Every challenge is an opportunity, and every moment of pause is a chance for reflection. I think I just made that up, but it’s probably stolen from a movie. To be blunt, we took travel for granted, and now that it’s gone, there’s opportunity to never let that happen again, with things we can do from home.

Madrid_plaza_mayorLearn A Language

Spain, Mexico, Central and South America are always fun, but exploring them with at least a cursory knowledge of the Spanish language make them so much better. Being fluent – life changing.

In any country, speaking the local language opens up literal doors, opportunities and friendships unavailable to those who don’t bother, and with quite a bit of free time on your hands, now is the time to brush up, and great apps make it easier than ever, like Babbel (50% off) or Rosetta Stone.

It’s worth noting for US readers that Babbel is offering 40% back, or 40x Amex Membership Rewards Points today on Rakuten. So, Dust off that Italian, French, Mandarin, Japanese, Afrikaans or whatever language is going to make your next trip sweeter than ever, whenever it comes. At the very least, it’ll make your CV, or Tinder profile look better.

a tray of food on a counterLearn To Cook Dishes From Your Favorite Places

Or order them for delivery! The joy of travel and the joys of food are intrinsically intertwined, and gaining a deeper understanding of what makes the best, the best, is a great way to “spice” up your evenings at home.

Making your own tacos is as easy as adding maseca to water. Making a mind blowing curry is just a few spices away, and perfecting a cacio e pepe pasta is one of life’s essentials. Who knew making pizza dough was so easy too…

If only to entertain yourself, learning how to cook dishes from around the world makes nights more fun, makes you relive great travel memories and also gives you a wider variety of things in your booze cabinet to swing for, since food and drinks are a pair equally as vital as food and travel…

away carry-onLearn How To Carry On

Marie Kondo made packing cool again, and really – it should be. It’s amazing how far you can go and how little you need with you, if you plan properly and bring versatile items. Plus, packing cubes, rolling and a few other tricks will totally change your game.

One common side effect of cabin fever is house makeovers, and while you’re de-cluttering your palace, or trying to make your studio feel more like a palace, figuring out how to maximize any space is a great move, and putting unneeded items into your luggage is a great way to create space.

Read up on packing tips for people who suck at packing, and look into how packing cubes and other accessories can change your travel game. In a social distancing world, the fewer people touching your stuff the better, and going carry on only makes that a lot easier.

contactless credit cardAssess Your Travel Rewards

One way loyalty programs win with travelers is by keeping them moving and locking them in. With no one moving, and no one locked in, now is a great time to give yourself an honest assessment and figure out whether you’re using the right rewards credit cards, loyalty programs and travel perks.

A perk unused is not a perk at all, and a credit card with points you can’t use isn’t a rewards card after all. Take this time to consider the travel you really want going forward, and which loyalty programs will get you there. Here’s quite a large section of resources on maximizing points, and best loyalty programs.

With uncertain times ahead, banks are expected to reduce welcome bonuses and tighten card sign up restrictions, so if you’re looking to grab a bunch of points for the meantime, now is a good time to look.

a close up of a passportAdmin Your Passport Game

Many countries have invalidated all visas issued prior to March, 2020, and that means when the world does take to the travel world again, many will find themselves caught out unintentionally by visa or travel authorization issues they didn’t even know exist.

Even some of those who choose not travel to the USA, or are forced to cancel due to restrictions, but don’t manage to cancel their flights within 24 hours of travel face any ESTA authorizations being invalidated, just for thinking about it. Yep, it’s true.

Take this time to read which countries have invalidated prior visas or travel authorizations, or will need to be renewed, so that when you are able to travel again – you don’t get stuck at the airport.

a group of people walking down a streetDocument Your Best Trip Memories

There’s been an emergence in recent years of companies that can print your favorite memories on canvas, fine art gloss and just about any other medium – even coffee mugs.

Supporting businesses wherever possible in times like these is a great thing to do, and if it brings joy to your daily caffeine, or one of your walls, it’s even better. Look through your favorite travel photos, learn some basic editing skills and then send them off to become something that stays with you at home.

Each room of GSTP HQ has a large photo print of a happy travel memory, and since it may be a while before we create new ones, nostalgia may have to do.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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