Look, it’s tempting. The sound of waves crashing against the shore, the stillness of a wooded area after a snowfall. Perhaps you have friends or family posting enticing photos from exotic locales. Everyone is happy and smiling and seemingly healthy. But it’s important to remember, COVID-19 is still raging.

And though the fortunate among us are fatigued about being grounded and cooped up, others are burying loved ones. None of this is easy, but as European countries head into another lockdown and infection numbers continue to increase at staggering rates in the US, staying put feels like the right choice. 

So now what? How can you fill the void left by the immense joy of traveling? Well … you probably can’t. But, here are few things to do to hold off for a little while longer. The end is in sight. 

Plan your next vacation

Plan the whole trip from start to finish – down to deciding what clothes you’re going to pack. Try planning a practical vacation where you factor in your actual budget in booking flights and hotels. Include a loved one because nothing is better than having an actual argument over a pretend vacation. 

Then, once the tears have dried and you’re speaking to one another again, try planning a vacation as if money was no object. Embrace your inner Kardashian and really splurge!  

Go on a virtual walk with a friend in another country       

Odds are, if you travel all the time, you’ve got friends all over the globe. Instead of boozing it up together in the house, why not opt for a virtual walk? Live in a place with no snow? Contact that friend in Sweden. Sunbathe with a friend in LA or showoff that discarded leopard-print mask that's been laying in the street for weeks. Remember, the best thing about any destination are the people.  

Close-up of woman with tablet shaving cheese over a pasta dish. There is a glass of wine night to the cutting board.
Cooking is the best way to travel when you can't @ Westend61 / Getty Images

Explore the world one bite at a time 

OK, everyone recommends this. (Shameless plug, we’ve been doing it since March). But honestly, there’s no better way to transport yourself to your favorite destination than food. Instead of making dishes from the places you’ve been, why not randomly select a country and try your hand at making the national dish. Ever try panipopo from Samoa?  

Support a shop, cafe or establishment online 

Tourism dollars are the driving force for many economies around the world. COVID-19 has severely threatened or in some cases shuttered many local businesses. So while you wait to hop on a plane to patronize your favorite spots, why not see if there are ways to support small businesses around the world online? Often, there are official websites or charitable organizations to send funds. 

White headphones and smart phone on wooden table
There are so many language apps to chose from © Alexeysun / Shutterstock

Learn a language

Remember that time when you promised yourself you'd learn French? Well, now's that time. Nothing quite thrusts you into a culture like learning its language. Because it's not just hellos and how are yous – it's learning etiquette and a history of a country. And these days, there are so many language apps, that you can really pinpoint the technique and teaching style that works best for you. 

The light at the end of the tunnel 

Though a hot-button issue for some, the presence of several vaccines means there is an endpoint to this pandemic. All it takes is a little more patience and a lot of sacrifices. 

If all that fails, you can always try a scavenger hunt.

You might also like: 

Ask LP: how do I keep up with changing COVID-19 travel requirements? 
Ask LP: should I book my summer 2021 holiday now? 
Ask LP: will I be able to go somewhere warm for a winter vacation?

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This article was first published Jan 8, 2021 and updated Jan 15, 2021.

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