• Parlay Vacay

10 Ways to Satisfy Your Wanderlust When You Can't Travel

By Chelsea La Near

It starts with inspiration followed by often months of preparation and endless excitement. You’re finally ready to turn your travel dreams into reality when something suddenly comes up, and your trip has to be postponed or called off completely. The emotions that go into travel planning can make trip cancellations or delays all the more devastating. And with much of the world in various states of lockdown, it’s likely that your future travel plans have been put on hold.

Aside from global pandemic, there are plenty of more mundane factors that can force us to reassess our trips: broken bones, unexpected expenses, or even the demands of a new job. Whatever the reason you can’t travel, these tips can help you scratch your travel itch without actually going anywhere.

A woman looks at a globe and dreams of travel with a cat on her lap

1. Read travel books

Books can help your mind travel when your body can't. Get inspired by the adventures of others and travel as far as your imagination will allow you to go. Really, any book set in a nonfiction location will work, but here's 10 great travel books if you're unsure where to start:

On the Road - Jack Kerouac (The USA)

The Alchemist -Paulo Coelho (Andalusia and Egypt)

In a Sunburned Country - Bill Bryson (Australia)

The Great Railway Bazaar - Paul Theroux (Asia)

The Life of Pi - Yann Martel (India)

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail - Cheryl Strayed (the USA)

The Innocents Abroad - Mark Twain (Europe and the Holy Land)

Into the Wild - John Krakauer (Alaska)

Seven Years in Tibet - Heinrich Harrer (the Himalayas)

The Valley of Assassins - Freya Stark (Middle East)

2. Watch travel movies, tv shows, and documentaries

Breathtaking cinematography of travel destinations can give us the imagery we need to feel transported. It's also fun to know that we can actually visit many of the places we see on screen. I wrote a list recently of the best romantic travel movies, but again, a movie or show doesn't need to specifically be related to travel to cure your wanderlust. It just needs to be filmed somewhere on Earth. Here's a few of my recommendations:


A Little Princess (India)

The Motorcycle Diaries (Latin America)

Before Sunrise (Vienna)

Amélie (Paris)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (Greenland, Iceland, Yemen, and Afghanistan)

In the Mood for Love (Hong Kong)


The Crown (England)

Insecure (Los Angeles)

True Detective