Stay Home, But Stay Busy
We aren't traveling but that doesn't mean we can't satisfy your wanderlust. Check out our list of some of the best things to do at home right now, from mixing up a batch of island cocktails to learning how to make Italian dishes from real Italian grandmas to watching live webcams of lions and elephants grazing at watering holes in Africa. You will be transported.
Escape to the islands one sip at a time
Nothing says beach vacation like a Pina Colada (or a Mai Tai or any drink with fresh fruit and an umbrella for that matter). Even if you won't be enjoying your drink on the beach - yet - one sip will transport you from your kitchen to the shores of Oahu.
Learn to make pasta with an Italian grandma
If you've ever dreamed of learning how to make Italian food from a real Italian grandma in Italy, nows your chance. The Pasta Grannies – of Instagram fame (follow them at @pastagrannies) have a YouTube channel with tutorials you can follow in your own time. Every Friday, you'll watch Italian 'nonne' in their own homes making traditional pasta dishes - as well as other delicious food like gnocchi, breads, soups that are typical of their region.
Travel around the world from your kitchen
Once you conquer Italian dishes with Nonna, dust off an old cookbook you brought back from your travels or try a recipe from a country you’ve been wanting to explore. Here are a few basic recipes to get you started with most ingredients in your pantry.
Hone your photo skills
Get ready for your next trip by upping your photo skills. Check out MasterClass, a website that provides workshops in creative skills, all led by an expert in the field. National Geographic photographer, Jimmy Chin, takes you through 20 lessons on adventure photography for those of you who want to capture the action, while celebrity portrait photographer, Annie Leibovitz, will have you polishing your portrait taking skills for those perfect Insta shots. We’d love to share your amazing photos from past trips for travel inspiration. If you have any photos you’d like to share, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org along with your Instagram handle!
...or finally organize those travel photos
So many pictures, so little time. If you are anything like us at Houlahan every trip comes with hundreds of photos - and probably too many of the same shot - you know you don't need ALL of them. Now is the time to delete the bad pics and maybe even organize some of them into physical books - you know, old school. It's a great way to reminisce about your trip, open up some storage on your phone and laptop, and make a high-quality bound photo book with just a few clicks of a button. Mixbook, Amazon, Shutterfly are great but there are a lot of other options out there. Check out this list from Travel + Leisure
Learn a language
Always wanted to order a cappuccino in fluent Italian or converse easily with locals in Madrid? There are several apps to get you started. Babbel offers 14 languages, including Spanish, French, Italian, Danish and Russian, and has daily challenges in the language you’re learning. Or you could try something more social and pair with a native speaker via Tandem.
Start a new TV show and watch with your friends - online of course
Streaming services are packed with travel shows that will take you from your armchair to destinations across the world. Chef, David Chang’s Netflix hit Ugly Delicious, follows Chang and a range of celebrities touring cities across the world, Sir David Attenborough will take you around Our Planet, or watch comedian, Conan O'Brien as he explores serious issues around the globe with a dose of humor. Check out this list from Conde Nast Traveler. And if you want to run a socially distanced movie night, download the Chrome browser extension Netflix Party and invite your friends to join your armchair travels.
Make a list of the places you want to explore one day and go there virtually - for now
Whether it's a neighborhood close to you or somewhere exotic from your bucket list you can explore these destinations online. Head to Alaska or Egypt via Condé Nast Traveller videos, Nat Geo, MT sobek. Get swept away without leaving your couch.
Help others in need
Red Cross, food depositories, the CDC Foundation, and public schools are in need of donations. Small businesses are also being hit hard. Support your local shops, your hair stylist, your neighborhood restaurant by buying gift cards if you can't use their services now or ordering food and groceries for pick up and delivery if offered. Make a contribution to the person leading that online yoga class you are taking. If you know of other ways to help please share with us on Facebook and Instagram so others can help as well.
And don't forget to take care of yourself
Practice social distancing, find time to destress, nurture your heath during this stressful time, laugh when you can, and stay connected to who and what you love. We will get through this together.
Contact Houlahan Travel at 847.868.4502 for more information or for questions.