How To Pull Off An International Vacation From Home

With the right online resources and a bit of imagination, you can travel virtually anywhere in the world…virtually. Here, we take you on a digital vacation to Italy to show you how it’s done.
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How To Pull Off An International Vacation From Home

No one knows for sure when international travel will return to its pre-2020 vitality. Some sources are estimating it could take until 2023 for leisure travel to feel fully “back to normal.” But as we sit at home with an uncertain timeline unfurling in front of us, people are finding inventive ways to vacation from home, thanks in large part to the virtual experiences being offered by tourism companies, hotels and popular destinations.

If you want to transport yourself to a distant, relaxing place, check out this livestream of snow monkeys bathing in Japanese hot springs. Or, you can get a (socially distanced) whiff of all the tulips at the Keukenhof Flower Exhibit in the Netherlands.

Look, it’s not as good as the real thing. But you know what’s kind of cool? You can sort of simulate the experience of instant teleportation and visit multiple locations around the world for free (or at the very least, on a shoestring budget).  By queuing up the right combination of livestreams, museum tours, music playlists and kitchen recipes, you can vacation from home in a way that still opens you up to new experiences and captures the spirit of the place you were hoping to visit this year.

Curating your own experience is half the fun, but let’s show you how it can be done. In this example, we’re going to take a trip to Italy. Which part of Italy? Well, we’re not really bound by physical space or time, are we?

Wake Up In A Hotel

Your quality of sleep will still depend on your situation at home. But! Some hotels are offering virtual experiences that will allow you to feel kind of fancy without emptying your wallet. The Grand Hotel Tremezzo is livestreaming its views, and Club Med rolled out an entire program for people stuck at home that includes resort tours and family activities.

Here’s a 360-degree tour of their Italian Alps resort:

Make An Espresso

Or just a coffee if you don’t have an espresso maker at home. Here are all the ways to drink coffee in Italy — its coffee culture is a dynamic and important part of Italian culture as a whole! And while you take in your breakfast, here’s some ambient noise and music to help you relax into the scenery.

Take A Museum Tour

A lot of famous landmarks are available for virtual visits, and thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you can actually take a lot of museum tours at the moment. There are 171 collections available online in Italy alone, and you can learn more about various aspects of Italian culture through the Stories feature. What’s the deal with furniture in Lissone? And what about the accordions of Castelfidardo? There’s a lot to explore here — you might not even miss having to stand in long lines and battle big crowds!

Musei Capitolini in Rome, Italy
Exploring Rome’s Musei Capitolini via Google Arts & Culture

Have An Authentic Experience

You managed to visit a couple museums and you’re still not tired. Time to see what else the virtual world has to offer! Perhaps a livestream of something cool, or an online Airbnb experience?

The Teatro di San Carlo, the opera house in Naples, is streaming operas and ballets online. Or, you can check out what various Airbnb hosts are up to.

Here’s a virtual tour of Caravaggio’s life and works if you’re still thirsting for a guided experience:

Make Dinner

If cooking was not what you had in mind for your vacation from home experience, that’s understandable. Ordering takeout from your favorite Italian restaurant can help you scratch that itch! But if you’re interested in getting a little more hands-on, you can try your hand at a recipe or take cooking lessons online. 

Il Salviatino Chef Silvia Grossi is offering cooking classes on Instagram right now:

Even better: learn how to make pasta like you mean it from this Italian grandma who took her Airbnb experiences live.

Sip A Negroni

This classic drink can be somewhat polarizing due to its bitter flavor profile, but it’ll do a decent job convincing you you’re far away from home. Here’s a recipe.

And while you’re relaxing with your drink in hand, why not a little bit of music to end the evening on the right note? The Monteverdi Tuscany launched a streaming program featuring performances from the homes of some big-deal musicians and artists. Even better, the program helps support the arts as well.

Here’s a performance by Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung, featuring works by Bach, Schumann and Debussy.

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