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This guide is for those who have suddenly been told that they can’t travel and want to scratch that itch, or readers who have a lot of time on their hands and need to entertain themselves.
So whether you are an armchair traveler, looking for practical jobs related to travel around the house or are filling a timetable during homeschooling, here’s the ultimate list of travel-related things to do at home including crafts, food, education and exercise.
Travel-Related Activities You Can Do Home
1. Virtual Tours of Museums, Landmarks, Parks + Wine
Never mind a line skip ticket, those in self-isolation can still enjoy front row seats of the world’s top museums including the British Museum, the Guggenheim and Anne Frank’s House in Amsterdam.
Using the timeline and destinations on the British Museum site, you can see the items that the museum ‘acquired’ to find out more about them.
Normally you need a couple of hours to visit the Guggenheim in NYC but today you can look at photographs of the modern art hung on the walls within minutes.
See the artefacts of Anne Frank’s house and learn about the family who protected her from the Nazis.
Want more than museums? Beat the crowds at landmarks too using Google Street Views. Here’s the Taj Mahal for starters.
Love to go outside? Google Earth zooms in to National Parks around the world. Here’s the Badlands in the USA.
LA is sharing a sunset over Venice Beach every day.
Need some space? Alder Planetarium has live exhibitions.
Tune in radio stations all around the world at Radio Garden. Beautiful.
→ Lesson idea: Set a challenge to spot certain things in each Street View or draw a landmark but in a different setting/season.
Get lost in travel by taking this quiz to see what travel quote is your mantra.
Mines is ‘surely all the greatest wonders of the world, the horizon is the greatest’.
Potterheads! Don’t be bored muggles.
Join The Potter Trail around Edinburgh during a 1-hour private video tour of Harry Potter locations in Edinburgh.
Richard and the team are trained performances and Potter enthusiasts.
Not only do you collect points throughout by answering the quiz questions but you can also test the tour guide.
The tour is normally £40 but if you quote ‘twoscotsabroad5’ at checkout you will get 5% off! Reserve your spot here.
Any referral commission received will be added to The Potter Trail’s donation to Scottish Trans Alliance in reaction to JK Rowling’s recent actions.
Outlander Virtual Tours
You read that right!
Now you can follow of the steps of Jamie and Claire without leaving your home.
Our friends at the award-winning Mary’s Meanders have been delivering Outlander tours for the last six years.
Anne and Emma are the sweetest and know all things Outlander and ancestry in Scotland.
In this online Outlander tour, you join Mary’s Meanders and fellow Outlander fans/friends via Zoom and take a tour of the Outlander locations in Scotland.
Here’s a picture of me in Falkland aka Inverness in Outlander. Recognise the scene?
For more information and the booking form, see here. Tell them Two Scots Abroad sent you!
Discover movie locations, virtually, in Edinburgh or London.
Tours with a Conscience
Support ex-homeless people while taking a UK city tour with Invisible Cities.
For The Big Kids!
Our friends at Luxe Adventure Traveler are hosting virtual wine tasting experiences! Check out the schedule here.
2. Virtual Guided Tours of Popular Places
Step into the Sistine Chapel, meander around the Met or head underground from the comfort of your armchair with this exciting lists of virtual tours from home with guides.
- The Wonders of the Sistine Chapel
- The Secrets of the Roman Colosseum
- NYC Met Museum Tour With a Twist
- Pompeii, The City Frozen in Time
- Journey into St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice
- Descend into the Darkness of Paris’ Catacombs
Virtual 3D Animals
I am about to rock your world!
Using your phone, ask Google to see a bear or another kind of animal
Choose ‘View in 3D’ and follow the instructions letting your camera take in some of the floor.
Boom! You now have a bear in your house.
3. Watch a Comedy or Theatre Show
Big fan of the Edinburgh Fringe?
Seeing a comedy show doesn’t have to happen only once a year!
The Stand Edinburgh and The Stand Glasgow have a Stand on Demand programme where you can rent comedy stand up on their site.
Or what about a bit of magic?
