When wanderlust strikes, revisiting your favorite destination from the comfort of your couch can stir up great memories and help inspire you to plan your next getaway.
So, dig out those old travel snaps that are cluttering your phone, camera and photo albums, and get ready for an at-home adventure.
You probably have thousands of photos from trips throughout the years — honeymoon, family vacations, weekend getaways and more. Most of them are probably just collecting real – or virtual – dust somewhere in a closet or on your phone’s camera roll.
Start with your favorite vacation, and create a shared digital album in Google Photos or iCloud. Invite your family and friends to upload their pics, too. Better yet – create a scrapbook or photo book. Sites like Mixbook, Printique and Shutterfly make it easy to upload, organize and publish your vacation memories in a professionally printed book.
Travel mementos bring a destination to you. Gift your travel companions a keepsake that will remind them of your shared experiences. Prefer to travel solo? Treat yourself. You deserve it. Travel tokens, scratch-off maps, charms, color map mugs, state dish towels, customizable throw pillows and personalized ornaments are just a few ideas.
Or, order something special that reminds you of a favorite trip: a box of Big Island Candies from Hawaii, preserved lemons from Morocco, churro mix from Spain, Bohemian glass from the Czech Republic or any other shippable item.
While you’re waiting for your next real-world vacation, consider taking a virtual one. Thanks to Google Earth, you can trot the globe without ever leaving home. Explore the world by location or topic in the “Voyager” tab to revisit your most cherished places. Create a map or story about your journey in “Projects,” and recruit the whole family to complete quizzes, scavenger hunts and other interactive activities.
The National Park Service has even teamed up with Google Arts & Culture to create ranger-guided tours of parks in Alaska, Hawaii, Florida, New Mexico and Utah. At Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, for example, you can fly over an active volcano and explore a lava tube — all via a virtual visit.
Many tourism bureaus have also launched their own online tools to make remote exploration a breeze. Visit Florida has curated a calendar of virtual events including diving the Florida Keys, visits to Orlando theme parks and a 360-degree tour of the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. Plus, their “Beach Finder” helps you visually comb 825 miles of sand.
Discover Los Angeles livestreams the sunset in a daily “Magic Hour,” jet sets around movie locales, tours museums and even hosts workouts and meditation sessions via their website.
At Disney Magic Moments, you can ride Walt Disney World® and Disneyland® theme park attractions virtually, learn to draw your favorite animated film characters and even download a background for your next video chat.
Can’t make it back to Europe? Recreate it. Curate a playlist of music that reminds you of your trip and listen to it while whipping up your favorite meal from abroad.
Pair Beethoven with bratwurst as you dream about Bonn. Crank up “Crocodile Rock” and feast on avocado toast while reminiscing about your trek across Australia. Set your TV to gallery mode to display pics from your journey, works of art from a museum or other images that evoke a cherished locale.
After all, scents, sounds and sights are closely linked with memory, according to a large body of research. A melody, aroma or taste can transport you to another time and place.
Watch a movie set in your treasured destination. Maybe it takes place there, or maybe it was merely filmed there. But it’s likely that your favorite travel spot has a “Roman Holiday,” whether it’s a documentary or feature film.
For a longer escape, crack open a book. Reading about the Greek islands in “Circe” or Tokyo in “1Q84″ will make you want to book a ticket when you finish reading.
Need a few more ideas to relive vacation memories? Learn a new language with Babbel, Duolingo, Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone or another linguistic app. Journal and jot down your recollections of the trip. Share a #TravelTuesday snap on Instagram. Or, better yet, start planning your next adventure so you’re ready to go the second you can travel again.
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