10 ways for travellers to survive the lockdown

Richard Mellor

From virtual Inca Trail treks to travel books and cocktail classes, there are plenty of ways to get your travel fix during the Covid-19 pandemic 

1. Go on a virtual travel adventure 

The current #StayAtHome advice precludes actual travel—but not a digital vacation. 

A bewildering array of adventures are possible. You could join daily live game drives around two South African reserves, looking for lion or elephant on virtual safari while asking the guide questions. 

Alternatively, undertake a virtual trek or underwater dive in Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, learning about endemic wildlife, or follow the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. 

 

2. Go to the museum 

Numerous museums around the planet have made all or some of their collections free to view for online visitors.  

Among the standouts are Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology, home to Aztec calendar stones and the jade death mask of Mayan king Pakal the Great, and the Louvre art gallery in Paris. 

 

3. Watch a film 

Some films make viewers yearn for faraway lands. The James Bond and Jason Bourne series do this excellent, while movies shot on location like Wild—about inexperienced Pacific Crest Trail hiker Cheryl Strayed—carry an extra magnetism. 

For a glimpse of Vienna, watch the classic romance Before Sunrise, or line up The American, a slow-paced George Clooney thriller, to enjoy some of Italy’s most beautiful hilltowns. 

 

4. Read up 

Equally, travel books can do the job. Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia and Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel headline the non-fiction category, while there’s more make-believe but just as much destination inspiration in Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist or Jack Kerouac’s roving On The Road

If you’d prefer a UK read, try Floating, Joe Minihane’s intrepid and poignant account of how journeying to wild-swimming spots helped curtail his anxiety. 

 

5. Do some organising…  

Most of us take hundreds or even thousands of photos while we’re away, but then never know what to do with them. 

Now’s your opportunity! Use an app like Photo Books or Slidebox to better organise them, and perhaps let those holiday juices flow. 

 

6 …or some planning

Some trips take much longer to plot out than others: round-the-world flights, say, or a roving itinerary around Australia and New Zealand.

There’s no better time for said research, or to sort that bucket-list trip. If it’s a safari, block out the time to swot up on which area has the best wildlife or comfiest accommodation; if it’s hiking, exactly when will the weather be best, and what are the finest boots? 

 

7. Learn to…

Many hotels and operators are offering enterprising tutorials during the lockdown. Belmond’s Instagram channel promises expert-led baking lessons, while the MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa in northern California is streaming all-levels vinyasa yoga classes. 

Need a fix? Ryan Chetiyawardana, the wizard in charge of Lyaness, a cocktail bar inside the Sea Containers London hotel, is offering regular mixology hacks via Instagram. 

 

8. Attend a digital rave 

Allowing Berlin’s creatives some release, United We Stream is a collaboration of about 40 clubs in Germany’s capital. Each night at 6pm our time, techno parties are live-streamed direct from the city’s empty nightclubs.  

 

9. Listen to a podcast 

Ranking among the most holiday-inspiring podcasts, The Travel Diaries sees Holly Rubenstein interview celebrities about their most memorable trips. Simon Calder, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler have all been quizzed. 

More jovial is The Carry On, in which three UK-based travel journalists spill the beans on hacks like airplane upgrades or unusual stories—such as going starkers in Istanbul. 

 

10. Monster-hunt 

Curious about Nessie? While Loch Ness is off-limits, a live cam of the lake allows believers to keep scanning for evidence of the oft-spotted Scottish monster. 

Read more: How to survive the lockdown when you have children

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