish culture at home.


Food in Tbilisi Georgia
Georgian food is some of the best… and this amazing Georgian tradition means you can enjoy it all.

Georgia

It’s no secret that Georgia is one of my favourite foodie destinations and possibly the most underrated cuisine in the world.

And, if you adopt their concept of ‘shemomedjamo’, you can indulge without worry. The word roughly means “I ate the whole thing because it was simply too delicious”.

So, next time you scoff an entire tub of ice-cream or a whole bar of chocolate, you’re simply enjoying a Georgia travel experience.

Greece

The Greek Islands aren’t just the backdrop for everyone’s favourite cheesy musical, they’re also the setting of some of the best travel fiction.

Natasha Martsekis, Founder and CEO of Bright Blue Villas recommends The Island for anyone dreaming of escaping to the Greek Islands.

This bestselling novel follows a woman on a mission to discover her mother’s earlier life and leads her to Crete, the island where her mother grew up and an island I lived on myself.

 

Guernsey

You may not be able to visit Guernsey right now, but there’s a lot of entertainment set on this tiny island.

The 2009 must-read The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society has also been turned into a film starring Lily James. It’s available on both Amazon Prime and Sky.

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you can click here to get a free 30-day trial and access it.


Midday cannon firing at Castle Cornet in St Peter Port, Guernsey, on a cruise to Guernsey with Princess Cruises
Discover the charms of Guernsey from home – and then add it to your bucket list!

Italy

If you want to get as close as you can to travelling without leaving home, Tuscany’s Castelfalfi Resort has come up with the perfect initiative.

Their virtual farmer experience gives you best of the both worlds. When you adopt a row of vineyards or an olive grove, you’ll receive 20 bottles of wine or 15 litres of extra-organic virgin oil at home.

Then, when you can travel to Tuscany, the estate will welcome you to visit and take part in the harvest or a wine tour.

This unique experience blurs the line between armchair travel and true travel, all while preserving nature and supporting organic farming.

The Netherlands

Theme parks may be closed right now, but the Netherlands’ Efteling theme park has found way to bring the thrill home.

The unique theme park has uploaded videos to their YouTube channel so you can “ride” the attractions from home. And yes, you’ll be in the front seat!

 

Portugal

Nothing screams ‘Portugal’ like pastel de nata. It’s the first thing I eat every time I land in Portugal and may have been one of my reasons for buying a house there (joking… well, kind of).

Tivoli Hotels & Resorts has shared the recipe for these moreish treats and they’re easier to make than you may have thought!

You don’t need to worry about overindulging, either, because you can also get a daily fitness fix from Portugal.

Quinta do Lago is offering daily yoga sessions on its Instagram account. Streamed from the resort’s athlete-approved Campus, they’re the perfect at home travel experience for anyone whose bucket list includes a Portuguese yoga retreat.

Spain

Ibiza may be quieter than ever, but the party hasn’t stopped! Don your best Ibiza outfits and join Ushuaïa’s #StayAtHomeSessions. If you enjoy the free party, donations to WHO’s Solitary Response Fund are appreciated.

And, if you’re looking for an immune-boosting recipe after all that partying, the Anantara Padierna Palace near Marbella has shared its healthy gazpacho recipe:


To make this quintessential Andalusian soup, soak half a cup of slightly stale crusty white bread in cold water. After 20 minutes, mix three diced tomatoes, one diced green bell pepper and a peeled and diced cucumber with two cloves of crushed garlic, and add it all to a processor or blender bowl along with two tablespoons of olive oil.

Squeeze out the bread, tear it roughly into chunks, and add to the mixture. Blend until smooth and add salt and vinegar to taste and stir well. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve, then cover and refrigerate until well chilled. Serve with small pieces of cucumber and pepper.


Sweden

Bizarrely, I first encountered the concept of a Swedish ‘fika’ in South Africa.

It means to take a break for coffee and a snack, and it’s something we did collectively at my co-working space in Cape Town.

Wherever you’re working from, make time for a fika and let this Swedish custom brighten your day.

 

Switzerland

No trip to Switzerland is complete without indulging in some of the country’s most loved exports: cheese and chocolate.

A fondue pot is the perfect investment if you want to get as close to the real thing as possible. Take a cue from Verbier and the wider Valais region of Switzlerland and wash it down with hot tea or Fendant Valaisan white wine.

