Armchair Travel: 16 Ways To Travel The World From Home

Got the wanderlust but you’re not able to travel anywhere at the moment? That’s okay – you can become an armchair traveler and explore all the places you want from the comfort of your bed.

You’ll need a computer or a smartphone, a good internet connection, and an idea of a place you want to explore. Nothing else is required for armchair travel, and if your interest is peaked, you can read all about armchair travel right here in this detailed guide!

What Is Armchair Travel?

Armchair travel is kind of like a staycation, but instead of exploring the local attractions, you don’t even have to leave the house. It’s discovering new places from the comfort of your chair, hence the term armchair travel.

It can include anything from looking over photos from your past trips to spending hours on Google Earth, walking around the streets of a city you’ve never been to. It’s pretty much just detaching yourself from your current surroundings and immersing yourself in things related to a different country so that for a moment you actually feel like you are there.

It’s as simple as reading a book about Paris while listening to Edith Piaf and eating a croissant.

16 Ways To Travel The World From Home

Technology has come far enough to allow us to travel the world from the comfort of your own home. Well, not quite, but it’s almost there – you can explore the streets of any country in the world from the comfort of your bedroom, you can learn about the best restaurants, and you can even do virtual tours of museums and other famous attractions – you just have to zoom in enough on the world map. That’s the beauty of living in the age of virtual reality and 360-degree images.

I’m just getting started, and here are even more armchair travel ideas that will help you explore your dream destination from home!

Read Travel Blogs

Just because you can’t hop on an airplane and head to a new destination doesn’t mean you can’t learn about it and explore it. Reading travel blogs is a good way to explore new countries through the eyes and lenses of other travelers.

It’s a form of virtual travel that allows you to draw from other people’s experiences. The key is to find a travel blogger you can relate to and whose content you enjoy reading. Immerse yourself in their content, and sooner than you know it, you’ll become an expert on a destination you’ve never even visited.

There are thousands of travel blogs run by people from all around the world, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find at least one that you enjoy.

Virtually Explore US National Parks

Most US National Parks offer virtual tours that are absolutely perfect for an armchair traveler. You can explore any national park you want from the comfort of your home, and you can even peek inside museums and other unique attractions that the national parks have.

Of course, it’s not the same as reaping the benefits of a hot spring inside a national park, but it’s a great way to explore nature and get to know more about the national parks. There’s also the added benefit of not having to deal with snakes, bugs, and the changing weather that’s so common in the NPs.

Head to the Google Arts & Culture website to see all the 52 national parks and historic sites from the US that have made their collections available for digital exploration. You can also see loads of other famous attractions from countries all over the world here, but more details on that later.

Read A Travel-Related Book

If you’re a bookworm, this is the easiest way to become an armchair traveler. Find some travel-related books that you enjoy reading and allow yourself to live in their worlds for the next few days.

Also, a travel-related book can be anything. It could be the autobiography of your favorite artist who recounts all the places life has taken him to, a proper travel guide to a different country, or even a fiction novel set in a foreign country.

Travel guides and coffee table books related to travel are the safest options if you’re not an avid reader. From travel guides through the US to detailed exploration of Italy’s best beaches – there are countless travel books out there, and you just need to search for one that’s about the destination you’re most interested in.

Those who prefer fiction have even more options. I can’t help myself and I have to recommend Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole series – the popular crime novels are set in Norway, primarily Oslo, and the detailed descriptions of the city’s top sights will truly transport you to the Nordics for a moment.

Listen To Travel Podcast

Not a big fan of reading or watching TV? Put on a travel podcast then and listen to other people recount the details of their latest trips. You’ll hear some fun and interesting stories for sure, but you may also learn about the inconveniences that might arise should you choose to travel to the same destinations.

We Travel There is a great podcast hosted by Lee Huffman. He interviews locals from all around the world, so every episode is about a different city. The local attractions and best places to visit are usually highlighted in each episode, making this podcast worth checking out even when you’re planning a travel itinerary.

Where To Go is also a great podcast, mostly because it’s hosted by the team behind DK Eyewitness travel guides. They’re some of the best travel guides out there, and the podcast episodes truly give them a run for their money.

Watch Travel Vlogs On Youtube

There are countless travel vloggers trying to make a living by doing the one thing they love most – traveling. You can support them and help them make their dreams come true by consuming their content and exploring the different countries of the world from the comfort of your own couch.

Finding a travel vlogger you like shouldn’t be too challenging, especially with so many different options out there. The key is to find a person you genuinely enjoy watching, otherwise, you won’t be able to focus on the travel destinations!

You can also find live camera streams on YouTube from countries all over the world. They usually include short snippets from various cameras, but it’s a great way to get a glimpse of distant landscapes and everyday life in foreign countries in just a few minutes. Plus, if you see a stream that you particularly like, you can always just find that specific live camera and refer to it whenever you want.

Enroll in A Travel-Related Course

If you still enjoy learning and you’ve particularly interested in travel, why not enroll in a travel-related course. Working on yourself and furthering your education is always a good thing, and you never know what opportunities may present themselves after you’ve completed the course.

I’m not saying enroll in a five-year college course about tourism, but you can take various online and offline courses on a myriad of topics relating to travel. The best way to get started is to get acquainted with all the different diplomas and certificates that are relevant to the tourism industry.

There are dozens of them, and there are many ways to earn them, from attending free online courses to enrolling in MBA degree programs.

Learn what it takes to become a travel agent, get a certificate that allows you to be a tour guide in your hometown, or complete a flight attendant training program. There are countless travel-related courses you can take, and you just need to see which ones interest you the most. This can also increase your chances of getting a job with one of the travel companies if that’s something you are interested in.

Additionally, you can also enroll in language-related courses. They usually include learning about the culture, literature, and history of the country whose language you’re learning, plus learning a new language is always a great idea.

Cook Your Favorite Dishes From Around The World

Exploring a new country means exploring its cuisine and getting to know all of its different flavors. So, if you’re feeling like traveling somewhere but you can’t actually go to that country, you can try to make it – or at least a tiny bit of it – in your own kitchen.

Turn to YouTube or one of a million different recipe websites, and find a dish you enjoy from the cuisine of the country you want to visit. Tacos will immediately fill the room with staple smells from South America, a good curry can never not remind you of India, and sushi is entirely self-explanatory.

So, if you can’t go on a trip right this minute but you’re desperate to at least feel like you’re traveling, just make your entire kitchen smell like a street full of food vendors from that country!

Watch TV Shows Related To Travel

Sometimes it’s enough for a show to be filmed at the right location for it to become extremely popular. Emily in Paris proved that – despite the fact that the show was criticized for a number of different things, it remained extremely popular and mostly because of the fact that it’s filmed in Paris.

People love to tune in to see Lily Collins strolling down the cobblestone alleys of Montmartre and enjoying croissants with a fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower, and I have to admit I’m also guilty of binging both seasons.

It doesn’t have to be a show about one specific city – there are countless travel shows that will satisfy your wanderlust for a moment, and many of them feature a different city or country in every episode. Put on some of Anthony Bourdain’s classics – No Reservations and Parts Unkown are still some of the best shows that combine food and travel!

The Grand Tour is another gem that covers remote destinations from around the world, and it’s particularly interesting for car lovers. But you don’t have to be into cars to appreciate the humor of Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, and you certainly don’t need to know anything about vehicles to admire the spectacular landscapes that are featured in the episodes of this humorous travel show.

Watch Travel Movies

If you don’t want to commit to an entire TV show, you can just put on a travel movie. Into The Wild is a textbook example of a travel movie, and probably the best-known film in the genre. But a travel movie can be almost anything, as long as it’s set in the place that you’re yearning to visit.

I get the urge to travel to Sicily whenever I watch Godfather, and I doubt anyone would consider that a travel movie. But the beautiful landscapes that Al Pacino escapes to are so fascinating that, for a moment, it’s entirely possible to forget you’re watching a movie about mobsters.

The entire Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy showcases the beauty of spectacular European cities – Vienna, Paris, and Greece, in that order. Mamma Mia also depicts the beauty of Croatian and Greek islands, and it’s a great film to put on if you’re dreaming about a beach vacation.

Wild, starring Reese Whitherspoon, follows an inexperienced hiker setting out on the Pacific Crest Trail. The entire movie was shot on location, so it features the actual highlights of the iconic US long-distance hiking trail.

Go On A Virtual Tour of World’s Famous Museums

Some of the most famous museums in the entire world offer free virtual tours, and you should take advantage of that. J Paul Getty Museum, London’s Natural History Museum, and Musée d’Orsay in Paris have all made their collections available for virtual exploration.

Head to Google Arts & Culture again to go through the collections of these museums. You can even browse the various digital collections they have by genre or time period, so finding a collection curated specifically for you is easier than ever.

Learn A New Language

Learning an entirely new language is the best form of armchair travel. Not only does it get you closer to the culture of a country you’re fascinated by, but it’s also a way of developing a new skill that you can use for the rest of your life.

Learning a new language isn’t exactly the easiest thing you can do to satisfy your wanderlust, but it’s certainly the most useful one. You’ll particularly be happy you took up that happy if you manage to travel to the country whose native language you’ve mastered!

Also, keep in mind that learning a new language usually includes learning about the history and culture of that country, as well as reading a few books written by the nation’s most prominent writers. So, you’re not just learning how to talk to locals on your next trip, but you’re also getting a complete guide to the most important landmarks and attractions of the country you choose!

Plan Your Next Trip

Do you already have a destination in mind for your next trip? Then why not start planning it right now. You don’t have to purchase airplane tickets if you’re not sure when you’ll be able to go, but it’s a good idea to start researching other details that will come in handy during your trip.

Look at hotels and AirBnBs to see where you would like to stay and be sure to check out all the top tourist attractions and things to do at the destination. You can even make little maps for any future trip, and you can refer to the map when you actually arrive at that destination.

If you often go on road trips, you already know just how much planning goes into them, if you want things to go smoothly. You can get a head start on your next trip right now – it will get you excited about the trip, plus you can plan out a good chunk of the road trip.

Reminisce About Your Past Trips

Nothing can transport you through time and place quite like a personal photograph. Blow the dust off your online albums and take the time to go through all the 2365 photos you took on that trip to Rio de Janeiro. It can’t be just me that takes a million photos wherever I’m in a new city, and it can’t just be me that never looks at them again.

Take the time to go through the old photos and choose your favorites. You can even print them out if you like and create a travel collage to hang on a wall. Or you can just turn them into a throwback post.

You can also use this opportunity to make room in your phone for photographs you’ll take on your upcoming trips. Delete any blurry shots, images you don’t like, or images that you have a dozen copies of, and create some space for the photographs of places you’re yet to visit!

Create A Travel Scrapbook

Now that we all have amazing cameras in our pockets, it seems like we’re always taking photos, but never taking the time to go through them. Do you remember going through your childhood albums, and how happy you’d be when you saw that one photo you have a great memory of? Or when you looked at images from your travels as a kid?

You can still do that now, even if you’re a full-blown adult. You can even create an album if you want, but a travel scrapbook is a bit more fun. Go through the photos of the last (or any) place you visited, and select the ones you like the most and you want to have in your travel scrapbook.

If you need some travel inspiration, why not dedicate a few pages to every destination you visited. Print out your favorite photos with your friends and family, but also of the landmarks you liked and any places that stood out. Put all the photos in the scrapbook, and be sure to write little captions beneath the photos.

If you do go through with this, two decades from now, when your travel memories start to fade, you’ll be thrilled every time you lay eyes on your little travel scrapbook.

Play A Travel-Themed (Board) Game

Why not try a travel-themed board game to satisfy your itch for a quick trip? Trekking The World is one of the best-selling board games out there, and it’s great for families and friend groups of up to five people. You play the game by racing to visit as many countries in the world as you can and you collect souvenirs along the way. It’s extremely fun, and a great way to learn about some of the most popular destinations in the world.

The World Game is a travel-themed card game for up to five players. It tests your knowledge of geography by asking you to name the capitals of countries, point them out on a map, or guess their flag. It’s a fun card game, but only if you’re into geography.

It’s worth noting that board games aren’t the only types of games you can play that are related to travel. If you’re into gaming, you’ve got even more options when it comes to armchair travel! Many recent AAA games are set in existing cities, and most of those open worlds are incredibly detailed and pretty true to life.

Not all the details will be identical, but it’s important to point out that the reconstruction of Notre Dame will be done with the help of Ubisoft’s drawings that they used to recreate the iconic church in their Assassin’s Creed Unity game.

You can walk through the streets of London, New York, San Francisco, Paris, Tokyo, and many other cities if you’ve got a computer that can run newer AAA games. If not, just try Geouesser – the online game is one of the best things for armchair travel, especially if you want to explore places off the beaten path.

Socialize With Fellow Travel Enthusiasts on Social Media

If all else fails, turn to social media. Go on Reddit, Instagram, or even Facebook and find a group of like-minded travel enthusiasts with whom you can share travel stories and photos. This is also a great way to meet new people and make friends, and you could potentially travel with those people sometime.

But it’s a way of armchair traveling that only extroverts will consider, so it’s definitely not for everyone. You could be one of those people that lurk around the groups and forums, taking in all the stories and images, but not sharing anything with strangers.

About the Author Anna Timbrook

Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.

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Armchair Travel: How To Virtually Explore The World

Want to travel but haven't got the funds or the time? No problem! You can explore the world from the comfort of your own home with armchair travel. Here's how.

Ways to travel the world virtually from the comfort of your armchair

What is an armchair traveler?

Armchair travel is the act of exploring a place, learning about a culture, or going on an adventure without leaving your home. It's the perfect way to learn about new cultures and destinations, and it can be a great way to escape your everyday life for a little while.

Being and armchair traveler doesn't mean you're lazy, it just means you're resourceful! There are endless ways to armchair travel, and with a little creativity, you can go anywhere in the world without even stepping out your front door.

Related: Why people like to travel

How to armchair travel

There are many ways to armchair travel, but some of the most popular methods include:

Travel Blogs

Well, I suppose I would say this, wouldn't I?! But travel blogs are a fantastic resource for armchair travelers.

Whether you're planning a road trip, searching for information on a dream destination , or just looking for some inspiration, travel blogs are a great way to explore the world from your armchair. You can even interact with other travelers and get first-hand insights and recommendations.

Dave's Travel Pages

Here at Dave's Travel Pages for example, you will find blog posts relating to bicycle touring as well as how to plan a vacation in Greece . My site is the perfect inspiration for armchair travel lovers!

Vlogs are also a good way to find out information about different places around the world, and to see things you normally wouldn't. Watching YouTube videos, like this one from Kleftiko Bay in Milos, Greece sure does make you want to visit there!

Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool that can be used for much more than just staying in touch with friends and family. With a little bit of exploration, you can use social media to armchair travel.

Start by following some travel bloggers, pages, and hashtags on your favorite platform. This will help you find interesting content and accounts to follow.

Other people's travel experiences can be a great source of inspiration and information for your own armchair travels. Following along on someone else's journey can be a great way to see the world without even leaving your home.

You can also use social media to connect with people from all over the world. Joining online communities and groups is a great way to learn about new cultures and make friends from different parts of the globe. Who knows, you might even find some armchair travel buddies!

Virtual Tours

One of the best ways to armchair travel is to take advantage of the wealth of information and experiences that are available online. There are now virtual tours for some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and they're a great way to explore a place without even leaving your living room.

You can find virtual tours for museums, historical sites, natural wonders, and more. Many of these tours are interactive, which means you can explore at your own pace and choose what you want to see.

While virtual travel experiences can never replace the real thing, they're a great way to get a taste of a new place. Some even allow you to see ancient sites as they were meant to be seen – without the crowds!

Some virtual tours you could look for include:

  • Sistine Chapel
  • Machi Picchu in Peru
  • Western Australia
  • National Parks
  • The Great Wall of China

Books are the most popular way both plan a future trip and to armchair travel. When you read about a destination, you can almost feel like you're there.

If you want to learn more about a specific place, try reading books set in that location or by authors from that culture. A guide travel book like Lonely Planet or Rick Steves can also be a great resource. Did you know I have a guidebook about Milos now available on Amazon?

Milos and Paperback Guidebook

For armchair travel, fiction books can be just as good as non-fiction. If you want to explore a new culture, try reading a book set in that country. You can even read books in translation to get a taste of another language and culture.

They can transport you to new places, teach you about other cultures, and give you a different perspective on the world. If you're not sure where to start, try reading some travel memoirs, novels set in different countries, or even cookbooks from around the world.

You can also read books about how to stay safe when you eventually do travel such as this one: Looking for Lemons .

If you're looking for travel inspiration, nothing quite beats a good travel movie. There are now travel channels and entire networks dedicated to travel content, so you're sure to find something to suit your interests.

Whether you want to watch documentaries about far-flung places, learn how to cook local dishes, or just see some beautiful scenery, there's a travel movie out there for you.

Don't know where to start? I've got a complete guide here to the best movies to inspire wanderlust .

Travel Songs and Playlists

Let's not forget the power of music! Songs can transport you to different places and times, and they can be the perfect way to set the mood for armchair travel.

If you want to explore a specific destination, try finding songs about that place or by artists from that culture. You can also find travel-themed playlist on Spotify and other music streaming platforms.

Here's some great songs to add to a travel playlist you can have in the background as you travel from the comfort of your armchair!

  • Google Earth

For people who want to explore the world from the comfort of their own home, Google Earth is a must. This free program allows you to see satellite images of almost anywhere in the world.

You can explore cities, landmarks , natural wonders, and more. You can even take a virtual tour of some of the most popular tourist destinations. Google Earth is a great way to get a bird's-eye view of the world and to armchair travel to far-flung places.

  • National Geographic

If you want to explore the world without leaving your home, National Geographic is a great place to start. This website has a wealth of information about different cultures and destinations, as well as beautiful photos and videos.

You can learn about different cultures, find travel tips, and even plan your next trip. National Geographic is a great resource for armchair travelers and anyone who loves to explore the world.

Put a big map on the wall

No armchair traveller should be without a map! Not only will it help you plan future trips, but it's also a great way to track the places you've been virtually.

A map of the World

Talk to family and friends

What better way to learn about the world than to talk to family and friends who have traveled?

They can tell you about their experiences, recommend places to visit, and even provide some insider tips. If you don't have any friends or family who have traveled, try joining an online forum or social media group dedicated to travel.

Tips On Virtual Experiences and Travel Inspiration

Here's a few quick tips to get the most out of armchair travel:

  • Find a comfortable spot to relax in and make yourself comfortable.
  • Put on some music or background noise that sets the mood and helps you relax.
  • Make sure you have everything you need within reach, including snacks and drinks!
  • Have a map handy so you can follow along with the places you're reading about or watching.

How to find new and interesting places to explore online

  • Do a search on Google or another search engine.
  • Check out websites like National Geographic and Lonely Planet.
  • Browse travel-related social media groups and forums.
  • Watch travel movies and shows for inspiration.
  • Ask family and friends about their experiences.

The best free armchair travel websites and apps

Some useful websites and apps include:

  • Lonely Planet
  • Travel Movies and Shows

The benefits of armchair travelling The great thing about armchair travel is that it's easy and affordable. You don't need to spend money on airfare or hotels, and you can explore the world from the comfort of your own home.

Armchair travel is also a great way to learn about different cultures and destinations. You can watch documentaries, read books, or even talk to family and friends who have traveled.

And, of course, armchair travel is the perfect way scratch that travel itch and to explore the world if you're unable to travel due to health reasons, financial challenges, or other constraints.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next online experiences and begin an armchair adventure today!


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Armchair traveler final thoughts

An armchair traveler is an individual who explores the world from the comfort of their own home. Equipped with nothing more than a curious mind and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, armchair travelers embark on virtual journeys through the pages of books, magazines, documentaries, or the vast expanse of the internet. These intrepid adventurers live vicariously through the experiences of others, allowing them to traverse distant lands and cultures without ever leaving their living room. So, if you're someone who dreams of faraway places but can't pack a suitcase just yet, join the ranks of armchair travelers and let your imagination take flight!

Come Join My Journey

Ultimate Armchair Travel Guide: Experiencing Travel at Home

April 3, 2020

Anna Hammerschmidt

There is nothing like traipsing the globe; hopping from Milan to NYC to Sao Paulo in mere minutes. No, I’m not talking about teleporting. I’m talking about armchair travel. I have been armchair traveling for years and I didn’t even know it. If you are a travel addict like me, chances are you have been armchair traveling too. We just didn’t know there was a name for it. No need to pack your bags for this trip. We are delving deep into how you can experience travel without leaving your home.


Table of Contents

Armchair Travel Meaning

At this point, you may be wondering what exacting is the meaning of armchair travel? Armchair traveling is experiencing a destination without actually traveling there. This can be done through various virtual travel experiences such as virtual reality , travel books, and movies.

Why Should You Consider Armchair Traveling?

There doesn’t necessarily need to be a choice between actual travel and armchair traveling. If you have the opportunity and are able to travel, by all means, go see the world! But oftentimes, we can’t travel as much as we would like, whether it is for financial issues, time off or a global pandemic. These restrictions don’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to experience travel. If you love to travel, you should be able to experience it as much as you would like.

Personally, I wish to be engrossed in travel 365 days a year. But realistically, I can’t actually be traveling that frequently. So, I turned to armchair travel. I spend time learning about different countries and cultures. I virtually tour cities and tourist destinations. And I am always gathering inspiration for my next trip, knowing full well that there is no possible way I could travel to the thousands of destinations I have virtually experienced. But it’s nice to dream and to learn about other destinations.

Armchair travel is also a great way to plan for future trips. Before visiting a destination, I like to learn as much about it as I can. I delve through the internet searching for blog posts and videos about the destination. I create virtual “vision boards” on Instagram of photo spots I want to see. And I always make sure to pick up my favorite travel guide. This helps me feel prepared and fully knowledgeable about the destination, so I can truly appreciate everything I am seeing.

Interested in travel at home? Check out this guide to the perfect staycation!

Ways to Travel From Home – Armchair Travel

Travel blogs and guides, guide books.

A tried and true way to experience travel from home is by reading travel blogs and guides. One of the most exciting parts about travel (aside from actually being in the destination) is the planning phase. I love planning trips. Scouring through travel guides and blogs builds up the anticipation for visiting a destination. Reading travel guides typically helps outline the best places to see in a destination.

But you don’t have to be going on a trip to enjoy reading about a destination. If you’re like me, you may already have a shelf of travel guides at home. I have a collection of Eyewitness travel guides for destinations I’ve never visited and regions I love. But there is something about reading these guides that fuels me with so much wanderlust. If you don’t already have a collection of guide books, pick one up for a destination you’re curious about. Maybe it will inspire you to visit one day or fill you with more knowledge about the destination.

