10 ways to travel the world without leaving your sofa

Nov 8, 2020

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

Stuck inside for the foreseeable future as England enters its second lockdown? Us, too.

While we at TPG U.K. are avid travellers and supporters of the travel industry, a pause has been put on holidays again due to the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of travelling right now, we suggest you use this time to plan your next trip. Or, at the very least, satisfy your wanderlust by taking an unforgettable armchair holiday.

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We rounded up some of our favourite ways to travel the world without leaving the comfort of your home. So, find your comfiest pyjamas and buckle up for your next adventure.

1. Discover a museum

The Guggenheim Museum in New York City. (Photo by Luis Davilla/Getty Images)
The Guggenheim Museum in New York City. (Photo by Luis Davilla/Getty Images)

Iconic museums from the Guggenheim in New York City to the Louvre in Paris are available through Google Arts & Culture, a platform that allows you to take digital tours of some of the world’s most famous museums. You can browse through all the available museums and even see some of the most famous pieces of art up close. Historic sites, such as the Palace of Versailles, are also available to tour through Google. The best part? Access is 100% free.

Read more: No travel required: 10 iconic museums you can tour online

2. Take a cooking class

(Photo by Nico De Pasquale Photography/Getty Images)

Is there anything better than having a home-cooked meal from an Italian grandma? We don’t think so. While you cannot visit Italy right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get your fix of some incredible Italian cooking.

Nonna Nerina, an 84-year-old Italian grandmother in Palombara Sabina, Italy, has set up a virtual cooking class on Airbnb Experiences. Here, she’ll virtually teach you how to make Italian classics such as ravioli, gnocchi and fettuccine. Just note that she only teaches classes on weekend; the weekday classes are taught by her granddaughter.

3. Go on a ride at Disney

(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

The magic isn’t over just because some Disney parks around the world remain closed until further notice. You can stream virtual Disney rides from parks around the world, from Florida to France, in the comfort of your own home. How’s that for a bargain on a Disney holiday?

4. Visit a botanic garden

The Bronx Botanical Garden. (Photo by Hiroyuki Matsumoto./Getty Images)
The Bronx Botanical Garden. (Photo by Hiroyuki Matsumoto./Getty Images)

Some botanic gardens around the world are also offering virtual tours for travellers to enjoy. For instance, Kew Gardens in London offers virtual tours and the indoor conservatory at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., does too.

5. Take an art class

(Photo by Dean Mitchell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dean Mitchell/Getty Images)

A handful of universities are hosting free, virtual art classes, according to Artsy, and many have a global perspective. You can study the history of Japan through images or discover ancient Egyptian art and antiquities. You know what they say: If you can’t travel, you might as well spend a few hours every week looking at pictures of places you wish you were. Right?

6. Watch a movie

(Photo by Dennis Fischer Photography/Getty Images)

Give yourself a much-needed break from all the craziness out there and curl up on the sofa with a feel-good and wanderlust-worthy film. Some of our top picks include “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Mamma Mia” — but there are plenty of classic flicks and television series to choose from.

Related: Stuck at home? Stream these 7 movies to cope with travel wanderlust

7. Live like a royal for the day

(Photo by Guido Mieth/Getty Images)

Put on your crown and get ready to take a virtual tour of Buckingham Palace. You can take a peek at the Throne Room, Grand Staircase, White Drawing Room and more. The entire palace isn’t up for viewing, but it’s certainly enough to keep you occupied for hours.

8. Make Portuguese tapas

(Photo by Rob Lawson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Lawson/Getty Images)

Another Airbnb Experience that’s sure to please? This Portuguese tapas class. You’ll learn how to make popular dishes such as tuna paté and açorda alentejana — and of course, plenty of sangria. The host, Joana, spent 10 years teaching hotel management before opening her own restaurant in Lisbon.

The class costs £10 per person.

9. Hang out with wild animals

(Photo by David Merron Photography/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Merron Photography/Getty Images)

OK, so you might not be hanging out with real penguins in real life. But for only £10, you can spend an hour learning about the history of African penguins, as well as some little-known facts and insights. You can even build your own penguins from items lying around the house. Your host, Jon, is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and his class is sure to be a hit with the whole family. You can check out even more of these virtual experiences here.

10. Master photography

A Nikon D850 DSLR camera, taken on November 17, 2017. (Photo by Neil Godwin/T3 Magazine/Future via Getty Images)
(Photo by Neil Godwin/T3 Magazine/Future via Getty Images)

Camera giant Nikon is offering photography classes for those on lockdown looking to master the magic behind the lens. The classes, which typically cost between £10 and £45 are available at the Nikon School Online U.K.

You can choose from classes such as Astrophotography, Fundamentals of Photography, The Art of Making Music Videos and much more. Once lockdown has ended and you’re ready to hit to the skies for your first holiday, you’ll be able to put these newfound skills to use.

Bottom line

Being unable to travel is frustrating but you can use this time to hone your photography skills and support those who work in the travel industry with online experiences and much more.

Featured photo by Martin Pechy/Unsplash.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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