And, if that’s not quite enough to transport you there, the Swiss tourism board has launched a VR tour of the entire country.


Waterfall in Marmaris Turkey
Be transported to the Turkish coast without leaving home.

Turkey

The team at Hillside Beach Club, a spa resort near Oludeniz, have recorded nature’s beautiful sounds from their treetop spa in brand-new 8D technology.

Sit back, relax and soak up the relaxing sounds of the Turkish coast. You can almost pretend you’re travelling Turkey… almost.


 

Oceania recipes, products and travel experiences

You don’t need to travel far to experience the best of the island nations that make up Oceania. Here are some ways to experience this stunning part of the world from home.

Australia

Dreaming of travelling Australia? Thanks to the wealth of virtual experiences online, it’s one of the easiest places to travel without leaving home.

Highlights include this brand new platform launched by the iconic Sydney Opera House. Schedules are updated every Tuesday and include full-length performances, talks, long-form articles, podcasts and behind-the-scenes.

If you want to bring a little piece of Australia into your home, Lonely Planet’s “Beautiful World Australia” will brighten up your home and provide plenty of travel inspiration.


Rottnest Island beach
Rottnest Island is one of countless beautiful places in Australia.

New Zealand

You might not associate peanut butter with New Zealand, but the Nelson Tasman is home to one of the world’s most-loved brands.

Pic’s peanut butter is so popular that you can even take a factory tour when you’re there.

While you might not be able to do that right now, you can at least enjoy a taste of New Zealand every time you get your nutty fix at home.

 

Samoa

Craving a sweet treat? Pani Popo, a type of coconut bun, is a staple in Samoan cuisine – and they’re fairly easy to bake at home.

You only need a few store cupboard ingredients to enjoy the flavours of Samoa without leaving home.

Tahiti

Transport yourself to the South Pacific with the Fenua Pro Bartenders Facebook page.

There, you’ll find a number of easy step by step videos for cocktails that use ingredients found on the islands of Tahiti.  


Enjoy North America travel without leaving home

North America is a massive continent with an incredible amount to offer travellers. Luckily, you can still enjoy much of it when you can’t travel.

From cocktails and wine tasting to wellness and wildlife, here’s how to enjoy North America travel without leaving home.

Antigua and Barbuda

As I write this, it’s exactly one year since I boarded a flight to Antigua and Barbuda for the first time.

Nothing transports me back to Antigua like a sunny rum cocktail. Whether you’ve been to Antigua or not, you can now enjoy a Caribbean tipple every Thursday.

Timmy Thomas, an award-winning Antiguan mixologist, is hosting live cocktails classes every week on the tourism board’s IGTV.


Drinking a cocktail at a pool in Antigua
They can’t provide the pool, but you can enjoy the cocktail!

Costa Rica

As a wildlife lover, Costa Rica is high on my bucket list. Since my trip there got cancelled, though, I’ve been resigned to trying to live out my travels without leaving home.

Travel Excellence recommended this BBC documentary as a way to enjoy Costa Rica’s wildlife from home, and it’s a must watch for any animal lovers.

Guatemala

Have you heard of worry dolls before? In Guatemala, children use them to help ease their worries while they sleep.

Before bed, a child tells one worry to each of their worry dolls before putting them under their pillow. In the morning, it’s believed that the worry dolls will have taken the worries away.

I still have a little set like this and it’s a great way to experience Guatemalan tradition without leaving home.

Mexico

Mexico is one of the best foodie destinations in the whole, and you can easily enjoy its flavours from home.

NIZUC Resort & Spa has released the recipe for its signature margarita, so you can enjoy a luxurious take on the tipple from home.

 

Nicaragua

Another trip I had to cancel, Nicaragua is still largely undiscovered. However, it’s sure to be on your list after trying some Nicaraguan cuisine at home!

If you’re looking to travel without leaving home, why not give nacatamales or gallo pinto a try?

St. Lucia

Enjoy an island retreat at home thanks to Sunswept Resorts’ BodyHoliday YouTube channel.

You may not be able to visit the BodyHoliday resort in person, but you can still reap the benefits of breathing exercises, meditation and immune-boosting smoothies.

USA

I love travelling the USA because it’s such a diverse country. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a taste of American travel without leaving home.