Quantum Magician is putting up tuition videos on his site here.
The world-renowned National Theatre offers streaming.
Check out options through this link.
Finally, Andrew Lloyd Webber has announced that every Friday evening is now musical night on YouTube!
It will be streamed on the channel, The Show Must Go On!
You can rent previous shows too.
4. Colouring In Books For Big Kids
While the benefits of colouring in are debated, mindfulness gurus suggest that the act helps reduce anxiety.
If anything, it’s 10 minutes away from your phone or tablet while you chill in the house.
5. Learn a Language
For my next trick and trip, I’m going to be fluent in…
Thinking about learning a second language and keep putting it off?
Use this time indoors to finally smash that goal.
And that’s actually how it starts.
Set an achievable goal, a deadline and identify how you are going to reach that goal.
Goal: The ability to read and understand a menu in my chosen language
Deadline: Three days
- Use the Duolingo app daily to get to the ‘restaurants’ section
- Write out food types and restaurant lingo into a notebook
- Commit to repeatedly saying food types and recording to your phone for one hour each day
- Create a menu without looking at support
- Order from the menu and record on your phone or to a native who speaks the language through voice recording or video call
How long does it take to learn a language? That depends on how much time you commit.
You can’t immerse yourself in the culture since you are staying at home, but you can do the following:
Bombard Your Brain
- Listen to radio stations and songs in the target language
- Watch YouTube vlogs in the language
- Get into a TV show, even better if you can find a show or film you know well which is then dubbed in the language
Study The Language
- Use online courses to study reading, writing and listening aspects of the language
- Read children’s books and translate, building a word bank in a notebook
- Speak to natives through video calls if you can
- Use free apps such as Duolingo to have fun while you learn
Assess Your Progress
- Create, write a report, fictional story, blog, newspaper article, menu, advert, etc
- Share; is there anyone that can mark your work for you online?
Teach others, also known as The Protégé Effect, one of the best ways to consolidate learning
6. Cook an International Meal
Taste your travels again. Here are some of our favourites which Chef Craig makes frequently.
International Breakfast Meal Ideas
- Tex Mex burrito: Refried beans, scrambled egg, cheese, hot sauce, soft tortilla
- French Toast: is it actually French? Bread dipped in eggs and fried
- Porridge (oats) with peanut butter: Perfect Scottish/Canadian fusion
- Typical Nicaraguan breakfast: Gallo pinto (rice with red beans), eggs, soft tortilla
- Wash down with Greek frappe, better than Dalgona Whipped Coffee apparently!
Lunches and Dinners
- Cuban Ropa Vieja: Slow cook beef (we use pork), veg with oregano, ground cumin, sweet paprika and tomato. It’s supposed to have olives but Craig says no
- Japanese ramen: slow cooker recipe from Wagamama UK / UK
- Scottish haggis, neeps and tatties: Meat or veg haggis, boiled turnip and mashed potatoes
- Hungarian goulash: Slow cook sh*t loads of paprika, tinned tomato, bell pepper and meat
- Tofu Pad Thai: This is one of the rare dishes I cook following Thug Kitchen’s recipe UK / US
- Med Mezze Platter: I love to assemble food like falafel, couscous with chilli, mango, yoghurt with mint, salad, hummus
→ What are your favourites? Share in the comments below.
7. Cook With a Class By Live Stream
You need to be in a kitchen with a professional chef to learn to cook a native dish right?
Take a two-hour pasta making class by Livestream with Nonna Live.
All you need to do is go here, pay $50 (down from $100) and select a date for your live stream lesson with an authentic Italian cook.
Not only are you learning a new skill you are supporting a business who is not making any income now that we can’t travel.
A week before your lesson you will be sent a shopping list which links to Amazon.
My friend Christine took this class in person and is asking content creators to help support Nona through live streams.
8. Drink Your Way Around The World
Does what it says on the tin!
Booze your way through Britain with scrumpy (cider), gin and whisky, belt down the Belgian beers and get the party started with tequila from Mexico.
