7 creative ways to travel without leaving home (1)

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7 Creative Ways to Enjoy Travel Without Leaving Home

Reading Time: 9 minutes

My love language is exotic trips, so it breaks my heart when hubby asks me to talk about my hard days instead of booking me a flight. It’s something we’re working on in our marriage. To his credit, he has some salient points about why travel isn’t a viable solution to every minor inconvenience. Number one is the financial reality of a mortgage, tuition for two kids and the cost of life. I had to find some creative ways to enjoy travel without leaving home.

Instead of thinking of home as yet another thing I need to manage – hello again, laundry pile – I started thinking about ways to turn home into a playground. 

I’m still playing around with some new ideas, but while I test them out, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to tap into the spirit of adventure without packing a suitcase. 

For the Foodies

A bright and colorful Greek- summer inspired tablescape for an al fresco lunch to inspire the feeling of travel without leaving home

1. Host a Global Dinner Party

In my humble food-loving opinion, there’s no better way to make lasting memories than with food. Unsurprisingly my favorite way to travel from home is by hosting a global-themed dinner party. If you feel me on this one, consider turning your dining room into an exotic destination for an evening.

Set the Table

Start by choosing a country and researching traditional table settings and decor from that region. Set the table using specific color schemes, unique placements of utensils, or traditional tablecloths and centerpiece items. Use what you have around the house; you’d be surprised at how many different looks you can create by combining just a few things in different ways. Alternatively, you could take a quick trip to a local thrift store or rent some decor from an event company if you prefer to overdo everything like I do. The key is to create an authentic experience that transports your guests to a new locale.

Research the Menu

Food is the heart of any dinner party (duh). Dive into the culinary traditions of your chosen country and select a few staple dishes to serve. Don’t shy away from complex recipes or unique ingredients – it’s all part of the adventure. That said, remember to consider your guests’ dietary restrictions and offer a variety of dishes that cater to different preferences.

Create Ambiance

Set the mood by playing traditional music from the chosen country and use anything but overhead lighting to create a warm, inviting atmosphere. When your guests arrive, they should feel like they’ve stepped into a different part of the world. Mission accomplished. 

A quick note: If you’re not into hosting, you can do all of the above for your partner or yourself. No, it’s not ‘too much.’ You are absolutely worth all the good things you would do for your friends and family! 

2. Craft Globetrotting Cocktails

If an adult beverage at 5:01 pm every evening is your cup of tea – see what I did there? – transform your home bar into an international cocktail lounge.

A bright orange alcove with matching barstools are the focal point of a playful, fully-stocked home bar, designed to enhance globally inspired cocktail parties that feel like without leaving home.
Globally inspired home bar, concept design by Casa Diem Life

Start with the Basics

Understand the essential cocktail-making techniques, from muddling and stirring to shaking and straining. A mixology course, like this one available on Masterclass can be a great starting point.

Gather Your Ingredients

Source quality spirits, mixers, and garnishes native to the country of the cocktail you’re aiming to replicate. Around the world, various regions have signature spirits that capture the essence of their locale. Here are seven to try for your at-home cocktail adventure:

  1. Russia – Vodka: Distilled from fermented grains or potatoes, vodka is a clear, smooth spirit that serves as the backbone of many cocktails.
  2. Scotland – Scotch Whisky: Scotch Whisky, often just called Scotch, is a grain or malt whisky made in Scotland with a distinct, smoky flavor profile.
  3. Mexico – Tequila: Made from the blue agave plant, tequila is a staple in Mexican culture and cuisine, known for its strong and distinct flavor.
  4. France – Cognac: This brandy, made from distilled white wine, is a luxurious, robust spirit often enjoyed without a mixer.
  5. Japan – Sake: Sake, a rice wine, is a staple in Japanese cuisine and serves as a unique base for cocktails, providing a sweet and slightly fruity note.
  6. Caribbean – Rum: Made from sugarcane byproducts, rum comes in a range of flavors, from light and sweet to dark and rich, making it a versatile choice for cocktails.
  7. United States (Kentucky) – Bourbon: This American whiskey, made primarily from corn, carries a full-bodied, slightly sweet profile, ideal for many classic cocktails.

