a woman sitting on her bed listening to music

11 Cheap and Cheerful Virtual Travel Experiences to Try at Home

Almost a dozen new ways to find creativity at home.

During a time when we can’t even really be out and about much (let alone travel), the world is finding inspiring ways to bring life-enriching experiences into their homes – proving that some things don’t have to stop.

We’ve also been finding ways to keep creating and sharing during this time. The beauty of living in such a well-connected world is there are so many things at our fingertips, and we’re not just talking about virtual travel in iconic museums and watching YouTube videos.

Be it our incredible planet’s culture, traditions, or ancient history, and we’ve come up with some ingenious ways to keep experiencing it all at home. Here are 11 cheap and cheerful ways to explore the world from your doorstep.

1. Read our food guides

From sourdough and banana bread to online cooking classes, right now it feels like the whole world is cooking up a storm! Bringing the world into your kitchen is a great way to experience different cultures and traditions.

Our food guides will give you insight into how some of the most popular cuisines in the world came to be. Discover the mouthwatering details of Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India and many more countries.

2. Make a brunch inspired by somewhere else in the world 

Now that you know a little more about the food traditions that different countries practice, why not get a little more creative with brunch this weekend? Shakshuka, French omelettes, halwa puri, you could (almost) transport yourself to a different part of the world by noon!

eggs cook in bright read tomatoes served with some slices of bread
Make brunch from a different part of the world | © Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

3. Indulge in a food or wine subscription box 

Speaking of food, with all that money you’re saving on not going out, now’s a great time to sign up to that subscription box you’ve been eying. These days there is a monthly subscription for almost everything, but there are lots of companies that will deliver you food or snack boxes curated with treats from around the world. Check out Bokksu, Universal Yums or MunchPak.

Why not turn your food and snacks into a happy hour with a wine subscription too? Wine Awesomeness will send you bottles from unique winemakers and regions all over the world. 

4. Re-create a hotel experience at home

Clean up your room, put out some fresh towels and fresh sheets, and chill a bottle of prosecco! Why should hotels be the only place where you get to drink a glass of bubbly and read glossy magazines in bed?

If you really want to set the mood, light a scented candle, and put out a carafe or jug of infused water on your bedside table. Next, order some food from your favourite delivery service, present it beautifully on a tray and watch Netflix from the comfort of your bedroom.

a dog sits on a bed
Give your room a cheap and easy five-star makeover | © Mike Marquez/Unsplash

5. Watch a movie in a different language

Remember that time at the Golden Globes when Parasite director Bong Joon-Ho said: “once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films?” Well, he wasn’t wrong.

The point of watching a foreign movie isn’t to learn a new language. It’s a way to expose yourself to the rich cultural landscape of cinema. From Italy to Iran and Africa to Japan, with the push of one button (or maybe a few more), your television screen will become a window to the rest of the world.

6. Find the best place in your home town to watch the sunset

Think about how many times you aspire to watch the sunrise or sunset on vacation? If it’s safe to do so, and you can maintain a social distance, find the best place in your home town to watch the sunset. If there’s no place for you to do this safely at the moment and you do have access to a rooftop or balcony, catch golden hour from there.

woman relaxing in a chair on the balcony
Watch the sunset from a safe social distance on your balcony or rooftop | © Roberto Nickson/Unsplash

7. Try a hobby from a different country

While learning an entirely new language in a few weeks might not be possible (or maybe it is), there’s nothing to stop you from discovering a hobby from a different part of the world. You could take an online beginner tai chi class, explore the art of Japanese calligraphy, or if you love to sing, learn about 18th-century opera or listen to raag – the melodic framework used in Indian classical music.

Choose a country you’ve been hoping to visit someday and read up on their traditions. If there’s something that sparks your interest, see if it’s possible to take it up as a hobby online!  

8. Organise all your travel pictures 

While it might be a little bittersweet to look back at travel memories right now, it’s also a wonderful reminder of what a privilege it is to explore this beautiful world (and that sometime in the future we’ll be doing it again soon). On the flip side, think of how nice it will be to declutter all your images?

Once you’ve done that, read Travel + Leisure’s article on 27 brilliant ways to actually use your travel photos. You can turn your precious souvenirs into an instant art and crafts project.

a collection of images on a white sheet
Use your travel photos to create an arts and crafts project | © Sarandy Westfall/Unsplash

9. Share your favourite travel memories with the world

Okay, now that you’ve organised your beautiful pictures, why not start sharing some of your favourite travel memories with the world? If you’ve always wanted to be a travel writer of sorts, now is the perfect time to start a travel blog. It’s free, and will only take minutes to set up.

10. Indulge in a bit of armchair travel

Who doesn’t love a bit of armchair travel? If you enjoy reading stories about travel and far-off destinations in books and magazines, you’ve definitely got the armchair travel bug.

We’ve been perusing our old copies of National Geographic Traveller, bookmarked articles, and even daring to think about those once-in-a-lifetime adventures. The chilli farm we want to visit in Bolivia, the lavender fields where they make perfume in France, mountains we hope to summit and re-visiting our favourite tales from people that have travelled the world.

Armchair travel will make you feel connected to the world | © Jacek Dylag/Unsplash

11. Dance to songs in a different language

Music is a powerful sensory experience, similar to that of travel. It gets under our skin, stays with us and can move us in seconds. Dance to songs that you heard on holiday, ask the people you travelled with to send you their favourite songs, dance to top 50 playlists on Spotify from your favourite countries, and dance to songs from your favourite music genre in a different language.

Based in Toronto, Sahar is a full-time content editor for Days to Come and part-time travel junkie.

Aerial photo of the ocean meeting the sand on a beach in Australia
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