Still in lockdown? Escape with a staycation!
Do you need some staycation ideas to survive the lockdowns? More and more people are venturing out of their homes at this point of the pandemic. But some areas are experiencing spikes, and lockdowns are still in place and resuming in some places. And at-risk people who are still quarantined deserve a little vacation too. As a travel writer, I’m the first to admit that a virtual vacation can’t do the real thing justice. But it’s better than nothing. With a little imagination and a few resources, you can make your escape! Luckily there are many online resources that make an inspiring staycation possible!
Tour a new city
Taking a virtual tour of an exciting new city can help pull you out of those cabin fever doldrums. Even better, they can help you imagine and plan your next trip when freedom returns. There are many great shows on various streaming apps that will take you away. Some of my favorites include “Rick Steves’ Europe” on Hulu, “Aerial America” on the Smithsonian Channel, and the “Visions” series on PBS Living. All of these apps have free trials available if you’re not already subscribed, and all can stream on an Apple TV, Roku, or Fire Stick device. YouTube is also a great destination for satisfying your travel fix. I recommend starting with the “Travel Destinations” playlist on Ultimate Travel Adventures! Visit the playlist by clicking this link or watch the full playlist below! (Hunker down with with a fresh glass of wine or mug of tea and a serious supply of snacks – there’s a lot to explore!)
Experience theme park thrills
If a theme park is more your speed, you’re in luck! There are many good first-person views of theme park rides available online. Hershey Theme Park has a page dedicated to virtual roller coaster rides you can visit by clicking here. And you can check out every Cedar Point roller coaster on this site. Finally, this site has many Disney and Universal Studios coasters to hop on, and a Disney fireworks show to watch. So skip the nausea, leave your hat on, and go for a wild ride! Added bonus: no screaming toddlers, handrails stuck with gum, painful sunburns, overpriced food stalls, and getting caught in the rain without an umbrella!
Your virtual cruise is calling
A mega-ship cruise out of the U.S. and Canada is impossible right now, but out of your virtual port they’re not! Prepare to set sail with Carnival’s 360 degree interactive video on YouTube here! Remember to click on the screen to turn the image for a full 360 degree view around you! Another option, take a virtual tour of several different cruise ships. These tours show the complete ships – virtually every venue (pun intended!) It’s all on the Ultimate Travel Adventures “Cruise Ship Tours” playlist. You can visit the playlist here or watch the full playlist below!
Virtually tour a museum
Many museums deliver a dose of culture with virtual tours and access to their vast collections online. Some of the best virtual visits include the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia here, the Vatican Museum here, the Louvre museum here, or the MET here. You can also get multimedia tours, with audio, of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam for your mobile device. Details can be found on their website here! I know, the masterpieces hanging on your fridge from your third-grader’s art class are adorable… but when you’r ready for something more…. grown up these options should satisfy!
Tour a national park
Is the great outdoors calling you? You can answer the call from the comfort of your couch! There’s an excellent virtual tour of Yosemite National Park here. Or get to the Grand Canyon with the National Park Service’s virtual tour on this site. And leave the crowds and traffic behind! Dust off your favorite pine-scented candle to enhance the experience!
Want wildlife? Visit the zoo, or go on a live safari!
The San Diego Zoo posts live webcam streams of many of their residents on their website here. You can view the day-to-day activities of animals such as a panda, elephant, koala, ape, polar bear, and more! And for more live action, go on a live safari online at Wild Earth’s Safari Live. This is the safest safari you’ll ever take!
Take in a concert
Click on the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall to watch free virtual concerts. Both live and pre-recorded concerts are available. Open to opera? The MET offers a free, nightly opera performance stream on their website. Music makes everything better…. including quarantine! Close your eyes and pretend you’re there. Hopefully soon you will be, but this will have to do in the meantime.
Visit a vineyard, and taste the grapes
Are you getting tired of looking at the same four walls? The Castello di Amorosa in the Napa Valley of California, with its world-famous wineries, has both a virtual and video tour on their site here. It’s a castle and a vineyard – the ultimate virtual getaway for wine lovers. So unleash your inner royal, and have a bottle of bubbly handy to add the sense of taste into the equation. How about a virtual tasting? Food and Wine magazine has provided a list of virtual tasting options on their site. A wine tasting shouldn’t be a spectator sport.
Craving the casino?
Yes, there is a socially distanced casino option! Monte Carlo, Monaco offers a virtual tour, including their world-renown casino and other attractions. You can find them on Monte Carlo’s website here. The casino is dripping with opulence from wall-to-wall, and on this visit, the House won’t win! Prefer to watch the gaming in action? Check out the live poker feeds on Twitch here. Another option? Check out the many free, downloadable slot apps for your tablet or phone on Apple’s App Store and Google Play for Android devices.
There are many other attractions you can explore online. You can take a hike on the Great Wall of China here, explore the Acropolis in Athens here, or get lost traversing the world with Google Arts and Culture here. The possibilities are endless! Practically anywhere you want to go is within your reach, as long as you can reach your computer keyboard. No passport required!
Transform your home
Finally, you can immerse yourself in foreign cultures, experience a luxurious spa day, or bring the great outdoors indoors, right in your own home. In the second part of this two-part staycation series, I’ll give you tips on how to transform your current surroundings without going anywhere. Follow this blog to be updated! In the meantime, how about checking out some of my other blog posts on travel, like my Kusadasi, Turkey tour, or explore New York City here!
Thanks for stopping by!