If Los AngelesBeverly Hills is your scene, local yoga brand AloYoga has created an at-home studio in an app, AloMoves.

Further up the state in Sonoma County, Sonoma Wine is offering at-home wine tastings. If you’re wondering what to do with the leftover wine, Tuolumne County-based artist Judy Grossman is running paint and wine classes that you can join from home.

Prefer Portland? This vegan-friendly city is one of the best foodie spots is the US, and now you can get in on the flavour too.

Local Portland chefs, Gabriel Rucker (@ruckergabriel) and Vitaly Paley (@vit0bike), are sharing recipes and answering questions every week.


Brunch in Portland, Oregon USA
Enjoy a taste of Portland’s incredible food scene at home.

How to experience South America at home

From reggaeton beats and hearty feasts to epic landscapes and unique wildlife, South America is a treat for all of the senses.

Here’s how to bring the tastes, sights and sounds of this vibrant part of the world into your home.

Argentina

One of the best things to do in Argentina is try your hand (or feet!) at tango dancing – and now you can do that from home.

London tango school, Tanguito, if offering online tango classes so travellers can stay active at home. Every Wednesday and Sunday, Strictly-wannabes can join a live streaming e-lesson to practice their moves.

The classes are designed for both solo dancers and couples, and you can sign up here.

 

Brazil

The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Brazil was the dancing. Everybody dances in Brazil – no matter what they’re doing and no matter what the time of day.

When you hear Brazilian music, though, it’s not hard to see why. Brazilian makes you want to dance, making it great way to experience this side of the world from home.

If you’re not familiar with Brazilian music, this Spotify playlist is the perfect place to start. It was curated by Gareth Lyons, director of Senderos, who drew upon his wealth of knowledge about Brazilian culture and the many music genres when making it.

Colombia

Whether you’ve already travelled to Colombia or are planning a trip there for the future, the Colombia Calling podcast will help you bring Colombia into your home.

This magazine-style podcast investigates the social and cultural nuances of the country and is available on most popular podcast platforms.


A farmer in Filandia, Colombia
Learn about the people of Colombia.

Ecuador

Ecuador is home to two of my favourite places in the world: the Amazon and the Galapagos Islands.

The latter is the subject of Channel 4 show ‘My Family and the Galapagos’. The series follows the Galapagos Conversation Trust’s President, Monty Halls, who travelled to live and work on the Galapagos Islands (dream job!) and is available now on 4OD.

Guyana

You don’t need to travel to Guyana to learn about one of the least known destinations in Latin America.

BBC’s The Sound Odyssey: Loyle Carner in Guyana follows the London rapper as he learns about his Guyanese heritage.

It’s a wonderful way to experience Guyana’s music and gastronomy for the first time alongside Carner when you can’t travel there yourself.

 

Patagonia

Dreaming of those epic Patagonia landscapes? You might not be able to hike to Laguna Torre right now, but you can teach little ones about this incredible region.

This new portal by Cascada Travel includes a downloadable colouring book of Patagonia wildlife, as well as a DIY walking stick project to get them ready for the many Patagonia hikes!


A Patagonian fox in Argentina
A Patagonian Fox: Learning about Patagonian wildlife is a great way for kids to reap the benefits of travel without leaving home!

Peru

My Peru travels have failed twice now… but let’s not go there.

The one time I did make it, I spent the entire time in hospital (oops!). Although I didn’t get to see any of Peru, I did get to taste it – and I can see what all the Peruvian food hype is about!

Whether you’re reminiscing about your own (hopefully more successful) Peru travels or want to taste some Peruvian food before you go, Aqua Expeditions are hosting free cooking classes on their Facebook page.

If you’re just after straightforward recipes, Inkaterra has also uploaded several tasty dishes on their website. The small hotel chain and NGO is championing ecotourism in Peru and even shares a Peruvian jungle dish, Quinoa Chaufa with Cecina.

If you want to really set the atmosphere, enjoy it with a live webcam stream from Gocta waterfall or Cusco’s Plaza Major.

 

Of course, nothing can beat travelling for real, but travel doesn’t have to end (or start!) at the airport.

There are plenty of ways to travel without leaving home and bring your favourite destinations into your daily life.

Whether you’re looking forward to your next trip or reminiscing about your last one, I hope this post has helped experience the world at home.

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Experience the world without leaving home