If you've had a vacation cancelled because of coronavirus, that sucks. With a bunch of international borders closed and governments around the world ordering citizens to stay at home as much as possible, none of us are going to be doing much in the way of travel for quite a while. That doesn't mean you have to go without your travel fix, though!

These travel-inspired tasks are perfect for completing while socially distancing as they don't involve you leaving the house, don't necessarily require you to spend any extra money, and can help you feel a little less trapped within your current four walls.

Travel-inspired self-isolation projects

Aircraft, Aircrafts, American Airlines, plane, planes, Livery, ExteriorSource: American Airlines

You've probably got an abundance of extra time on your hands right now with social gatherings and public events cancelled. While the current situation with COVID-19 certainly isn't fun, and is changing by the day, using your new-found spare time creatively can help you avoid the blues by reminiscing about previous trips as well as planning and preparing for future vacations!

Edit and organize your travel photos

If you're anything like me, you probably take tons of photos when on vacation with every intention of combing through them for the best shots, editing them to perfection, storing them in an organized fashion, and maybe even printing, framing, and hanging the best ones. What tends to happen, though, is that gigabyte upon gigabyte of travel photos sit dormant in my phone's photo library or computer's hard drive gathering virtual dust. It's a shame to rarely look at photos from such precious times and, rather than going on a new vacation and adding several hundred images to the pile, you should definitely go through your existing photos instead.

Simply looking at your old photos is a huge win. You can relive the memories, reminisce on freer times, and avoid getting too down about our current moment. A simple cleanup could involve just deleting the cruft to save some space — the blurry shots or photos where you had a mistimed blink. Once you've pared down your photo library, you can pick out the best shots for a quick touch up in something like Photoshop or Lightroom, or even just by using the auto-enhance function in the Photos app on your Mac.

For storage, you could hook up an external drive and keep your photos organized with dated albums or invest in something like SanDisk's fancy ibi cloud storage device and let it manage your photos for you. There are also several cloud storage services for keeping your collection saved offsite such as Google Photos, iCloud Photo Library, Amazon Photos, and more.

Free for Prime members

Amazon Photos app

Amazon Photos

Amazon Photos offers unlimited full-res photo storage to Prime members, as well as 5 GB free video storage. You can save and share photos via desktop, mobile, and tablet devices.

Learn a language

The benefits of being multilingual are numerous whether you're planning on travelling or not. Your networking capabilities skyrocket, you'll be able to get around new countries more easily, and you'll even have another skill to list on your resumé. With the spare time that COVID-19 has granted you, you could opt to pick up a new language to prepare for your future trips so you can better immerse yourself in the local culture when you get to go there.

You might not be able to get out of the country to put your new language to use just yet, but there are tons of online learning services for adding a new language to your arsenal. Duolingo is a great starting point with its free service and features a bunch of languages to choose from. Its paid plan removes the ads and adds support for offline learning while remaining affordable. Babbel and Rosetta Stone are also reputable services that charge a pretty low monthly fee to access their language learning software on your various devices. Babbel is also offering free language learning to all U.S. students through to the end of their school terms (mid-June 2020).

Try it out

Roseta Stone

Rosetta Stone

It's never a bad thing to know more than one language and Rosetta Stone makes it easy to try a new language out for free for a few days to see if it's for you. If the 3-day trial works out, you can save as much as $100 off lifetime access.

Watch a travel documentary

You probably already have a subscription to various streaming services for watching movies and TV shows, but there's also a ton of travel-related content available to binge too. Netflix has plenty of interesitng travel content like Dark Tourist and Pedal the World that you may not have seen before and will help you get your travel fix. Disney+ also encompassess National Geographic so there's tons of travel inspiration there, making it well worth signing up if you haven't already. Let's face it, we're going to be indoors a ton for the next several weeks so we need to ensure we keep ourselves entertained.

A magical streaming service

Disney+ Logo


Not only does Disney+ have all of your favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars content, but it also has a bunch of National Geographic programs to help you escape.

Watch foreign language movies

Perhaps tying the previous two suggestions together, foreign language movies are a great way to experience another culture or perspective and also test out how well you have learned your new language. The streaming services you already have like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu have tons of non-English films to choose from. Picks like Shoplifters and Honeyland on Hulu are worth a watch, as is Bong Joon-ho's Okja on Netflix, and the many options on Prime Video. Streaming service Kanopy also has a plenty of high-quality, thought-provoking movies and documentaries including many foreign language options.

Sweet streams

Hulu logo


Not only does Disney+ have all of your favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars content, but it also has a bunch of National Geographic programs to help you escape.

Order take-out food

Part of the fun of travelling is in trying out the local cuisine. Unfortunately, getting that truly authentic experience is off the table (pun not intended) right now. However, the next best thing comes in the form of take-out food from restaurants in your area. Try ordering some food from your favorite places, or try something cpompeltely new to get that experimental eating vibe, via UberEats, GrubHub, PostMates, etc. and have it delivered to your door. That way you get to try out some amazing food while social-distancing and supporting some establishments that are being hit hard by the lack of footfall right now.


Uber Eats Logo


UberEats is currently offering free delivery for a lot of restaurants making it a great choice for ordering in some food.

Read a travel magazine

If you can't travel somewhere, reading about it in detail is the next best thing. There are a ton of travel maagzines on newsstands, but you can't go pick them up right now either so your best bet is subscribing online. Amazon has a huge selection of travel titles or you could subscribe to something like Readly to get access to thousands of title for one monthly fee.

Good reads

Nat Geo

Travel magazines at Amazon

Amazon has a wide variety of print and digital magazine editions and subscriptions there are often much cheaper than going direct. Plus, you can easily manage your subscription in your Amazon account once the travel ban is lifted.

Book a cheap vacation

Airlines, hotels, and the rest of the travel and hospitality industry is panic-stricken right now at the lack of custom and the uncertainty surrounding future plans. While you can't travel right now, those restrictions will be lifted at some point. Due to the uncertainty, future flight prices and vacation packages are super affordable at the moment if you're willing to risk it. You'll be supporting an industry on its knees right now, though only book something if you can afford to lose the money if that provider were to go out of business. There are no guarantees at the moment, but you could get yourself a bargain trip.

Plan ahead

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