How Travelers Can Beat Cabin Fever During the COVID-19 Quarantine Era

Wow. I don’t know if I ever anticipated writing a post like this. But here I am. Today is day 21 of self quarantine in my townhouse in Columbus, OH because of the COVID-19 virus. I—a travel lover and an extrovert by every definition—am starting to go a little stir crazy. But I’m hanging in there the best I can.

So how do you scratch that travel itch without leaving your house? I’ve been trying to figure that out myself. Here are just a few ideas…

Finally go through some of those old travel photos.

Look, I know I’m not the only one. I have thousands (if not tens of thousands) of photos from my trips over the years that I always tell myself I’ll go through and edit. Now is the perfect time to finally get that done – we’re swimming in time! Reminisce on simpler times when we were fortunate enough to be able to see the world, worry-free.

Cleaned up this gem from Ireland 2018!

Watch your favorite travel show or movie.

I have been watching some of my favorite travel content like Travel Man (Hulu), Dark Tourist (Netflix), House Hunters International (Hulu). Dreaming up ideas for future trips. Living vicariously through them. Picturing myself outside these four walls. It’s like a little escape.

And with the Netflix Party extension, you can watch your favorite Netflix shows with your friends! This free extension synchronizes videos for you and your friends, with a chat room feature so you can gab through the entire show like nothing’s changed.

Take some virtual tours of travel experiences.

It’s a new era. Organizations around the world are rallying to provide services that individuals can enjoy from home. While of course these experiences aren’t “the same” as the real thing, it’s nice to have a little piece of it. To wander, even if it’s with a mouse.

Google Arts and Culture is providing free virtual tours of select national parks.


Museums like The Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and The Vatican offer virtual tours of the museum or certain exhibits.


Planning future trips.

This has been my favorite pastime recently. It gives me the comfort of knowing this will not last forever. Plus, actual research has shown that just the act of planning a trip can cause as much joy as the trip itself.

And let me clarify, I’m not currently planning any trips with dates in mind, since we realistically don’t know when it will be considered safe to travel again. That doesn’t mean I can’t start doing my research on some of my bucket list cities, making my dream itineraries – that way when we have the green light to travel again, we can get right to booking.

Here is a blog post I wrote on exactly this topic!

It’s like I’m really there, huh?

Make yourself a quarantine bucket list.

What do you want to get done during this time? We are quarantined to our homes for at least the next month, for who knows how long. So what are some projects you’ve been putting on the back burner?

I have been trying to pick up some Italian during this time. We are planning a trip to Italy once everything is resolved, whenever that may be, and I wanted to learn a few key phrases before we went. I purchased a couple phrasebooks, found a couple “Learn Italian” podcasts, and I’ve been practicing on DuoLingo. Now is as good a time as any. And who knows, hopefully I’ll be conversational by the time we go!

Read some of your favorite travel lit – or find a new favorite.

Maybe you prefer to escape with a good book! The New York Public Library offers over 300,000 books for free, through their free e-reader app SimplyE. Or try a 30-day free trial of Audible!

Need some inspiration? Check out the New York Times list of Best Sellers in the Travel Category or this list of 52 Books for 52 Places.

Turn your living room into a world stage.

If you’re anything like me, you might enjoy traveling for concerts or Broadway shows.

With the BroadwayHD app, you can watch select Broadway shows from the comfort of your couch. Try the 7-day free trial!


Billboard is also keeping a running list of any concerts that will be virtually streamed by artists like Miley Cyrus, John Legend, and more.

Calm your mind with travel theme coloring books.

I’m going to be honest, I’ve never owned an adult coloring book. But I have tons of family and friends who absolutely love them. At this point I’m willing to try anything to help my anxiety though. I have these two on my Amazon wish list!

lonely planet nationalparks

Some non-travel related ways to make quarantine life a little better…

Make your living space somewhere you wanna spend time – You will likely be in your house for at least the next few weeks. You may as well make it an enjoyable place to spend time. We have done a ton of cleaning and housework since we’ve been home. We’ve spread out some of our live plants around the house, and we’ll probably get some more. We open the windows whenever it’s even remotely nice out. I got myself a lap desk to make working from the couch a little more comfortable. Whatever you need to do!

Comfort is key – If we’re going to be home the next few weeks, we may as well be comfortable doing it. Isn’t one of that the small silver linings of this all? So invest in some nice sweatpants, plush socks, maybe a fleece onesie or two.

Human interaction has gone digital – As much as I love my boyfriend and my dog, I need to see some other faces throughout the week. We’ve been talking to our family and friends through Zoom, and it’s so nice to see everyone without actually putting anyone at risk. We have even figured out how to use Zoom to play games together, so we all grab a beer and have game night. Human interaction is crucial, and just because we can’t physically see each other right now doesn’t mean it has to go away altogether.

Adopt a pup – or a cat if that’s your thing I guess. But right now is the perfect time for a new furry roommate. You will be there with them while they acclimate to their new home, or with your other pets if you have any. Plus pets just make life better. I am thankful every single day that we have our dog. Life would be a little more dreary without her.

• • •

It’s not an easy time for any of us. We’re in uncharted territory, and figuring it out together. If I can help even one person in this helpless time, that would be something. Just remember, this won’t be for forever. We will get through this. Stay safe. Stay inside.

How are you staying sane during quarantine? Let me know in the comments!

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15 thoughts on “How Travelers Can Beat Cabin Fever During the COVID-19 Quarantine Era

  1. Some great ideas here! I’m definitely planning out where I’d like to go next, and in the mean time reading all the travel content for inspiration!

  2. I think I’ve seen all the good shows on Netflix by now! This year I was well organised for once as I had planned all my trips for the year. I am now revisiting the list because I keep reading amazing posts giving me tons of ideas 🙂

  3. This is a great post! I’m slowly going mad from lack of people, and I don’t have a lot of people that can relate to that feeling in my life – at least not to the extent that I miss travel! I’ve gotten into books lately that make me feel far away. Right now I’m reading, “If I Had Your Face” and I cannot put it down! It takes place in South Korea, and it has me itching to go!

  4. I’m still searching for a way to overcome cabin fever. However, we are trying to do nice things around here – like bike tours and so. Nevertheless, I’m missing travelling badly!

  5. Great tips! Very useful for people like us who are bitten so badly by the travel bug 🙂 We are practicing some of them like watching travel movies, cooking as a family and trying new dishes. And I have been frantically planning my future travel, reading blogs etc. Totally helps!

  6. Loved these ideas! My entire life revolves around researching trips, booking trips, taking trips etc, haha. Definitely a good time to focus on planning out my dream itineraries so that the second we get the go ahead I will book.

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