It’s never fun to have to cancel or postpone travel plans, but we are hearing stories of people across the country “traveling” the globe and having incredible adventures, without ever setting foot outside.
Going a step beyond the usual staycation, these fauxcationers are using some out of the box thinking to create meaningful experiences through virtual and hands-on activities. Despite being homebound, they’re coming up with itineraries that allow them to see far-flung places, taste exotic foods, and learn about other cultures.
Inspired by these intrepid souls, and some magical staycations of our own, we’re planning our “trips” with the help of a little technology, a lot of imagination, and a few new things for the home.
Destination Anywhere The first step in any big adventure is deciding where to go. That’s no different for a fauxcation, except this time, the sky’s the limit! Think about all the places that you’ve always wanted to see, then decide how deep a dive you want to take—a fauxcation can be anything from an epic, multi-day adventure to a quick getaway. (We recommend devoting at least a full day to immerse yourself in the experience and satisfy your wanderlust.) The best part is, you can skip booking flights and hotels because you are already there!
Once you’ve picked your destination, start doing your research as if you were really going to that place. What are the must-see attractions and cultural activities? What are the signature dishes? What’s the weather like? To help with your planning, create a Word doc or spreadsheet and add relevant links as you find them.
Sights and Sounds Since most of your trip will rely on recorded sights and sounds to set the tone, you’ll be happy to discover there is TONS of free and budget-friendly content available online and ready to stream.
We love the simplicity of being able to stream videos and web content directly through the built-in apps on our smart TVs, or by using the screen mirroring features to connect your TV to your device. Thanks to the Android operating systems in both Samsung and Hisense TVs, it’s so easy to access and enjoy content from a variety of platforms. You can even display your pics from past family vacations, if you feel like taking a little side trip down memory lane.
As you start your search for things to watch, you’ll quickly notice that people LOVE to create and post videos of their hometowns and adventures on YouTube. Just search for your destination name plus “tour,” “walking tour,” or “walkthrough” to see what we mean. It’s all there for the streaming—you can curl up on the sofa and watch while someone else does the walking.
In addition to user-created content, there are entire YouTube channels dedicated to professionally shot, high-quality scenic footage from of destinations around the globe. Since most of it is filmed from the air, or from moving vehicles, it tends to cover more ground and contain less people. While the younger travelers may not have the attention span to sit and watch an hour-long visual tour of the Swiss Alps, for example, these videos are great to have on as background visuals. And don’t forget to add a foreign or location-appropriate movie or two to your itinerary!
Another great way to experience a new place is through its music, so it’s a good idea to put together a playlist of “local” tunes to listen to while you are eating, playing a game or doing a craft. If your fauxcation is a cruise ship or a Disney adventure, YouTube has you covered there, too, with hours-long background tracks of music and ambient sound to set the mood. When played through your home theatre system, you'll swear you were there.
Tasty Travels Of course, you can’t take a trip without experiencing the incredible food! From gourmet meals in Michelin-starred restaurants to snacks offered up by street vendors, there’s a good reason we all come back from vacation with stories about everything we ate.
The good news is, there are few dishes that can’t be ordered from local restaurants or recreated in our own kitchens thanks to the thousands of recipes available online. Even Disney favourites like Dole Whip, fried pickles, and churros can now be made at home, thanks to the Disney blog's “Cooking Up the Magic” series which spills the literal beans on some of the parks’ most iconic items. Again, YouTube is a terrific resource for cooking tutorials and, if you haven’t fallen down the rabbit hole yet, fascinating videos of street food vendors in action.
As you are getting ready for your fauxcation, explore the ethnic section of your grocery store as well as local import shops for prepared foods, specialty ingredients, and fun snacks from your destination country. There are also websites that will send you curated boxes of candy and savoury snacks from all corners of the globe. It may seem like a small detail, but helps you experience your trip with all of the senses.
To make it easier to get restaurant-quality food at home, you can now get ranges with true convection ovens and built-in air-fryers that deliver perfectly crispy “fried” foods, in less time than it takes to order in and without all the added fat. We are obsessed with this one by LG that also connects to our smart phones so we don’t have to leave the sofa to start the oven or adjust the temperature.
With all those tasty snacks, make sure you have plenty of drinks on hand and, if you’re headed to a tropical spot, plenty of ice for cocktails and mocktails. This French door fridge by Whirlpool has dual ice makers to ensure you never run out! There’s also plenty of room to stock both the fridge and freezer compartments with enough food so you don’t have to cut your fauxcation short to run to the store.
Just like any vacation, you’ll want to vary where you eat your meals on your fauxcation. Mix things up with breakfast in bed, carpet-picnics, pub- or buffet-style dining, and fancy meals around the dining table. This is a great time to shop your cabinets for unique serving pieces and decorations, or serve meals fast-food style (English fish and chips in newspaper, anyone?) around the breakfast bar or coffee table.
Hands on Fun One reason you might want to keep the dining table clear for at least part of the time is to create a place to incorporate some educational and creative moments into your trip. This is a great opportunity to extend the table and give yourself lots of room to spread out and get creative. (Don't forget to cover the surface if things are going to get a little messy!)
If your destination is known for a famous science or art museum, you can create hand-on activities inspired by the facility or something from their collection, such as digging for “dinosaur bones” or creating Matisse-like art works out of cardstock and scraps of paper. You can also use this time to make touristy souvenirs like DIY snow globes or T-shirts to remind you of your fauxcation.
If you or your crew aren’t hands-on, crafty types, it’s ok to head back to the TV for a replay of a “local” sporting event or competition—you can’t visit Hawaii without watching surfing, after all—or to check out some fun, behind-the-scenes or interactive content from research facilities, landmarks, and attractions that you might not get to see otherwise. (And without the pricy admission fees!)
Lastly, what would a vacation (or fauxcation) be without photos? Be sure to snap lots of pics throughout your fauxcation and, for a little extra fun, set up a photo booth complete with props and costumes. Sure, it's not the epic family trip you were hoping to take this year, but that doesn't mean you can't create some awesome memories.