For most people, having an annual holiday is a non-negotiable. A time in our hectic lives when we can down tools and head away not only to relax, but often explore new places and cultures. This year however, we have had to cancel travel plans or put them on indefinite hold, and it’s fair to say a lot of us are wondering if we’ll get our fix of sun, sea and adventure in 2020.
But whether it’s travel restrictions or just a plain old lack of funds that’s hampering your wanderlust, the good news is, that you don’t actually have to go far to satisfy your travel bug. You can do it from the comfort of your four walls. Read on to find out how.
Write (or rewrite) your bucket list
Planning your next adventure can be just as exciting as the adventure itself. Now’s the time to come up with a list of places you want to go to. Are there any ‘new’ or off-the-beaten-track destinations that you might not have previously thought about? Do you have any new interests or a different life situation – for instance, you’ve got into yoga or you’ve had kids – that might influence where you want to travel next?
Do your research
Once you’ve decided on your next destination, now’s the time to work on your dream itinerary. The more you read about a place, the more real it becomes and the more it will fuel your excitement for your trip. Study guidebooks, travel websites and Google Maps to compile a list of things you want to see and do. Now’s also the perfect time to get your holiday finances in order. If you’re one of those people who relies on their debit card, for example, you may not realise that you’re getting stung for fees every time you use it abroad. It might be worth considering getting a credit card that won’t charge you a transaction fee for using it on your travels. Getting things in place now means it’s one less thing to do when it’s finally time to go on holiday again.
Cook the cuisine
Whether it’s a Mexican mole, a French coq au vin or jollof rice and chicken from west Africa, nothing will transport you faster to a country than the evocative smells of the traditional cuisine. You might be lucky enough to live near a world food supermarket where you can pick up the ingredients or have a look for specialist grocers online. Why not make a night of it and source the local beers or wines, along with a playlist of popular music from your chosen country. Whichever streaming service you subscribe to will have plenty of international artists to listen to.
In lieu of being there yourself, the pages of a book or the scenes of a film can often take you far away in your mind. And even provide inspiration for your next trip. Trek the Pacific Crest Trail in Wild by Cheryl Strayed or explore Spain and north Africa in Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist. Be transported to the glamorous Amalfi Coast in The Talented Mr Ripley or hark back to a stylish bygone era in 1970s Mexico City in Roma. All these far-flung locations are waiting to be explored from the comfort of your sofa.
Learn the lingo
Wherever you’ve settled on for your next holiday, why not use your free time before it to start learning the language. From instructor-led online courses to apps like Duolingo and Tandem, which pairs you up with a native speaker, there are plenty of resources to help you learn while you’re stuck at home. Learning a bit of the language from the country you want to visit will not only teach you about the culture and customs before you go, but it’s obviously useful to have once you’re there. “¿Dónde está la playa?”