How to (Virtually) Travel the World

A round globe in the foreground of a photo
Posted: 5/11/20 | May 11th, 2020

With the world on hold for the foreseeable, it’s going to be a long time before we get back on the road. Even as we begin to look to the summer, it’s likely that many destinations will keep their doors shut to international travelers until the fall.

But that doesn’t mean we have to put our wanderlust on hold.

With the world at our virtual fingertips, there are plenty of ways to feed your inner traveler from the comfort of your bed.

Many destinations and museums now let you “visit them” virtually. And there are also plenty of amazing books you can read, interesting films and TV shows you can watch, and fun meetups and classes to join.

In short, you can still see the world from home. Here’s a list of ways you can travel virtually and keep your wanderlust spirit alive:


a room full to the brim with books
Reading is one of the best and most budget-friendly ways to “travel” when you’re stuck indoors. You can transport yourself to far-flung destinations and get inspired by the power of words — all from the comfort (and safety) of home.

Some great recent reads: The Yellow Envelope, Wanderlust, Ghengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, and An Irreverent Curiosity.

Here are a plethora of articles with more books:



A person sitting on a couch watching Netflix
There are many amazing films to choose online right now. I mean between Hulu, HBO, Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+, you can get anything you want. (Netflix has been especially on fire this month.) Some of my favorites:

  • Wild – Based on the novel of the same name, this movie follows Cheryl Strayed as she hikes the Pacific Crest Trail as a way to restart her life, end her drug addiction, and cope with her mother’s death.
  • Midnight in Paris – I pretty much love every movie about Paris, but this is one of my all-time favorites. The movie follows Gil, a writer on vacation with his fiancée and her family. At night, he wanders the streets of Paris before stumbling into a time warp that sends him back to the 1920s.
  • The Beach – Staring a young Leonardo DiCaprio, this movie is about young backpackers who set out to find paradise while in Thailand.
  • Lost in Translation – This film takes you into the heart of chaotic Tokyo. Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson play two characters adrift in the the city together.
  • Into the Wild – Based on a true story, this movie follows Christopher McCandless as he sheds his material life in search of something more.
  • A Map for Saturday – This documentary is the best film about long-term travel.

For more suggestions, here is the complete list of my favorite travel movies and another post on LGBT Travel Movies and one on Africa-related films.


TV Shows

A person watching TV from their couch
Looking for some binge-worthy TV? Here are a few suggestions to keep your wanderlust satiated from the comfort of your own couch:

  • An Idiot Abroad – Comedian Ricky Gervais sends his clueless, culturally insensitive friend on hilarious (and often insightful) misadventures.
  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – In one of the best travel shows ever made, the late Anthony Bourdain sheds light on new places and cultures as he eats his way around the world.
  • Long Way Round – Actor Ewan McGregor and his best friend travel across the entire world on motorcycles in this epic miniseries (and in Long Way Down they travel from Scotland to South Africa — again, on motorcycles).
  • Departures – Award-winning series chronicling two friends traveling the world together.
  • Dark Tourist – Journalist David Farrier visits some of the world’s weirdest, scariest, and most tragic places.
  • The Amazing Race – A reality TV show in which contestants race around the world for cash prizes (there are over 30 seasons, so it’s great for bingeing!).
  • Big City, Little Budget – My friend Oneika Raymond hosts this show, in which she shares budget tips and hidden gems so you can experience the best of big cities without breaking the bank.
  • Somebody Feed Phil – Phil Rosenthal, the creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, travels the world on a comedic culinary journey.


Virtual Meetups

The Zoom video conference call app downloading on a smartphone
Since we can’t meet in person right now, we’ve been hosting our own through The Nomadic Network. Every week, we have meetups where we share stories, host guest speakers, and play games. We do about 2-3 a week.


Virtual Tours (Museums, Galleries, Historical Sites, etc)

A sphinx statue in the Louvre museum, Paris
It seems every destination or museum is now offering some virtual tour. I’m all for it. While it’s not the same as being there in person, it’s still an enjoyable way to pass the time, get inspired, and learn about the world. Here are some of my favorites:

Free Tours by Foot is also offer a handful of tours from around the globe. They have walking tours, historical videos, and much more. Check out their YouTube page for a comprehensive list!

Online Classes

The Masterclass homepage
With so many people home, online courses are seeing a huge surge in activity. In fact, I myself have finally been able to get around to taking some of the courses I’ve bought ages ago. If you’re looking to jump into a new online course, here are a few worth checking out:

  • MasterClass – This program is one of my favorites. I watch a ton of masterclasses. They are mini-courses with some of the most famous and successful people in the world, such as Margaret Atwood, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Martin Scorsese, Gordon Ramsay, Malcolm Gladwell, Alice Waters, Serena Williams, and many others.
  • Superstar Blogging – If you’re looking to start a blog or break into the freelance writing industry, we offer two courses that can help. You’ll get free tech support, weekly calls, and feedback and copyedits on your writing.
  • Udemy – Udemy is an online marketplace with over 100,000 online video courses. You can find courses on pretty much anything here!
  • Skillshare – A project-based marketplace for online courses. Like Udemy, there is lots of variety here.
  • Massimo Bottura’s Kitchen Quarantine – World-class Italian chef Massimo Bottura cooks up a storm in his home kitchen.
  • Pasta-Making Class (with Italian Chefs) from Take Walks – My favorite tour company, Take Walks, shows you how to make delicious pasta at home.
  • Seamus Mullen’s Quarantine Kitchen – Check out Seamus’s daily show for tips on clean and healthy eating.
  • José Andrés’ #RecipesforthePeople – Chef José Andrés is helping the world relearn simple, delicious recipes on his Twitter feed.
  • Context Learning – These in-depth, expert-led virtual seminars are perfect for history buffs who really want to dig in and learn about a destination.


Learn something new. Or meet some new friends in a virtual meetup. Or just chill out and eat snacks and watch some movies.

We’ll be back on the road again.

But, until we can, at least we can travel the world through our computer.

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

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