One of my favorite things to do when I’m not traveling is to grab a handful of books from the travel section at Barnes and Noble and compare the different guide books. Be sure to grab a coffee and allow yourself to get lost in the pages.

Travel Blogs

I may be biased, but I love researching travel online. There are so many resources and incredible travel blogs. If there is a particular destination you’re interested in, simply enter your query into Google and you will find endless blog posts about the destination. Or check out the destinations your favorite blogger has written about and use that as the base for your armchair travel destination. (Pssst check out the destinations I’ve written about for armchair traveling)!

If you’re looking for armchair travel on a particular country or destination, there are plenty of blogs with a focus on specific places. For instance, you can find ample inspiration about Chile on Gringa Journeys and tons of posts about Madrid from Lauren on Location .

Armchair Travel

Youtube Videos

Youtube is a great source for experiencing travel at home. When I want to know what a place is really like, I head to Youtube. While reading about destinations is a great source of information (for us who like to be very informed), Youtube is on another level for experiencing travel at home. Seeing a destination through video allows you to sit back and enjoy the experience. The best part is, watching Youtube is completely free. Simply enter the destination in the Youtube search tab that you wish to virtually escape. There are various videos to watch from uncut clips that allow you to get a true glimpse of the destination, beautiful inspiration type of videos and entertaining travel vlogs. Some of these videos are on par with travel shows and documentaries on major networks.

After being so inspired by armchair traveling with my favorite Youtube videos, I decided to start a travel vlog. Check out my Youtube channel here! I will be adding tons of travel videos and armchair travel ideas.

If you are looking for some Youtube travel channels to get started with, check out some of my favorites. These are the channels I find myself looking forward to watching their new videos because they allow me to virtually experience the destination.

Check out these channels:

Sandy Makes Sense: Sandy is a bubbly host, who’s videos always leave me smiling. While she doesn’t always travel with friends, her videos make you feel like you’re experiencing the ultimate girlfriends getaway.

Happy to Wander: The host of this channel is a hilarious Canadian expat living in Europe. The videos on this channel are more travel guides than vlogs yet she manages to do so in an entertaining yet informative way.

De Ja Shu: The videos on Shu’s Channel are cinematically beautiful and she is a very charming host. Be prepared, after watching her videos you will leave hungry as she is quite the foodie.

The Life of Jord: Jordan’s videos will bring you to far-flung destinations you may never have considered visiting (perfect for armchair traveling)! His videos will leave you curious about places you’ve never heard of before.

Backpacking Bananas: The host of this channel, Christianne, is high energy and relatable. Her videos mostly focus on her backpacking trips around the world. Great for entertaining videos to fuel your wanderlust from home.

Come Join My Journey: If you haven’t checked it out already, I actually have a travel vlog that I started recently to further share my travels!

A unique and amazing way to enjoy armchair traveling is via webcams. There are webcams all over the world, where you can watch a live stream of a destination. When it comes to truly experiencing a destination via armchair travel, they are a game-changer! These webcams allow you to get a glimpse of what is really happening at that very moment in the destination. Webcams verge on feeling like you’re spying, but they are typically scenic webcams so you’re not getting an up-close showing the people walking around.

Search Webcams

It’s astonishing how many webcams you can watch online. If there is a specific location you wish to visit during your armchair travels, simply search “Destination webcam” and plenty of options will come up. (PS never do anything you wouldn’t want someone to see when you’re traveling because evidently there are webcams everywhere!)

Not sure where you want to go? Browse through some of the top webcams on these websites:

Skyline Webcams

Destination Specific Webcams

There are plenty of destination-specific webcams. After a trip to Ocean City, Maryland, we revised the ocean and pier at home with their various webcams . While we couldn’t feel the sand or the salty air, viewing those live cameras from our couch felt like those we were there for just a moment.

Wildlife Webcams

If you’re an animal lover, some of the best aquariums, zoos and wildlife conservatories even have their own webcams that you can watch. There is nothing quite like being immersed in watching animals to feel as though you are no longer sitting at home.

Google Earth & Street View

One of my all-time favorite forms of armchair travel is browsing Google Street View. I have been pretty obsessed with Google Street View since the introduction of Google Earth . (Yes, I have always been travel obsessed). Google Street View on Google Earth is one of the best ways to get a visual of a destination. You are able to click and virtually “walk-around” the destination, getting 360 degrees of streets and squares in the world. To use Google Street View, simply drop your icon on one of the blue lines in the destination you are searching on Google Earth.

Additionally, there are little blue dots that you can drop your icon on. These are photospheres, which will show you 360-degree snapshots from around a destination. These are especially useful when you are searching for a particular tourist spot that may not be on a street.

Google Earth even pulls an excerpt from Wikipedia for each destination you search for. This helps to learn a bit about the destination as you are getting virtually lost in its streets.

If you’re not sure where you want to virtually explore, there is a “Feeling Lucky” feature on Google Earth, which pulls up a random location on the map for you to check out. I’ve noticed that this feature tends to pull up locations I have never heard of, many of which don’t actually have street view information. But that just means you’re “traveling” to a place that many people don’t go to. Take the opportunity to research this destination and try to pull up videos and blog posts.

Secret Door

Similar to the “Feeling Lucky” feature of Google Earth, there is this very cheesy and amazing website called Secret Door . This website is slightly more satisfying than the “Feeling Lucky” feature on Google Earth because it brings you directly to a random spot on Google Street View.

The website is a little slow, however, it is so worth the wait! Each click through the door brings you to a unique spot on Google Street View. On one click I was inside of the White House and on the next, I was in Shackleton’s Hut in Antarctica. It is so fun to try and guess where you ended up!

Virtually Visit Museums

If you are a museum buff when you travel, there is the perfect app for visiting museums worldwide from the comfort of your home. Via the Google Arts and Culture app , you can visit over 2000 museums across the world. I have spent more hours than I care to admit on this app. For someone who doesn’t typically have a long attention span for museums, this app has been a game-changer for me. Each museum on the Google Arts and Culture app has online exhibits. These online exhibits give a background of what the exhibits are about as well as various photos showcasing the collection. These exhibits provide the perfect amount of information, they are informative yet not overwhelming.

To start off your armchair travels at the museum, I would suggest picking a city to start exploring and prepare yourself for a long day at the museums. Spend time reading about the exhibits, walking around the museums with street view and even virtually hanging art on your walls at home. Yes, you can virtually hang masterpieces on your walls! It’s fun, a bit cheesy and a great way to see the art up close. If you have a Google Cardboard or other VR headset, you can even take virtual tours of museums and cultural sites on Google Arts and Culture.

Virtual Reality

Getting a Virtual Reality Headsets

Virtual Reality is by far one of the most realistic and immersive ways to experience armchair travel. All you need is a virtual reality headset. The best part is, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg for a VR headset. You can get an entry-level VR headset for a reasonable price. I went with the Google Cardboard model as I didn’t want to overly invest in a headset. However, the actual Google Cardboard model was sold out. So I opted for this model . And it really works! I bought a virtual reality headset for under $8 and it works so well! Honestly, if you are using virtual reality for the first time, all you need is a cardboard model to start out.

If you have children or are planning to use virtual reality often, I would consider investing in something more durable. If you prefer a more durable model, consider getting an entry-level model such as this one by BNEXT.

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Virtual reality videos.

There are countless virtual reality videos and still images you can find online for free. After scouring the internet and apps, I have discovered endless places to visit in VR. With new virtual content being added daily, you will have no shortage of adventures during your armchair travels. Throw on your cardboard VR viewer and headphones and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime…from your couch.

Some of my favorite apps for travel virtual reality are the Google’s Arts and Cultures app, where you can virtually tour museums and cultural sites around the world and the Google Expedition app, where there are over 900 expeditions to choose from, including national parks and palaces.

A fantastic source of virtual reality videos is Youtube. Youtube has tons of high-quality virtual reality videos that are readily available. In order to use your VR headsets with Youtube videos, make sure you have the Youtube app downloaded and click on the “VR headset icon” on the corner of a virtual reality video. Some of my favorite channels for virtual reality travel videos include National Geographic and VR Gorilla . If you are looking for a particular destination, search for “destination virtual reality” on Youtube.

Travel Books

One of my favorite genres of books to read is travel books. These books tend to suck me into the destination the book is based on and fuel me with so much wanderlust. I find myself inspired by the author’s story and travels. A good travel writer will make you feel like you have stepped into the destination they are describing.

I love a good travel memoir! Some of my favorites are classics such as “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Wild” . The newest memoir on my virtual travel bookshelf is “Around the World in 80 Trains” . I use an e-reader for when I travel, so I’m not lugging around tons of books. You can also virtually check books out of your local libraries to use on your e-readers with the apps Overdrive and Libby.

There is nothing quite like having a good coffee table book. I have a few travel coffee table books that I often flick through for travel inspiration. One of my all-time favorites is “1000 Places to See Before you Die” , which is full of classic bucket-list destinations across the world. If you’re looking for a beautiful and inspiring hardcover coffee table book, add “Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure” to your collection. This book is full of gorgeous photos and tips from female travelers. (PS I’m featured in the Dame Traveler book! I may be biased, but this is a great book!)

Travel Books - Armchair Travel

Subscribe to Travel Magazines

Similar to travel books, but the destinations you are visiting are a total surprise each month. There is something so special about holding a glossy travel magazine in your hands and flipping through the pages to discover a new destination the writers have covered each month. Travel magazines tend to be the beginning of my armchair travel binging. After reading a short article about a destination in one of my favorite magazines, Travel and Leisure or CN Traveler , I find myself scouring the internet to learn everything possible about the destination.  One of the best parts of travel magazines is that the stories are typically accompanied by beautiful imagery from the destination.

Travel Magazines

Travel Movies and TV Shows

One of my first inspirations for travel was watching movies travel TV shows. I lived for the Travel Channel growing up, watching my favorite series by Anthony Bourdain and Samantha Brown. Each episode of these shows brought a new destination with entertaining hosts. Now there are various travel shows on networks, streaming services and online. Some of my favorite travel shows include:

Check out the best travel movies here!

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown:  Who doesn’t love Anthony Bourdain? I have seen perhaps every one of his travel series, my favorite being “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”. You can stream this on Amazon, or you can watch “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” on Hulu!

Samantha Brown’s Places to Love: Samantha Brown is adorable and lively and showcases highlights of a destination from places to see to history. You watch all the episodes of Places to Love on PBS!

Get Lost in Travel Photos on Instagram

My Instagram feed is flooded with inspirational travel accounts. These accounts allow me to experience a destination through someone’s perspective.  I love following people who travel frequently or live somewhere interesting. Instagram is an especially great place to do this because it feels more personal and in the moment than other media. While Instagram feeds can still be quite curated, I love seeing how Instagrammers showcase a destination.

One of my favorite features of Instagram is Instagram Stories. It is interesting to see the more candid moments these travelers share on Instagram Stories, which often go along with the photos they are sharing on their feeds. After following some travel accounts for years, it feels as though I truly know the person and I’m excited to see where they go next.  I use my Instagram @comejoinmyjourney_ to document my travels, sharing curated travel photos with captions talking about my experience or thoughts about a destination. My IG stories tend to be more behind the scenes documentation of my travels.

There are so many talented photographers and Instagrammers on Instagram, that scrolling through your feed can feel like you are looking at a beautiful gallery of travel photos. Be sure to follow specific accounts of individuals whose travels inspire you as well as some feature accounts. Feature accounts allow you to discover new destinations and accounts daily. Some of my all-time favorite feature accounts include  @dametraveler , feature female travelers and , which showcases different destinations in Italy.

            View this post on Instagram                         A post shared by Anna ✈️ Travel Blogger (@comejoinmyjourney_) on Nov 6, 2019 at 9:40am PST

Create a Vision Board on Pinterest

Pinterest is such a great way to find travel inspiration and to organize it. Pinterest is a great took to use for armchair travel. Think of Pinterest as a visual search engine. So it makes searching for travel information fun! After searching for a destination on Pinterest, you will find tons of beautiful photos and blog posts. I love using Pinterest because it is so visual. If you are drawn to the image, you can click on it to be redirected to a blog post or webpage to find out more information.

When I am browsing Pinterest, either for research for upcoming trips or travel inspiration, I organize these pins into destination boards. These destination boards serve as a vision board for the specific city, region or country. Once I save and organize these pins, I can go back and read all the posts I saved or look back at the photos for inspiration.

Cook Regional Dishes

If you are a foodie, a huge part of travel is trying different dishes from around the world. Trying local dishes allows you to further experience a destination. Yet, just because you can’t travel does not mean you can’t try food from around the world. Pick up a cookbook from a particular destination or look up your favorite dish you’ve had abroad and get cooking. While it may not be authentically made, trying food from different places that you don’t typically eat is a great way to experience armchair travel.

Not only is cooking different types of dishes a great way to escape your everyday routine, but it also helps you appreciate those local delicacies. Here are some great cookbooks to try:

“Made in Mexico” by Danny Mena: For those who love Mexican food!

“Vietnamese Food Any Day” by Andrea Nguyen: For delicious Vietnamese dishes!

“Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes” by Giada De Laurentiis: Because everyone needs Italian food in their lives!

Mexican Food

Research History

While I have always enjoyed history, travel fueled my love for it. Visiting a destination that you have learned about makes it feel so much more real. I tend to find myself in a research frenzy about the historical significance of a place that I visit. Learning about the history of a destination makes me feel like I have a great understanding of it. Learning about history is such a great way to enjoy armchair travel.

There are various ways to learn about the history of a travel destination you are visiting. Many travel shows and blogs have a historical element. You can go on a Wikipedia binge about the destination you are visiting from home. Or you can pick up a history book about the destination you are visiting.

Practice Language Skills

Language is such a beautiful part of travel. I yearn for foreign tongues; languages and words that I have never heard before. There is something so rewarding about learning a new language, even if it is just bits and pieces of it. Before I visit a destination, I am sure to learn a few key phrases and words of the language spoken in the destination. And I feel so rewarded when I start picking up on the language while traveling.

Just because you are at home, does not mean you can’t learn language skills. Spend some time practicing your language skills with phrasebooks and language apps. Duolingo is a great app to use to learn a language for free! I use this app before traveling and when I’m at home. There are various languages you can learn on Duolingo. However, if you truly want to learn a new language , you may want to consider investing in Rosetta Stone .

If there is a language that you already know or enjoy listening to, put on a movie or tv show in that language. Even if it is just background noise, you will feel like you are in that destination.

Have a Destination Theme Night

Now that you have tons of ideas for different ways to enjoy armchair travel, you can bring them all together to have a destination theme night. This is one of my favorite ways to delve into travel at home. This allows you to truly immerse yourself in the destination. After picking a destination, do as many things as you can from this list of ideas for traveling from home. Do some research on the destination you want to virtually travel to, just as you would do for an actual trip. Then delve into the destination, making your favorite dish from the destination and enjoying an evening of watching Youtube videos and movies about the destination or enjoying a good travel book.

Some Travel Theme Night Ideas:

Paris Theme Night: Grab a glass of wine and a cheese tray and tune into “Midnight in Paris”. If you have a beret , throw it on to feel like you are in the City of Lights.

Las Vegas Theme Night: If you have a poker set , have a poker night. Start drinking whatever and whenever you want (because it’s Vegas, right?) and finish the night watching “The Hangover”.

Singapore Theme Night: Get a Singapore street food cookbook and create some delicious dishes. Then throw on your most extravagant outfit and watch “Crazy Rich Asians” .

Travel Photos

Who better to live vicariously through than yourself. Yeah, you! Chances are you have been on some pretty fabulous trips before. So, if you are unable to travel at the moment, might as well take this time to relive your past trips. I love having a chance to go through my old travel photos. This gives me a chance to remember the moment I took the photo and share the stories about my past trips with others. A few ways you can experience armchair travel through old travel photos include:

Show the photos to family/friends: Tell them all about your experiences.

Post your travel photos on social media: Now is a great time to make that inspirational travel account on Instagram!

Create a scrapbook: Making scrapbooks is a great way to showcase your travel photos and mementos in one place.

Poland Travel Guide

Write a Travel Bucket List

While armchair travel alleviates my need to travel right now, it still leaves me wanting to visit the destinations I have virtually traveled to. I have a mental list of places I want to visit that is constantly growing. A great way to continue dreaming about these destinations is to create a travel bucket list. While you may be stuck at home right now, there is no reason you can’t dream of visiting these places one day. By writing these destinations down on an organized travel bucket list or even pinpointing places you want to go on Google Maps, you may be able to plan a trip when you can travel.

1 thought on “Ultimate Armchair Travel Guide: Experiencing Travel at Home”

This is such an amazingly in-depth guide!! Proof that it’s not the end of the world that we can’t travel right now 😉 I’ll be using some of your ideas- thanks!!

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Happy to Wander

Mastering Armchair Travel: 10 Ways to Enjoy Travel from Home

Last Updated: April 1, 2021

*FYI - this post may contain affiliate links, which means we earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase from them. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Check out our Privacy Policy and Disclosure. for more info.

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In a time when the farthest I travel is literally from my desk to my fridge, antsy has become my middle name. And as a travel blogger unable to travel, I suppose you can say I’ve kinda been fired. From a job where I’m the boss.

Despite this setback however, I have discovered the wonders of armchair travel, and wow – what a world.

You heard me – armchair travel, as in the art of vicarious travel from the comfort of your armchair, bed, bean bag, or hey, even the toilet (I’m not here to judge).

And I mean sure, armchair travel may not command the same glittery glamour as necking aperitivo in Milan or gliding through Switzerland by train , but it’s travel you can do in your underwear AND nobody will even call the cops. 

So, if you’re feeling weary from gazing blankly out the window or simply want to read something that will distract you from the bleary news ticker, here’s a guide to the wonderful world of armchair travel, with 10 (actually satisfying) ways to enjoy travel from home. 

Editor’s note : the following methods will feel more like real travel if you are also cradling an infant-sized margarita. My jokes may also seem funnier. Carry on.

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Save this guide to armchair travel for later!

You’ll be very glad you did.

1. Binge travel blogs & videos

Let’s begin this post with a Christina signature move, shall we? Pure desperation.

Please, if you find yourself in need of some mindless entertainment while weathering this dystopian storm, try to support independent creatives as much as you can.

Reading blogs (if you’re here right now, wow you’re super ahead) and watching YouTube videos is an incredible free way to help keep your favourite creatives’ businesses afloat.

So yes, allow me to quickly hurl my YouTube channel at you real quick. Catch!

It’s a tough time for businesses and individuals all around the world, but freelancers and small business owners are especially feeling the pinch (particularly in the travel industry), SO if you crave something to fill your boredom gaps, please consider supporting the many bloggers, vloggers and creatives in your life.

We need you more than ever! And we’re free. SO FREE. * relentless sobbing *

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2. Snoop around on virtual museums and apps

For my fellow museum lovers, there’s an easy way for you to get your fix while nestled in the arms of your own comfy bed.

Many of the most famous museums in the world actually have virtual tours that you can do, including the Louvre, the MET, the British Museum, and more. Click here for a huge list I put together.

To get your culture fix, I can highly recommend the Google Arts and Culture website and app . It’s filled with interesting articles about art, culture, and history intrigue.

PLUS it has the most incredible feature called “Art Selfie” where you snap a selfie and they compare it to their archives to find your fine art doppelgänger. See below for the fair maiden I supposedly resemble.

Download for iOS | Download for Android

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3. Find the hidden gems of the world with Secret Door

So this is a really clunky website that screams early 2000s, but I am still mildly obsessed with it.

Long story short, Secret Door is a site where you open a virtual door and it randomly brings you to a hidden gem of the world via Google Street View. Imagine Chat Roulette (throwbackkk!) but for quirky places around the world. Much like a girls’ outing involving tequila, you never know where you’ll end up.

For example, one visit brought me to an eerie art museum in Spain, another brought me to a colourful Willy Wonka inspired candy shop, and my last visit dropped me off RIGHT on the train tracks of the Bernina Express !!

NOTE: I find that the site can be a little glitchy, so I usually have to reload it each time I want to re-open the door, otherwise it won’t work properly… but still, give it a try here ! It’s cool.

4. Explore a random place on Earth with MapCrunch

In a similar vein, there’s another website called MapCrunch that ALSO drops you off in a random Google Streetview location, except it doesn’t necessarily focus on unique/hidden gems… it literally drops you off anywhere.

You might be thinking “why would I want that, Christina? Why?”

WELL, besides getting to catch a glimpse of daily life somewhere completely random in the world, this site was actually the source of a viral internet game of the early 2010s… basically, if (on desktop) you navigate to the MapCrunch Options tab, you can check a box on the bottom the says “Stealth” which will drop you off in a random Streetview location without telling you where you are…

The objective of the game is to pretend you woke up in this random location and somehow navigate your way “home” by finding the closest airport. Tough right? Can you imagine? A great game to play with friends if you want to race. Might be more fun if you’re mildly drunk, but what in life isn’t?

5. Spy on worldwide webcams 

Okay, this fact might either be really cool or really creepy depending on your persuasion, but did you know the world is covered with cameras that stream everything live to webcams 24/7?

(Alright, I admit it does sound a little creepy when I put it that way)

Nonetheless, checking out these webcams is prime armchair travel material. Sites like EarthCam have live HD webcams from all over the world, so you can quickly check in on Times Square  or the balmy waves of the Maldives all while eating guacamole by the fistful in your other hand. In fact, I’m writing this article while watching sunset at the Eiffel Tower! (I will save my guac for later.)

NOTE: While not live, if you get tired of staring at webcam footage, you can also go for an HD view of the world by checking out Full Screen 360 where there is plenty of 360 degree eye candy from interesting places around the world, from beautiful Cinque Terre to even my beloved Munich!

6. Stream some wanderlusty movies or TV shows

In the world of streaming, Netflix is of course king, but if you want to expand your horizons (or take advantage of something free!), you can register for a free one month trial of Amazon Prime Video and binge their huge library of free content (or otherwise rummage through their very extensive paid offerings).

In terms of recommendations, I have a list of great travel movies to watch here.

