Back in lockdown: Here’s what to do with all your travel wanderlust
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
As we begin the second lockdown of 2020, thousands of us will have had to either postpone or cancel upcoming trips — and who knows for how long? Travelling for leisure — both domestically and internationally — has been banned by the U.K. government through at least 2 December, throwing people’s travel plans into disarray.
Though we cannot travel at the moment, there are some other ways to quench that wanderlust. From cooking something exotic to dancing the salsa, here are our top tips to help.
Organise your travel photos
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 the 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; or
- 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.
Online shop for travel gear
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:
- A foldable tripod/selfie stick
- A new, lightweight external battery
- A 25-ounce S’well water bottle
- A travel jewellery case
- Mesh, transparent packing cubes
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
This would be a great time to dig into your accounts and see what’s happening. Once you have an inventory, 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
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 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
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
Quarantine is the perfect time to curl up with a good book. Here are some of my favourite travel memoirs and novels:
- “Cathedral of the Sea” by Ildefonso Falcones: Travel back in time to 14th century Barcelona where townspeople carried stones on their backs to build the Santa Maria del Mar cathedral, which still stands today in the Born district.
- “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed: Follow one woman’s journey of finding herself after dealing with death, divorce and drug use by hiking the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S. — alone.
- “Under the Tuscan Sun” by Frances Mayes: The book is indeed better than the film. See how woman recounts the trials and errors of renovating a dilapidated Tuscan farmhouse.
- “Turn Right at Machu Picchu” by Mark Adams: Read this if Machu Picchu is on your bucket list, as the author retraces explorer Hiram Bingham’s steps through the lost Inca territory in Peru.
Try some holiday-inspired recipes
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; or
- Hungarian beef goulash.
Listen to international music or travel podcasts
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
- 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:
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.
Featured photo by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images
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