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How to bring your travel-banned vacation home

reading on beach

The recent global pandemic has the world preventing the spread of the virus in many ways, including many international travel bans. Unfortunately, that means no fun European vacations. If you had a trip planned, you’ve probably been refunded or allowed to change the flights. With the travel ban in place, here’s how to bring your vacation home.

Gather the Essentials

For some, one of the best parts after booking a trip is packing. Not just casually throwing some clothes into a bag the night before, but stuffing your bag overexcitedly weeks in advance with things to do on the plane, bathing suits or parkas, books, cameras, travel itineraries, and more. I recommend reading the Lonely Planet travel guides and blog posts for ideas on what to bring.

In this situation, you can still pack and get the rush of adrenaline. Dust off the suitcase that’s been sitting under the stairs since first-year and pack everything you’ll need for the journey from the bedroom to the living room. You can still bring your passport, but now you get to skip customs and security. Also, bring your sunglasses. Your beach might have an artificial sunlight lamp.

Location, Location, Location

Or is this case, decoration. If you can, use posters or artwork of the most picturesque landscapes from around the world to set the scene. Gone are the ‘live love laugh’ quotes, family photos, and wall decals. In vogue are the flowing waterfalls, snowy mountains, deep canyons, visually striking cities, and rolling grassy hills filled with sheep.

If you’re thinking long-term, you can always photoshop yourself or your family into vacation photos and use them in the next pandemic, too.


I suggest ambient sounds of waves hitting Australian shorelines or bustling vendors in Parisian alleyways. Wherever you decide to go this time around, you have the leniency to bounce between countries. For sounds, another way to take yourself there is by playing documentaries, music, or films like Roma.

While setting up your ideal vacation environment, remember that food is one of the most important cultural aspects of any new place—so always be cooking. Cook up a storm if you must. This could be an excellent opportunity to try a new recipe like Bibimbap, Risotto, Tostadas, or Udon.

The smells and tastes are sure to brighten the atmosphere as well as bring up old memories of places you’ve already visited.

Take it a few steps further by heightening your senses. Try putting sand on the floor (for your beach towel) or filling the bathtub with saltwater and fish for a different oceanic experience.

Grab a Bunkmate

If you pre-booked a backpacking excursion, you know staying in hostels is a necessity to save money. They’re a rite of passage that allows you to meet new people, learn about other cultures, and try new experiences. They can also be the (best) worst travel stories to tell at parties.

To get a good taste of the bunkmate situation, either grab a friend who is always bringing someone home—and doesn’t care about how loud they are. Bonus points if they turn on the lights at 5:00 a.m. to pack for an early flight.

When you’re staying in the hostel, remember to bring your lock for the locker, always have your passport in the safest place, and remember the golden rule—if the sheets are up, do not disturb.

Whether Europe, Africa, Oceania, or South America or Asia were pre-booked pre-pandemic, these tools are applicable to help you immerse in other places while under temporary quarantine.