Show-wise, here are some quick recommendations:

  • Departures – One of my favourite all-time travel shows. It’s about 2 Canadian guys that hit the road and travel the world through personal connections/friendships, so you get a good mix of tourist sights and local secrets/know-how. It’s a little dated now (originally recorded in 2008), but guess what? These legends have put a lot of full episodes on YOUTUBE for FREE! Check them out here.
  • An Idiot Abroad – A hilarious and mildly offensive show that’s great if you want something a little different than your standard travel programme. It’s a documentary series that follows Karl Pilkington, a guy with zero interest in travel and global cultures…. being forced to travel by his friends Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais. If you like Ricky Gervais humour, this is a must-watch. Watch it here.
  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – Like many travel enthusiasts, I adore everything from Anthony Bourdain, but there’s just something about Parts Unknown with its incredible visuals and storytelling that makes it my favourite. Watch it here.

7. Cook up global inspired dishes

If you often find yourself traveling for food, sending your tastebuds on their own lil voyage might be the most delicious form of armchair travel you can enjoy right now… all the better if you’re learning to make it yourself (because then your gluttony can be disguised as self-actualization.

Trust me, I’ve been doing it for years).

Where can you get free ideas and tutorials for recipes?

Honestly, YouTube is such a wealth of information these days that I can guarantee you’ll find a video teaching you to cook any foreign dish of your choosing!

If you’re feeling especially fancy though, you can also purchase online cooking classes! This is an amazing way to support local businesses who might be suffering otherwise due to the dip in tourism.

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8. Enjoy a country-inspired night in

Combining points 6 and 7, for extra dorkiness points, consider hosting a country themed night-in. Simply pick a special film that’s focused on a destination and cook a meal (or order one in if you feel like it) related to that destination.

You can even have a watch party with friends on Skype (or do a group viewing on Netflix Party ) and all tackle the same recipe together before/after.

Some ideas for your country inspired soirée:

  • Watch Parasite and make ramdon – not the most wanderlusty combo but this is the best movie I’ve seen in years so I have to recommend it
  • Watch Amélie and have roast chicken + creme brûlée – you’ll see why if you watch the movie. Bonus if you buy some fresh raspberries to eat from your fingers
  • Watch Eat Pray Love and Pizza Napolitana or Spaghetti all’Amatriciana – truthfully, the spaghetti will probably be easier to make from home…
  • Watch Crazy Rich Asians and dumplings or Hokkien Fried Mee – in addition to wanderlust, a bonus side effect of this movie is it will make you feel incredibly poor and alone

9. Cozy up with a good travel book

At a time when we’re constantly bombarded with one distressing headline after the next, boyyy does it feel good to curl up with a nice book far away from the horror-show that is social media.

So, treat yourself to some wanderlusty reads! Blogs are great, but there’s something unbeatably satisfying about holding a book.

Now, while I prepare myself for excommunication from the League of Extraordinary Bloggers for saying that, let me think of some recommendations… 

I’ll be very honest, I haven’t read a ton of travel memoirs, but one hilarious classic I can wholeheartedly recommend if you’re looking for a good laugh is What I was Doing While You Were Breeding. Otherwise, if you want something more conventionally travelly (but a tad cliché), I did also enjoy Eat Pray Love. Please let me know in the comments if you have any travel memoirs that you would highly recommend!

Otherwise, if you’re looking for some non-travel related reads, I’ve been really into memories from awesome female comedians lately, and both Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Bossypants are great.

NOTE: If you don’t mind reading off a Kindle, you can click here for a free month of Kindle unlimited… all you can read!

10. Try actual virtual reality

Lastly, despite being a millennial who works on the Internet, I am shockingly out of touch with technology and how far it has come. Did you know for instance that virtual reality travel is a thing now?

Like, not just in testing phases, not just a clunky pixellated prototype, you can literally just buy an entry-level headset online that uses your phone?

… I only discovered this while researching armchair travel options for this article, and I have to say this one might just take the cake.

There are all sorts of apps that you can download on your phone (both free and paid) that allow you to enjoy really cool virtual reality travel experiences all around the world.

Better yet, there are full-blown YouTube videos now that can be watched in VR mode, which is how I spent my lockdown Spring in Europe taking a taxi ride through New York City, enjoying an overwater villa in the Maldives and even gliding through space , all of which I just did in my pyjamas in Munich.

If you’re interested in this, I got this set for really cheap and it works great!

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Any more ideas for armchair travel?

I’m all ears! I hope you enjoyed this read… and safe travels (from the couch).

My Go-To Travel Favourites:

🧳 Eagle Creek: My favourite packing cubes

💳 Wise: For FREE travel friendly credit cards

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Wanderlust Movement | A South Africa Travel Blog

Armchair Travel: How to Master Travelling the World From Home

April 6, 2020 by Lauren Melnick

Last Updated on January 24, 2023 by Lauren Melnick

Armchair Travel: How to Master Travelling the World From Home

As a travel blogger who cannot travel, it’s been tough. I’ve been feeling stumped about what content I should be creating and then there’s the repeating thought: “ Does anyone even care anymore!? Should I throw in the towel in and become a food blogger?? ”

Despite all my mental spirals, I’ve found a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel – armchair travel and I’m kinda obsessed!

As an introvert and a Taurus (shout out to all my fellow bulls who are eating themselves out of house and home ♉), I love discovering new destinations from the comfort of my bed.

Sure, armchair travel doesn’t compare to chasing waterfalls in Bali , but you don’t need to stress about getting to the airport on time, and there are ZERO crowds at the top attractions.

If you want to re-ignite your wanderlust, here’s a guide to armchair travel and nine ways to enjoy travel from home!

Table of Contents

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

The metropolitan museum of art, the vatican museums, kenai fjords national park, alaska, bryce canyon national park, utah, hawai’i volcanoes national park, hawaii, carlsbad caverns national park, new mexico, dry tortugas national park, florida, best travel tv shows, best travel movies, cook your favourite food from around the world, read wanderlust-inducing books, binge your favourite travel blogs & vlogs, start planning your next trip, reminisce about your favourite trip ever, how to master armchair travel.


The iconic Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy!

Marvel at Artistic Masterpieces with Virtual Museums

Are museum visits high on your itinerary for new destinations? You can get your fix without needing to put on pants. Some of the world’s most famous museums have virtual tours that are 100% free!

Here are some of the best virtual museums to check out:

Pretend your summer plans to Paris never got cancelled with a virtual tour through The Louvre . As one of the largest art museums in the world , you can spend hours exploring the rare artifacts like the Mona Lisa and exhibits such as the Egyptian Antiquities and Galerie d’Apollon.

The best part?

You don’t need to muscle your way past crowds and stand on your tiptoes to see the incredible works of art.

The Louvre

The Louvre Museum at night *swoon*

mona lisa in The Louvre

The best part about being a virtual traveller? No crowds!

Visit one of the top museums in the world while you treat yo’ self to a face mask and mani-pedi. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. has a  360-degree online tour .

It includes all of the popular exhibits like the Hall of Mammals , Hall of Human Origins, The Sant Ocean Hall, The Last American Dinosaurs and Butterflies + Plants: Partners in Evolution.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

While I possess as much style as Anna Wintour’s left pinky, I still fantasise about attending The Met Gala. Since fashion’s event of the year has been postponed and I won’t get to see celebrities bizarre outfits for another year, The Met’s virtual tours are the next best thing.

The museum is home to over two million works of fine art with collections from Vincent van Gogh and my favourite artist of all time, Jackson Pollock .

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you only have time for one museum on this list ( lol kidding, what else would you be doing ), virtually make your way to The Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy .

Flex your armchair travel muscles and tour the museum grounds . See famous exhibits like the Sistine Chapel without thousands of other people and guards telling you to shush.

Read More: How To Visit The Vatican (A Massive Travel Guide)

ceilings in the vatican

Imagine waking up to this level of artistry every single day.

Laocoon and His Sons

You won’t believe how many people I had to squeeze past to get this shot!

Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

The majestic Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska!

Explore a U.S. National Park From Your Couch

For all the avid hikers out there who are wearing their boots around the house for nostalgia, experience some of the United States best national parks without the expensive plane ticket or applying for a visa.

Google Arts & Culture lets you explore five national parks that show off the country’s diverse climates and environments and takes you on a virtual great outdoors adventure!

Explore the glaciers, fjords and icebergs of Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska . The virtual tour isn’t a passive scroll past incredible landscapes. It invites you to take part in one-of-a-kind adventures. Climb down icy crevasses , go kayaking past massive icebergs and watch a glacier melt.

As someone who loves astrophotography, I’m missing my 2 AM missions to capture the milky way. Luckily, I can virtually scratch that itch with an online tour of Bryce Canyon National Park . Starting at Sunset Point, you can gaze through a telescope up at the night’s sky and learn about the different constellations.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Utah’s landscapes always get me so excited about climbing mountains!

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

I mean, look at these magnificent rocks. They are screaming for me to climb them!

I don’t know about you, but I’ve dreamed of exploring Hawaii ever since that one Baywatch season. With the island’s most popular national park accessible online , I’m one step closer to experiencing that slice of paradise. As a virtual traveller, you can discover the Nahuku Lava Tube , take in stunning coastal vistas and fly over an active volcano .

Love exploring what’s underneath the Earth’s service? Sign up for a virtual tour through the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. It’s home to over 100 caves with incredible rock formations and thousands of bats. If life is getting dull as a human, you can opt to experience the park’s life as a bat simulation .

Dry Tortugas National Park is a remote part of the United States. If you wanted to visit the park in real life, you would need to book a private seaplane or boat to get there. With the virtual tour , you get to save some dollars ( anyone else shook at the Rand to U.S. dollar exchange rate!? ) and dive a shipwreck , swim past the third largest coral reef in the world and see a Civil War-era fort.

Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida

Singapore: The filming location for the wildly successful Crazy Rich Asians

Stream The Best Travel Movies & Series

Like many people around the world, I’ve been making a dent in my Netflix watch list. So much so that I convinced my boyfriend to get a VPN and sign us up for Hulu.

If you’re running out of things to watch and want to fuel your wanderlust, here’s a list of the best armchair travel movies and TV series to watch:

An Idiot Abroad:  One of my favourite travel shows of all time. It’s a hilarious show that follows the misadventures of Karl Pilkinton, a guy who hates travel and has zero interest in learning about global cultures. He is forced to travel the world by his friends Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.

Parts Unknown: Parts Unknown is a delicious adventure around the world with Anthony Bourdain. Join the late chef and TV personality as he gallivants around the world with Barack Obama (season eight, episode two), dines in Libya while investigating the country’s conflict through food (season one, episode four) and travels to the Congo which Bourdain calls “ the most relentlessly fucked-over nation in the world ” (season one, episode seven).

Street Food: As a budget traveller at heart, I always find myself eating plates of street food when I travel. Street Food takes you around the globe to experience the best curbside meals from Thailand ‘s iconic Phad Thai to Singapore ‘s Michelin-rated Hawker Centres.

Planet Earth I & II: Binge-watch Sir David Attenborough’s groundbreaking natural history show. Travel around the globe and learn about the day-to-day life of Tibetan foxes, track down the endangered Ethiopian ibex, and swim with the largest animal in the world – the blue whale.

Gaycation: Gaycation is a TV show hosted by Ellen Page and film director Ian Daniel. It explores what it’s like to be LGBTQ+ around the world. The show explores the gay bars of Tokyo and New York City and travels to destinations like Ukraine and Jamaica where LGBTQ+ locals face discrimination and threats on a daily basis.

street food in portland

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty will have you jumping up and down on your sofa by the time the credits roll-up. It’s the perfect travel movie for those who want to escape the daily humdrum of life and finally chase down the adventure of their dreams. Warning: Iceland and Greenland will suddenly be at the top of your bucket list.

Mamma Mia: ? Here we go again. My, my how can I resist you? ?With the gorgeous backdrop of the Greek Islands, sparkling blue waters and a soundtrack with all the best Abba songs, you’ll dance and sing away the lockdown blues.

The Lizzie Macquire Movie: Are you longing for a sojourn through the streets of Rome ? Stream the iconic Lizzie Macquire Movie and watch Hilary Duff attempt an Italian accent as she explores the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and FINALLY kisses Gordo.

Up: As a Disney addict, I had to include one animated movie on this list. Up is a heart-wrenching film that takes you on an adventure across South America. You’ll need a box of tissues to make it through the movie, but you’ll have a strong desire to make your travel fantasies a reality before it’s too late.

Crazy Rich Asians: Did you know that after Crazy Rich Asians premiered, searches for Singapore travel spiked by 20% ? If you’re looking for a film to inspire your wanderlust, Crazy Rich Asians have the stats to back it up. The movie is ideal for those looking for fun rom-com with delicious food, breathtaking cinematography and an inside look into the lives of Singapore’s elite.

Read More:  Singapore 4 Day Itinerary: The Ultimate Guide for First-Time Travellers

pizza from italy

I don’t know about you, but I am CRAVING some Napoli pizza!

After watching Anthony Bourdain’s Part’s Unknow n and Street Food , let your virtual travels take your tastebuds on a gastronomic adventure.

I know most of us are spending more time than usual in the kitchen. So you might as well use your gluttony (and boredom) to fuel your wanderlust.

Choose a dish from your favourite country, convince your friends to join in on the fiesta and plan a delicious dinner party (via Zoom, of course).

italian food

Take your mind on an Eat, Pray, Love journey to Bali.

Escape from the distressing headlines by curling up with a good book and using armchair travel to transport yourself to your dream destination.

But reading isn’t only a distraction.

Neuroscientists tracking the brain activity of patients have found that the act of reading words like “cinnamon” cause the part of the brain that controls smell to light up.

That means reading about Bangkok , Paris, or Botswana can trigger your senses transport you to take you to the bustling Thai capital, the banks of the Seine river or the flood plains of the Okavango Delta.

Here are some of the best armchair travel books to add to your must-read list:

  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas | Hunter S. Thompson
  • The Alchemist | Paolo Coelho
  • Eat, Pray, Love | Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Seven Years in Tibet | Heinrich Harrer
  • Shantaram | Gregory David Roberts
  • The Beach | Alex Garland
  • The Nomad: Diaries of Isabelle Eberhardt | Isabelle Eberhardt
  • Kafka on the Shore | Haruki Murakami
  • Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road | Kate Harris
  • Travels with Myself and Another | Martha Gellhorn
  • Alone in Antarctica: The First Woman to Ski Solo Across the Southern Ice | Felicity Aston

girl on mokoro safari in the okavango delta

Cruising down the Okavango Delta in Botswana!

Want to support your favourite creators while travelling online? Binge their content!

It’s a tough time for many businesses around the world, but freelancers and small business owners ( like myself who are in the travel industry ) are particularly feeling the pinch.

If you want to help us out, spend a few minutes a day reading a blog post (it costs you nothing and helps us make some ad revenue), watching YouTube videos or supporting us by engaging with our content on Instagram .

While I’m incredibly grateful for you reading this blog post right now, if you want to continue showing me some virtual love (and dabble in some armchair travelling), meander your way through these blog posts:

  • The Ultimate South Africa Bucket List: 40+ Amazing Places to Visit
  • How to Travel Bali on a Budget as a Frugal South African
  • 10 Loved-Up Locations to Visit in South Africa
  • The Perfect Self-Drive Botswana Itinerary for an Epic Safari Trip
  • What It’s Like Staying on Mumbo Island in Malawi
  • The Best of the Panorama Route South Africa: 2-Day Itinerary

girl at maidens cove in cape town

Your next trip doesn’t have to be an international getaway. You can plan a trip closer to home.

For a lot of us, not having an end in sight is making staying inside so much harder.

So why not use the time to plan your first trip when things start to go back to normal?

Hop onto Pinterest and create a board for your dream destination. Scroll through Instagram , stalk some hashtags and create a new saved folder (you might find some new favourite accounts).

Once you’ve decided on a destination and you have a bucket list coming together, head on over to and start researching your dream hotel!

Remember, this too shall pass ( yes, I know that’s corny, but it’s also a Lord of the Rings quote ). It’s okay to use this time to take your mind off the state of the world and get excited about your next adventure.

lisbon falls

Chase those waterfalls from the safety of your house.

If none of these tips help you reclaim your wanderlust, take a walk down memory lane.

Look through your travel photos from your favourite trips. Host a Google Hangouts with all your friends that went on that adventure (and don’t forget all the people you met along the way!).

Have a chat about your drunken escapades on Siem Reap’s pub street or that epic Full Moon Party in Thailand. Maybe you hiked to the top of Kilimanjaro, or you spent your gap year backpacking across Europe .

You could also use this time to edit (or re-edit if you’ve recently invested in some presets) your photos and relive those memories by posting some throwbacks on Instagram.

Do you have any more armchair travel ideas? Hit ya gurl up in the comments and let’s get our wanderlust on from the comfort of our couch!

Psst…Want some inspiration for your next trip? Check out some of my most popular posts!

  • 20+ Most Instagrammable Places in Cape Town
  • The Best of Bangkok: The Perfect 3-day Bangkok Itinerary
  • Singapore 4 Day Itinerary: The Ultimate Guide for First-Time Travellers
  • 10 Day Vietnam Itinerary: The Ultimate Vietnam Backpacking Route

? If you like it, then you should put a pin on it! ?

Escape the four walls of your house by indulging in armchair travel! Here are 10 genius ways to explore the world from home!

About Lauren Melnick

Lauren Melnick is the founder of Wanderlust Movement, Wander to Here and is a South Africa travel blogger. She's been travelling the world as a full-time freelance writer since 2016 and has visited over 40 countries.

When she isn't typing up a storm, you can find her conquering overnight hikes around the Western Cape, rock climbing, and hosting sold out group travel trips around South Africa, Namibia and Morocco.

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August 26, 2020 at 5:53 am

True. At this point of restricted travel we are but lest with the virtual visits to all places. Waiting for the day when we could travel again, in person. Till then, I am off to the Smithsonian Museum.

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  • May 23, 2023

Explore the Globe from Your Couch: An Intro to Armchair Travel

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Around the World from Your Couch: The Magic of Armchair Travel!

armchair travel is

Ever wished you could see the world without leaving your home? Welcome to the world of armchair travel! Armchair travel is all about exploring new places, experiencing different cultures, and learning about the world without having to physically go anywhere.

Why Armchair Travel?

Whether it's due to budget constraints, time limitations, or the current global situation, not everyone can travel whenever they want. But with armchair travel, you can broaden your horizons, educate yourself about different cultures, and satisfy your wanderlust right from your living room!

Want to see armchair travel in action? Check out our YouTube video Armchair Travel: Explore the World from Your Living Room! where we dive deeper into this fascinating topic.

Armchair Travel Resources

Thanks to the internet, there's a wealth of resources available for armchair travelers. You can watch travel documentaries, read travel blogs, follow travel influencers on social media, or even take a virtual tour of a world-renowned museum.

Here are some examples:

1. Travel Documentaries : "Planet Earth" and "Planet Earth II" by BBC are visually stunning series that allow viewers to witness the natural world's beauty and diversity.

armchair travel is

2. Travel Blogs : Websites like "The Blonde Abroad," "Nomadic Matt," and "Hand Luggage Only" provide firsthand experiences, tips, and stunning visuals from around the world. (Image: Screenshots of these travel blogs)

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3. Travel Influencers on Social Media : Accounts such as @doyoutravel, @muradosmann, and @gypsea_lust on Instagram showcase beautiful locations from across the globe with captivating photography. (Image: Screenshots or pictures from these Instagram accounts)

armchair travel is

4. Virtual Tours of Museums : Many world-renowned museums offer virtual tours. You can walk through the halls of the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, or the Guggenheim in New York, all from your living room.

armchair travel is

5. Virtual Reality Experiences : With a VR headset, you can experience virtual tours of international landmarks or natural wonders, such as the pyramids of Egypt or the Great Barrier Reef. Meta Quest 2- Advanced All-In-One Reality Headset

armchair travel is

6. Books : Unleash the power of words and embark on literary journeys with these specially selected travel books. Offering captivating tales from diverse parts of the globe, these narratives ensure that adventure is just a page-turn away, no passport required.

armchair travel is

"1,000 Places to See Before You Die" by Patricia Schultz - This best-selling book takes you on a whirlwind tour of the most fascinating places in the world.

armchair travel is

"The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World" by Lonely Planet - This visually stunning book captures the essence of every country in the world through beautiful photographs and insightful text.

7. Language Learning Apps: Learning a few phrases in a new language can enhance your armchair travel experience. Apps like Duolingo , Babbel , or Rosetta Stone can help with this.

armchair travel is

Armchair Travel Activities

Armchair travel is more than just passive observation. You can try cooking a dish from a country you're interested in, learn a few phrases in a new language, or even create an art project inspired by a culture that fascinates you.

armchair travel is

Next Stop: Everywhere! Your Armchair Adventure Awaits

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." – St. Augustine. (With armchair travel, you can read every page without leaving your living room!)

Armchair travel might not replace the thrill of real-life travel, but it's a fantastic way to satisfy your wanderlust when you can't get away. So why not start your armchair travel adventure today?

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Travel Advice: Ultimate Guide to Armchair Travel

Ultimate guide to armchair travel.

Never did I think that as a travel blogger I would be writing a post about not travelling. But that's exactly what armchair travel is and exactly what those of us who love travel are realising is our reality for the foreseeable future.

Before I go any further, let me be clear about how I feel about this.


No, I'm not being sarcastic, I'm being very serious. Not travelling right now is saving lives. Hundreds of thousands of lives. And that is what makes me more than happy to not be travelling right now, and I hope you feel the same because I shouldn't need to tell you how dire the current situation is; it's all over our news and social media feeds. If you are interested, here's how you can do lots of fun virtual travel in Amsterdam, because as you can imagine the streets and canals of Amsterdam are pretty empty and tourist-free right now!

It's not just about what's happening now, either. In the future, there will also be times when not travelling is a good thing. In fact, there are many good arguments already supporting the fact that we should travel less. I don't want to go into them too deeply, but I know for certain for my family, that we will be doing fewer trips, travelling less far away, and spending more time at home researching, planning, and preparing for upcoming travel, as well as more time at home after a trip, doing things to cherish the memories of previous travel we have done together as a family .

So, what is Armchair Travel? 

armchair travel is

Armchair travel is what the name suggests; travelling from your armchair. Or from your sofa, your bed, your kitchen table, anywhere in your home, because actually we don't have an armchair in our house. It's a term that means travelling without travelling; to explore the world in other ways other than by physically moving from one place to another. 

The good news is that right now is the best time in history to do some armchair travel. In fact, while researching this post I realised that actually some of the ways we can travel at home are just as interesting as the real deal, and some of them, for a multitude of reasons are quite incredible and life-changing when you think about how they can open up the world to people who can't physically travel to certain destinations for whatever reason. But I'll talk a bit more about this later.