Recipes and Techniques

Refer to cocktail recipe books or online platforms like the International Bartenders Association for the correct proportions and mixing techniques. Remember, the beauty of cocktails lies in the balance of flavors. Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so feel free to put your own spin on it.

Extra Points for Presentation

Pay attention to the glassware and garnishes; they add to the authenticity and visual appeal of the drink. A Moscow Mule just wouldn’t taste the same in a “best mom ever” mug. Trust me on this one.

3. Pair Small Courses and Drinks

A plate of tapas paired with red wine, laid on a wooden table and lit by distant candles, illustrating that food is a powerful way to travel without leaving home.

A less labor-intensive option is simply pairing drinks with miniature courses for a quick gastronomic escape. Use resources like Wine Folly for wine and food pairings or books like “The Brewmaster’s Table” for beer and food pairings. For cocktails, websites like The Spruce Eats provide comprehensive guides on pairing cocktails with food. The key is to either complement or contrast the flavors between your dish and drink. Enjoy the adventure of experimentation, as there are no hard and fast rules.

For the Adventurers

4. Backyard Camping

Backyard camping is one of my favorite family-friendly activities because we never know what we’re doing out there, which is a great way to create lasting memories. Borrow or rent a tent and spend the night outdoors but close to bathrooms. My goodness, I love being close to bathrooms.

If you’re feeling sappy out there, try some round-robin ‘memory sharing,’ where you share your favorite family memories. Be prepared for laughter, tears, and a deeper understanding of each other.

If the goal is to wear the kids out, try a scavenger hunt. Hide various objects around the yard and provide clues leading to each one. A twist could be to make the objects and clues related to personal or family history.

A round firepit sits ablaze in the foreground. A small tent is pitched in the background next to the home's wooden shed. Backyard camping is an easy way to travel without leaving home.

While you’re out there, try some campfire cooking. Having everyone participate in the preparation and cooking of meals can be fun, rewarding, and disastrous at the same time. Just trust me and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. You can try traditional camping food like hot dogs and s’mores, or be adventurous and try some Dutch-oven recipes. 

The same fun can be brought indoors. Create a comfy space with sleeping bags and use a flashlight to create a faux campfire ambiance. Pull out a board game or a good book to make it feel like a true escape. Indoor camping is majorly fun when done with the kids and surprisingly romantic between partners. 

If you need to clear some space for these indoor adventures, download my guide to ruthless decluttering.

5. Stargazing

Socked feet surrounded by fairy lights are pictured under a star-filled sky.

A night of stargazing can be a magical experience, but it requires a bit of spontaneity because the weather can be so fickle. On a cloudless night, choose a comfortable space in your backyard and lay down some cozy blankets or reclining lawn chairs. I love to do this in the winter because I can bring out all the blankets, and hubby doesn’t give me the side-eye. 

Bonus points if you have a telescope, but unless you’re really into stars, moon craters, and satellites, you can have just as much fun without one. 

Begin the night with your favorite snacks and drinks. From classic popcorn to gourmet cheese and cracker pairings, your stargazing menu can be as simple or sophisticated as you like. I recently stumbled across ‘Star Bingo,’ where each player has a card with names or pictures of different constellations. You could also host a friendly competition to see who can spot a shooting star first, but if your attention spans are anything like ours, you can rest assured that no one will ever win this game.

If you own a telescope, use stargazing apps like SkyView or Star Walk to help identify constellations, planets, and stars. These apps can make the experience more educational and interactive, especially for kids.

And because I’m all about those immersive experiences, remember to put on some background music, preferably something soothing and instrumental. The Interstellar soundtrack is always a solid choice.

For the Culture Lovers

A woman reclines on a couch with a cozy yellow blanket, enjoying movie night surrounded by ambient light. Lighting scented candles and immersing in a foreign film is an easy, low-budget way to travel without leaving home.

