6 Things to Do For Travelers in Quarantine

I have always been a self-proclaimed introvert. I am someone who typically thrives on time alone and uses it to recharge my batteries. That being said, even I find that prolonged isolation tends to put me in a bit of a funk.

*Updated May 13, 2020

I have always been a self-proclaimed introvert. I am someone who typically thrives on time alone and uses it to recharge my batteries. That being said, even I find that prolonged isolation tends to put me in a bit of a funk.

While I don’t travel as frequently or permanently as my travel nomad friends, it is an integral part of my life. I’d go as far as to say that at least 50% of my free time is generally spent researching locations, building future itineraries, and reading articles on travel trends as well as current issues within the travel industry.

Due to the current rapid spread of COVID-19, many of us are now working remotely, avoiding get-togethers as part of the “social-distancing” movement, and many of our dream trips are currently on hold as they should be.

To plan ahead and minimize the stir-crazy that I am undoubtedly already experiencing, I tried to brainstorm a list of things that can keep me busy in my downtime – but can also keep the spirit of my inner traveler alive until I can do so again.

1. Binge TV shows that will boost you wanderlust

(And while you’re binging – why not order delivery and support your local businesses?)

Tales by Light / Netflix - Things to Watch When You're a Traveler on Quarantine / A Great Big Hunk of World

  • Tales by Light
    • 3 Seasons, Available on Netflix
    • Each episode of Tales by Light follows a different photographer with a focus on either wildlife, nature, cultural travel to a specific location where they seek the perfect shot or clip. I stumbled upon this show a few months ago and finished the first season too quickly. I loved not only being able to explore different locations and hidden gems with these photographers and videographers but also learning about cultures, tribes, or animal habits that I had never even heard of.
  • Street Food
    • 1 Season, Available on Netflix
    • For all my fellow foodies who believe eating is rightfully the main reason for traveling, Street Food takes you to several popular street food scenes of various cities in Asia. Aside from making your mouth water, you also learn a lot about food culture and how it spreads; for example, I learned that chicken katsu, a popular dish at American Japanese restaurants, originated from a small town in Japan.
  • Dark Tourist
    • 1 Season, Available on Netflix
    • I have always been a fan of Dark Tourism primarily due to my interest in history. Places like Hiroshima and Auschwitz, for example, teach us that if we don’t understand history, we are doomed to repeat it. Each episode dives into the phenomenon of dark tourism in a specific region and explores why exactly visitors are so interested in traveling there.
  • Kingdoms of the Sky
    • 1 Season, Available on Amazon Prime and Apple iTunes
    • Kingdoms of the Sky is a three-part series that brings viewers into the culture and landscapes of three different – and stunning – regions: the Andes, the Himalayas, and the Rockies.
  • Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
    • 7 Seasons, Available on Hulu
    • This show was extremely popular and despite ending in 2012, is still an amazing show to binge. The late Anthony Bourdain combines some of the best things you experience while traveling – local customs, local food, local people.

Magical Andes / Netflix - Things to Watch When You're a Traveler on Quarantine / A Great Big Hunk of World

  • Magical Andes 
    • 1 Season, Available on Netflix
    • The season is compromised of six episodes and showcases six South American countries and the diversely unique cultures and landscapes of each. The show is in Spanish but subtitles are available,
  • Our Planet
    • 1 Season, Available on Netflix
    • Each episode of Our Planet showcases a different ecosystem that makes up our world – from the frozen tundras to the jungle to coastal regions. You’ll also learn how climate change affects every single one of these ecosystems and the creatures and plants that live there.
  • Expedition Amelia
    • Documentary, Available on Disney+ and Amazon Prime
    • This documentary follows Dr. Robert Ballard (who discovered the Titanic) as he attempts to uncover the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a great watch for those interested in travel in the context of history.
  • Origins: The Journey of Humankind
    • Documentary, Available on Disney+
    • This documentary is focused primarily on the development of human civilization and covers all the bases: the creation of language, nomadic lifestyles, and finally the technology that has made traveling further easier than ever.
  • Mountain
    • Documentary, Available on Netflix
    • This film was made for those intrigued by mountaineering and exploration of the highest peaks in the world. Even if you never plan to tackle some of these places physically, the videography is visually stunning and inspiring.


2. Travel Virtually

  • Google Earth
    • I’ve amazed many friends at my ability to guide us in directions on trips to places none of us have ever been before. It’s not a natural sense of direction as much as its due to my roaming entire neighborhoods via. Google Earth before ever traveling. There are awesome 360 videos for almost every location you could imagine visiting – and it might just kill your itchy feet for the moment
  • Youtube
  • Airbnb Online Experiences
    • I was already a huge fan of Airbnb adding an “expriences” section to their site, allowing travelers to book tours and experiences with locals in the areas they were visiting. Now, Airbnb is offering the opportunity to travel virtually with online experiences such as “Touring Czech Republic with a Plague Doctor”, “Barcelona Storytelling with Crafts” and ‘Ricotta Cheesemaking in Sonoma”. These online offerings range from cooking and craft classes to virtual tours to concerts from the homes of musicians.