How to Armchair Travel: The Best Ways Travel Without Travelling

In my mind, we all do lots of so-called armchair travel without even thinking about it, be it researching a destination on Pinterest, looking at someone's lovely travel snaps on Instagram, cooking a dish from one of your favourite countries, or just reading a book set in a place we have never been before.

But right now I know that some people will be missing long-planned and saved for trips and so maybe it's worth specifying some ways we can do some active armchair travel to broaden our horizons and go some way to step into the small void that not travelling is making some of us feel right now. So let me share some brilliant armchair travel guides that some well-travelled, knowledgeable travellers and travel writers have been sharing.

This happens to be one of the most comprehensive guides to virtual travel I found on the Internet and it happens to be written by my good blogging friend Nellie from Wild Junket. And this post has some other worthy ideas , as does this one which is more focused on offline activities , and I really liked this post for focusing on how you can "feel" like you're travelling and most of the ideas are for when you are stuck at home. There are some extra suggestions in Abi's post on armchair travel on her blog Inside The Travel Lab too. Extra bonus points to this creative post which is a How To guide to recreating a business class travel experience in your own home!

This post is also a great list of not just armchair travel ideas but more ways to feel better about the current difficult situation right now. And if you're the kind of person who thrives from getting organised and travel planning is as much fun as the actual travelling (no, I'm not like that either but some people are!) then this post has lots of practical tips for getting ready for your next trip when it's possible, and this post has some creative ideas for making the most out of previous trips too .

And if you're just finding the concept of not-travelling quite hard, then maybe just take it back a step further and just take some time to settle into being at home for longer than you'd like. My friend and fantastic travel writer Leyla has some tips for how to manage being stuck at home . Also one way I'm trying to visit more places while staying at home is cooking, here's a great selection of recipes from around the world you can try .

Maybe we will also be able to step outside our doors more often and explore our immediate surroundings soon and if so then you may want to have these romantic staycation tips if you and your partner miss travelling together.

If food is the way to your heart and wanderlust, you'll love this round-up of fifteen international cookbooks from regions all over the world, and below you can find more destination specific recipe books and cooking ideas.

The Best Virtual Tours

armchair travel is

There are many, many more virtual tours around the world than you would think. Not only is Google Earth pretty comprehensive in where it covers now, and how easily you can explore it, but destinations themselves are making it easier for you to explore their destinations virtually.

I also urge you to check out Google Arts & Culture as they have a number of tours of landmarks including heritage sites and national monuments online that you can explore virtually for free.

This is a list of over 60 virtual field trips you can take online right now , and this is another comprehensive list of those that are free , 

This blog post is a great round-up of virtual tour experiences for destinations all over the world and this list has some great additions for the US & Canada , and for a real adventure here is how you can walk the entire Appalachian trail virtually .

If you are more about the journey than the destination, then you may want to check out some of the MANY (and I mean it, there are LOTS) of cockpit view plane videos there are on YouTube with journeys all over the world. AND if you love train travel, you need to spend some time watching these Train Driver view videos on YouTube . Some of the most scenic train journeys in the world are here, and you'll get to see it all from an angle you couldn't actually enjoy in real life anyway. Thanks to my pal Mike for linking to this!

The Best Virtual Museum Experiences

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More and more museums are moving or improving their exhibits online. While some have long had online curations, exhibitions or section to bring their museum to people at home via the Internet, it's fair to say museums are going to have to do more of this in order to stay relevant, stay popular, and supported financially in many cases.

I've written up the best Amsterdam museums doing virtual tours here, but there are so many great museums all over the world that are now instantly available to us right now, albeit in a very different way to what we are used to.

This post rounds up some of the world's best museums with online virtual tours right now, as does this list , but is shorter so may not feel as overwhelming! And if you are into art then here are the best European art museum virtual tours right now. I've also listed my favourite Amsterdam museums with virtual collections and activities here .

And if you're interested in castles, here are some virtual tours of castles around the world, and specifically some virtual tours of French chateaux .

The Best Armchair Travel Reading Lists

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If you've hung out on this blog a bit before, you'll know how much I love reading and also how much I believe that books have real power to take you places. They're the ultimate old school mode of virtual travel. And in addition to my list of best books set in Amsterdam over here, I've shared several reading lists for kids to help them nurture a love for travel and a curiosity for the world. You should start with these travel-themed baby books and then move on to the best travel books for kids aged 2-6 (approximately!) .

And I'm not the only one recommending reading as a great way to travel figuratively. Below are many more book recommendations and reading list for your to peruse at leisure!

Here's a reading list that will fuel your wanderlust for long and adventurous journeys by The World in My Pocket travel blog. And here's another comprehensive reading list of travel books to keep your wanderlust levels up!

And if you are interested in historical books about travel or ethnographic research - that is the study of how people, cultures and communities live their lives - then Ethno Travels has a reading list for you. Alternatively, if you love the outdoors and are missing it right now, enjoy this reading list of books about adventure and the great outdoors .

If you want to tick off a list of books that will take you on a tour of the world, this reading list has 16 book recommendations , 

The Best TV Shows, Movies & Podcasts to Inspire Travel

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Can I be honest about something I probably shouldn't admit on a travel blog? I'm not a HUGE fan of travel-related movies, TV shows, documentaries or podcasts. Books are a different matter. I love books about travel; give me all the travel books. BUT visual or audio travel content just doesn't appeal to me in the same way. Having said that there are obviously a few stand-out shows you must, must, must watch if you love this planet and its many varied natural beauties of our world, like Planet Earth, Our Planet, and Blue Planet. Luckily for you, there are many people out there who know more about the great travel-related TV shows you can indulge in write now for shots of wanderlust.

Travel around the world by watching some great TV shows set in lots of different countries. Here's the best of Netflix's travel shows  (and an alternative list with some different ones here )

The Travel Sisters have got a monster list of travel movies you have to watch , and there is enough variety here to find something for anyone, or to keep you busy for many months if you want to work through all of them.

This is a great list of travel-themed documentaries you can watch right now. And if you're missing being underwater scuba-diving right now my lovely friend Annika has a few ideas for how you can bring the deep blue into your own home.

And if podcasts are more your cup of tea, this is a great list of travel podcasts worth checking out , 

The Best Destination-Specific Armchair Travel Guides

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As I mentioned above if you're missing a trip to a specific destination then the below armchair travel guides cover some of the world's most popular places, and even if your destination isn't there, maybe you can find one that sparks your interest.

Here's how you go on a virtual tour of Rome , or for Venice , here are the best books to read about or set in Paris  and a list of movies to watch to get you in the mood for France , a reading list for "travel" to Ireland , and another for Iceland, and when I'm feeling homesick for my old home city London, I will be checking out these London virtual tours .

Here's a reading list to transport you to Colombia , another for Cuba , and this blog post has everything you can do virtually to enjoy the US-state of Virginia, and another blogger did a round-up of the virtual tours for museums in Philadelphia . Finally, my good pal Victoria has put together a list of great California-inspired cookbooks ; I want them all!

One beautiful island in Europe that I would love to go back to is Crete, and this post sharing great books about or set in the Greek island is really lovely. And if you'd like a more general literary inspiration to travel to that beautiful country, here's a great reading list of 25 books set in Greece .

This is a great list of movies set in the Middle East region , here are 15 books you should read about Jordan , and here are some things to do to travel to India virtually, the best books for travel to Sri Lanka , 

For those who have had to postpone travels to Australia, this is a list of books to get you all inspired for travel to Australia, while here are some great Australian museums you can visit online .

My good friend and Glasgow-based blogger Kathi has a fantastic reading list for books on, about or set in Scotland and Migrating Miss blog has put together a list of some amazing films set in Scotland for you to fall in love with that beautiful country.

The Best Armchair Travel Activities with Kids

armchair travel is

When I first realised I wouldn't be travelling with my kids for quite some time I had a few days when I just couldn't get my head in a place where I could see how easy it would be to do travel-related activities with my kids aside from the obvious things like reading travel books for children or staring at maps with them (both of which are very valid things, and you can start them reading and travelling young with these travel books for babies ).

But after a while I slowly realised there is so much you can do with kids to get them interested and excited about travel. One of the best examples of immersing yourselves in a destination and doing a variety of activities related to that place. Nobody explains or demonstrates this better than Chelsea on her blog Pack More Into Life as she has started a full-range of virtual travel experiences with her son  and outlines all the way you can do it with your kids too. I loved the ones for China and England and can't wait to see where they "go" next.

Here's a post on how to take virtual field trips with kids , I will be working my way through this list of virtual museum tours that are great for children , and may also incorporate some of these travel-themed activities into the homeschooling (ish) I'm doing with my eldest these days. Here are some tips for teaching world geography to kids right now (and most are easy on the bank account too!). And you can get kids more involved with the planning side of travel with these great prompts and download now you have a bit more time (if you're lucky!) to do so! Finally, and save this one for a rainy day perhaps, you can even "go" to Disneyland virtually !

In terms of things you can watch and listen to with kids, I loved this list of travel- or geography-related podcasts to listen to with kids , and here are some amazing live webcams in zoos and animal sanctuaries and some more wildlife cams that you can watch around the world, 

And depending on your kids' age (older may be better) you can also check out some of these video games that will inspire travel or show you other parts of the world, and you could all take part in this 30-day travel-at-home challenge . By the way you don't need kids to do this!

That's it for this list but I will keep it updated with new ways you can enjoy armchair travel now and always. And if you'd like to save or share this post, here are some pins you can save or share.

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Armchair Travel: 45 Fun Ideas to “Travel” Without Leaving Home

Armchair Travel: 45 Fun Ideas to “Travel” Without Leaving Home

Last Updated on June 9, 2020

Sometimes travel isn’t an option — whether that is due to illness, financial issues or personal circumstances. 

Right now, it’s a global pandemic that is sweeping across the world, putting a halt on travel.   Whether you are stuck at home in a lockdown or a self-imposed quarantine, there are some creative ways to feed your travel addiction . 

From joining online travel communities to taking virtual tours of UNESCO sites, here are my armchair travel recommendations to help you “travel” without leaving your home.

Armchair Travel: 45 Fun Ideas to “Travel” Without Leaving Home

Table of Contents

How to Travel Without Leaving Home

Explore museums virtually on your laptop, take a digital hike around america’s national parks, take virtual tours of the world’s unesco sites, read travel books, read travel blogs, join an online travel community, take an online travel-related course, learn a new language, watch travel-related shows on netflix, watch travel vlogs on youtube, indulge in travel movies, start scratching your world map, make a travel scrapbook, get a travel coloring book, make jigsaw puzzles or models of your favorite places in the world, entertain your kids with travel games and books, create multicultural crafts and activities, cook exotic dishes from around the world, order food delivery.

Many of the world’s musuems have been forced to temporarily shut their doors. But that doesn’t mean that we’ve lost access to the countless treasures housed by these great museums.

Thanks to the extensive  Google Arts & Culture project, we can now access more than 2,500 art spaces from around the world online, and many offer virtual tours. This is the perfect armchair travel activity for museum buffs.

Remember that COVID-19 still poses a threat while you’re surfing the web at home. Hackers are creating thousands of fake pandemic sites to steal your personal information. Make sure to use a COVID-19 scam site checker  before going to any suspicious sites.

Here are some museums worth checking out virtually:

  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam —   View over 164,511 pieces of artwork from the revered art museum in high-definition. The museum’s most famous art pieces include Vermeer’s  The milkmaid and Rembrandt’s  Self Portrait.
  • The Tate, London —This respected museums houses the foremost collection of British art dating back to the the Tudor era and including a large holding of J.M.W. Turner’s work.
  • Guggenheim Museum, New York — This contemporary art and architecture museum has over 200 works viewable through Google’s portal.
  • The MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art), New York — One of America’s best museums has 26 virtual exhibits and over 200,000 documented works of art from nearly any era.
  • Musée d’Orsay, Paris —Check out the virtual exhibitions and 278 pieces of art from 1848 to 1914, including include Van Gogh’s  Bedroom in Arles .

rijksmuseum amsterdam virtual tour

Google Earth has rolled out virtual tours of some of the most beautiful national parks in the United States. The map and satellite imagery masters at Google Earth have put together a series of guided virtual tours of 31 national parks around the country .

Now you can literally travel without leaving your home and take a digital hike on Google Earth. It may not be the same as lacing up your hiking boots and inhaling the crisp clean air of the wilderness, but they’re pretty neat nonetheless. Here are the national parks offering virtual tours:

  • Acadia National Park
  • Arches National Park
  • Badlands National Park
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Bruce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Denali National Park
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Everglades National Park
  • Glacier National Park

death valley united states national park - virtual tour - virtual travel

Not just that, Google Earth has also recently launched  Heritage on the Edge , an online experience that uses 3D maps to showcase a handful of UNESCO World Heritage sites facing the looming threat of climate change.

The goal was to digitally preserve the legacy of the landmarks. For now, you can enjoy a zoomed-in view of the moai on Rapa Nui  (Easter Island), the ancient city of Chan Chan in Peru, and the coastal city of  Kilwa Kisiwani in Tanzania .

Not only will you be able to interact with 3-D models and 50 exhibits, but you’ll also have access to expert interviews and information on how to conserve these historical sites – an important lens, self-isolating or not. Check out this list of best virtual tours around the world .

moais of easter island - virtual tour

The best travel books are often the ones that have the power to transform you as much as a journey does. My love for travel books was probably the reason why I became a  travel blogger and writer .

I have always been obsessed with travel books, especially biographies of adventurers who have embarked on extraordinary journeys.  Reading George Orwell’s Burmese Days when traveling in Myanmar made the trip all the more special. And reading Escape from Camp 14 before my trip to North Korea definitely piqued my interest in the hermit kingdom.

If you have a long list of books you’ve been wanting to read but never had the time for, this is the best time to hit that list. Check out my massive list of 50 best books on travel .

  • Escape from Camp 14 (by Blaine Harden)— One man’s remarkable odyssey from North Korea to freedom in the West.
  • Desert Flower (by Waris Dirie) — A true story of Waris’ escape across the dangerous Somali desert to London as an internationally renowned fashion model; and ultimately to New York City, where she became a human rights ambassador for the U.N.
  • The Kite Runner (by Khaled Husseini) — A fictional book about the struggles of a young boy Amir amidst the backdrop of an unstable Afghanistan.
  • Burmese Days: A Novel (by George Orwell) — A story of the waning days of British imperialism, by an Englishman living in a settlement in Burma.
  • Into the Wild (by Jon Krakauer) — The remarkable story of a young man’s solo adventure in Alaska.
  • Gratitude in Low Voices: A Memoir (by Dawit Gebremichael Habte)— A man’s true story of how he fled his homeland  of Eritrea during the war to find solace and success in America.
  • It’s Our Turn to Eat (by Michela Wrong) — The story of a Kenyan whistle-blower

the kite runner - armchair travel books

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TIP: I recommend getting a Kindle Paperwhite if you don’t have one. You can store a ridiculous amount of books on it and read it at night without ruining your eyesight. You can buy books individually or  sign up to Kindle unlimited (first month is a free trial).


The pandemic has affected many small businesses, travel companies and websites. I am one of them — my blog’s readership and income have dropped by over 80%. It’s heartbreaking to see all that I have worked hard to build in the past 12 years be reduced to nothing.

Of course I’m not the only one. So many travel bloggers are worried about possibly losing their livelihood. I ask for your support — just read travel blogs and websites whenever you can. There’s no need to make any purchase; just reading and scrolling can help us out at times like this! 

Here are some of my best travel stories:

  • World’s Most Remote Islands
  • ​ Spirits and Spells: Voodoo Culture in Benin ​
  • ​ 12 Interesting Facts About Madagascar ​
  • ​ A Photo Essay of Tajikistan ​
  • ​ Iraqi Kurdistan — The Other Iraq ​
  • ​ Travel in the Caucasus: Where East Meets West
  • ​ Asmara, Eritrea: An Art Deco City in Africa

Other travel blogs and websites with brilliant narratives and inspirational stories:

  • Roads and Kingdoms
  • Uncornered Market
  • Atlas & Boots
  • The Candy Trail
  • Candace Rose Rardon

read travel blogs - things to do quarantine - armchair travel

Looking to connect with like-minded travelers virtually? There are plenty of online travel communities catering to specific types of travelers, from solo female travelers to extreme travelers who like to veer off the beaten trail.

  • Extreme Travel — A Facebook group I set up to connect with curious travelers seeking out the extraordinary in unusual places like North Korea, Iran and Sudan.
  • Every Passport Stamp — A Facebook community of travelers planning to travel to every country in the world. They have strict rules and requirements, so please join only if you share the same goals as everyone.
  • Travel Community — This massive Facebook group caters to all travelers from different parts of the world. Currently, there are quite a few positive discussions in light of the pandemic.
  • Wanderful — This is a leading network for female travelers. The brand is currently giving away 500 free one-year memberships (typically $69/year).
  • Girls Love Travel — A Facebook group for female travelers covering all kinds of travels and destinations.

finding a travel community

If you have always been interested in travel photography or sketching, this is the best time to sign up for a travel-related online course. There are tons of virtual workshops and courses on Skillshare and Udemy .

Here are some interesting travel-related courses worth checking out:

  • Travel sketching — Take an adventure into your imagination with illustrator and children’s book author Mike Lowery.
  • Oil painting — A fun and informative course that will teach you basics of mark making, glazing and oil painting.
  • Travel street photography — Learn popular street photography techniques, as well as composition, lighting, and photo editing for visual storytelling.
  • Drone photography — Up your skills from beginner to professional drone photography with this step-by-step vide guide.
  • Travel writing class — Learn to write travel tales readers (and editors) will love and sell your freelance writing to newspapers and magazines.
  • Travel poster illustration : Design your favorite city and place in Procreate5. 

travel related online courses on skillshare

I have always had a special interest in languages — they are the best way to connect with locals and cultures when traveling. My first experience learning a foreign language was in college, when I took French and Spanish classes. Eventually I took intensive Spanish courses in Madrid. I also took Arabic classes after that, and recently finished my 6-month Dutch course here in Amsterdam.

Technology has made it really easy to learn a language online these days. Here are some apps and online courses I recommend:

  • Duolingo — A language app that helps beginners to build up vocabulary. It is free to use and has many languages available.
  • Mindsnacks — Another app that offers free language-learning games to help you learn vocabulary, grammar, practice your listening.
  • BBC Languages — Free online language lessons, with crosswords, videos and quizzes accompanied by audio. Courses covering 40 languages, including Urdu, Icelandic and Slovak.
  • Verbling — Interactive language lessons with a native teacher over video chat. You can choose the teacher you prefer, schedule the lesson and pay her hour.
  • Lingoda — Similar to Verbling, Lingoda also offers video lessons with native teachers. But it offers monthly plans and a free 7-day trial.

learn a language - armchair travel - things to do quarantine

Many of us are turning to Netflix to entertain us and feed our wanderlust. Forget depressing series like Outbreak, check out the following travel-themed shows that will sure to uplift you in hard times like these.

You can even use the new Google Chrome extension  Netflix Party  to watch these shows with your friends online. Just click the extension button to create a “party” and share a link to the event with whoever you want to watch the program with. The extension also allows all party members to group chat about the show in real-time.

  • Dark Tourist — Definitely top on my Netflix’s favorites list, this show covers lesser-known areas and unfamiliar cultures. Check out the episodes on Pablo Escobar’s hitmen, vampires in New Orleans, and Japan’s suicide forests.
  • Larry Charles’ Dangerous World Of Comedy — Another of my favorite shows (cos I love travel and comedy), this travel show follows film director, Larry Charles, around the world seeking out how comedy is done in war zones, in slums, and beyond.
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner — One of the many foodie travel shows on Netflix, this is what I’ve been binge-watching lately. Chef David Chang brings big-name celebrities around the world and dives in local food scenes, from Phnom Penh with Kate McKinnon to Marrakech with Chrissy Teigen.
  • Conan Without Borders — One of my favorite talk show hosts, Conan O’Brien, gives a non-traditional and humorous take in this travel series. He lightens up the mood before delving into serious topics, like the humanitarian crisis in Haiti or the war in Israel.
  • Our Planet — This nature series is Netflix’s very own  Planet Earth, narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

dark tourist netflix - travel shows on netflix

Don’t have a Netflix account? Youtube actually has some high quality videos from vloggers and videographers who are out there doing some great stuff. Here are some of my favorite Youtube channels:

  • Drew Binsky — This unique vlogger brings viewers to unique places and he always has an interesting story to tell. Some of his videos are insightful and educational, such as these ones on Equatorial Guinea and Congo.
  • Karl Watson — Karl produces quality travel documentaries that are professional and definitely inspirational. His videos tend to cater to younger millennial looking for some adventure.
  • Migrationology — Foodie travelers have to check out his awesome food-focused videos. He’ll bring you on street food tours in Pakistan, feast on home-cooked food in Iran, and try top-notch Wagyu beef in Japan.
  • WildJunket — Shameless self promotion here: I’m not a Youtuber or vlogger, but I do have some short travel videos on my Youtube channel. Watch me jump off a canyon in New Zealand , drive around Iceland on a campervan , and l earn about voodoo in Benin .
  • Eva Zu Beck — This girl has interesting vlogs from the world’s least visited places, including Syria, Pakistan and Yemen. She shows us some of the world’s most beautiful hikes, remote islands and delicious food along the way.

And for movie lovers out there, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to movies about traveling . I have been inspired to go to certain destinations thanks to these travel movies, and I hope they will inspire you too. Check out my giant list of 60 best travel movies of all time !

  • Secret Life of Walter Mitty — Embark on an adventure with magazine writer Ben Stiller (as Walter Mitty) as he goes in search of a photojournalist from the streets of Manhattan to Greenland and the Himalayas.
  • The White Maasai — Based on a non-fiction memoir, this German movie sparked my interest in Africa almost 12 years ago. It tells the story of Corinne’s trip from her home country of Switzerland to Kenya , where she met and fell in love with a  Maasai  warrior and builds a home with him in the savanna. 
  • The Motorcycle Dairies — This movie traces back to where it all began for Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Gael García Bernal), whose road trip across Latin America with his pal Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna) opened Che’s eyes to political injustice.
  • Slumdog Millionaire — One of my all-time favorite movies, this Oscar winner tells the story of an Indian Muslim from the Dharavi slum in India. He is a contestant on “Who Wants to Be a  Millionaire ?”, and is one question away from the grand prize. 
  • Wild — This movie follows the journey of Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, as she treks 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail after the devastating loss of her mother.
  • Tracks — Another non-fiction movie based on the adventure of Robyn Davidson, who traverses across the r ugged landscape of Australia with only four camels and a beloved dog for company.
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel — A story about a group of aging Brits who follow advertisements and arrive in India, with the promise of a second act.

secret life of walter mitty - armchair travel movies

This is the perfect time to reflect on past travels, and think about how far we’ve come.  Get a scratch map and spend time scratching off the places you have been! It’ll bring back some beautiful memories and get you excited about future travels.