Here are some of our favourites:
- Absinthe from Switzerland, who knew?!
- Barraquito: Coffee from the Canaries, condensed milk, Tia Maria, espresso coffee, milk
- Bulls Blood: Wine from Eger, Hungary UK
- Edinburgh Gin: Nation’s sweetheart, neither of us drink gin but everyone else does
- Cuba Libre: Rum, coke and lime. Simple
- Hand Grenades from New Orleans: Gin, vodka, light rum, melon liqueur, pineapple juice
- Ice Wine from Canada
- Laphroaig Whisky from Scotland
- Palinka from Hungary: Good luck!
- Pisco Sours from Peru: Blows your mind
- Punk IPA craft beer by Brewdog in Scotland
- Ron Miel: Honey rum, add to a cup of tea
- Sake from Japan: Like wine, there’s a sake for everyone! I like sweet sake
- Schnapps from Austria
- Tinto de Verano from Spain: Table red wine with a mixer like Fanta or soda and fruit
- Unicum from Hungary: Similar to Absinthe
- Zubrowka vodka from Poland: Drink neat or with apple juice
You could even play a round of international pub golf! Get your pals involved via video call.
Create a scoreboard and celebrate the winner.
Build a Beer Map
Decorative and documents your beer trail.
Or let a Parisian take you on a wine and cheese tasting session, through your screen!
This 60-90 session is available to readers from mainland US.
French cheese and wine is delivered overnight and attendees learn more about the four kinds of cheese and three wines during the session.
Find out more here.
9. Dancing With The Stars
What’s your vibe, flamenco or the fling?
Dance plays a huge part in culture; pick your passion and learn to dance.
A way to introduce some exercise for the body and the brain.
Did you know I was a Highland dancer from the age of 2 until I was 17?!
Here’s a lesson of the Highland fling which I quickly knocked up.
Please please please tag me on social media once you’ve learnt it. I want to see your videos. I’m at @twoscotsabroad on every channel.
Here’s the music.
I’ve also typed up the instructions below.
How to do the Highland Fling
- Stand tall, zip your body up, ankles together, toes pointing out to create a triangle
- Ball your fists and place on your waist just above your hips
- Bow from the waist for three counts
- Bow back up for a further three counts
- Raise your feet so you are standing on the balls of your feet, ankles and legs together
- Put your left arm in the air with a curve on the elbow, your middle finger touching your thumb
- Point your right toes to the side
- Hop your right foot to the back of your calf creating a triangle with your leg
- Hop your right foot to the front of your leg, retaining the triangle
- Hop your right foot to the back again
- Swap sides and do the same with the left foot
- Arms on your waist like before
- Point your left foot to the left
- Hop a quarter turn and place your left foot on the back of your right calf
- Hop another quarter and place your left foot on the front of your right calf
- Finally, hop all the way around to the front with your left foot on the back of your right calf
- Come down from the balls of your feet
- Take a bow, see the introduction instructions
Congratulations! Now show me, tag @twoscotsbroad
You may also like | Where to meet sexy men in kilts in Scotland
10. Kids Olympics at Home
OK, that’s a slight exaggeration but the gorgeous Joe Wicks from The Body Coach has a catalogue of lessons on his YouTube channel.
Wicks has been working on his mission to get more kids moving for a while now.
His lessons are accessible and fun.
11. Build a Golf Simulator
It might not be the Old Course in St Andrews but if you have room to swing a cat you can build a golf simulator.
This guide details exactly what you need and how to do it.
12. Escape The Room
You’ve maybe come across an escape room on a rainy day during a city break or have been forced to endure one during a team bonding event, well guess what?!
You don’t have to leave your home to try and escape if you have Alexa.
Just ask Alexa to ‘launch escape the room’ and choose which room you would like to escape.
Alexa will then describe the scenario and you reply with instructions. Keep it simple and watch your speed.
This really challenges your brain because you have to visualise while remembering what you’ve been told to escape to freedom.
13. Board Games Aren’t Boring
Set up a game of Risk to fight out a conflict or play a city-specific Monopoly.
