7 mins

How to get your travel fix during a coronavirus lockdown

Thanks to COVID-19, our idea of a holiday right now is a chance to leave the living room. Fortunately, we have some fun tips for travelling the world, without stepping foot outside your front door...

Getting ready for a trip (Shutterstock)

Travelling while you’re stuck at home is easier than you think. With a little bit of imagination and creativity you can be enjoying the sights, sounds – and smells – of any country in the world.

Simply choose your 'destination', follow the instructions below and get ready to enjoy a trip you’ll never forget...

Your flight

Flying to your imagined destination couldn’t be easier. Just choose the most uncomfortable chair in your house and sit in it for 14 to 22 hours.

If your family or housemates are joining you for the ‘flight’, make sure any extra chairs are lined up so that they are right on top of each other. The seat at the front can be nominated an ‘extra leg room’ seat, but it's probably best to have it face a wall so that the ‘passenger’ is as cramped and uncomfortable as everyone else.

For a truly authentic long-distance flight experience, you should only leave your chair to go to the toilet. It is imperative that you clamber over one of your fellow passengers to do this, preferably just as they have nodded off.

Laptops or tablets can be used for inflight entertainment, permitted you only watch things that you have seen before or don’t really want to watch.

And make sure you disembark at an unsociable time, either sometime around midnight or just before the crack of dawn.

There are some benefits of flying from home, though. Travelling to the ‘airport’ is a breeze. You can ‘check-in’ right up to the moment your flight departs. And there are no battles for the overhead lockers, either.

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Top tip: Leave your vacuum cleaner or hair dryer at the lowest level noise to faithfully recreate the ambience of an aeroplane cabin at 30,000 feet.

If you like travelling in a window seat, unscrew your toilet seat, tap a picture of clouds over the hole and rest it on your seat’s armrest, propped against the wall.

Your accommodation

Your sleeping arrangements for your ‘imagined’ holiday are very much dependent on the kind of holiday you have in mind.

Hotel

If it’s a luxury getaway or a short city break, your bedroom will serve perfectly as your hotel.

You may need to dress the room for added authenticity. A chocolate mint on your pillow and a stationery set on the bedside table should suffice.

Make sure to leave your bed unmade and throw your towels on the bathroom floor for the imaginary housekeepers to deal with later.

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

If you plan to to sleep in, make yourself a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign and hang it on the door.

There are plenty of free templates for you to print online.

Hostel

It’s easy to recreate that unique hostel vibe. Get your group to sleep in the same room, preferably in the bunk beds the kids had when they were younger.

Hang damp towels and sweaty clothes around the room for an authentic hostel funk. And make sure you leave your backpack where other travellers can trip over it.

The hostel lifestyle. Easily re-created. (Shutterstock)

The hostel lifestyle. Easily re-created. (Shutterstock)

If you have one of those plug-in light timers, set the lights to come on at around 1am and then 3am.

The best way to replicate the partying backpacker stumbling into the dorm after a night on the town...

Camping

Pitch a tent in your garden. If you don’t have a garden, set up your tent in the garage. If you don’t have a garage, pitch your tent in your lounge or living room.

Resist the urge to abandon your tent for your bed when it inevitably gets uncomfortable in the middle of the night.

Your meals

Capturing the authenticity of eating on your travels should start a couple of hours into your ‘flight’.

Prepare meals for your flight ahead of time, ensuring it is tasteless, unidentifiable and very, very small. Serve it on a tray, in tiny containers, with the plastic cutlery you souvenir-ed from Pret and again, about the time your fellow passengers are dropping off to sleep.

Once you’ve reached your 'destination', the meals should reflect the local cuisine.

If you’re on an Italian city break, eat lots of pasta. If it’s South-East Asia or India, then knock up a curry. Drop by Wanderlust’s archive of recipes for ideas. 

Of course, the kind of meals you have should also reflect the kind of 'holiday' you’re on.

If you’re backpacking South-East Asia, it’s going to be banana pancakes for breakfast. Every day. If you’re camping, it’s whatever you can cook on a camp stove, I’m afraid.

Looks like it’s Inter-railing then  (Shutterstock)

Looks like it’s Inter-railing then (Shutterstock)

Top tip: If your meals are being dictated by what you’ve got in your cupboards, simply change your travel plans.

If all you’ve got is pot noodles, consider pretending that you’re Inter-railing around Europe again.

Your clothing

Again, the clothes you pack should reflect the kind of 'holiday' you're on. 

If you’re on a beach holiday, you won’t need much more that your swimmers and and a sun hat. If you’re up in the Arctic circle, searching for imaginary northern lights, you might want to rug up. Just make sure you adjust your thermostat for either option!

For a true-to-life experience, resist the urge to simply grab items from your wardrobe as you need them. Only pack the things you think you’ll need, and then only what will fit in your bag.

Only dress in what you have in your bag, and make sure your wear each items a few days more than you normally would.

If you need to wash them, use the bathroom sink and hang them across the shower to dry.