I have a scratch map myself and it’s great fun to come home from a trip and scratch off a new country each time. My friends got me this scratch off world map when we moved to Amsterdam and it’s the best travel gift I’ve ever gotten. I hang it on a cork board with push pins, where I also pin souvenirs or memoirs (like bus tickets) from each trip. It’s such a great way to keep travel memories alive!

scratch off world map - things to do in quarantine

Another awesome thing to do to bring back beautiful memories is to make a travel scrapbook. The scrapbook could be based off one epic trip you’ve done. Perhaps an awesome adventure in Southeast Asia , or a Silk Road overland trip . It could also be a collection of all your travels from the past.

Since Kaleya was born, I’ve been wanting to make a special travel album packed with photos, postcards, brochures and stubs I collected during our trips together. It would be an awesome thing to look back on with Kaleya when she grows up. Perhaps now is the time to start making one!

I have my eye on this vintage style scrapbook album ,  but technically you can use any notebook to create an album of travel memories.

travel scrapbook album - travel without leaving home

Coloring is scientifically proven to have countless health benefits for adults. It can help relax the fear center of your brain, the amygdala, and help you stay calm and mindful.

I enjoy coloring with my daughter when I get the chance. It not only soothes me, but also brings back wonderful memories from places I’m coloring.

Here are some excellent travel coloring books designed for adults:

  • Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel Coloring Book
  • ColorIt — Around the World in 50 Pages
  • Travel Between the Lines — Inspirational Coloring for Globetrotters and Daydreamers
  • Crayola City Escapes — Color Your Favorite World Cities

armchair tourist - adult coloring book

Growing up, I did lots of jigsaw puzzles with my family during our free time. It was how we spent quality time together.

You can easily find jigsaw puzzles of all kinds for both adults and kids, whether that’s 3D puzzles of iconic landmarks or traditional puzzles of landscapes. I love making 3D puzzles with my daughter!

  • 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of world’s greatest attractions
  • CubicFun 3D puzzle of Notre Dame de Paris
  • LEGO built-it-yourself kit of New York city skyline
  • ROKR 3D wooden craft puzzle of an airship

travel at home - 3d puzzle

Now that school is closed in many parts of the world, parents who are stuck at home with kids will need as many resources as they can. To keep your kid engaged, here are some travel-related ideas to pique their interest in the world.

  • The books from Lonely Planet Kids are educational, interactive and fun. Kaleya has a few of this Let’s Explore series of sticker activity books  and she absolutely loves them.
  • Inspire your kids with this book, Explorers: Amazing Tales of the World’s Greatest Adventurers , written by yours truly!
  • Teach your kids geography with the Beginner’s World Atlas  from National Geographic, suitable for kids ages 5–8. 
  • An  interactive world map  is a fun and engaging way to teach kids about the world. It has over 1000 facts about countries, capitals, oceans, and languages, that your kids can learn through interactive quizzes!
  • Join online read-alouds and activities organised by your kids’ favorite authors — here’s a full list .

my daughter with Explorers - travel without leaving home

Another fun thing to do with kids that can pique their interest in travel is creating art and craft or products from other cultures. My daughter loves making Japanese origami and it always brings back fond memories from Japan for both of us.

Adults can also enjoy making multicultural crafts together — it’s a great way to learn about a culture and engage with it without actually traveling. Here are some other ideas:

  • Make Mexico’s Day of the Dead masks
  • Make Japanese origami
  • Make a Native American rain stick
  • Make a Japanese karp kite
  • Learn Aboriginal dot painting from Australia

day of the dead skulls - crafts to travel at home

Food is one of the best ways to engage and connect with a culture and destination.  Some of my favorite dishes I’ve tried around the world, include the Moroccan chicken tajine (slow cooked stew), Hungarian beef goulash, and the traditional Japanese ramen. I’m not a great cook, but I enjoy making Mexican tacos, Vietnamese pho, and Indian prata from time to time.

But you don’t have to travel to tickle your tastebuds — sometimes you learn even more about a cuisine by making it in your own kitchen. Here are some great websites that provide excellent recipes from around the world:

  • All Recipes
  • BBC Good Food
  • Serious Eats

moroccan tajine - make it yourself travel without leaving home

Can’t cook or don’t enjoy cooking? I recommend looking at your local takeaways and trying something brand new. If you live in a multicultural city like I do, there are lots of international cuisine to choose from: from Nepalese to Mongolian, Ethiopian to Peruvian.

Support your local restaurants and give them some business to help you make it through the pandemic! This is seriously armchair travel at its best.

order food delivery - armchair travel

What other things are you doing at home to get that “travel” experience? Share your armchair travel ideas with me in the comments field below!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means I get a small commission when you purchase anything through my links. AT NO EXTRA COST to you. Thank you for your support!

Inspired? Pin it!

travel at home - things to do in quarantine

Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the founder of WildJunket. Originally from Singapore, Nellie has traveled to over 140 countries across 7 continents. As an adventure travel blogger, she has a special interest in unusual destinations and deep experiences. Her work has appeared in many major publications including BBC Travel, CNN and Read more about her here and get more life updates from her on her Facebook and Instagram .

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Marc Latham

Comprehensive fun list, but I have one more… I virtually travelled via the internet and wrote fiction books creating a storyline (vegetarian werewolf protagonist looking for its origins years before Missing Link did similar with a bigfoot) using real celebrities and places along the way, with Simpsons inspiration. I think it helps you find new places, learn more about places, and remember them; for me it was nostalgia too, as I virtually travelled places I’d passed through, but didn’t know much about at the time.

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Guide , Travel

Your Complete Guide to Armchair Travel – 2021  

  April 26, 2021

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Explore like never before

Armchair travel is all about discovering the world without actually going anywhere. It's travelling without the packing of suitcases or backpacks. It’s the opening the mind and senses to something foreign without the jetlag, without trying to work out the local currency or that “where on earth did I put my passport?” moment.

These days we have a wealth of resources quite literally at our fingertips which give us the opportunity to journey far and wide from the comfort of our sofa, kitchen table, propped up in bed, or favorite armchair.

Our virtual traveling doesn’t even have to be passive. Experiencing a country and its culture also can be done by learning to cook typical dishes, eating at a restaurant in town that specializes in a certain cuisine (and has vegan options of its dishes!!), learning a bit of the lingo or watching a foreign language film with friends. So let’s have a look at the options we have to explore the world from home.

The World of Food and Foods of the World

Travel is all about adventure, exploring all things new, and the food and drink to be found at that “somewhere” new is a hugely important part of the adventure.  I really love trying new (plant-based!) foods. Opening your mind to different worlds and cultures should also mean opening your taste buds, right? But you don’t necessarily need to shell out for a flight to be transported somewhere new. 

Check out what’s on offer locally

Explore different cuisines at restaurants in your town or nearest city. Check out reviews on TripAdvisor or Facebook to see what culinary delights might lie within easy reach. 

And let’s not forget about alcohol. The wine-producing tradition of Europe goes back centuries, and the customs and cultures of many regions are inextricably linked to its production. Why not see if your local wine bar runs wine-tastings from particular areas of the world?

In fact, alcohol is a world in itself if you think about it!  You’ve got Sake from Japan, beers from Belgium, Whisky from Scotland, Tequila from Mexico and the list goes on.

Explore new cuisines from your home

If you can free yourself from the gravitational pull of your armchair then you don’t actually need to leave home to explore the countries of the world through their cuisines. No, I’m not talking about getting a take-away, at least not in the traditional sense. These days there are fantastic monthly subscription boxes which set you up with everything you need to rustle up typical dishes from around the world.  We particularly liked these three:

Eat2explore , a fun family activity to explore the world through food; available in the US only

Feast Box  ; available in the UK only

Try The World ;   available in the US only

Rustle up something new in your kitchen

Of course, you can go down the more traditional route and discover new tastes to excite your taste buds with recipes from your favorite cookbook or chef - here’s some ideas to get you going:

Vegan Eats World features 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet by Terry Hope Romero

East Meets Vegan : The Best of Asian Home Cooking, Plant-Based and Delicious by Sasha Gill

Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen : Traditional and Creative Recipes for the Home Cook by Richa Hingle

Online Cooking Classes

There are also some brilliant online cooking classes which can help, especially if you’re somewhat “challenged” in the kitchen. I like to actually watch the whole process of pulling a meal together:

The Table Less Traveled  allows you to join chefs and home cooks from around the world with live interactive classes almost every day of the week.

Veecoco has over 400 lessons and takes students around the world on a vegan-friendly culinary journey

Learn how to make ramen from a renowned Japanese ramen master with Shojin Now

Virtual tours

The world of technology has brought with it brand new ways of exploring the world. I don’t think it will ever replace the real-life experience of being somewhere but virtual tours can fire up our enthusiasm and arm us with knowledge that might enhance our trips abroad. 

The team at Virtual Trips have live tours everyday with great local guides and you get to see what they are seeing via their camera phones. No two tours are the same as all the tours are live and unscripted!  They cover 194 different locations around the world.

We often focus so much on the visual that we forget how a nation’s culture can also be reflected in their music. So sit back in that comfortable armchair and open your ears to the sounds of the world

The World Music Network has been promoting sounds from around the world for over 25 years.

Hear the world thanks to National Geographic: @NatGeoTravel on Spotify .

Listed simply as a musical time machine, Radiooooo is an app which allows you to select a country, decade, and then choose something that could be defined as “fast”, “slow”, or “weird”. Close your eyes, and enjoy an expertly curated playlist of songs from that time.

For decades TV was the only way we got to see worlds beyond our own and to get extraordinary insights into the cultures and landscapes of other countries. Thanks to technological advances in filming techniques it continues to provide us with jaw-dropping images, and in-depth documentaries on places that many of us will never get to visit firsthand. 


Where to begin? For wildlife it’s pretty hard to beat David Attenborough with his epic, high-definition nature documentaries Our Planet, Blue Planet and Planet Earth. 

The Amazing Race

Whether you’ve got a competitive streak or not, there’s something annoyingly addictive with  The Amazing Race and the vicarious adrenaline rush of watching people navigate and race through exotic and far-flung countries.  It’s akin to backpacking on steroids and it’s exhilarating! 

Travel shows

If you google "best travel shows on TV" you’d be forgiven for thinking that travel show = food show. Of course it’s understandable.  The cultural identity of a nation or region is inextricably tied up with what is eaten there. If you can get past the fact that vegan cuisine will not feature much on any of these shows then keep reading, if not, then jump to the next point!

Travel TV owes much to Anthony Bourdain - No Reservations and Parts Unknown - his passion for exploring was infectious and his ability to eat pretty much anything was impressive.

One of the newer additions to the genre is Somebody Feed Phil, which features Phil Rosenthal (creator of the TV series Everybody Loves Raymond). His laidback style makes him very easy to watch, and his constant childlike positivity brings a smile to your face. 

Virtually visit some of the world’s best museums 

With fascinating exhibitions from around the world at your fingertips, you can now linger in front of masterpieces at leisure. Some museums offer more simple Google street map style visits, whilst other offer more in depth accompanying texts and audio.  Check out the following suggestions to get you started:

Google have partnered to create free online virtual tours such as the Musee d’Orsay in Paris and British Museum in London.

Venture into the Louvre , one of the most visited museums in Europe.

Washington, D.C.’s National Museum of Natural History is one of the most-visited museums in the world and their online resources include narrated tours.

Broaden your horizons with online lectures on cultures and history

Perhaps you want to learn more about the histories and cultures of countries that are on your travel bucket list? Well these days you don’t need to haul yourself out of your armchair to go sit on some uncomfortable seat at a lecture hall to hear and learn from some of the world’s experts on these subjects. These are a good place to start your research:

  • The Great Courses Plus :  with literally thousands of hours of audio/video lectures taught by some of  the world's greatest professors, this subscription site is worth checking out for the hundreds of subjects they cover from Food & Wine, and Travel, to History and Music & Fine Arts.

edX :  find courses from 160 universities from the across the world - selection includes languages, history and art.

Coursera : a global online educational platform that partners with universities and companies to offer a huge array of courses.

Learn the lingo

Speaking another language, even if just a few words, can transform and enhance your travels to non English-speaking countries. We all love to connect and more often than not an attempt to string a few words together will cause a smile and a nod of encouragement. Plus getting the feel for a language can often help you begin to understand the culture of the country. 

italki with its one-on-one teaching not only promises to teach you any language it also promises to help you become fluent in any language.

Duolingo has free apps for both android and iOS, ideal for practice whenever and wherever you want. The Duolingo Plus has offline courses and more. 

Babbel is great for vocab and learning everyday phrases

Google Arts and Culture

The main mission of Google Arts and Culture is to preserve and bring the world's art and culture online so it's accessible to anyone, anywhere. But it’s much more than that.   Click on the link here and explore not just masterpieces in super high definition but also the places that inspired some of the world’s greatest artists and authors. Fill your screen with street art from the streets of Berlin, São Paulo and Amsterdam. Or how about an adventure across India or journey through the breath-taking nature of South Africa. Google Arts and Culture has something for everyone.

The world in a podcast

Podcasts are great - they allow you to multitask ,so if you’re up and out of your armchair, perhaps doing a spot of exercise or doing the housework then pop in your earphones and listen to one of these:

‎ Armchair Explorer on Apple Podcasts : billed as the world's greatest adventurers telling their best story from the road.

The World Nomads : listen to inspiring travelers talk about amazing destinations.

Travel with Rick Steves : Rick is probably one of America’s most esteemed travel experts on all things Europe.

World Vegan Travel also has a great selection of its very own podcasts about all things travel with guests who are also vegans.  

Lose yourself in a book

I could probably dedicate a whole blog to travel books from coffee table books to travelogues and everything in between. So I will leave here just a mere taster of what you could investigate if losing yourself in the pages of a book are your thing:

Coffee table books

Coffee table travel books are like an instant fix of inspiration - where to next? Lonely Planet has done some great coffee table style books ranging from Epic Drives , to Epic Hikes and even Epic Runs ! And I can’t not mention the National Geographic and their Journeys of a Lifetime and Destinations of a Lifetime

Literature from around the world

Although this extensive list of books about nearly every countries dates back to 2012 it’s still a fascinating experiment and if you’re a bookworm then seriously look no further.

Alternative travel guides

If only “off-the-beaten track” will do then perhaps get this on to your reading list .

Foreign language films 

Not speaking the language or being familiar with the cultural settings playing out in front of you never seem to dampen the experience of seeing the world through the eyes of someone far removed from your daily life.

I was transfixed and moved to tears by Cinema Paradiso , and equally fascinated by Parasite , the South Korean film that won four Oscars in 2020.  Both films succeeded in transporting me far beyond my armchair.  

Travel blogs galore

Travel blogs are a wonderful source of real gritty details and experiences. You really feel like you’re getting stuff straight from the horse’s mouth. There are many, many travel blogs out there catering to every demographic under the sun. These are just three that caught my attention on the blogosphere:

Roads & Kingdoms : founded by veteran journalists this blog explores politics and culture through food and travel.

Anywhere we roam : this award-winning blog helps travelers experience destinations to the full with its detailed information and local insights.

The Opposite Travelers : Rachel and Ryan are Canadian and this blog is about their very different approaches to travel.

With millions of users around the world this video sharing service provides a platform for travelers to share their experiences from all four corners of the earth. The quality of travel vlogs has vastly improved over the last decade with travel YouTubers upping their game to keep audiences engaged with improved editing techniques and the use of fantastic drone shots. So if you’re looking for inspiration YouTube is a great place to start. It’s also a great resource for tips on traveling in general from how to survive a long haul flight to travel essentials that you shouldn’t leave home without!  Check out these three for starters and why not subscribe to our very own YouTube channel here: World Vegan Travel YouTube Channel

FunForLouis - Living the Adventure : if travelling for you is chilling out at a beach resort somewhere exotic… then this prolific travel vlogger is not for you! 

Ben Brown chronicles his travels around the world with stunning cinematography, he tends to let the images speak for themselves.

The Vagabrothers - as you might deduce from the name - follows the globetrotting adventures of 2 brothers, looking to dispel stereotypes and celebrate our differences.

Pinterest is like an image-based google. If you tap in, for example, “explore the world”, your screen will explode into color with stunning images from all round the world from travelers and travel agencies alike. And of course the great thing about Pinterest is that their board system makes it really easy to store all the places that catch your eye in one place for you to refer back to later when you're ready to start making decisions and planning…. at which point you can then search for what to pack for your trip with downloadable lists and tips. 

Beware! From my own experience I can tell you Pinterest is addictive! See what we’ve been up to and get pinning: World Vegan Travel on Pinterest .

Reach out to like-minded travel-lovers on social media

Fellow travelers are a great source of information, with many willing to share their tips or experiences. Where to find them? Well both Facebook and Twitter have some lively groups that are worth checking out whether you’re looking for inspiration, or simply curious to see what other people are up to.

The following groups on Facebook are “private” so you will need to submit a request to join:

The Weekend Wanderlust : for all things travel be it just for a weekend or a year.

Travellers allows members to share their adventures with one another.

There are many travel companies on Twitter.  The following are individuals or groups as opposed to businesses:

@journeywoman is Canadian and has been running for over 25 years - aimed at female travelers. 

@Earthpix posts stunning pictures every day from rainbows in Hawaii to the tulip fields of Holland.

@everywheretrip follows Gary Arndt as he travels around the world. He sold his house in 2007 and hasn’t stopped travelling since.

Google Earth

Google Earth lets your mouse do the exploring and allows you to click through maps, understand the lay of the land with Street View, or even better still, with Photo Sphere you can drop into Egypt to see the pyramids or the Mayan temples in the Guatemalan jungle or click your way around the grounds of the 14th-century castle that supposedly inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

Live cams around the world

Get a bird’s eye view of what's going on around the world in real time. Be it waterfalls, throngs of crowds in the world´s greatest metropolis or animals rolling around in the mud there’s a cam to capture the moment. is one the best out there with everything from breakers in Hawaii to elephants in Africa. 

Check out the Northern Lights in real time at the Canadian Space Agency’s AuroraMAX cam

Check out the International Space Station, where you can catch live streams of the crew doing their thing and stunning views of Earth

Start planning your next destination

There is no shortage of inspiration here, so why not take the plunge, choose a destination and get down to the actual planning. How much time have you got and what time of year can you go? These are 2 important factors to keep in mind so that you really make the most of your next trip. Once the decision’s been made then you can start to research what you want to see and do, get some background reading in to make sure you don’t miss out on anything. Plus the whole experience can be enriched by understanding a bit about the local culture and the region’s history.

Rediscover your own neighborhood. 

Using your phone.

Pokemon was quite a phenomenon a few years ago and perhaps the team behind the game were onto something. People often overlook what’s on their doorstep. You might be surprised by what you might discover on your doorstep or neighborhood, don’t turn your nose up at something because it’s just around the corner from home.

Geocaching is a treasure hunt for the digital generation. To play participants use an app or GPS device.  Geocaching is about exploration, discovery and outdoor fun. It’s about finding caches, which are waterproof containers or boxes ingeniously hidden amongst urban infrastructure or in the nook of a tree, depending where in the world you are. With over 3 million geocaches worldwide, you’re bound to find something nearby or on your travels.

Spotting animals around you

And ok, perhaps you’ll not find anything that closely resembles “the big five” in your town but why not take the time to really explore your local park. In Europe greater care is being taken of green spaces within urban sprawls with local authorities even taking the time to label and indicate the origin of the plants and trees. 

Great Backyard Bird Count

The annual Great Backyard Bird Count is growing ever more popular as it enters its 25th year. People from all over the world head outdoors to count birds. Scientists then use the data to track the health of bird populations. It’s surprising to find out just what birds inhabit the world around us.

Take a trip down memory lane 

I still have boxes of photos and files on my computer from my travels over the years. Slowly but surely I’m sorting through them all creating albums. It's amazing how the images trigger memories, sights and smells of places. There are places I’d love to return to and explore even more…. and yes, there are places I’m in no rush to head back to. Having travelled so much people often asked which was my favorite country or city. It’s difficult to create a “Top 10” but the trip down memory lane is wonderful and makes me realize that however comfortable my armchair might be I’ve still got the travel bug. 

Let the armchair adventures commence…!

An article like this normally ends with a call to action, but here the call to action can be as simple as booting up your laptop, reaching for the TV remote or swiping through apps on your phone. It’s never been so easy to be an armchair traveller, and quite honestly the breadth and quality of resources out there has never been better and is improving all the time. Make yourself comfortable - there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored, re-visited, or experienced. No passport required!

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31 ways to be an armchair traveler from the comfort of your own home.

Armchairs at a cafe in Birmingham England

What Does Armchair Travel Mean?

Armchair travel ideas.

  • Watch a travel-inspired movie

Watch a travel-themed TV show

Tune into wildlife on youtube, live vicariously through rick steves, listen to a travel-themed podcast.

  • Create and curate a "Top 10 List" from each of your past trips

Create and print a photo book

Make a travel photo mosaic, reminisce with family over travel photos from past trips, put a travel slide show on your tv, create a travel shrine with souvenirs from past trips, reminisce with the help of your social feeds.

  • Organize your vacation memories
  • Research a trip, just don't book it
  • Create a travel gratitude list

Keep a journal

Play a travel-themed board game, go on a virtual tour, work out to a destination-themed exercise video.

  • Take a photowalk while respecting social distancing
  • Go balcony birdwatching

Read travel blogs

Read a travel-themed book, write a travel story, break out the snacks you brought home from your last trip, cook a meal from your favorite destination.

  • Order takeout of different cuisines from around the world
  • Drink a bottle of wine from your favorite destination or place you were planning to go.

Set-up a call with your travel-minded friends

Organize a travel slideshow virtual viewing party with friends, socialize with like-minded travel-lovers on social media, armchair travel ideas: watch and listen, watch a travel-inspired movie.

