I love to travel and I’ll be the first to admit nothing beats the real thing, but there are a lot of reasons why it may not be realistic to drop everything and hop on the next flight to Bali — work and money are among the most obvious. Then there’s the recent global health scare, which is enough to keep anyone indoors.
I want my kids to experience life, not just read about it. Unfortunately, circumstances can make that challenging at times. Does that mean we just wait it out and hope our next travel experience comes sooner rather than later? I don’t know about you, but that kind of patience is not my strong suit.
Virtual Travel is an Option
Travelnitch was built on the idea that families don’t have to travel to the far ends of the Earth to instill in their kids a passion for the world. There are so many opportunities to inspire them without ever leaving home. Virtual travel has arrived, and it’s a great alternative for those moments when the real thing just isn’t possible.
Here are a few suggestions to get (and keep) your kids excited about travel, even when you’re housebound:
Crafting Cultural Curiosity
Hit up Pinterest and you’ll, no doubt, find an endless supply of craft projects. Dig a little deeper — using key phrases like around the world crafts or global art projects — and you’ll be overwhelmed with ideas. Let your little one tap into their creative side while you discover some of the world’s most fascinating cultures, together.
For example, in my house we are huge fans of the kindness rock movement, with a travel twist. We paint images of iconic landmarks on our rocks and use that time together to talk about the places we are painting. The conversation almost always gets off track, but it’s the little moments like these that have my kids clamoring to see the Eiffel Tower.
A Recipe for Discovery
Cooking can be a great way to explore the world with your kids. Have them choose a country they’ve always wanted to visit, and then use the google machine to find a native recipe. If you’re visiting Poland, try pierogies. In Vietnam, go for the Pho. Whip up a feast — or maybe just one dish to start. Not only will you have fun experimenting, but your kids may actually enjoy trying something new.
Not much of a cook? That’s OK — try one of these fun snack delivery services and eat your way around the world without making a mess of your kitchen.
Travel Through Time
How much do your kids know about your family history? While genealogy requires time and patience that little kids may not have, there are a variety of hands-on activities that will help them understand the connection between past and present. Create a family tree together, or make a collage that represents different aspects of their heritage. They will learn a lot about where they came from, and I’m guessing so will you!
Take a Virtual Tour
We recently launched Postcard Pals, a snail mail adventure around the world just for kids. Now they can follow along with Trek the Travelnitch Cat as he shares fun stories & special surprises from a different destination each time!
Virtual tours are everywhere now, you just have to know where to look. Check out our post on virtual field trips, providing links to dozens of museums, cities, and notable landmarks around the world that offer virtual access. Some, like the British Museum even include audio for younger kids who may not be able to read.
And AirPano is an app that takes panoramic photography to new heights (literally). It gives you a bird’s eye view of some of the world’s most incredible places. You can even rotate the images 360 degrees and zoom in to see things up-close.
Remember before email and cellphones, when pen pals were considered trendy? Well, Postcrossing has found a way to make snail mail fun again! With each postcard you send, you receive one from a new friend in a new country getting a sneak peek at life across the globe. With more than 772,000 members across 208 countries, you never know where your next postcard will come from!
Next Stop: Anywhere
There is no substitute for being able to see, hear, and experience a new place. Virtual travel is not meant to replace traditional travel. But for those of us who cannot afford the luxury of travel simply because we feel that itch, it can provide a unique opportunity to share our passion with the next generation.