Stuck at home? Here’s what to do with all your travel wanderlust

Mar 19, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

It’s day five of quarantined lockdown here in Spain, and I’m already going stir crazy.

Whether you’re practising social distancing or on full lockdown, here are some things you can do to channel that feeling of wanting to travel, but knowing you shouldn’t or can’t.

Follow The Points Guy on Facebook and Twitter, and to ensure you never miss anything, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Organise your travel photos

(Photo by Kohei Hara/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kohei Hara/Getty Images)

With smartphones constantly in tow and the rise of social media apps, it’s easy to take thousands of photos over the course of a simple weekend beach getaway. If you’re anything like me, these photos sit on your phone to never be looked at again, except for lone few you send your mum and dad and a couple you’ve doctored for Instagram.

Now is the time to organise all these photos! Here are some of the things you can do with them:

  • Delete duplicates or ones you don’t like to free up space on your phone;
  • Make photo selections to print;
  • Create digital albums or photo folders;
  • Back up your photos digitally using services like iCloud, Dropbox or Google Photos; and
  • If you have photo printing access or hard copies of photos, make albums or scrapbooks.

If you have children at home, you can include them in some of these projects. Kids can help with scrapbooking, and teens can go through their travel photos and pick favourites too.

Further reading: 11 Mother’s Day gifts for travel-loving mums

Online shop for travel gear

(Photo by Olga Shevtsova/EyeEm/Getty Images)
(Photo by Olga Shevtsova/EyeEm/Getty Images)

Shop online for all sorts of travel items, such as new luggage, packing cubes, eye masks, neck pillows, travel clothing, adaptors, external batteries, selfie sticks and more. Here’s what’s on my list to purchase:

Make sure when online shopping to check British Airways and Virgin’s online shopping portals, which will allow you to earn additional bonus points at specific retailers. Make sure to check out the full TPG U.K. guide to shopping portals here.

Points and miles inventory and strategy

(Photo by Tom Werner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Werner/Getty Images)

This would be a great time to dig into your accounts and see what’s happening. Once you have an inventory of what you have, you can think about possible strategies for gaining (or not losing) elite status and earning miles or points. If want to grow a particular bank of miles or points, consider applying for a credit card to speed up earning. Go through award charts and think about sweet spots or best ways to use your points and miles for when you can travel again.

Further reading: The best UK points and mile credit cards of 2020

Book (or at least start daydreaming) about your next trip

(Photo by Dana Neibert/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dana Neibert/Getty Images)

Now that you’re aware of your points and miles and hopefully have a strategy in mind for earning and burning, it’s time to daydream about your next trip.

Christian Kramer, General Manager of TPG U.K., found that planning his next trip was one of the ways he could stay sane during these difficult times stuck at home.

“I am an avid traveller, and the thought of sitting at home with little travel to look forward to was not overly appealing. Knowing that airlines around the world have put generous travel waiver policies in place, I was perfectly comfortable booking a trip for the summer,” he explained.

If you don’t feel comfortable booking just yet, you can at least make a bucket list with destinations, dream hotels and routes you’d love to fly — and ponder how you can use your bank points and miles to get you there.

Watch a travel film

(Photo by Marco Piunti/Getty Images)
(Photo by Marco Piunti/Getty Images)

If you aren’t quite sure about where your next dream trip should be, or you simply need to virtually escape the confines of your walls for a few hours, watch a travel film. Here are a few you might like:

  • “Motorcycle Diaries”: For those who dream of being wild and free, take a virtual trip on a motorcycle through Latin America with Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
  • “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”: If you’re not dying to head to Jaipur by the end of this film, the Bollywood dance scene at the end will at least put you in a livelier mood.
  • “Vicky Christina Barcelona”: With stunning shots of Barcelona’s Park Güell and Gothic neighbourhood, you’ll be itching to visit Spain.
  • “Eat, Pray, Love”: Shot in Rome, Bali and India, you’ll be inspired to do a bit of soul-searching after you watch this feel-good film.

Read a travel memoir or novel

(Photo by F.J. Jiménez/Getty Images)
(Photo by F.J. Jiménez/Getty Images)

Quarantine is the perfect time to curl up with a good book. Here are some of my favourite travel memoirs and novels:

Try some holiday-inspired recipes

(Photo by VICUSCHKA/Getty Images)
(Photo by VICUSCHKA/Getty Images)

If you can’t eat street food in Bangkok or tapas in Spain, you can do your best to cook international dishes at home. You may have to order ingredients online, of course, but once you have them, you can test your luck in the kitchen. It may be a perfect time to order that crockpot or instant pot, too. Google recipes online for things like:

  • Thai or Indian curries;
  • Greek salads;
  • Italian lasagna;
  • All-American chocolate chip cookies;
  • Spanish omelette;
  • Japanese sushi;
  • Any vegetarian/vegan dishes you’ve been wanting to test out but haven’t had time;
  • Mexican tacos, enchiladas or quesadillas;
  • Homemade bread of all kinds: Irish soda bread, Matzo bread, German rye and beyond; and
  • Hungarian beef goulash.

Listen to international music or travel podcasts

(Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)
(Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)

If you can’t travel, you can at least perk up with some tunes. Here are some ideas for mood-boosting international music styles:

  • Latin salsa or reggaeton.
  • K-Pop.
  • Italian opera.
  • French rap.
  • Dominican bachata.
  • Spanish flamenco guitar.
  • African djembe/drum beats.

If you prefer to listen to podcasts, check out TPG travel podcasts:

Bottom line

Here at TPG U.K., we’re all frequent travellers so staying put is quite difficult for us — as it likely is for many of you. Doing some of these travel-related activities can help you channel that inner wanderlust or travel bug, getting you through these complicated moments.

We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to share how you’re handling lack of travel in the comments section — your favourite travel book, a great international recipe or the next trip you’re planning.

Featured photo by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

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.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.