3. Take a Virtual Museum Tour

Virtual Museum Tours - 6 Things to Do When You're a Traveler on Quarantine / A Great Big Hunk of World

I can personally vouch for how disheartening it is seeing all my favorite museums close for the time being. In fact, I already had tickets for the Brooklyn Museum’s new exhibit: Studio 54: Night Magic  . Fortunately, until we’re able to spend our days aimlessly getting lost in these amazing places, we’re able to visit certain exhibits some from the comfort of our very own homes.


4. Take an Online Class Focused on Tourism or Culture (or anything really!)

    • FutureLearn 
      • Free; Additional Cost for Certificate of Achievement
      • I’ve been using Future Learn for a couple of years and actually used it to complete a course on Achieving Sustainable Development taught by various professors at Trinity College in Dublin. I love that the lectures are from accredited folks with experience in the fields they are teaching, that there is the opportunity to interact with other students in the course, and that you can find a course in almost anything that will intrigue you. While I enjoy classes that fall under the umbrella of why I love to travel, ie. cultural interactions, history, etc. -there are courses from everything from Basic Spanish to HTML to Forensic Archaeology.
    • EdX
      • Free; Additional Cost for Certificate of Achievement
      • EdX offers free courses complimentary of many Ivy League and additional schools globally. Most of the courses are self-paced and span a variety of topics.
    • Khan Academy
      • While Khan Academy offers a variety of courses as well, one has recently caught my attention: Imagineering in a Box. If you’re a Disney fanatic such as myself, this offers in-depth lessons on the in’s-and-out’s for designing theme park attractions and bringing them to life.


5. Family or Virtual Game Nights

    • We’ve been kicking it old school with game nights and let me tell you how underrated they really are. A couple of drinks, a few hours of distraction, and a good group of people can really keep you in your right mind while stuck inside. While any games will do when you’re stuck in a house with your family or friend groups under 10 – there are a few games that can still bring out your inner-wanderlust.
  • Scattegories – For those who’ve never played this, it’s a solid game that can be played by several people via. Facetime or Skype as long as one of you has the actual game. To break it down – everyone playing has a piece of paper with blank lined numbered 1-12. The game also comes with several lists of 12, this can be anything from “a color”, “a way to say hello”, to “musicians”. You then roll a multi-sided die which signifies a letter when rolled. Each player then must silently fill in every category with a word(s) that begin with that letter before the timer runs out.
    • For my fellow wanderers, my friends and I also developed a travel-based custom list and it’s made for a few fun rounds.
      • Country
      • City
      • Famous Landmark
      • Ideal Honeymoon Location
      • Body of Water
      • Vacation Activity
      • Something You Forget to Pack
      • Mode of Transportation
      • Foreign Food
      • Foreign Greeting
      • Souvenier

6 Things to Do When You're a Traveler on Quarantine / A Great Big Hunk of World

  • Ticket to Ride
    • The original Ticket to Ride board game takes you along all of the US railways. Fortunately, this game has become so popular, that there are now a handful of awesome spin-offs from the same company, like Europe, Asia, Nordic Countries, etc. And if you’re a) completely quarantined or b) your local store had their entire boardgame section bought out – you can purchase the Ticket to Ride app for only 3.99 and challenge players all over the world.
  • Download the Houseparty app
    • Available on iOS and Google phones
      • This app is my most recent obsession and allows you to video chat with up to eight friends while playing four different games. This has not only helped passed the time and minimized the feeling of complete isolation but also has let me remind my friends that nobody can win geography themed trivia more times in a row than I can.


6. Get Crafty & Creative

Not being able to travel currently has given me more opportunity to reflect on my previous travels, which means I’m finally getting around to the dozen drafts for posts and travel-related stories I have been trying to write for months. I’ve finally started editing all of the photos taking up space on my computer. Sometimes we fail to fully take in how amazing an experience was since we’re always so focused on the next trip.

Being home has given me the opportunity to pull out my box of ticket stubs, maps, pictures, and other relics from my trips and put together fun posters of memories – which is fun whether it’s for yourself or you’re a parent trying to distract your children while homeschooling them simultaneously.

If culinary is your specialty then combat being unable to dine out and your passion for global foods by making something you’ve never made before. I highly recommend checking out Food and Wine’s global guide and whipping up some authentic spiced beef pho or strozzapreti.

6 Things to Do When You're a Traveler on Quarantine / A Great Big Hunk of World

I hope these suggestions help everyone pass the time – whether you typically travel non-stop or only like to spend time locally. I hope all of you are well (and that nobody leaves this quarantine estranged from their friends and family).

Like some of these ideas? Pin this post for later!

6 Things to Do When You're a Traveler on Quarantine / A Great Big Hunk of World

5 comments on “6 Things to Do For Travelers in Quarantine

  1. Love this! I am so going to play scategories! I love that game! havent played since I was a kid!
    I love the house party app too!


  2. Such a good list for introvert travel lovers like me to start doing during this quarantine time. The Street Food show is definitely a must-watch.


  3. These are great ideas. I love the House party app idea, then it’s like you’re in the same room while you play games!


  4. Gonna check out Dark Tourism. Thanks for the Netflix suggestions


  5. I’ve been quarantined tens of times as I moved throughout the globe during the past few years.

    Beautiful insight. Some things I’ve learned.

    Great Blog, hope to be back.


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