  • National Lampoon's Vacation : Watch the comedic (mis)adventures of the Griswolds and their family truckster as they make their way to Wally World on the ultimate American road trip.
  • Honeymoon in Vegas : Suspend your sense of disbelief and get a taste of both Las Vegas and Hawaii as Jack Singer loses his fiancee in a hand of poker and chases her to tropical locales to save her from gangster Tommy Corman. Oh, and there are flying Elvises.
  • Up in the Air : If you are a frequent flyer and miss that gold-plated business/first-class experience, follow George Clooney as he takes to the skies.
  • Romancing the Stone : "Is this the bus to Cartagena?" Follow romance novelist Joan Wilder on a treasure hunt to save her sister in the jungles of Colombia.
  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels : Steve Martin and Michael Caine always make me smile in this con artist comedy. Bonus points for the sunny French Riviera setting of Beaumont-sur-Mer. 
  • A Place in the Sun : Watch British couples agonize over where to buy that perfect second home in warm sunny climes. You'll get to see some super-cool real estate as well as some really fun sun holiday destinations across Europe and beyond.
  • The Amazing Race : Do you have a competitive streak? If so, the Amazing Race is for you. Watch 10 teams of two face their fears and battle it out for a 1 million dollar prize in a race around the world. 
  • The Love Boat : Transport yourself back in time to when cruise ships were full of romance, not harbingers of doom. 
  • Panama Fruit Feeders : Watch an amazing display of colorful exotic birds stop by for a snack in the jungle in Panama.
  • Namibia Livestream in the Namib Desert : Journey into the African desert and catch a glimpse of the wildlife grabbing a drink at a rare watering hole.
  • Sloth TV : Get a dose of cuteness with this live feed of baby sloths in Costa Rica . 

Armchair Travel Ideas: Reminisce

Create and curate a top 10 list from each of your past trips.

Armchair Travel Ideas: Organize

Plan a trip, but don't book it, create a travel-focused gratitude list, armchair travel ideas: do.

  • beach workout
  • sunset workout
  • virtual scenery
  • workout scenery
  • virtual cycling 

Take a photowalk

Balcony birdwatching, armchair travel ideas: read and write.

  • Roaming Required is written by an Australian couple living in London and focuses on great destinations near and far and goes particularly in depth on places in the UK. If you're a history buff, Roaming Required is definitely for you.
  • Reflections Enroute is written by an American-expat couple living abroad with an adventurous streak. Self-drive in Uganda, anyone?
  • Wayfaring Views shares a lot of amazing street art and book recommendations; two of my favorite things.
  • Hokkaido Highway Blues is a travelogue by Will Ferguson covering his quest to follow the Spring cherry blossoms in Japan clear across the country from South to North.
  • Batavia's Graveyard will take you back to the age of exploration when the Dutch East India Company ship, Batavia, was shipwrecked and the crew marooned on a small island off of Australia. The killing spree that ensued reads like a work of fiction but is even more mesmerizing because this is a work of non-fiction.
  • River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey shares the story of U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt's scientific expedition to the darkest corners of Brazil.
  • First They Killed My Father will put what we are currently going through into proper perspective and make you realize how much worse things could be. First They Killed my Father is a first hand account of life under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
  • Long Walk to Freedom is an inspiring biography about the life of Nelson Mandela and the quest to abolish Apartheid in South Africa.
  • A Sense of the World: How a Blind Man Became History's Greatest Traveler . This book is truly inspirational. An 18th century blind man didn't let his lack of sight stop him from having some great (and often dangerous adventures). 

Armchair Travel Ideas: Eat and Drink

Order takeout of different cuisines around the world, drink a bottle of wine from your favorite destination or place you were planning to go, armchair travel ideas: socialize at home and online, did you enjoy this post on how to be an armchair traveller when you have to stay at home sharing is caring... .

30 Armchair Travel Ideas


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The explosion of armchair travel: how to do it ethically.

With the explosion of armchair travel that came with the recent global travel restrictions, there is one thing I have noticed. There is just as much unsustainable armchair travel as there was unsustainable travel before the coronavirus outbreak.

You want to travel, I get it! But keep the principles of sustainable travel in mind when you choose your mode of armchair travel. There is so much more to sustainable tourism than the environment. I like to consider 3 different sides of it and if one of them is not respected, or if you have a doubt if it is, then it’s probably better to skip it.

Those three pillars are respect to the locals, animals, and the environment.

That means, that if you support an activity that gives money to the local economy, like pay a local for a chained monkey to dance, you support one third of the sustainable chain, you feed a local family. But on the other hand, you step on one third too, and that is animal welfare. You pay for that monkey’s miserable life in chains, probably being beaten to obey.

So that’s an activity you don’t want to support. Now, that goes for armchair travel too. There are millions of alternatives out there and I will give you a few tips in this post to help you choose the right ones.

But first, let’s look at what armchair travel is.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. That means that if you make a purchase through one of those links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you have any questions about these services or products, feel free to ask me.

Indian woman working at the tea plantations in Munnar

Armchair travel meaning

Finding a satisfying definition of armchair travel was not easy. In 2018, the Collins dictionary rejected a new suggestion to defining armchair traveler: “someone who finds out what a place or location is like by watching travel programs on television, looking at internet websites about travel or reading books about travel.”

The rejection was based on already having a definition for it : “An armchair critic, fan, or traveller knows about a particular subject from reading or hearing about it rather than from practical experience.”

I sensed certain negativity over the mentions of armchair travelers in my searches. Considering armchair travelers as better-knowing because they have read/seen about the destination but not actually traveled themselves. And this might be true to some extent, absolutely!

Thinking about all the people that advised me from traveling to India because it was dangerous to travel there as a woman. Or everyone that advised me from traveling to Iran because they are all criminals.

Yes, there are people that think they know better when they haven’t traveled to a place themselves. Personally, I don’t think of these as armchair travelers, but more likely people that believe everything they see in the news.

Armchair travel, on the other hand, can be something wonderful for everyone that don’t have the chance to travel. It isn’t anything new, as people have always enjoyed seeing documentaries about far-away cultures and reading books about round the world journeys. Oral storytelling has been an important part of different cultures for as long as we know.

To me, armchair travel is anything that takes you to distant places from the comfort of your own home. It could be a good travel book , a travel movie, travel documentary, a virtual tour, a YouTube video, looking at travel photos, you name it.

Sustainable armchair travel

Plant a real tree from the comfort of your home with Click A Tree

Armchair travel to avoid

Armchair travel means you bring the world to the comfort of your home, thus it gives a certain distance to the activity you’re doing. This doesn’t mean it is ok to practice unsustainable armchair travel activities.

Unethical tour companies

Just like when you travel in real life, you should research the company you choose for virtual tours and make sure they don’t support unethical activities.

It might not always be easy to know, but as long as you do an effort and look at a few alternatives it is easier to make a sound decision.

As an example, I was asked to collaborate with a tour company that does vegan tours. Sounds ethical, right? But when I researched the company, I saw that they also included unethical dolphin shows on other tours. That was a resounding no from me.

How can you be a responsible armchair traveler?

If you have hung along on my blog for a while, you know I’m a big advocate of ethical animal tourism and I have written extensively about unethical animal tourism activities to avoid . Among them, zoo’s.

Unfortunately, zoo’s have become an entertainment arena where animals are not looked after as they should. Animals show distress from not being in their natural habitat and are bred to show off their cute babies to tourists.

The zoos serve the tourists and not the animals. That’s where the issue lays.

Luckily, there are ethical ways of exploring wildlife virtually, and you can check out live cameras set up by waterholes or join virtual safaris. Just make sure you join an ethical safari company.

Aquariums are really just the same as zoos merged in water. During my research, I even came over a whale shark in an aquarium. I have no words.

These are creatures that need a lot more space to move than what an aquarium can give. They are migratory fish which means they swim far distances in the wild, and females can cover up to 67 kilometers in one day !

A general rule of thumb is to never support any tourism business that keeps animals in captivity.

There are many ethical alternatives to aquariums like going on a 360 virtual underwater tour, like this one with National Marine Sanctuaries :

YouTube video

Another ethical alternative is The Dolphin Swim Club who works with ethical virtual experiences of swimming with wild dolphins. Not only for your amusement but also as a cruelty-free alternative to therapy with captive dolphins.

YouTube video


Ethical armchair travel ideas

Share travel stories with friends and family.

Being an armchair traveler together with family and friends can be a lot of fun! Share your travel memories together, all the fun parts, your favorite destinations, your least favorite destinations, your travel mishaps, etc.

Make sure you include ethical learnings from your travels through your stories too. Talk about the time you did something unethical on your travels and explain what you learned and why they shouldn’t do the same when they travel next time.

This is a great activity to do over video chat too if you are quarantined in different places.


A Quarantour is an online tour with a local guide in any destination. Cooee is a platform for local guides all over the world to register to do online tours. During quarantine, they will do it from their home and talk about their country, how it is to be in lockdown in their country, and anything you are curious about.

I did an awesome Quarantour with Andrés in Costa Rica. I was meant to travel in Costa Rica in May, but the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that trip. That’s why I thought it would be a great experience to do a virtual tour with a local guide instead.

We had a great chat, I learned a lot, and enjoyed talking about travel in Costa Rica and especially the sustainable part of traveling in the country. This is an activity I recommend highly!

Fruit sellers in Munnar India

Watch sustainable travel documentaries

Why not watch documentaries that encourage sustainable travel? There are plenty out there and I wrote a roundup on my 10 favorite sustainable travel documentaries so you can pick and choose which ones you’d like to see.

Sustainable travel documentaries can be both educative and inspiring and not all of them showcase the negative side of tourism. There are many that expose stories of sustainable tourism done right and the positive impact it causes on the destination. Those are my favorites!

Plant trees to create habitat for animals from the convenience of your home

Virtual museum tours

If you love going to museums when you travel, why not watch virtual museum tours from home too? You can now enter the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican in Rome or Le Louvre in Paris without traveling.

There are hundreds of virtual museum tours you can do around the world, so search your dream city and see if you find something you like.

Online cooking classes with locals

If you like cooking, you can travel the world by doing online cooking classes with locals. There are many platforms to choose from, like With Locals . This is a great way to chat with people from other parts of the world and to make a great meal at the same time.

To top up the experience, why not decorate the table as if you were in the country you’re cooking from?

Read cultural travel books

There are many great travel books you can read that are educational on the culture of the country they are set, even if the books are fictional. I have a few favorites, like Three Cups of Tea , Shantaram , and In Arabian Nights .

See here for a full overview of my favorite travel books

Make sure your armchair travel is ethical

Order takeaway from your favorite international restaurant

For those who don’t like cooking or just don’t have the time, I’m sure there are plenty of local international restaurants you can order takeaway from. This way, you support a local travel business at the same time as you fill your senses with the taste and smell of your chosen country.

I, for instance, love ordering food from the Indian restaurant down the street and it was the first thing I did once they were allowed to do takeaway again!

If you have options where they pack the food in biodegradable boxes, even better!

Virtual tours of US National Parks

Have you dreamt of visiting the US National Parks but can’t get there? Don’t worry! Now you can visit them virtually .

While it’s always better to walk in nature that seeing it on the screen, these national parks are so beautiful that it’s actually worth it! And this way, nature gets a little break from your footsteps.

Plant a tree with Click A Tree

Read sustainable travel blogs

There are plenty of responsible travel bloggers out there, focusing on sustainability, social enterprises, and altogether how to improve the way you travel.

A few that I really love are Uncornered Market , Veggie Vagabonds , Green Mochila , and The Nomadic Vegan . They are all passionate about the planet with its inhabitants and how you can become a better traveler.

sustainability all the way

Learn a new language

There are plenty of apps to help you learn new languages, like Duolingo. However, there are even more fun ways to learn languages with a local teacher. And you can easily do this online with sites like Verbling and FluentU .

Plan your future responsible travels

Why not research sustainable tourist operators working with locals to plan your future travels in an ethical way? There is so much joy in planning a future trip and it’s so important that while you do it, you research the operators you want to use. Make sure they give back to the local community and that they protect wildlife and its habitat.

There are so many benefits of sustainable tourism and believe me, they tend to create the best travel stories to tell your friends and family after your travels!

Ethical Armchair Travel

Create your off the beaten path travel bucket list – responsibly

Now that we have a chance to start from zero with the way we travel, I think it is important to think about the huge problem of overtourism that has disappeared with the global lockdown.

If you can choose off the beaten path destinations instead of the previously overtouristed places, you can help to spread tourism once it picks up again.

The already popular places will see huge amounts of tourists anyway, while less-visited countries and destinations will only be happy to see a bit more visitors in the future. As long as they are all responsible travelers .


Armchair travel is not so different from actual travel when it comes to doing it ethically. It all comes down to making sure your choices don’t have negative consequences.

There are so many great ways of supporting the locals as well as having an unforgettable experience. You can learn a lot about different cultures without leaving home. And maybe some of the above suggestions gives you an idea of a new place to travel.

I hope you enjoy armchair travel in an ethical way! If you have other suggestions to ethical armchair travel, drop them in the comments below. Stay safe!

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Are you sure your armchair travel is ethical? Check out this guide to ethical armchair travel including do's and don'ts. With lots of fun ethical armchair travel tips. #responsibletourism #ethicaltravel #armchairtravel #travelfromhome #sustainability #brainybackpackers #armchairtraveltips

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2 thoughts on “ The explosion of armchair travel: How to do it ethically ”

Fantastic article Linn! What we’re doing now in lockdown is definitely going to influence what we do when it finishes… ‘start as you mean to go on’ and all that jazz! Really loved some of these suggestions, particularly Cooee which seems like a great platform and also a good way to meet people. Watching the right documentaries can also be rewarding and I think learning a language can be one of the single best things to travelling a country more responsibly. Brilliant read, thanks!

Thanks Josh! There are really lots of fun things to do responsibly from home and I just loved my guided video call through Cooee. I still keep in touch with the guide and can’t wait to actually go there so he can show me around in real person:)

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The Happy Days Travels

Ideas for Armchair Travel - Pexels Picture Credit

17 Armchair Travel Ideas | Travel Without Leaving Home

The year is 2020 and that’s all I need to say to picture this time and for travellers, it was certainly a time to exercise armchair travel ideas and get creative with ways to travel without leaving home.

I’ve been armchair travelling, staycationing in the UK and planning my future trips since I was forced to return home because of Covid-19 in March 2020 and I’ve compiled this list of 17 armchair travel ideas.

I literally dream of travel all day long and I’m not exaggerating! These are some of the ways I’ve been doing that since being home like reading travel novels, learning about great railway journeys, listening to interviews with Anthony Bourdain and finally making yearly travel scrapbooks.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I may earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. When you see a link, this could take you to that product/service website. For more information, see my Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

Contents (jump to)

What is Armchair Travel?

When you search what is armchair travel, you won’t find an official definition of armchair travel, not even in Urban Dictionary, but there are a few definitions around the web that basically say the same thing.

Armchair travelling meaning is learning about travel and the world through activities such as reading, watching television, playing, listening and more without actually visiting the places. An armchair traveller (or armchair traveler in US) will dream of far away places, know a lot about geography and travel without having to leave home.

Stay Home Postit Note on a White Globe

18 Armchair Travel Ideas So You Can Travel Without Leaving Home!

Some of these ideas are free, others cost, some you may find lying around your house and others you may have to totally make from scratch but whatever you choose, here are the best travel activities without leaving home. This list isn’t just during Covid, this could be for anyone who’s just got back from a trip and suffering with travel blues, those awaiting their annual trip or if you love things to do with travel!

1. Google Earth

Google Earth is a fun and free tool that lets you travel the world from your home. When you hit the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button it takes you to random destinations around the world. My first few times took me to a mountain in Spain, a lake in Ethiopia, a museum in USA and a town in Kazakhstan. Alternatively, you could armchair travel with Google Maps too!

2. Live Cams Around the World

If Google Earth isn’t quite doing the wanderlust justice, try the live webcams that have been set up around the world so you can pretend you’re on a beach in the Maldives , driving on a safari in Africa , or exploring Antartica .

Person with binocular between books

3. Virtual Tours – Travel Without Leaving Home

Virtual Travel has taken front seat due to the World pandemic and companies have set up some gems for us to be adventurous armchair tourists! Some armchair travel ideas include:

Virtual Museum Tours

  • Google have partnered to create free online virtual tours such as the Musee d’Orsay in Paris and British Museum in London.
  • Learn in LA at the Getty Museum through Google.
  • Virtually visit Luxor in Egypt known as an open-air museum and learn through a local guide.

armchair travel is

Other Virtual Tours

  • How about taking a Virtual Wine Safari ,
  • Or explore street art of Lisbon .
  • Why not tour a city like Beijing or do a city tour with a guide like this in Istanbul or in Cartagena .

Virtual Reality Headsets

With VR headsets you can download free apps or buy tours/games and use your headset to see the world as if you’re there, go under the sea, explore national parks, climb to the top of Everest or to space! See below some of the best VR Headsets to experience virtual reality at its best. 

  • DJI Goggles
  • Oculus Go on Amazon
  • Oculus Quest on Amazon
  • Standard VR Headset for iPhone and Android on Amazon

4. Disney Travel From Home

Get out your photos from Disneyland, make a cuppa in your Disney mug, subscribe to Disney+ to watch your favourite Disney films then read about the real life Disney locations that inspired those films. This is how you Disney travel without leaving home!

Here are two of my favourite Disney travel from home accessories. Click on the image to order from Amazon:

armchair travel is

5. Travel Decor

Since you’re at home, why not surround yourself with old travel souvenirs or get creative by making travel scrapbooks , globes, maps (see more next point), travel frames , coasters, ornaments and just about anything else.

You could also completely redecorate your home/car with travel-inspired decor. A famous vlogging family from the States teamed with a decorating show to create a travel-themed house! This episode on YouTube is worth a watch for some inspo.

Travel Decor for Armchair Travel Ideas

6. Scratch Maps Travel Style

This is probably the best gift to get your travelling friend who can’t travel right now or secret Santa gift as it’s under £10, fun, small and a sort of ‘tick list’ for travellers who count countries! On Amazon you can get all sorts of travel scratch maps like:

  • The world scratch map by country
  • A scratch grid for 100 places to visit for a Bucket List
  • The food map of Europe
  • Scratch Map by area such as a UK Map to scratch
  • A hobby scratch list like football grounds in Europe to visit
  • The wonders of the world scratch map (this one’s just £3)!

7. Travel Trivia

One of my favourite websites is Sporcle and just about the only quizzes I do are to do with Geography, Friends or Harry Potter . Get on there to see how much you know, share with friends or get inspo for your own armchair travel quiz.

Throughout lockdown, quiz nights took over and I always asked to be in charge of the Geography rounds as I was reading about travel anyway and wanted an excuse to discuss countries/flags/cities/world wonders, etc.

8. Travel Blogs

You can spend hours browsing through travel blogs because there’s so many personal photos, stories and videos out there! When I think of a random city/country I’d like to know a bit more about, I go onto Google and quite often go to the maybe the second or third page and look for a travel blog about that place.

There’s so many small travel bloggers out there with great content and after browsing a few, you’ll get your faves!

Want to read one of mine?: My Epic Wildlife Safari in Borneo or A Weekend in Bordeaux, France

Travel Momentos for Armchair Travel

9. Vloggers To Take You Travelling Without Leaving Home

The blogging world has fabulous travel articles but if you want to see them in life form, head to YouTube! Here’s some of my go-to vloggers:

  • Kinging It doing the Mongol Rally . They are from my hometown and one of the funniest travelling couples on the web! Their drone shots are breathtaking.
  • Drew Binsky in Pakistan . He really does make the best travel documentaries on YouTube.
  • Kara and Nate in Antartica for some of the best armchair travel videos following their quest to visit 100 countries.
  • Migrationology in Jamaica for delicious dishes filmed in an unique way that makes you feel like you’re there.

armchair travel is

10. Read the Best Adventure Books

Ah, the ultimate source of armchair travel is the best travel books because books and specifically, travel book reviews , take you places and these armchair travel books will take you around the world! These are some of the best armchair books I’ve read.

  • Europe: Imagine European countries like France, Netherlands and Italy through one of 2019’s best travelogue books with US by David Nicholls. A couple on the brink of divorce try to savour their marriage by visiting the wonders of Europe with their rebel son. Buy on Amazon here .
  • North America: Venture around the USA with Not Tonight, Josephine by George Mahood. Mahood relays his travel road trip through the States with funny travel stories and is exactly what you expect American travel books to be. I read this in one sitting. Buy on Amazon here .
  • South America: Get a travel scare in Bolivia by reading Marching Powder by Rusty Young. This is a true story about a man locked up in La Paz on a drugs charge and details the story of how Young come to write about it. If you want frightful armchair travel books, just look for any that is about being banged up abroad! Maybe won’t inspire wanderlust but will certainly make you stay on the right path! Buy on Amazon here .

Read about when I went off the beaten path (literally): Scary Encounter in Penang Hill, Malaysia

Travel without leaving home - Picture of Bookcase, speaker, tables, chairs in home

More Good Travel Books

  • Africa: Here’s an option for a quick-ish read yet packed with history, conflict, survival and heartbreak. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park weaves together two stories between 1985 and 2008 in Sudan based on a true story. Buy on Amazon here .
  • Asia: I couldn’t write a travel books to read list without including one of the most famous travel books turned films, The Beach by Alex Garland proves not everything is as it seems. Or is it in this travel novel about a backpacker in Thailand who ponders the real price of paradise. Buy on Amazon here .
  • Oceania: One for lovers of historical fiction, The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman transports us back to WW1 following a couple who are faced with tough decisions when a baby is washed ashore Janus Rock off Australia, the island inhabited by only those two. Buy on Amazon here .

Read More: My Literary Travel Posts

Related Post: Why You Need a Kindle

11. Pinterest

The digital mood board for every scenario but epitomised for travel planning! Pinterest is where you can get the best armchair travel websites. Every Pinterest site has boards for organisation so you can quickly find topics like coffee of the world boards or how to travel and work in Australia .

Please Pin this Post to Your Pinterest Boards!

pin image for travel without leaving home

12. TV Shows

Here’s my list of the best TV shows related to travel that you can watch from your travel armchair and trigger wanderlust!!

  • Race Across the World – Two seasons follow various pairs who have to get between points by land only, with the price of a flight only and without any internet and the winners get a cash prize. First season goes from London to Singapore and second season from Mexico City to Ushuaia. LOVE this show.
  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – It’s Bourdain, need I say more? Okay, okay there’s 12 seasons and this ex-chef travels EVERYWHERE. It’s supposed to be about food but it’s really about the people and place. Mention-worthy episodes include Iran, Jerusalem, Congo and Beirut!
  • And while we’re on the subject, another MUST is The Layover with Anthony Bourdain. This series highlights what to do with just the layover time in a city (up to 48 hours) and it’s great for quick stops on travels and to think about when booking flights with long layovers.
  • Street Food Asia and Latin America – Mouth at the ready because the saliva will be forming watching this Netflix original! My absolute fave is the India episode because Indian street food just looks like top-dog of this culinary branch.
  • An Idiot Abroad is one of the funniest travel shows around. Karl Pilkington moans his way around the world in a programme that will make you laugh while yearning to visit the very places Karl dislikes. Buy the series on Amazon here .

