Travel Research: A Substitute for Actual Travel

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Unfortunately I find that there is dissonance between the time I would like to spend traveling, and the time work allows for it. I know I’m definitely not alone in this. What’s even more unfortunate is the fact that at this point in my life, I’m probably given more travel time than I will be for a long while moving forward professionally. I have found, in my experience of wanderlust, that I am at least able to temporarily curb my impulse to drop everything and travel by researching the many places I want to visit and fantasizing about adventures that await. It is comforting to know that the Waitomo Glowworm Caves are sitting and waiting for me in New Zealand whenever I’m ready. The only urgency is in my own impatience. Beyond all else, when I feed my travel bug by casually researching the many places I’d like to visit, and the expense of visiting at various times throughout the year, I become so overwhelmed by the world and how much money flights cost alone, that the perceived urgency subsides at least briefly. In this modern age of mindless googling and endless online travel resources, and living in Brooklyn with a seemingly limitless selection of bookstores with travel sections, I have established a host remedies for my travel bug that tide me over until I am able to travel as a complete cure.

Short-term Cures for the Long-term Travel Bug:

  1. Travel sections of bookstores and libraries: I love to brainstorm about the places I’d like to go and explore guides to places I know little about. Somehow research alone makes me feel as though I’m closer to getting somewhere. Particularly when you don’t have a specific trip in sight, it is valuable to investigate your options so that the next destination you choose is just right for your interests and timing.
  2. Expedia: When actively planning a trip and searching for flights, I always compare costs on various travel sites. However, when I’m purely fantasizing, I refer to Expedia for a general idea of flight costs. Often I’ll use a spare fifteen minutes to look into what it would cost to fly to Hawaii, or Romania, or Amsterdam, or wherever else, and compare the cost of flights at different times throughout the year. This way, if suddenly I get time off in January, I’ll have some idea of where it’s reasonable to fly.
  3. Stumbleupon: Sometimes I investigate destinations on Stumbleupon. This is a great way of discovering travel blogs and seeing what other people are up to and where other people are going. The only challenge is that I find that sometimes reading about the specifics of other peoples’ adventures (especially when I don’t have an adventure on the horizon) can be painful… I’m only human! Regardless, Stumbleupon is a great resource for finding things like tips for travel budgeting, creative packing lists, and more.
  4. WordPress: Searching travel-themed tags is a great way to see what’s out there, but browsing blogs can also be disappointing for the same reason as Stumbleupon when a real-life trip is out of reach.
  5. Pinterest: The primary reason I use Pinterest is to collect and categorize photos of beautiful places to visit for future use. I find Pinterest far less overwhelming than Instagram, and once I’ve “pinned” images of places I’d like to go and food I want to try, I ultimately refer to these images when actively travel planning.
  6. Young Adult, Fantasy and Dystopian Novels: I love children’s books and I don’t care who knows it. If you can’t get away now, what better way to pretend than to delve into some magical adventure of some other person’s invention? I find that greatest cure to suffering the absence of a vacation is to simply pretend you’re adventuring, whatever your age.

Hopefully some of my strategies will work for you as well! Happy travels.

7 thoughts on “Travel Research: A Substitute for Actual Travel

  1. Random Fluff says:

    I personally begin to do these sort of things when I know I’m going to travel, the problem being I start researching months early and end up becoming very impatient.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Bella says:

    I know the feeling! I do all the same things when I get overwhelmed by my wanderlust 🙂 You discover so many cool and beautiful places in the world by doing research! And yes, definitely a short-term cure imagining that you are all those places. Google maps street view also helps me a lot.

    Now, I don’t know your profession or situation, but if you have the possibility to go abroad with your work, you could do that. Or you could find a job abroad and work as an expat for a year 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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