Have your travel plans changed due to COVID-19? Were you planning to visit Thailand? Southern France? The U.S.? That dream summer vacation you planned for August has probably been put on hold.
What are you going to do now? Stay home? If you can’t leave home, how will you still get your travelling done?
You can be an armchair explorer!
What does that mean? According to Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English, an armchair traveller is “someone who talks or reads about being a traveller, or watches sport on television but does not have any real experience of doing it.”
By staying home, not only will you and your family stay safe, but you can still see many interesting places. You can even visit locations you have always wanted to see but haven’t yet had the time nor the means to do so.
Watch Travel Shows
There are so many free travel shows on television and YouTube. Rick Steves has some of the best shows, and they are a great way to see the world while practicing English. You can watch him for free on YouTube. Visit his Europe channel and kick back on the sofa while you see all the sites.
The BBC also has a YouTube channel. After you see some of the sites, go back for a more in-depth visit. Or, if you can understand sarcasm, wit and some British humour, you should watch clips of Richard Ayoade’s Travel Man.
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Did you watch a video where they talked about the history of the town or city? Have you read history books or historical fiction and want to learn more?
It is a great time to learn more about Florence, Italy, San Malo, France, or any other historical sites. You can armchair travel and go back to visit places from previous vacations. Are there things you have forgotten? Try this quiz of famous summer destinations to see what you know.
Walk The Streets
Have you learned anything about historical architecture? Have you read about a fascinating castle? You can use Google Earth to find that place and walk its streets.
Click on the street view (you’ll see a little person avatar), and drop it into the street you want to visit. Start with your address! It’s fun! And the best part is that you don’t actually have you walk up and down all those hills. Sit down and let technology do the hard work.
Or, save yourself some even more by checking out Agoraphobic Traveller and their streetview potraits.
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Google Street View Scene – This is one of the first images I ever captured that got me excited about exploring the weird and wonderful world of Street View. It’s not my usual style but I really love the painterly feel of it. This was taken in the beautiful country of Kyrgyzstan. . . . . #theagoraphobictraveller #agoraphobictraveller #streetviewportraits #google #anxiety #paperjournalmag #somewheremagazine #kyrgyzstan #landscape #painterly
Visit Sites Virtually
Due to COVID-19, many places now have virtual tours.
For example, you can visit the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C., for free! Think about the places you were going to visit, and then see if they have online tours. If not, you can sometimes find some on YouTube.
You can even find underwater adventures online! Thanks to Google Earth, check out The World’s Ocean and be amazed at what you see.
Cook An Authentic Meal
Were you looking forward to your trip to Germany or Japan? Cook a meal from that country! Research their typical foods, look up recipes, and make them!
The Japan Centre website has a lot of information on typical food. It also shows recipes you can try at home. Some grocery stores (like Carrefour) have an international section. See if you can make a meal from what they have in stock.
Learn The Culture
There’s more to travelling than seeing beautiful places.
Spend some time learning about the culture and traditions of the places you were going to visit. How do they celebrate Christmas? Do they have any unique festivals? The Glastonbury festival and Madri Gras are worth checking out.
Learn The Language
Wherever you go, it’s always good to learn a few essential phrases in the language of the country you are visiting. Think about what you need to communicate and learn how to say the phrases in their language.
Be sure to check out our video How Many Ways Can You Say Hello In English? or watch the video on greetings in English below.
Just because your plans have been cancelled or postponed for this year, you don’t have to miss seeing all the sites you were hoping to visit. The coronavirus has taught us all to stay safe and be more adaptable.
Do you have plans for your 2021 vacation? Now is a great time to investigate. Take your time and plan the perfect trip without any pressure. Then cross your fingers that we will be on the road again soon!