Jigsaw’s going down well in Travelnuity’s house too.
14. Play That Funky Music
Like Craig, do you have two guitars gathering dust in the living room?
It’s time to pick a tune and learn it. Check the University of YouTube for lessons.
What’s your weapon of choice?
15. Make a Playlist
We do this for most trips.
Pull up Spotify, create a playlist, add pals to help and let the tunes take you back!
Here’s our Scotland playlist.
Pretend you are road tripping through Europe.
16. Become a Photographer
Learn how to take better holiday photos on your phone or camera by doing a photography course.
Nikon Camera have realised a whole bunch of online courses which you can now access for free.
Happy with the basics?
What about delving into post-production?
Here’s my friend Scott’s hyperlapse class course.
17. ‘Upgrade Your Brain’
Udemy is a bank of paid-for courses but there quite a few free ones covering heaps of topics from job interview formulas to ethical hacking.
18. Holiday Nails
Give a new meaning to holiday nails by doing them yourself.
I know! What a throwback idea.
Pick a destination and adopt the flag or choose a theme like Disney and go all out.
If you need to remove your Shellac yourself, cut up pads, soak in acetone, wrap tinfoil around your fingers and leave for ten minutes. Scrape off the flakes. Not ideal but needs must!
19. Yoga at Home
Grab a towel or a yoga mat and stick on 30 Days With Adriene on YouTube.
She’s cool, makes you feel good about yourself and eases you in gently.
20. Sort Out The Travel Drawer
Guilty of decanting your travel essentials into the drawer and playing the rummaging game for the next trip?
Now is your time to sort out your travel shizzle.
Use boxes to separate and bags for storage. Ditch old liquids and clean out bottles for future use.
Don’t have a travel drawer? Sort out your clothes drawers.
I’ve recently started rolling my clothes and inserting them into drawers. Game-changing space hack.
21. Watch Travel Related Shows
My name is Gemma and I am a TV-aholic.
I’ve not seen everything though so I’m going to put a * next to what I’ve still to smash. Share your suggestions below, please.
Honestly, the shows I’m recommending below are seriously good TV. My choice of movies, on the other hand, might not be to everyone’s taste!
Netflix Travel/Destination Shows
Gossip Girls, How I Met Your Mother, Friends, Suits, Mad Men, The Get Down, You, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Pose, Tiger King, Power*, Brooklyn 99*, Russian Doll*, Sex and the City is on Now TV.
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Soundtrack, You, Glow, The Politician, Girl Boss, Big Little Lies is on Now TV.
House of Cards, Homeland, Knock Down The House*
How To Get Away With Murder*
Jane the Virgin, Dexter (thanks Midnight Blue Elephant).
UK and Ireland
White Gold, Gavin and Stacey, Peaky Blinders, Unforgotten, Fresh Meat, Derry Girls, Happy Valley, Skins, Top Boy, The Crown, Bad Education, Line of Duty, Outnumbered, The IT Crowd, Bodyguard, Sherlock, The Thick Of It, Peep Show, Doctor Who*, Still Game, People Just Do Nothing, Marcella, Absolutely Fabulous, Extras, Bridgerton.
Central and South America
Australia and New Zealand
Top of the Lake.
Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Dark Tourist, Jack Whitehall Travels With My Dad, Top Gear.
Destination Themed Movies
Brooklyn, Isn’t It Romantic, New Year’s Eve, Wine Country, Someone Great, Lady Bird, Clueless, The House Bunny, La La Land, Legally Blonde, Pitch Perfect, When Harry Met Sally, Dallas Buyers Club, Goodfellas, Birdman, Gatsby, Annie.
Eat Pray Love, Outlaw King, The Two Popes, The King*, What A Girl Wants, Midnight in Paris, From Rome with Love
» My friend Sonja has a list of Scotland themed movies here
Lost in Translation (Japan).
22. Read A Book
Switch off, tune out and get lost in the narrative about a destination or non-fiction travel experiences.
