11 Ways to Explore the World During Lockdown


The coming of COVID-19 has all but shut down travel as we know it. Visions of empty piazzas in Venice and deserted plazas in Barcelona show just how much the world has changed in a few short months. But, ever the optimists, we at HostelPass believe the wanderlust continues, the show goes on. Even in the strange and unusual era of lockdown and social distancing, you can head out to explore the world. It must be done cautiously, creatively, and digitally, but it can be done…

1) Tour a famous garden

Monets Garden
Jardin de Monet, Giverny, France

There’s a luckier lockdown crowd who can still enjoy the start of springtime just by stepping outside into their own garden. But what about the flat-bound folks; the ones with just a balcony or a window to give them that fix of Mother Nature? How about virtual garden tours? They open up some amazing al fresco spaces, from Claude Monet’s flower-sprouting French lily gardens to hibiscus-filled reserves on the tropical isles of Hawaii.

2) Travel to another country with a film

Call Me By Your Name is a popular travel movie
Call Me By Your Name will transport you to Italy

The genre of the travel movie has really come into its own in recent years. First, there were the emotional ups and downs of Into the Wild – the sort of escape we all might be thinking of post-lockdown! Then came the ever-so-slightly-ridiculous peregrinations of Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love (seriously, why is there no running water in Rome?). Then we hit the Pacific Crest trails with Reese Witherspoon in Wild, and we’ll finish with Call Me By Your Name, which will transport you to northern Italy and we promise you’ll feel a warm summer breeze brushing through your living room. Get a-watching these and the wanderlust will be ticking over, guaranteed!

3) Explore the world through cooking

It seems like everyone and their uncle is learning to make bread during lockdown. Why not take your tastebuds further and learn to cook a meal from your favorite city? Our friends over at The Beehive Hostel in Rome have been making cooking tutorials for some of the finest vegetarian eats. Follow along on their IGTV.

4) Hit the museum

Museums in Paris and Europe are popular destinations for backpackers
Explore Museums all over the world with Google’s Collections

No queues. No pushy exit through the gift shop. No stuffy exhibition rooms. That’s all music to the ears of culture vultures who would usually be hopping between the world’s great museums but for lockdown. Still, you don’t have to ditch your da Vinci and forgo your Raphael during these hard times. Cue Google Arts & Culture, which has digitized collections from bucket-list spots like the Palace of Versailles, New York’s MoMa, and Florence’s famous Uffizi.

5) Go back to your travel shots

Dubrovnik Croatia is a popular destination for backpackers
Dubrovnik, Croatia

“Everything looks better in hindsight,” so goes the lyric. We’ll stop just a little short of that when it comes to travel – no amount of nostalgia could recreate the taste of those Italian pizzas in Naples or the sound of bicycles whizzing up and down Amsterdam’s canals. Still, you can relive just a hint of that adventure by dipping back into your own collections of travel photos and videos. Plus, if you tag us @hostelpass on Instagram, we will give you a feature!

6) Plan your next adventure

Travelers and backpackers love to plan their next trip
Plan your next trip to keep the wanderlust flowing

If you were the sort to conquer hump day blues before lockdown by browsing pictures of Greek beaches and dreaming of Parisian wine bars by the Eiffel Tower, great…there’s really no time like the present to get started on planning that next outing. Studies have revealed that as many as one in five of us are using our home time during Coronavirus to think about where’s next. Perhaps an all-in-one ticket to some of Europe’s most legendary cities can help? Ahem, HostelPass, anyone?

7) Read travel books

Reading is a great pastime for travelers in hostels
Cozy up with a travel book to transport yourself to another country from the safety of your home

From Palin’s hikes in the Himalayas to Bill Bryson’s walks along the Appalachian Trail, there are stories that can whisk you away to exotic and amazing places at just the turn of a page. What’s more, you’ll only need to make a few quick flicks of the forefinger on the Kindle Store to get em’. Some can even take you on a Euro trip of a lifetime – check out Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes for a sampling of rustic, rural Italia, or The Sun Also Rises for Hemingway’s epic odyssey all the way to Pamplona in Spain.

8) Watch travel videos

Check out this journey through Croatia by What Marketing Company

Check out this Road Trip Through the Swiss Alps by Afrowanders

You don’t need to be an Oscar-toting, silver screen maestro to make travel films these days. With smartphones and YouTube, anyone can do it. Don’t believe us? Just Google whatever destination is stoking the wanderlust right now plus the word ‘video’. There’s sure to be something. I’m off for a virtual hike through the Dolomites and a swim in Lake Garda – see ya!

9) Turn your short outings into adventures

Parks are a popular travel destination for backpackers
Explore locally to find new adventures in your area

Being intrepid and finding new things might not gel with lockdown society. However, the prospect of adventure isn’t completely gone. You might just need to recalibrate those expectations a little. In corners of the globe where folk are still allowed out for an exercise each day, that might mean something as minute as taking a new path in the park or switching up your usual walking routine. Small changes could become big adventures in this day and age!

10) Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites from your sofa

La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is a popular destination for backpackers
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

Ever wanted to lay eyes on the soaring pinnacle of the Great Pyramid of Giza? Perhaps the dreamy marble dome of the Taj Mahal has taken your fancy? Or is it the elaborate temples of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia? Well…you’re in luck. All of the above UNESCO World Heritage Sites can be toured virtually while you sip a G&T on your sofa at home.

11) Go exploring on Google Earth

The Swiss Alps are a popular destination for backpackers
Explore the Swiss Alps through Google Earth

Google Earth bills itself as the world’s most detailed globe. It’s not wrong. Seriously. Pick a place. Zoom in. Viola: You can almost see the mozzarella on the pizzas in Rome’s Piazza Navona. For outdoorsy types who are missing their craggy mountains or alpine lakes, this is a real gift. It’s possible to spin that digital orb and discover places far and wide, from the depths of the Grand Canyon to the snow-capped peaks of the Hindu Kush.

How are you exploring the globe during lockdown? Do you have any ideas on how to travel from the safety and comfort of your own home? If so, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below…

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