Washing hanging in a bathroom (Shutterstock)

Washing hanging in a bathroom (Shutterstock)

Cut back on showering. And when you do wash or clean your teeth, only use airline size toiletries.

Consider having a ‘traveller’s wash’ – a quick slather of deodorant under each arm, every couple of days.

General ambiance

There are many things you can do to trick your mind into thinking that you are not locked down in your home but, rather, holidaying in an exotic foreign destination.

Music is particularly evocative. Fire up Spotify, search your ‘imagined’ destination and you’ll be offered a playlist of the most popular songs there.

Or you could a site like RadioNet website or download their app, search for the country you are ‘visiting’ there. You’ll be presented with a list of local radio stations for you to listen to. Nothing says ‘authentic’ more than an ad for a local car dealership in Thai.

Similarly, trawl through your TV streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime and look for TV programmes and movies from your chosen destination. And don’t cheat by putting the subtitles on.

A word of warning: Mexican soap operas, telenovelas, are seriously addictive.

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

For a truly authentic experience, insist that the others in your touring party only speak to you in the local language.

Use phrasebooks and the various phone apps, like Google Translate, to help communicate.

Holiday activities

OK, you’re stuck at home. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the kind of activities you love when you’re travelling.

Whether you’re a culture vulture or a wildlife lover, there are plenty of ways you can pursue your passions on your housebound holiday.

Culture

We’re always more cultured when we’re travelling, and so it should be on your upcoming 'getaway'.

Go online and delve deep into the art, history and traditions of your chosen destination, admiring the architectures, the art and the music.

Thanks to Google Earth, you can do some virtual sightseeing as well. With a few clicks of your mouse you could be walking through the streets of Manhattan or dropping in on a Maasai village.

Many of the world’s top art galleries and museums offer fully interactive online tours of their galleries, offering you the chance to get up close to some of the most famous art in the world.

The best include the Vatican, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, and the Natural History Museum in London.

Trekking

Those who like their holidays to be more active, Google Earth offers the opportunity climb the Matterhorn, trek in Nepal and canoe up the Amazon.

Grab your trekking pole, put on your favourite walking boots and off you go. Make sure your boots are clean, though. You don’t want spend the rest of your imaginary trek cleaning the carpet.

Wildlife

Instead of training your binoculars on the vast plains of the Serengeti, train them on the wildlife that is just outside your window.

You’re sure to spot a lot of birds, and probably a few species you hadn’t noticed before.

During the lockdown, some larger animals may return thanks to the absence of humans, so keep an eye out for badgers, foxes and even deer.

You may even solve the mystery of what has been digging up your garden. Hint: it’s your neighbour’s cat.

The Serengeti. But on your doorstep. (Shutterstock)

The Serengeti. But on your doorstep. (Shutterstock)

Top tip: If you live in a flat or in the middle of a busy city, your views may not be packed with an abundance of wildlife.

Consider dressing your cat as an African predator for your wildlife fix, instead.

Nightlife

Enjoying a night at a local club or bar on your homebound holiday is easy too, especially if you have a well-stocked bar.

Simply choose an iconic cocktail from your imagined destination, mix it up and enjoy. Our list of the world’s most famous cocktails is a good place for inspiration.

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Top tip: If you fancy going on a pub crawl, put drinks in each room of the house and make your way between them.

Place the last drink strategically and you’ll be able to fall straight into your bed.

Documenting your trip

Let’s face it. The holiday snaps people post on social media are already highly choreographed and heavily edited, so why should the pictures from your homebound holiday be any different?

You may have to get creative. Use your computer of TV screens to project a suitable humble-brag image of your destination.

Take advantage of the various stickers and filters on your phone to hide any shortcomings. And make sure your get your proportions right.

Done properly, you’ll get just as many hate-likes as if you were there in real life. Maybe more.

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Try to make you photos believable. And don’t forget to hide any tell-tale signs that you are at home.

It is extremely unlikely that your imaginary Airbnb has the exact same furniture as your house.

Except if it’s from IKEA, of course.

Your flight home

Repeat the steps you followed on your flight out, maybe turning the chair to face the opposite direction to enhance the illusion of returning.

Start your journey two hours later than scheduled, spending the time caused by the delay to wander aimlessly from room to room, just as you would wander from shop to shop in an airport.

As with your journey to your destination, ensure your return flight ends at an ungodly hour. For added authenticity, misplace your bag for a day or two, set your alarm for 3am to replicate the effects of jet lag, and don’t get out of bed for a couple of days.

Hopefully, by the time you return from your imaginary journey, the COVID-19 lockdown will be over, and you can experience the joys of travel again, in real life.

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

One last tip: Avoid the temptation to ‘stamp’ your passport or create a homemade visa.

As fun as passport stamps are, you could cause yourself serious problems when you finally get the chance to visit in real life...

How are you getting your travel fix during the Coronavirus lockdown? Tell us on our social media channels. Or better still, show us. We could all do with a laugh!

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