- The Paris Wife by Paula McLain UK / US
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon UK / US
- The Beach by Alex Garland UK / US
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed UK / US
- Marching Powder by Rusty Young UK / US
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris UK / US
- Chernobyl Prayer By Svetlana Alexievich UK / US
- Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch UK / US
- The Omniverse Series by Steve Karmazenuk (space) UK / US
My friend Yvette has listed books related to Scotland here
Travel Guides By Fellow Bloggers – Please Support
- The Grand Hostels: Luxury Hostels of the World by BudgetTraveller UK
- Everything You Need to Know About Wheelchair Accessible Cruising by Sylvia Longmire UK / US
- The Solo Female Travel Book by Jen Ruiz UK / US
- Solo Trip: Me, Myself & the World by Annika Ziehen UK / US
- The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking the Globe on a Shoestring Budget by Dave Brett UK / US
- Affording Travel: Saving Strategies for Financially Savvy Travelers by Danielle Desir UK / US
- How To Get The Best Travel Deals by M D Harding UK / US
- Travelling While Black by Roobens Fils UK / US
- London Eyes: Short Stories by Frances M. Thompson UK / US
- The Traveling Child Goes to Rio de Janeiro by Monet Hambrick UK / US
- Flåm and the Fjords: Flåm, Aurland and the Aurlandsfjord Area by Lisa Stentvedt UK / US
- ABC Travel Greenbook: Connecting the African Diaspora by Martinique Lewis UK / US
- Dark Skies (Lonely Planet) by Valeria Stimac UK
Read the full guide to travel books by travel experts here.
23. Buy Travel Gifts
Show the travel fan in your life that they will travel again or remind them of a positive travel memory.
We have heaps of gift guides on Two Scots Abroad depending on the type of travel.
- Gifts for Scotland fans
- Gifts for Paris fans
- Gifts for UK fans
- Gifts for backpackers
- Gifts under £15/$20
- Eco gifts for all the family
- Harris tweed inspired gifts
24. Make Travel Inspired Presents
Short on spends but still want to make a gift? Let’s get creative.
- Purchase a roll of world map wrapping paper (UK / US)
- Cut out the area that means something to you and/or the receiver
- Frame it or put it on a card
- Read more home-made gift ideas here
Or purchase a professional photographer’s image on a travel notebook.
25. Start Your Zero Waste Journey
Panicking about all the plastic? Cautious of your environmental footprint?
The zero-waste community has created a wealth of resources and products to help you make the switch.
Consider the following:
- Go for delivered glass milk bottles over store-bought cartons
- Switch tampons for period pants (my preference – get 15% off) or a menstrual cup UK / US
- Ditch the plastic straw for sustainable and sturdy bamboo (my preference) UK / US or metal
- Consider collapsable Tupperware UK / US over cling film/Saran wrap
- Use old clothes for cleaning
- Invest in a tote and say no to single-use bags
These small steps will make a big difference in your mindset. Read more about my zero-waste journey here.
26. Create a Spa Experience
Turkish hammam scrubs are probably out the window unless you have a large tiled area and a tall Turkish man to hose you down, but a relaxing spa experience is doable!
Fill the bath, drop a bath bomb, dim the lights, light the candles, slap on a hair and face mask. Zen.
27. Make a Spa in a Jar
Want to make someone feel better?
28. Go Camping
My friends Megan and Scott from Bobo and Chichi jokingly suggested we drive around the corner in our campervan to have one night out in the wild.
Jokes on them as I’m genuinely suggesting you build a fort or pitch a tent (minus the pegs), make some s’mores and pull out your best campfires songs.
This activity is especially fun for families.
29. Learn To Camp Cook
Got a camping stove that needs to be dusted off?
Now is the time to light that baby and using only the bare essential ingredients learn to camp cook.
30. Build Your Survival Skills
Any Bear Grylls looking to go off the grid?
Whether you are looking to grow your own veg or dressing a wound now is the ideal time to sharpen your mind as well as your pen knife.