Image of Netflix TV and Mug

13. Films for Armchair Travel Activities

Nothing quite beats armchair travel like watching the big screen! Movies set on location are amongst the best ways to journey around the world without leaving your house so get your best armchairs and cwtch in ( read here for what cwtch means ). To watch the following films always check streaming sites, Sky movies or follow the links to buy the DVD on Amazon.

  • Eat Pray Love can be found on every best travel films list because it follows a woman’s journey to Italy, India and Indonesia and every scene makes you want to book a flight! Buy the DVD on Amazon here .
  • The Darjeeling Limited is a fun railway travel film following three brothers on a train journey across India. Buy from Amazon here .
  • Under the Tuscan Sun transports you to Italy’s region of Tuscan for a heartfelt love story. Buy here .
  • A good film I watched on Netflix was called Holiday in the Wild starring Kristin Davis from Sex and the City where she moves to Zambia for a period of time and exercises her vet skills.
  • Have you seen Blended on Netflix/Sky? It stars Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore and follows two families on an African safari filmed in one of the most amazing hotels which you can actually book the hotel to stay in South Africa!!
  • How can I write this without included Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia 2 ?! Filmed on the Greek island of Skopelos and Croatian island of Vis with complete soundtrack of ABBA, this film will fly you on holiday from home.

14. Armchair Travel Podcasts

For when you’re on a walk, doing your daily exercise, washing the dishes, cooking breakfast, having a bath or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

My absolute favourite podcast of all time is Counting Countries by Global Gaz where Gaz interviews people who have completed or are on a mission to travel to every country. It’s inspiring, harrowing and fun to listen to and certainly the best armchair travel activity.

Other great listens to feed the travel bug are The World Nomads, What the Pho, The Food Blogger Pro, and Travel Eat Explore.

Podcast Pexels Picture

15. Cooking or Takeaways

Food is the best way I connect to a local culture when I travel. I love eating local food and love writing about them afterwards. Here are many ways you can learn, cook and eat by bringing global cuisines right into your home.

Online Virtual Cooking Classes for World Cuisines

  • Let’s start here in Europe with this private online cooking class for 1.5 hours to learn how to make Paella from Spain.
  • Another private tutored class takes us to Argentina for an empanada online class !
  • To learn a bit about Moroccan cuisine while making Tagine with a local, try this private online Moroccan cooking class .
  • Jump on the Brunch wagon in this online Eggs Benedict class with Bri (a former Masterchef contestant) from Dallas, USA. Note: class is not private.
  • Tune in to Jude’s Kitchen on YouTube for authentic, vegan, Middle Eastern recipes/tutorials. She adds stories from her childhood and family to her videos that gives it a likeable, personal element.
  • Last but certainly not least, join this Thai Online Cooking Class to learn how to make my favourite street food of all time: Khao Soi , a Northern Thai dish that doesn’t have a single flaw! The class is located in Chiang Mai (of course) and will guarantee your next holiday is to Thailand.

Two crepes in Amsterdam covered in chocolate sauce

For all of these, don’t forget the time difference.

Best Cook Books for World Cuisine

For a cook book dripping with British faves, go for the national treasure Nadiya’s Kitchen . Try Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver which includes his take on my favourite meal in the entire world (seafood linguine). Or maybe Rick Stein’s Road to Mexico to learn about authentic tacos and tamales. I also loved John Torode’s Sydney to Seoul . Two of these I’ve read from my mum’s shelf the others I’ve picked up on my own.

Next: Read my food blogs here 🙂

Best Cooking TV Shows

  • A fab tv show I stumbled upon in lockdown was called A Cook Abroad and featured several chefs who travel to different countries and learn the cuisines with recipes to follow. The best for me were Tony Singh in Amritsar, India and Rachel Khoo in Malaysia.
  • Speaking of, BBC has a great show called The Little Paris Kitchen with Rachel Khoo.
  • An oldie but goodie has to be Man Vs Food with Adam Richman following food challenges around USA.
  • The number one cooking show for me though is one of my mum’s favourite: Long Weekends with Rick Stein where he travels to off-the-beaten-path city breaks in Europe finding local food and cooking it up at home. My friend and I are planning future city breaks based on this show alone.

16. Learn a Language

Not only is this a great armchair travel activity but it’s also a useful life and travel skill! There are many ways you can learn a language such as through a podcast (the 3 minute ones are great and I started to learn German in lockdown), go old school with DVDs like Rosetta Stone, keep modern with apps such as Duolingo or Babbel, sign up to online websites such as Speekify or get personal with online classes and an online tutor.

Armchair Travel Photo. Chair Globe Shelf for travel inspo

17. Plan a Staycation

We’re all loving staycations at the moment and I’ve discovered gorgeous places in my home country of Wales! Plan yours by booking that train, renting that car, finding accommodation on , picking the best times to travel and planning your itinerary all from the comfort of your armchair!

Some UK Staycation Inspiration:

  • Ultimate Weekend in The Cotswolds, England
  • Visit the Most Independent Town of Narbeth in Wales
  • 13 Things to do in Cardiff, Wales
  • Stay at This Isolated Log Cabin in Taunton, England
  • 12 Ways to Explore London, UK
  • How to Spend 2 Days on Barry Island, Wales
  • The Best Gavin & Stacey Guide Written by a Local
  • Explore Tenby and Saundersfoot in West Wales
  • An Afternoon in Bath (UNESCO Heritage City in England)
  • Freshwater West Beach in Wales to Visit Dobby (Harry Potter)

Use all of the above and plan where you want to travel to next in the world. I wrote a post about where I want to visit after lockdown and I don’t know when that’ll be but I’m saving money for when the opportunity arises. For now, I’m armchair travelling and loving it.

Hope you’ve got some good inspo to become an armchair adventurer!

More Travel Posts:

  • Melbourne Travel Posts
  • Thailand Inspiration
  • Why You Need to Visit Malaysia

Like this? Please Share it for Armchair Travel Meaning and Ideas! 🙂

Pin image for the best ways to travel without leaving home. Globe with post it note saying stay home.

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Wow, this is amazinig. Thanks for the great ideas.

Thanks for reading Donna. Glad I could help 🙂

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Jaunty Everywhere

Jaunty Everywhere

Travel + Lifestyle

Armchair Travel to Enrich Your Life

10 ways armchair travel will enrich your life.

Armchair travel.

You wake up in your dream location. Stretched ahead of you is a perfect day of sightseeing, eating, and enjoying yourself. The weather is ideal. You’re ready for an adventure.

And then there are the other 50 weeks of the year.

If you only have 2-4 weeks of vacation, but an insatiable desire to travel, what can you do?

Become an armchair traveler and fill in the gaps.

What is armchair travel?

The term ‘armchair’ has a negative connotation – as in ‘armchair quarterback.’ It means a person is not directly involved in an activity, but has an opinion and advice to offer.

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We’re going to co-opt the term and give it a positive spin.

Armchair Travel is delving into this fantastic, vast world and learning as much as our hearts desire – vicariously.

Does armchair travel preclude going into the world as a “real” traveler?

And at it’s best, as you will soon see, armchair travel inspires the buying of tickets and booking of excursions.

What do you get out of curling up in your armchair with a proverbial globe? Let’s see…

Benefits of armchair travel

1. shear enjoyment.

Armchair travel is worth the time for the sheer joy of exploring a place, a culture, or a period of history.

It’s a hobby.

And like any hobby, it doesn’t have to have a practical purpose or product to justify the time spent. An hour getting lost in a faraway place is pure delight.

2. Feed the imagination

This delightful pastime is good for the imagination.

Learning about a distant setting is a way to build a memory palace rich with images and sensory details.

Our view of the world and the people in it broadens our perspective and helps us to empathize with others.

3. Places you can’t or won’t go

There are a few places in the world we can’t or won’t visit.

In any given year, there are a handful of politically closed countries, places the ordinary passport can’t gain access to.

Some locations are just too arduous or expensive – the North Pole, Antarctica, and the top of Everest come to mind.

Then there are the places beyond our comfort zone. Travel is a great way to stretch our limitations, but we all have a threshold.

These road blocks don’t stop us from learning more about a place.

We can climb mountains in our minds, even if our bodies don’t join in. We can write imaginary checks to exotic places that our bank accounts can’t cash. We can get behind borders in our living room that we wouldn’t dream of approaching in real life.

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4. Time travel

Travel includes different periods in history.

Back to the Future, notwithstanding, we can’t jump the time continuum. Armchair travel will take us to places 100’s of years from reality. It may be an incomplete view, but it’s the only view we’re going to get.

5. No access cultures

Outsiders can’t experience certain lifestyles, chains of DNA, or traditions. Armchair travel allows us to peek behind the curtain.

When a journalist, archaeologist, or historian gains access to a people group and then shares the experience with the world, we all gain.

Occasionally, someone on the inside will tell the world about their personal experience – oppression and abundance, prejudice and acceptance, tradition, and ritual – human experiences that we will never know become accessible.

6. Stress free travel

In armchair travel, no money changes hands (unless you count my book budget).

Little planning is needed to sit down with a good book.

Jet lag doesn’t exist in the armchair.

You will always come back from your virtual excursion rested and refreshed.

7. Learn a thing or two

Armchair travel stretches our intellect.

Like empty hangers in the closet, learning about the world adds to our ability to collect and organize new information.

If you read a novel set in Estonia, the next time the Estonian economy gets mentioned in the news, you will perk up and take notice.

Playing geography-based board games will give you a mental picture of the world that just begs for countries to come up in conversation.

Taking a virtual tour of Yosemite National Park will have you on the edge of your seat when an issue of conservation is debated in Congress.

Knowledge is dangerous?

Knowledge is power.

8. Inspire your get up and go

Armchair travel, at it’s best, makes us want to go and see for ourselves.

How many books would you need to read about Italy before starting a pasta-inspired savings account?

And I don’t know about you, but scrolling through my travel-heavy Instagram feed continually adds sights to my bucket list.

Seeing others travel, the world helps us realize what’s possible. Things that were foreign and even scary don’t seem so intimidating once we get to know a place.

armchair travel is

9. Double the fun

As we’ve pointed out many times, anticipating a trip is almost as much fun as the trip itself.

Research proves this.

According to studies, pre-trip enjoyment peaks for eight weeks before a vacation. Studies have also found that most of our pleasure comes from before and during a trip – the afterglow of travel is often more aftermath.

Armchair travel takes advantage of the pre-trip phase and makes the most of it.

laptop covered in post-it notes and scraps of paper

10. Enrich your onsite experience

And once you’ve got boots on the ground, all that armchair travel research will only add to the richness of the experience.

Understanding the history, cultural nuances, geography, and traditions will make every part of the trip better.

Ideas for armchair travelers

Books are my go-to entertainment any day.

Fiction, non-fiction, and guidebooks are the tradition and staple of the armchair traveler.

There are so many excellent resources for finding travel-centric books.

Here are my two favorite book search engines:

Book Browse

For children’s books by US States:

Reading Through the States by Wrapped in Foil

And if you want a towering stack of TBR’s:

Goodreads has a discussion page with a massive list of location-based book resources – Around the World in 80 books

armchair travel is

Travel magazines are like little dream guides that arrive in your mailbox each month to inspire a fresh crop of locations to covet.

Beautiful pictures, well-told stories, and vetted resources make curling up with a magazine the perfect rainy day mind excursion.

Some of my favorites are:

Lonely Planet

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Food and Travel Magazine

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Sunset Magazine

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Movies, foreign films, documentaries, and vlogs provide billions of hours of travel video footage.

Searching for the gems will take some work.

Try specific search terms:

  • foreign films set in [country]
  • foreign films about [country]
  • travel documentary about [country]
  • movie set in [country]

The more specific your search query the more targeted the list. is the best way to search for Netflix and Disney+ offerings. The website has multiple filter options so you can find what you want.

For documentaries: Search YouTube , Netflix, or whatever streaming service you subscribe to.

Here are a few curated lists to get you started:

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

15 Travel Documentaries That Tell Inspiring & Compelling Tales of Wanderers

YouTube Travel Videos: 30 Best Vlogging Channels to Follow

Vimeo travel is another source.

Vimeo Travel

Traditional media has to keep the advertisers happy. Mainstream media outlets must choose locations and attractions that will attract masses of readers. And with print media, you have to wait for the information to come to you.

The internet however, has democratized information.

Travel bloggers are not bound by these parameters.

You will find blog posts that go into more detail, with more honesty. And with good searching, you can find information on the most obscure vacation spot.

Another advantage is the variety of travel styles represented by an army of travel bloggers. Budget, family, luxury, solo, female, multi-generational, special-interest, or backpacking – you can find someone on the world wide web that travels like you.

And, of course, we have a soft place in our hearts for travel blogs, but we think they make enjoyable reading for armchair travelers.

armchair travel is

Newish to the information scene, podcasts are ideal for armchair travelers.

Because you don’t have to be sitting in an armchair.

You can learn about destinations while driving, doing housework, or exercising.

Our favorite travel podcasts:

Extra Pack of Peanuts

Zero to Travel Podcast

Indie Travel Podcast

We Travel There

Break Into Travel Writing (for travel bloggers)

52 Perfect Days …coming soon. When we can travel again, Alexa (from Break Into Travel Writing, and 52 Perfect Days) will be launching a new travel podcast. It’s going to be great – stay tuned.

  • Virtual Tours

There are countless virtual tours available online.

From museum tours to live cams of the Great Barrier Reef, you would never have to leave home.

The Louvre (France)

The Great Barrier Reef

US National Parks

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Virtual Tour

8 Top World Heritage Sites You Can Explore in Street View

Still want to go?

Virtual tours will help you hone in on what you would like to see in real life.

Games for travel buffs abound.

armchair travel is

Check out this review of the 28 Best Map Based Strategy Board Games

Puzzles help inspire and preserve memories.

Springbok, White Mountain, and Ravensburger are the most common brands of puzzles that we buy. They’re all high quality, widely available, and there are 100’s of puzzles to choose from. Dowdle puzzles make our favorite city puzzles.

Here are a few beautiful puzzles to inspire you:

armchair travel is

If you want a real challenge, try a 3-D puzzle:

armchair travel is

Coloring books are a stress-reducing way to combine your love of the world with a little self-soothing activity.

armchair travel is

These activities are sources of playtime for armchair travelers.

Italki is my go-to source for language learning. Search the database for a suitable language conversation partner or tutor and get started immediately.

Italki for Travelers: 15 Rewarding Reasons Why Travelers Need Italki

These travel classes also make great gifts for the travelers in your life. Taking a class is another way to enjoy an experience, rather than acquiring more stuff – a goal many travel enthusiasts have in common.

Some people in our house really like Google Earth. A lot. I mean, a lot.

Others enjoy pouring over atlases, and maps.

Whether digital or paper-based, studying maps is catnip for armchair travelers.

There are also many specialty and colorful children’s atlases to choose from. If you don’t want to invest in a copy, check your local library.

Bonus points: Print a blank outline map and fill it in with major features.

Sources for free outline maps:

World Maps Online is also a quick source for basic outlines of countries .

armchair travel is

You’ve probably noticed the scratch-off maps on the market. Travelers use these as a fun way to track places they’ve been.

armchair travel is

But there are other creative ways to use these maps:

  • Mark books read by country
  • Film and videos watched
  • Podcasts listened to
  • Cuisines tried
  • Wines tasted

armchair travel is

My prized travel souvenir is my National Park Passport notebook.

armchair travel is

If your not as obsessive, a smaller version is available:

armchair travel is

I enjoy adding new stamps and stickers when we return. I use it to plan trips, making sure we include National sites on our itinerary. And then, I love pouring over it and remembering the places we’ve been.

Sorting, editing, and displaying photos and travel videos is sometimes viewed as the chore of travel.

But it could also be thought of as the trophy case of the traveler.

And just like a champion bowler loves to dust his shelf of statues, we can relive our experiences as we curate our travel memories.

Travel memories come in many forms:

Travel journals

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However, you keep your memories safe and sound, schedule a rainy afternoon, and permit yourself to enjoy the process.

Traveling to Portugal by armchair

As an example, here is the armchair travel plan I made for Portugal. We are planning a month-long trip through the country. Our original departure date was interrupted by the Pandemic, but we will reschedule.

In the meantime, I’m enjoying learning about the country – it’s history, culture, food, and language.

The first thing I do when I become interested in a location or culture is to make a booklist.

Using my local library, general internet searches, and the two travel book search engines I mentioned above, I start a list of potential books.

I like a variety of fiction, non-fiction and guidebooks.

Then I take a closer look at each book. Ideally, I order books from the library so I can evaluate them in person.

I also use Amazon to take a ‘look inside,’ and I read reviews or synopsis online.

When I’ve narrowed the list down to a manageable size, I either buy the books or earmark them on my library hold list.

For Portugal this is the stack of books I curated:

I have three novels

armchair travel is

A history guide

The Traveler’s History of Portugal by Ian Robertson – this is a hard-to-find book I happened to have on my shelf.

And a guidebook

armchair travel is

After reading our travel magazines, I rip them up and file the articles in a file box. When it’s time to plan a trip, I pull out the relevant articles and reread them.

I find magazines better for enjoyment and inspiration than serious planning.

When I knew a trip to Portugal was on the horizon, I pulled the few articles in my file box and added suggestions to our list.

We are long-time superfans of Rick Steve’s Travel show. If Europe is on the agenda, Rick Steve’s is the first stop. He has a few episodes of Portugal, which we watched several times. Most of the back episodes are available on YouTube.

We also watched videos from travel vloggers we like:

Wolters World

Samuel and Audrey – Travel and Food Videos

These media personalities are not native Portuguese. Ideally, you will want to find something produced in the country by native speakers.

I’m learning Portuguese, and for homework, I watch a soap opera called ‘ Os Nossos Dias .’ Yes, I’m blushing, but there’s not much European Portuguese TV available in America.

Some countries will be more challenging than others when it comes to video. There is plenty of Brazilian Portuguese available, but I don’t want to confuse my language study with a different dialect.

I did find one video about Portugal on Kanopy . Our library system provides a subscription to Kanopy. Try asking your librarian what databases or streaming services are available. You might find a treasure trove of options.

A few of my favorite Portugal blog posts are:

A Dangerous Business Portugal series

A Portuguese Affair – A Blog About Portugal

Indie Travels 42 Amazing Things to Do in Lisbon

Julie Dawn Fox – In Portugal

As I plan specific pieces of a trip, I search for blog posts – by town, by sight, or by museum. This is how I gain valuable information and inside tips on how to save money, avoid long lines, or suss out the best local restaurants. Nothing beats a well-written blog post by a fellow traveler.

I subscribe to many travel podcasts.

By searching the back catalog of the ones I enjoy most, I gathered a list of episodes to listen to.

Most podcasts maintain a blog – or at least a webpage – with a list of episodes. Many podcasters also include show notes, transcripts, or fully-fleshed out blog posts.

These are two of the episodes I listened to about Portugal:

Extra Pack of Peanuts Destination Diary Portugal

Indie Travel’s Travel in Lisbon and Faro in Portugal

No virtual tours so far.

I enjoy reading and listening far more than watching. So, to be honest, I rarely seek out visual sources.

If you love falling down the YouTube rabbit hole or watching movies, you will probably love adding virtual tours to your armchair trip.

There’s not much available in the American marketplace from Portugal or about Portugal.

I’m intrigued by a game called Coimbra from Portugal. The shipping is pretty steep. I will look out for it on our travels.

Coloring books, games, and puzzles make great souvenirs for our family because we use them.

My big learning project is the Portuguese language. I started to build vocabulary using Memrise courses.

When I had about 200 words under my belt, I started taking video lessons through Italki.

armchair travel is

I wish I had started the Italki lessons even sooner.

We live in an amazing time when you can learn subjects and skills that used to require an expensive and time consuming traditional class.

I’m blessed with three patient, native Portuguese teachers that I rotate between – conversing and learning two times a week.

The rest of the week I continue to build vocabulary on Memrise and work on basic grammar in a workbook.

This is the primary system I would use to learn any language; Memrise, Italki, and an inexpensive grammar workbook.

I also use a website specific to Portuguese, called Practice Portuguese . It’s a European Portuguese learning platform. The site employs video, audio clips, a podcast, interactive grammar and vocabulary lessons, and more.

It’s creative, fun and motivating – I can’t recommend it enough.

We pour over the maps in our guidebooks.

I also printed a stack of blank outline maps of Portugal and traced the major landmarks using an atlas.

Eventually, I would like to be able to fill in an outline map with the major geographic features and towns, by memory.

This activity creates a mental map of the country. It’s invaluable as we plan the specifics of our trip. I also get a sense of satisfaction in just knowing a little bit about the world.

Map tracing and/or drawing is a surprising stress-reducer.

I prefer souvenirs without dust.

Our family loves to travel. Now that our kids are grown, and we often go independent of each other, we get together and watch travel slide shows from our various trips.

We will come home from Portugal with 1000’s of photos. These will be all the souvenirs I need.

armchair travel is

And, we will make a ceremony of scratching off a coveted European country on the map hanging in Jody’s office.

Before a trip, when the travel takes place in the armchair, my memories consist of a bucket list of places to see, things to do, and foods to taste that I make as I read.

When we return, sorting photos and organizing them into manageable files will allow me to relive the experience at my computer.

I love scrapbooking. When the kids were little, it was my main hobby and creative outlet. I took a long break during the teen years when it felt like my main hobby was ‘taxi driver.’ Now that my evenings and weekend time is more discretionary, I’ve picked it up again. I’m playing around with ways to document our trips.

red and yellow striped lounge chairs sitting on a world map

In Summary:

The 10 benefits of armchair travel:.

  • Feeding the imagination
  • Access to places you can’t or won’t go
  • Time travel
  • A window into hidden cultures
  • Stress-free travel
  • Inspiration
  • Doubling the anticipation
  • Enriching real-life travel

11 Ideas for armchair travelers

Related posts.

Exploring Cultures and Countries

International Night: How to Make Homemade Sushi

The Perfect Staycation {When money is tight and vacation time is limited}

We would love to hear about your adventures in armchair travel. In the comments below, share resources and activities you’ve enjoyed.

