How to Travel the World Without Leaving Your House

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Many people, including ourselves, canceled trips amid the global “stay home, stay healthy” lockdown orders. Others are just looking for ways to enjoy the world for free, get inspired for an upcoming trip, or enliven homeschool. Whatever your reason, the positive news is that COVID-19 has resulted in a bounty of free or creative ways to virtually travel the world right from the comfort of your own house!

Virtual World Family Travel

It’s easier than ever to travel the world right from the comfort of your own home. Here are the virtual travel experiences our family enjoys the most. Wrap yourself in a snuggly blanket and let’s travel the world!

Plan Your Next Trip

As a travel lover and travel blogger, planning a trip is my favorite way to pass time when I’m not actually traveling. Sometimes too much time! Here are some great ways to start researching your next (or next several) trips:

Enjoy a Performance

Snuggle in your PJs and enjoy a performance. Musicals, plays, opera, ballet, and symphonies are all streaming from top theaters around the world. Take the chance to try out a new genre. Some performances are free and some require a small fee to support the organization.

Here are the resources we have been enjoying the most:

Other venues streaming performances include Paris Opera, Vienna State Opera, Teatro Regio Torino, Seattle Symphony, The Royal Opera House, and The Berlin Philharmonic.

Visit the Zoo or Aquarium

Zoos and aquariums worldwide have live “animal cams” so you can see what antics animals get up to when visitors aren’t cramping their style. We prefer live “keeper talks” where an expert shares information about a specific species or exhibit. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens is our favorite, but Georgia Aquarium and Atlantic White Shark Conservancy are excellent too. Although these programs are no longer live, you can still enjoy the recorded presentations.

Go on Safari

If you’re looking for a wilder experience than a zoo, head out on safari instead. WildEarth is hosting LIVE safaris twice each day (sunrise and sunset local time). The WildEarth rangers take you on safari in the north-east corner of South Africa.

Take a Cooking Class in Your Own Kitchen

We lean towards baking more than cooking, but we don’t mind cooking when someone tells us what to do. Here are some cooking classes we have our eye on:

Explore a Famous Cultural or Historic Site

Do you enjoy palaces and castles? Now you don’t have to wait for the royal family to go on summer holiday. You can take a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace any day of the year. You can continue your tour of UK castles by visiting Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

If France is your preferred destination, check out the Palace of Versailles. Last time we visited IRL, the interior was so crowded we could hardly see anything. I think we enjoyed virtually travelling inside more. Yikes!

If Seven Wonders of the World are on your bucket list, you can hike the Great Wall of China from Jinshanling to Simatai, which happens to be our favorite Great Wall hike. Head to Egypt to see the tomb of Meresankh III, the tomb of Menna, the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the Red Monastery, and the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq

Thanks to the power of Google Arts & Culture, many of the world’s best museums are just a click away. You can even get up close with a specific piece.

A few world-renowned museums have their own virtual tours. The British Museum offers a tour of their collection according to five overarching themes. The Louvre offers four virtual tours through specific collections. The Smithsonian National Museum of History, National Gallery of Art, and The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg also offer virtual tours.

For the coloring book crowd in your house, check out #ColorOurCollections for coloring pages from art collections around the world.

Get Outdoors in a US National Park

Time and time again we return to the US National Parks for a chance to unwind n the great outdoors. Being at home isn’t quite the same as hiking Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park, but sometimes you take what you can get.

Virtual tours let you get “outside” and explore Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Dry Tortugas National Park.

We also love to take advantage of the Junior Ranger Program from home. The program is a great chance to deepen your understanding of the geography, wildlife, or history of national parks sites. Read our complete guide, including links to all the online Junior Ranger programs.

Take a Tour

That’s right, enterprising people are still offering tours. Get Your Guide has a continually updated list of FREE travel-related virtual tour offerings. We appreciate that they explicitly include kid-friendly options. Airbnb has a host of paid online offerings, but not all are travel-related.

Play a Travel Board Game

We love board games! Travel board games are doubly great because you get the fun of a game and a free geography lesson. Our favorites are Trekking the World, Ticket to Ride Europe (or Ticket to Ride First Journey for the littles), Scrambled States of America, 10 Days in the USA, and GeoPuzzles.

Listen to Other People Talk About Travel

Sometimes it’s just nice to kick back and let someone else tell you about their travels and tips. Podcasts and documentaries are a great way to do this. Netflix has a slew of travel documentaries, TED Talks cover travel, and DocumentaryTube has free travel documentaries.

Podcasts are like books, there are many to choose from and what you like will depend on our interests. A few of our favorites are Go with Nugget for Kids, Amateur Traveler, Vacation Mavens, and Extra Pack of Peanuts.

Get Lost in a Book or Movie

As an avid reader, this post should probably cover all the amazing books you can read to feed your wanderlust. The problem is that there are too many! We shared our favorite books about India and we’ll work on some more destination-specific posts in the future. In the meantime, take a look at this list of popular travel books on GoodReads.

Another great source for travel inspiration is to read books highlighting different cultures. Look for books written by people from the culture in the book.  We like the book lists on Colours of Us and I’m your neighbor and for Native American books, AILA Indian Youth Literature Award lists.  If you’re daunted by names, try an audiobook or look for a pronunciation recording on YouTube. 

If you’re looking for a virtual travel movie night, check out our list of the best family movies to inspire travel. If you’re looking for movies for an older crowd, try CondeNast’s list of top 50 in the last 50 years. Not all the movies on CondeNast’s list are kid-friendly so check for yourself!

3 thoughts on “How to Travel the World Without Leaving Your House”

  1. Thank you for this information as we did not realize these educational resources were available on line.

  2. Great insights !! Lockdown is over in France but with the social distancing remaining, we will definitely need that! And we have received ticket to ride 3 days ago!

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