31. Bring Travel Memories Into The Home
There are lots of ways to bring past trips into the present:
- Print images and frame
- Create scrapbooks with messages
- Build bullet journals
- Add clips to polaroids and pin to walls
32. Scratch Map
33. Waterproof Your Coat
Eurgh, a job I’ve been meaning to do forever but keep putting it off.
Waterproof your coat to ensure it continues to be water-resistant.
34. Clean Your Hiking Boots
Place down an old piece of material to protect your floor.
Find an old toothbrush and get scrubbing.
35. Call Your Pals Abroad
Keeping in contact couldn’t be easier with the use of video chats!
Book clubs, personal training sessions and family catch-ups can continue with the likes of Facebook Messenger, Skype and Zoom.
36. Plan Your Next Trip
Travel planning is my favourite hobby.
I love getting lost in travel photos, working out how to visit busy tourist attractions best, tapping into local tips, choosing the rooftop bar with the best sundown drinks, sussing out the local hikes, checking out the easiest day trips and mapping it all out then bringing it all together in a travel guide.
So whether your next planned trip is hiking to Machu Picchu in Peru or road tripping around the North Coast 500 in Scotland there is a really good chance I’ve created a ridiculously useful guide for it.
Coming to Scotland and need help? My friends create Scotland itineraries for you!
See below to find out more:
- Kathi from Watch Me See
- Kay from The Chaotic Scot
- Yvette from Wayfaring Kiwi
- Susanne from Adventures Around Scotland
37. Get Inspiration
Still at the dreaming stage? Here are some roundup posts to whet your whistle:
- Most romantic places in Europe
- Our travel bucket list
- Best places to visit in Scotland
- Outlander locations in Scotland
- 57 things to do in Spain
- Secret locations in Japan that hardly anyone visits
- Jasper Vs Banff?
- Best destinations to spend Christmas in Europe
- Most popular European Christmas markets
- The world’s top New Year parties
Honestly, we have so much content. Check it out here.
38. Starting to Save?
With this halt in travel, you might be wondering how to strategise a saving plan to travel further.
We did that too! In 2015 we paused our careers and took a 17-month career break to travel the Americas and Europe.
We saved £20K to do so and volunteered for our keep through Workaway to save on the road.
Here are our saving tips to get you started
39. Start a Blog or Website
Twiddling your thumbs and looking for a project to dive into?
Do you love your hobby or passion enough to make it your full-time job?
Wondering how to move your offline business online?
Spoiler alert – this means working a 40+ hour week creating content while at your home base, constantly taking notes, planning photography and video, keeping up to date with technical aspects of running an online business, constantly fighting algorithm changes but…
It’s the best job ever.
No boss, supportive community, freedom to work where and when you want.
Do not believe the ads that say ‘travel the world for free’; consider travel blogging if you want to monetise travel guides, sell services and products, work on campaigns to promote areas and are willing to take on the peaks and troughs of being self-employed.
Make no mistake, just now is a trough for travel and tourism but other industries are still thriving.
Still interested? Here’s a free guide on how to set up a blog with tips on domains, hosting and branding.
It’s the same information you’d use to set up any niche.
Looking for consultation?
Send me an email introducing yourself to [email protected] and we can chat (depending on your commitment).
I have a decade of teaching experience, I run a Facebook group with 7K members and I teach bloggers how to rank on Google. No time wasters, please.
Not every travel writer has a blog, although it does help to have a portfolio online.
In this guide by friend Sandra Henriques and others share 30 lessons from professional travel writers and editors.
40. Build a Business Not Just a Blog
If there are any bloggers reading this and thinking about ripping it off for their own blog why not do something more practical and learn SEO (search engine optimisation) so when people start searching for travel advice on Google your content will get seen.
- Here’s our video course SEO The Easy Way
- SEO The Easy Way ebook
- Know SEO but don’t know what to do with old content? Revive Old Content ebook
- Make more money with affiliates, this is a free guide
- Sign up for our newsletter for free SEO lessons
- Join 8K other business owners at our free Facebook group
Bookmark for later!
Any questions or comments? Just leave them below.