Jaunty Everywhere - Cheri Bywater - Author Stamp

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The world is full of wonders that are waiting to be explored. However, not everyone has the time, resources or physical ability to travel to distant lands and experience different cultures. Fortunately, armchair travel offers a way for anyone to explore the world from the comfort of their own home.

Travel the world... from home!

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Where you want when you want

With the choice of travel from your armchair, you can explore the world without leaving the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can experience different cultures, landscapes, and environments through virtual tours and travel videos. From the bustling streets of New York to the serene beaches of Lake Como, the world is at your fingertips. You can even visit famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Great Wall of China without ever buying a plane ticket. This option is perfect for those who are unable to travel due to health concerns, financial constraints or simply wanting to see the world from a different perspective. So, sit back, relax and embark on a virtual journey to your dream destination!

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New Zealand

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The Three Tenors are back

The Three Tenors

6/20/2023 1 min read

New Gorilla at Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Zoo celebrates new arrival

6/4/2023 1 min read

Angel Island San Francisco

Family day is back

6/1/2023 1 min read

Where do the most tourists Go

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Clear turquoise seawater meets a desert-like shoreline covered in cactus.

Desert Drives and Sea Lion Dives: The Enduring Draws of La Paz, Mexico

New hotels and destination-worthy restaurants now complement the ever-appealing outdoors surrounding La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur.

The east coast of Baja California Sur is a distinctive mix of ocean and red-hued desert. Credit... Tanveer Badal for The New York Times

Supported by

By Lauren Sloss

  • April 3, 2024

For our last night in La Paz, Mexico, we kept it simple: A couple of cans of cold Pacifico, a bench on the malecón, the city’s waterfront promenade, and the sunset glowing orange over the shimmering silver-blue Sea of Cortez. My husband, Alex, and I had spent nearly a week taking scenic desert drives and lazy city strolls, visiting stunning beaches and mountains, and enjoying a steady diet of fish tacos and mezcalitas. But now we were salt-coated and sinking into a blissful exhaustion that comes only after a day spent scuba diving.

La Paz is the capital of Baja California Sur, the Mexican state where some 42 percent of the land and water are natural protected areas , and the city lies on the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, considered one of the world’s most diverse marine environments. Travelers have long been drawn to the region’s glorious outdoors, a distinctive mix of ocean and red-hued desert, to spend days not only diving, but also sailing, kayaking, fishing, kite surfing, mountain biking, camping and hiking.

In recent years, the city has maintained its strong commitment to environmental conservation, but has also welcomed new restaurants and accommodations, meeting a growing desire among many travelers to Mexico for authentic experiences found beyond the walls of an enormous resort.

“This is an adventure destination,” said Luz Maria Zepeda, the director of the city’s tourism board. “We want people who want to explore, who want to preserve the environment the way it is, and to help us protect it.”

A seaside city that has a broad walkway lined with trees along the waterfront.

Growth, but kept in check

Home to around 300,000 people, La Paz has a decidedly laid-back feel — “The Peace,” it’s aptly named — and is often overshadowed by Los Cabos , a municipality on the state’s southernmost tip that includes San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, as well as by tiny Todos Santos , a stylish destination for art and food on the Pacific Coast.

Indeed, while La Paz had a record-breaking 600,000 tourists in 2023, Los Cabos — through cruises and air alone — welcomes 3 million travelers annually .

La Paz’s comparatively modest number of visitors is, in part, a question of access: La Paz’s airport almost exclusively serves domestic destinations, with direct flights primarily from Mexico City and Guadalajara. Most international visitors opt to fly to the larger Los Cabos International Airport and take the two- to three-hour drive to La Paz.

The drive from the airport is its own worthwhile journey, with routes running along the Pacific Coast through Todos Santos and El Pescadero, home to Playa Los Cerritos , a popular surfing destination. A slightly longer, but epically beautiful, drive winds through the Sierra La Laguna mountain range.

La Paz is a walkable city with good roads and ample services. It does not have any large resorts, and there are no current plans to build any: This is not a destination with aspirations of imitating the all-inclusive, tourist-heavy spring break vibes long associated with Cabo. Instead of a waterfront dominated by restricted private access, La Paz has the malecón, which was renovated in 2020 and 2021. Last April, a proposal to build a large port for cruise ships was withdrawn after local pushback .

“We don’t want massive tourism,” said Ivan Félix, the manager of the tour and travel department of the La Paz tourism board. “The idea is not to grow in numbers, but in quality.”

That has translated to a bevy in smaller, higher-end hotel openings: Hotel Indigo , formerly the Costabaja Resort & Spa, was renovated and reopened by IHG in December and Republica Pagana , an adults-only boutique hotel with a rooftop bar and restaurant, welcomed its first guests in January. Grupo Habita opened the Baja Club Hotel in a former colonial villa in 2021 on the malecón. Hilton plans to complete a renovation of the historic La Perla Hotel , which first opened in 1940, by the end of this year.

That sophisticated growth can also be found in the city’s culinary scene, which continues to be dominated by the region’s fresh seafood, flour tortillas and ranch-driven fare like meat-filled molcajetes and snack-sized burritos. Fried fish tacos remain stalwarts, from street stands to casual eateries like Taco Fish La Paz (featured on the Netflix series “Taco Chronicles,”) and Toto Frito , where you can try sustainably farmed totoaba, a fish native to the Sea of Cortez. We feasted on a variety of chilaquiles at Maria California , a popular brunch spot, and inhaled spicy shrimp aguachile at a beach stand at Playa El Tecolote, just north of Balandra. At Los 32 Sabores , a memorable dinner of manta ray and tripe tacos on fresh tortillas and Caesar salads made tableside hinted at the city’s ambition to become a bona fide food and drink destination.

Gratitude Coffee Makers , a coffee bar a few blocks off the malecón, was opened by the husband-and-wife team Sergio Hernández and Gloria Olivera in 2022. The couple work closely with Mexican coffee farmers, ensuring both quality beans and fair labor practices, and host art exhibitions and events at their cafe. They have noticed a decided shift in the restaurant scene in recent years.

“It’s definitely developing. There are a lot of people from the mainland that are coming here and opening restaurants. You can find a lot more things to do,” said Mr. Hernández, who is from Mexico City.

Some of that diversity can be found nearby at Tiger Club , which serves Southeast Asian fare and natural wine. The restaurant is housed on the back patio of Casa Nopal , a showroom and shop specializing in handmade goods from Mexican artisans, both of which opened in 2022. Nearby, Sunrise/Sunset is a natural wine bar that opened in December. Nemi offers riffs on traditional dishes, which might include fresh fish served raw or topped with hoja santa butter, duck confit in flour tortillas or pork belly served with beans and nopales. The restaurant is the first solo project of Alejandro Villagomez, who in 2011 moved from Mexico City where he was chef de cuisine of Pujol .

“La Paz is a magical place,” Mr. Villagomez said. “We are surrounded by sea and desert, and we strive to find the best ingredients both inside and outside the city.”

White sand, cobalt waters

Still, for all of the new hotels and destination-worthy restaurants, the natural world remains La Paz’s main draw. Chrissy Cappellano, a certified master scuba diver trainer from Long Island, in New York, has been living in the city since 2018.

“You have to plan multiple trips to see everything,” she said of the area’s rich marine life. “There’s a time that’s good for whale sharks, for whales, for sea lions.”

I met Ms. Cappellano when she led our daylong dive trip with Carey Dive Center that included a surprise sighting of humpback whales and a swim with whale sharks , the wide-mouthed, filter-feeding fish that can grow up to 30 feet. The rest of the day was spent around the islands of Espírito Santo and Partida — the archipelago is part of an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, a national park and a 45-minute ride from the city — diving around a protected sea lion colony called Los Islotes . The marine mammals didn’t hesitate to approach our group, performing flips and in some cases, biting onto flippers and dive hoses. Perhaps as spectacular were the schools of sardines, glinting silver in the sun as they whirled around us like confetti.

Care for the environment is a common talking point on dive trips I’ve been on elsewhere in Mexico and around the world; here, it was an actionable part of the agenda. Daily access to whale sharks, which migrate in order to feed in the waters right off the city , is limited to a small number of tour boats at set times. As we boarded our boat after our first dive at Los Islotes, someone spotted a sea lion pup who had been wounded by a fishing hook. Ms. Cappellano quickly sent photos and videos to Rescate de Lobos Marinos , an organization that helps monitor and treat sea lions. Carey also made a point to provide reusable water bottles for the day. (The state as a whole has been strictly limiting single-use plastics since 2018.)

It’s not hard to see how and why visitors fall in love with these cobalt waters, and why local residents are so protective of them. Espiritu Santo is a geological layer cake carved with countless small anchorages, beloved by sailors and fishing enthusiasts. But there’s also much to explore on land — the island is a popular destination for hiking and glamping, while Playa Balandra , famous for its white sand and shallow turquoise waters, is consistently named one of the most beautiful beaches in the country. An easy 20-minute drive from the city center, it is also a protected area, and limits the number of visitors allowed per day, with timed entries at 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. La Ventana, a 40-minute drive, is a famous kite-surfing destination . There’s mountain biking, dune buggying, hiking and camping, too.

“You can pick a beach depending on the wind. There are waterfalls and hot springs. Every sunset here is usually amazing,” Ms. Cappellano said. “There’s just so much nature to be enjoyed.”

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

Mumbai:  Spend 36 hours in this fast-changing Indian city  by exploring ancient caves, catching a concert in a former textile mill and feasting on mangoes.

Kyoto:  The Japanese city’s dry gardens offer spots for quiet contemplation  in an increasingly overtouristed destination.

Iceland:  The country markets itself as a destination to see the northern lights. But they can be elusive, as one writer recently found .

Texas:  Canoeing the Rio Grande near Big Bend National Park can be magical. But as the river dries, it’s getting harder to find where a boat will actually float .


A jazz piano festival, 50 years of circus history, and a closer look at Everest — from your armchair

Travel news you can use.

Brattleboro hosts the eighth annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival, featuring world-class and up-and-coming artists such as rising star Mathew Mueller.

Enjoy a jazz piano festival

Learn what goes on in the minds of the world’s top jazz pianists and how they create new arrangements and reharmonize old favorites. Head to Brattleboro April 19 and 20 for the eighth annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival, featuring world-renowned and up-and-coming artists. The festival, held at the Vermont Jazz Center, welcomes headliners Aaron Parks, Hey Rim Jeon, Alfredo Rodriguez, and Jacky Terrasson, and showcases emerging artists Yujin Han and Mathew Mueller. It includes workshops during which the artists share their sources of inspiration and offer tips on their learning and teaching methods and their practice routines. Attend workshops on Embodying Your Inner-Ensemble in Solo Piano Jazz and Awakening the Music Within and don’t miss the panel discussion with all participating pianists. Tickets $25 (individual headliner concert) to $130 (full festival pass). Can’t make it in person? Join the live-streamed event through the website (by donation). .

Brattleboro hosts the eighth annual Solo Jazz Piano Festival, featuring up-and-coming and world-class artists such as headliner Hey Rim Jeon.


Discover 50 years of circus history

Learn about the history of the modern circus era at a new gallery opening this weekend at The Ringling Museum in Sarasota (officially called the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Circus Museum). The Greatest Show on Earth Gallery celebrates the iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, purchased by Irvin Feld in 1967 and turned into one of the country’s most renowned traveling circuses. The new exhibit has four sections where you can learn about more than 120 circus acts, discover the evolution of the Ringling circus through elaborate costumes and props, and see original circus memorabilia from the past 50 years. Also learn about culturally important moments, including the debut of the first African-American ringmaster, Jonathan Lee Iverson. While on site, visit the museum’s other venues and exhibits, including a miniature replica of the traveling circus, John and Mable Ringling’s private Pullman railroad car, and the Ringling Museum of Art, with everything from medieval European artwork and early photography to contemporary installations. Admission (includes all exhibits and galleries): free 5 and under, $5 ages 6-17, and $25 for 18 and older. 941-358-2757,

The Greatest Show on Earth Gallery opens at The Ringling Museum in Sarasota (officially called the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Circus Museum) this week.

New book chronicles Everest climbing history

Learn about the fascinating — often contentious — history of climbing on Mount Everest in a new nonfiction book coming out April 16 by Will Cockrell, “EVEREST, INC.: The Renegades & Rogues Who Built an Industry at the Top of the World” (Gallery Books). The book dispels myths and puts reality into focus as it chronicles the development of the climbing industry on Everest, from the first unofficial guided climbs and first summits by inexperienced climbers to the evolution of Sherpa-owned guiding services. It captures the personalities of the early pioneering guides, the triumphs and tragedies that unfolded as the industry grew, and the differing viewpoints on how the business of guiding on Everest has and should evolve. Cockrell draws on interviews with all the leading characters of the Everest guiding industry, from Conrad Anker to the late David Breashears, and climbing icons such as filmmaker Jimmy Chin and Patagonia-founder Yvonne Chouinard. It offers a look at who has summited Everest over the years to realistic takes on the physical state of base camp after decades of use by climbers. The book serves as an updated historical account of an industry that has fascinated diehard climbers to armchair travelers for more than 40 years. $29.99. Available through major bookstores, , or .


Learn about the fascinating — often contentious — history of climbing on Mount Everest in a new non-fiction book coming out April 16 by Will Cockrell, “EVEREST, INC.: The Renegades & Rogues Who Built an Industry at the Top of the World."

Kari Bodnarchuk can be reached at [email protected] .

'Flying feels different': Here's how air travel has changed recently

If you haven't flown in a while, fasten your seat belts. I've got good news – and bad news.

You've probably already heard the bad news because it travels faster than the speed of sound. Airfares are up. So are luggage fees. And we seem to have a problem with in-flight violence again. 

But there's more to the story, and if you're an occasional air traveler, you'll want to get the big picture. You might be surprised by what you find.

Check out   Elliott Confidential , the newsletter the travel industry doesn't want you to read. Each issue is filled with breaking news, deep insights, and exclusive strategies for becoming a better traveler. But don't tell anyone!

First, the bad news about air travel in 2024

Some of the changes have not been for the better. For example:

  • Airfares are climbing. Cheap pandemic airfares are history. Average domestic round-trip fares fell to a low of $186 in May 2020 . But they were back up to $261 by the beginning of this year – and they continue to climb.
  • Checked-baggage fees are soaring. All of the major airlines have recently raised their baggage fees. On domestic flights, a checked bag may cost as much as $35 (more if you wait until the last minute or your bag is overweight). 
  • Air rage is back. In-flight air rage hit record highs in 2021, mostly because of masking requirements. But the number of violent in-flight incidents remains high – this time, a combination of fuller flights and a continuing decline of civility. We're on track to exceed 2020's unruly-passenger incidents.

But don't despair. The air travel experience is changing in small ways – and, potentially, in big ways.

What's it like to fly now?

Let's start with the air travel experience itself. Flights are fuller and space is tighter than ever. In fact, if you're flying somewhere this spring or summer, you should congratulate yourself. You're probably part of the busiest year in the history of air travel.

"Air travel has rebounded," said Jason Block, CEO of WorldVia Travel Group . That puts a squeeze on regular passengers. If you've booked a no-frills economy ticket, you may face a higher risk of being bumped from your flight. So if you have a little extra money, Block suggests buying a more flexible ticket. You're still not bump-proof, but at least you'll move up the list.

▶ Smile for the TSA . The passenger screening experience is different but not necessarily better. The Transportation Security Administration has new scanners that take your picture to verify your identity. New technology might allow you to keep all your belongings in your bag and speed up screening – "might" being the operative word. 

"The process is more inconsistent than ever," said Andy Abramson, a frequent traveler and a communications consultant from Las Vegas. "Procedures change from airport to airport. In some cases, all you need is your boarding pass. In others, you need your ID, and in others, nothing but your facial scan."

Air travel smells worse than ever. Here's how to fix it.

Pay less to fly: New strategies for finding cheap airfares now

Speaking of technology, many air travelers have raved about new onboard Wi-Fi capabilities. Airlines like Air New Zealand, Emirates and JetBlue include the price of Wi-Fi in their tickets, and the connections have just gotten better since the pandemic. 

▶ Your face is your boarding pass . The TSA isn't the only one using facial scans. Some U.S. airlines have started using facial scans instead of boarding passes. It's a bit of an adjustment for passengers. 

"I stood awkwardly in front of a camera, feeling like a contestant in a dystopian game show," said Chris McGuire, a real estate broker from Birmingham, Ala.

A few months ago, Frankfurt became the first airport in Europe to fully adopt facial recognition . Other airports, including Tokyo and Dubai, also have face-scanning technology. If you haven't flown in a while, you may not have to fumble for your boarding pass before you get on the plane. 

I've used face-scanning technology on many occasions, and it usually works, but it can be slow. Getting through customs in Santiago, Chile, took a while, and the agent kept apologizing for the technology. So don't forget to pack your patience.

▶ No more ticket change fees . Airline ticket change fees disappeared during the pandemic on U.S. airlines. So if you have to change your flight, you won't have to pay a $250 fee on top of any fare difference.

"That's one of the most significant changes," said frequent air traveler Bob Bacheler, managing director of Flying Angels , a medical transport service. "Airlines introduced more flexible booking and cancellation policies, allowing passengers to change or cancel flights without heavy penalties."

Bacheler believes the fees will return eventually, and he's right. If they do, airlines will call them something else – maybe a "convenience" fee?

▶ You may board your flight differently . "Some airlines are implementing new boarding procedures," said Andy Palacios, vice president of growth and strategic partnerships for App in the Air . The most significant is United Airlines, which last fall began boarding economy passengers with window seats before those with middle and aisle seats.

Palacios recommends avoiding the general boarding mayhem by getting a credit card or earning elite status. Anything that gets you into the first boarding group can save you from having to gate-check your carry-on or just getting stuck in a crowd.

▶ You have new rights, too . If something goes wrong on your flight, you may find that your airline will do more for you. That's because the Department of Transportation, which regulates airlines, has been applying steady pressure on domestic airlines to improve customer service. (After all, taxpayers bailed out the airlines during the pandemic.)

Airlines now offer guaranteed meals, accommodations and ground transportation to and from a hotel when they're at fault for a cancellation. (You can find out about all your rights on the Transportation Department's Fly Rights website.)

The federal government is working on carving out more rights for air travelers, dealing with everything from more straightforward and honest pricing to minimum seat size. But it's a work in progress.

Air travel may be about to get better. Here's what it means for your next flight.

Passengers want to get off the plane first. Here's how you can do it.

Flying 'feels different' now

Passengers say it feels as if something has shifted in air travel.

"Flying feels different," said Robert Khachatryan, a frequent flyer and founder of a freight forwarding service in La Crescenta, Calif. 

He's correct. It's not just that customers have a few new rights or that the technology is getting an upgrade – or even that boarding is a little different. 

There's a sense that something big lies just ahead. With people like Elon Musk teasing a Tesla that can fly and personal flying vehicles making headlines almost every day, there's a feeling that flying is about to evolve in a significant way.

Air travelers have become disenchanted with commercial air travel, with its high fares, fees, long lines and terrible customer service. And the relief may not come from new rules to protect the rights of air travelers but from a fundamental change in the way we fly. 

So if flying feels different to you now, just wait. You ain't seen nothing yet.

This is the first of a two-part series on the future of air travel. Next week: Flying cars. Yeah, we're going to go there.

Christopher Elliott  is an author, consumer advocate, and journalist. He founded  Elliott Advocacy , a nonprofit organization that helps solve consumer problems. He publishes  Elliott Confidential , a travel newsletter, and the  Elliott Report , a news site about customer service. If you need help with a consumer problem, you can  reach him here  or email him at  [email protected] .


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    "Armchair travel gives us an opportunity to research and be selective, which is a good thing. For example, after reading Eric Newby's The Big Red Train Ride, ...

  17. 17 Armchair Travel Ideas

    13. Films for Armchair Travel Activities . Nothing quite beats armchair travel like watching the big screen! Movies set on location are amongst the best ways to journey around the world without leaving your house so get your best armchairs and cwtch in (read here for what cwtch means). To watch the following films always check streaming sites ...

  18. Armchair Travel to Enrich Your Life

    Benefits of armchair travel. 1. Shear enjoyment. Armchair travel is worth the time for the sheer joy of exploring a place, a culture, or a period of history. It's a hobby. And like any hobby, it doesn't have to have a practical purpose or product to justify the time spent. An hour getting lost in a faraway place is pure delight.

  19. 12 Creative Ways to Armchair Travel from Home

    Scene from Before Sunrise. 2. Get lost in a travel book, movie or podcast. Perhaps the most classic way to travel from home is to get lost in an epic travel book, movie or podcast. This list of the 87 best travel books of all time is a good place to get started. I personally love The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver for a deep dive into the Mexico ...

  20. Home

    Where you want when you want. With the choice of travel from your armchair, you can explore the world without leaving the comfort of your own home. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can experience different cultures, landscapes, and environments through virtual tours and travel videos. From the bustling streets of New York to the ...

  21. Armchair Travel: A Sensory Experience for Seniors

    Armchair Travel takes people to faraway places without leaving home. It provides a sensory experience and the opportunity to learn about exotic lands and important past events in a meaningful manner. This is a wonderful activity for seniors living in nursing homes and suitable for people with dementia.

  22. When Armchair Travel Is Your Only Option

    When Armchair Travel Is Your Only Option. With these books, you can wander through the cities of the Silk Road, visit a bushmeat market in Congo and discover tiny museums in Iceland.

  23. Italy

    Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country located in southern Europe. It is known for its rich history and culture, beautiful cities such as Rome and Florence, delicious food including pizza and pasta, and gorgeous coastlines such as the Amalfi Coast and Cinque Terre. Italy is also home to iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum, the ...

  24. A New Look at an Old Favorite for Adventure Seekers: La Paz, Mexico

    Tanveer Badal for The New York Times. 23. By Lauren Sloss. April 3, 2024. For our last night in La Paz, Mexico, we kept it simple: A couple of cans of cold Pacifico, a bench on the malecón, the ...

  25. A jazz piano festival, 50 years of circus history, and a closer look at

    Travel news you can use. Discover 50 years of circus history. Learn about the history of the modern circus era at a new gallery opening this weekend at The Ringling Museum in Sarasota (officially ...

  26. Haven't flown in a while? Here's how air travel has changed

    Airfares are climbing. Cheap pandemic airfares are history. Average domestic round-trip fares fell to a low of $186 in May 2020. But they were back up to $261 by the beginning of this year - and ...