Spring break is totally 2019! Or at least that what I’m trying to get my family to believe. Up until a month ago, we were still planning our epic Spring Break road trip to New England. Now we’re stuck in our house, dreaming of a day when we’ll be able to hop a quick flight to literally anywhere.
Instead of totally bumming about your canceled plans, take a virtual vacation instead!
Take a Virtual Vacation Since Your IRL Trips are 100% Canceled This Year
Luckily, we still have internet and streaming services. So we can at least plan for our next great adventure even when we’re stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s how we’re passing the time and getting psyched for our next adventure.
Travel Shows That Make You Feel Like You’re There
Travel shows are awesome! I love to watch some that feature favorite vacation spots as well as pie-in-the-sky dream destinations.
Here’s what’s on my watchlist:
- Parts Unknown: late, great chef/adventurer Anthony Bourdain is a fan favorite because it’s not about the touristy hotspots, but about highlighting the off-the-beaten-path gems and unique cuisine of cool places around the globe; we especially love the Okinawa episode
- Travels with My Father: comedian Jack Whitehall and his very conservative dad, Michael, head to southeast Asia in season 1 of this Netflix series; hilarity and familial struggles ensue
- Planet Earth series: experience the wonder and majesty of our planet in this incredible documentary series that brings you to places you’ve never believed possible
- Somebody Feed Phil: another food-centric show featuring the creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Phil Rosenthal, traveling around the world and eating all the things
I love travel shows because they show a real, albeit celebrity, person traveling. I get extra insights into the food and allure of different locations. For example, had I not binged Thailand and Hong Kong travel shows prior to our trips in 2017 and 2018, we might have missed some really cool experiences like eating fresh made dumplings and noodles at a tiny little store down a back alley. Or taking a train out to the Bridge on the River Kwai.
Travel Movies to Watch Right Now
Movies are great ways to see a highly finessed version of locations. But they’re also a perfect way to sink deep into the romance of a place without every visiting. Plus, as an added bonus, you don’t even have to be in the current era. You can 100% go back to the early 1900s in Paris.
I’m going to watch these movies during our pandemic shutdown:
- Under the Tuscan Sun: a newly divorced woman travels to Tuscany with friends and ends up buying a villa! It’s not a spoiler to let you know that she’ll fall in love before the end of the movie.
- Letters to Juliet: a young American woman and her chef fiance travel to Italy on a buying trip where she stumbles upon a secret society connected to Romeo & Juliet as well as her perfect match; the road trip around Italy will steal your heart
- Indiana Jones movies: every movie takes place in a different, exciting location and features our dashing archaeologist saving the day – while getting the girl and vanquishing Nazis
- Into the Wild: the romance of the Alaskan wilderness is dipped in tragedy that ends badly; this is a movie based on a book which is based on real life
- The Sound of Music: not only do you get Julie Andrews, you get her in pre-war Austria in all its glory
- Bottle Shock: witness the start of Napa Valley as a world-renowned wine region in this fictionalized version of the 1976 wine competition in Paris; it features the late Alan Rickman
- Emma: whether you’re watching the 2020 version, 1996 Gwyneth Paltrow feature or the 2009 BBC miniseries, this is a winner – romance, history, Jane Austen and the beauty of the English countryside
- Eat Pray Love: a woman embarks on a journey of self-discovery across southeast Asia and finds love along the way
Virtual Experiences to Transport You
Movies and TV are great, but sometimes you just want an immersive experience. These virtual travel experiences will help you to imagine you’ve escaped the house!
- Virtual Disney World: ride all the rides without a line via this YouTube channel that uses a 360º view to help you feel like you’re really there
- Fullscreen360: travel around the world, from the US to overseas, with this incredible website; we love the Grand Palace in Bangkok
- Japan: Visit Japan highlights the diverse beauty and experiences possible across their island nation in this engaging video
- DC Cherry Blossoms: the festival went virtual this year – including a National Park Ranger-led tour!
- Google Earth x UNESCO: travel to 30 UNESCO World Heritage sites around the world thanks to this digital service
- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History: even though all the Smithsonians are shuttered, you can still check out the recently updated dinosaur exhibit on a virtual tour!
- National Zoo: check up on the cuddly pandas or hairless naked mole rats on the Zoo’s live stream feeds!