Traveling the World – My Vacation During Covid-19
Despite all the social distancing measures put in place this year, 2020 doesn’t have to go down in the books as the “year without travel.”
Of course, Covid19 has made both domestic and international travel a safety hazard, but there are still plenty of ways to avoid staring at the walls all day. I’ve been self quarantining for months now and I actually feel more aware of the world around me more than ever.
I’ve seen sights I’ll never forget, learned cultural tidbits that amazed me, and made more international friends than at any other time in my life. The internet has opened up those possibilities to anyone willing to grab hold of them. Digital travel is the safer, cheaper, and healthier alternative to its physical counterpart, so I strongly encourage you to give it a try. It serves as a great reminder that the world is indeed a beautiful place and capable of recovering from anything.
My 5 Things
As a broke student in the southern U.S., here are the 5 things I do to travel the globe right from the comforts of my home.
Prior to self-quarantine, I had no idea I had the ability to “walk” through renowned cultural institutions, zoos, theme parks, and museums in just a few clicks. Virtual tours are typically free, high-quality, 360 degree panorama views of places known for attracting widespread tourism.
The Louvre, a gorgeous museum in Paris, France, offers multiple virtual tours of exhibition rooms and galleries. The photo below from the Petite Galerie virtual tour would look totally authentic if not for the red info button present.
With info buttons spread through multiple exhibition online tours, you’re able to learn a lot more than if you visited the institution in person. For once, time is finally on your side. Here’s another shot of the Petite Galerie, this time showcasing “The Body in Movement” exhibition.
Thanks to both the ‘snipping tool’ on desktop and screenshot feature on mobile, you’re able to collect however many photos you want of all the places you visit.
A few other top tourist attractions that offer virtual tours include the
A quick search on Google is all it takes to find out if the location you’re interested in touring offers a digital alternative.
This one is less focused on capturing the physical essence of traveling, and more dedicated to providing the cultural knowledge that typically accompanies it.
Documentaries are some of the most educational, entertaining, and mind-blowing productions you’ll ever have the privilege of watching. You’re able to learn just as much as you could in a classroom, minus the mind-numbing lectures.
Plus since you’re already going to have Netflix on your screen at the end of the day, you might as well check out what it has to offer about the world. Pretty much every popular streaming service offers documentaries of some sort, including Prime Video, Hulu, and YouTube.
Though there are plenty that don’t, numerous documentaries shed light on different cultures around the world and the experiences that accompany them
‘God Grew Tired Of Us’ is a 2006 documentary that follows three boys from Sudan as they endeavour to move to the United States as survivors of the Second Sudanese Civil War.
‘Happiness’ is a 2013 documentary that follows the life of Peyangki, an eight-year-old living in a remote Himalayan village. ‘Love Hotel’ is a 2014 documentary that explores the conservativeness of Japanese culture. ‘Village at the end of the world’ is a 2012 documentary that follows a year in a village in northern Greenland that’s home to 59 people.
See? In just a few films, you’re able to travel the world and develop new perspectives on cultures you originally knew nothing about. Give it a try.
While most social media platforms do offer some aspect of traveling, Pingster is the only one that is solely dedicated to travel. Each visit to the platform’s feed offers not only photos of places around the world, but the exact locations where they are.
Down to the longitude and latitude if you’re interested in that level of specificity. Pingster lets you explore and discover the story of each place around the globe.
You can view breathtaking landscapes, delicious meals, activities of all kinds, mother nature, and new perspectives of spots meaningful to you. The sense of community it brings right to your home is extremely comforting, especially during a period in which many of us are unable to physically connect with one another.
I’m able to view pictures taken near me at any given time, along with nearby discounts or coupons. Pingster offers a very personal experience, where each and every user is able to leave an impact and a story.
It’s amazing to be able to view sights of places you had no idea existed and save photos of the locations you one day hope to visit. No matter where I decide to visit in the world someday, I’ll have an idea of the photo-worthy spots worth visiting.
It’s the mini tour guide I didn’t know I needed but am super happy to be a part of. I’m finally able to get rid of all the excess noise present on other social media sites, and focus on what I actually care about. Traveling and connecting with the world around me.
If you haven’t noticed, travel blogs are slowly becoming all the rage in both the tourism and writing industry. For good reason too! They’re absolutely fascinating.
They offer authentic, relatable, fresh perspectives on what it’s really like to either live in or visit places around the world. They’re nothing like boring tour guides or paid promos by lodging facilities looking for their next paying tourist.
Nope, they use language everyday people can understand and discuss the things we, as travelers, actually care about. Like the top spots to visit, cheapest places to eat, outings worth the price, and activities to not waste our time on.
Travel ‘vlogs’ are great too, but they’re not as convenient for travelers on-the-go or those trying to cram as much information in the shortest time possible. Speaking from personal experience.
Lots of travel blogs typically focus on a specific region, country, or even continent. They’re the best sources for preparing well in advance for your trip out of town. They’ll remind of all the things you totally didn’t think about and they’ll mentally prep you for any culture shock.
One of my favorite international blogs is run by a fellow Pingster user, Content Queen, and talks about everything anyone would ever need to know about traveling to Australia. She tackles the whole continent, including the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
Mariah makes the Aussie life look grand and thanks to her post on The 10 Most Iconic Things to do in Sydney Australia , I now know I have to visit someday. The sooner the better.
I also love how many travel blog posts are focused on travel budgets and expenses, a reality most businesses don’t address when promoting their services. First-time travelers don’t ever have to feel unprepared thanks to the hundreds of thousands of travel bloggers sharing their experiences every day.
The things I’m able to learn from their trips are more than enough to keep me entertained until I feel safe about personally traveling.
Aside from saving Pingster images as ‘favorites’ within the platform, I’m also obsessed with saving photos to Pinterest. I have Pinterest’s handy dandy Chrome extension so I’m able to directly save any shot, along with its location and caption, to an appropriate Pinterest board.
Then I’m also able to pin images saved by other Pinterest users to the same board in order to create a truly beautiful, aesthetically-pleasing travel board. Travel photography is a huge niche on Pinterest and the shots are always breathe-taking.
Pinterest allows you to have as many boards as your heart desires, so you can create separate boards specifically for photos of certain countries or states. All you have to do is search “[your choice location] + travel,” and you’ll be instantly flooded with thousands of results.
Or you can search “[your choice location] + photography,” and you’ll by no means be disappointed.
If you want a serious case of travel fever, Pinterest is your one-stop shop. It’s a literal gallery of all the most beautiful photos of all the most beautiful places in the world. Plus you can follow boards created by other users, dedicated to the locations you’re obsessed with.
Still lets you see all the sights and indirectly experience the region’s culture, without all the ‘work’ of finding the visuals. Your choice!
So what are you waiting for?
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. And “staying at home” is no longer an excuse to not see the sights out there waiting to be seen. Join me on this one-of-a-kind journey to take a digital road trip around the world and create something positive out of 2020’s events.
Follow me on Pingster to stay-up-to-date on the gorgeous sights I’m able to experience right from my hometown.
Pingster UserName: cierrasmith
Pingster Display Name: Cultured Simplicity