6. Immersive Movie Nights

An immersive movie night can be the perfect, low-energy way to break free from the monotony of everyday life. I’ve done this twice and I’m hooked.

Select a movie set in a location you’ve always wanted to visit. Create an atmosphere that mirrors the movie’s setting, use fairy lights for a Parisian romance, or tropical decorations for a Hawaiian adventure. Dress the part by donning Hawaiian shirts or cozy alpine sweaters. If it feels silly, you’re doing it right! Creating adventure is all about learning to play again. 

Next, let your taste buds travel with you. Cook or order local cuisine related to the movie’s setting. Savor French croissants while watching ‘Amélie,’ or dig into a bowl of hearty Bolognese as you take in the Italian landscapes of ‘Under the Tuscan Sun.’

For a fully immersive experience, try to engage the sense of smell. Light a scented candle or use an essential oil diffuser that complements the movie’s setting. For instance, choose a woodsy pine scent for a movie set in the mountains or a tropical aroma for a beach setting.

Is it all a little extra? Absolutely, and that’s the point!  

For the Wellness Aficionados 

Joyful women sit in a circle outdoors, with a small candle in the middle of them. They are backlit by the setting sun, the mood is calm and joyful.

7. Cultivate Mindful Rituals for A Travel Inspired Home

Transforming everyday tasks into mindful rituals is a powerful way to escape the daily grind.

I hate to admit it, but it’s more sustainable than booking a trip when you’re stressed.

One of my favorite habits is starting the morning with a ten-minute meditation or a few yoga stretches. This sets a calm and focused tone for the day ahead. The calm doesn’t typically last past 7 am when the kids get up, but it’s a start.

I’ve also tried to slow down when making my morning tea, making sure to truly engage with the experience – the sound of the kettle boiling, the smell of the scalded leaves, the heat of the water. It’s another moment of calm and connection in what will most likely be a hectic day.

Even the dreaded task of “cleaning up” every night was transformed for me when I started to take the time after cleaning to stop and appreciate the transformation of my space from messy to clean. Feelings of fatigue and irritation are replaced with a sense of accomplishment and peace.

Remember, mindful rituals are not about adding more tasks to your daily routine, but about infusing existing tasks with intention and awareness. By cultivating these simple yet significant rituals, you can transform your daily grind into a series of mindful moments and enjoy the adventure at home.

I’ve listed a few more ideas to consider.

Top 5 Tips for Romanticizing the Mundane at Home

  1. Start and End Your Day with Gratitude: Begin and end each day by jotting down a few things you’re grateful for. This simple act can help you appreciate the small, everyday moments that often go unnoticed.
  2. Decorate Your Space: Personalize your living space with things that bring you joy. It could be pictures, plants, books, or art pieces. A beautifully adorned room can make everyday tasks feel more enjoyable.
    If you’re stumped on decorating in a personal way, read Why Your Home Doesn’t Feel Special, And What To Do About It.
  3. Indulge in a Visually Lovely Meal: Don’t save fancy tableware for special occasions. Make everyday meals luxurious by setting the table with your best dinnerware, lighting candles, and playing your favorite music.
  4. Create a Relaxing Atmosphere: Invest in an essential oil diffuser or aromatic candles. The right aroma can transform your home into a soothing haven. Who says you can’t enjoy the smell of France’s Lavender Fields while you load the dishwasher?
  5. Celebrate Small Wins: Completed a task that you’ve been putting off? Reward yourself with a favorite treat, a short break, or a few minutes of your favorite show.

So, there you have it! Adventure isn’t exclusive to mountain peaks or exotic beaches. Do you have any ideas that help you travel the world without leaving home? Share them in the comments!

Feeling inspired? Pin it for later!


Hi, I'm Chioma Ikoku, a spirited explorer and a peace-loving homebody. I founded Casa Diem Life to help you combine the excitement of travel with the comfort of home, because I believe that adventure begins at home.

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