How you can travel the world from home.
Parents have had a lot on their plate during the COVID pandemic. From home schooling the kids to needing to find ways to entertain them at home and at home only. Free online activities for kids were a life saver, especially for single parents, who didn’t get a break as they juggled full-time jobs, home schooling, chores, preparing meals, and more. But what if you have the travel itch? With no means to escape the humdrum of everyday life during the pandemic, many travel lovers turned to daydreaming about their next family holiday. But you can do more to pass the time until travel is back on: Put your pennies aside to plan your post-lockdown dream holiday, and, in the meantime, take the kids and travel the world virtually from your living room:
Go on a virtual museum tour
Museums are entertaining for both kids and parents, and of course they are free in the UK. So, when COVID hit, and museums closed due to lockdowns and safety precautions, many parents wondered how to keep their kids educated and entertained at the same time.
Luckily, many museums stepped up their game to offer families an online experience, so that you can take your kids to visit museums around the world online. From the Museum of London to the Guggenheim Museum in New York, you can take the kids to see famous sights virtually, participate in fun educational activities, and view rare art collections. Best of all, everything is completely free and doesn’t involve traipsing around from exhibit to exhibit with moaning kids. You just choose what you want to see and do and take breaks whenever you wish.
Take a virtual cruise
Nothing is more liberating than going a cruise. The feel of the sea breeze, the beauty of the ocean, and best of all, the complimentary food: Cruises are a favourite of many travel lovers. And although they may have been forced to take a backseat during COVID, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience a cruise virtually!
Some ocean liners are currently offering virtual cruises. Most of these virtual cruises are free and involve walking around the cruise ship, watching on board performances, taking online cooking classes (more on that later), and even exploring certain parts of the world!
You can start and stop a virtual cruise at any time, so they are an excellent option for busy parents with little time on their hands.
Travel the world through your taste buds
Many legendary chefs, such as American journalist Anthony Bourdain, dedicated their life to experiencing and documenting the foods of other cultures. To them, food was one of the best ways to experience other cultures, and to get out of your local bubble. While you may not be seeing beautiful vistas, learning a dish popular in another country is a great way to experience that culture in a way only food can provide. Fortunately for those of you who love cooking, there are many free (and paid) options for international cooking classes. No matter what you want to cook, there is an online class out there for it.
For those who love their food but have no interest in acquiring new cooking skills, there is still plenty to choose from. Some of the best foodie and travel shows this year include The Mind of a Chef, where celebrity chefs trace dishes back to their country of origin. If you want to stay closer to home, you could look into Joanna Lumley new Home Sweet Home series or Frankie Boyle’s Tour of Scotland
Find the best travel shows on TV
If you are a busy single parent, you may not have the time or energy for learning new recipes or going on virtual museum tours. Sometimes, all you want to do is sit down and watch something on screen. And that’s ok. There are plenty of documentaries and travel shows that will satisfy your urge to travel the world, at least for the time being.
One good pick is “The Americas with Simon Reeve”, which showcases Simon Reeves as he travels through North and South America – something that seems impossible to do now thanks to travel restrictions. BBC’s “Across the World” is another good choice, showcasing couples and family members working together to race through Latin America. Classics such as David Attenborough’s Planet Earth series can be watched on BBC iPlayer and is a great one for both kids and adults. It’s absolutely fascinating and you will both learn plenty of new facts about species in no less than 64 different countries.
If you find that a travel show, you like is only available in certain regions, there is a simple trick: Use VPN to change your location. Here is how to get a free VPN trial.
Explore the world with Google
If TV isn’t your thing, why not show the kids the world through 3D rendering? With Google Earth, for example, you can travel the world by looking at satellite renders anywhere you wish. And while the quality of Google Earth can be so-so depending on your internet connection and where you’re looking, it is a fabulous time waster and can help drown out any persistent travel withdrawal symptoms. At the very least, Google Earth will entertain and educate the kids!
If Google Earth isn’t up your alley, there are plenty of other options. Google’s Arts and Culture site has partnered up with more than 500 cultural institutions to offer virtual trips around art galleries, prehistoric caves and more from the safety and comfort of your home. Even the kids will be fascinated by the high-resolution images and well-made virtual tours of some of the attractions.
There are so many sites dedicated to bringing the world to your doorstep. All you need to do is dedicate some time to these sites. And while a 360-degree video may not be as immersive as being at the location in person, it is a worthy substitution. Just because you and your children are stuck at home, does not mean you can’t go out and explore all that the world has to offer. Whether you take the kids on a virtual tour of the Smithsonian or the Great Wall of China, know that there are plenty of ways to escape your home without leaving it.