How to cope with a travel drought

Tara on a coconut tree in tobago

For us travel bug sufferers in the most severe stage of the infliction, not having a trip planned can be the pits. Even not having a trip planned soon enough can be the pits (I’ll admit that my definition of what’s soon enough might be slightly on the ridiculous side of things).

But the point is, for those of us itching to travel, not having a new horizon to set your sights sometimes feels a little unnatural, or even bleak. But have no fear, since I am currently in what I consider to be a travel dry spell, I have some ideas on how to cope.

Plan your next trip

This one may seem obvious and it’s probably on every single other list of ways to cope with a travel drought, but there are some less obvious ways to make this less of a chore and more of a discovery. Planning your next trip doesn’t just mean booking flights and beds, which can be monotonous and slightly a drag. Sometimes planning your next trip is about uncovering new places, or finding out new things about old places. It’s about perusing Instagram photos of a place and getting a glimpse of what you might see. It’s about dragging out your Lonely Planet “The Travel Book” and flipping to the country for a quick guide on what’s up. Really, it’s about getting excited. And the other exciting thing is not yet knowing where your next journey will be, and going through the discovery for multiple places and picking a winner. Even if I don’t always know when I’ll be able book this next adventure, the anticipation makes me feel a little like a kid in the lead up to Christmas, getting excited about the new place I’m going to unwrap.

Read a really, really excellent book

Books have always been a way to escape, and when there’s no other travel going on, it’s a perfect way to at least get your mind on vacation. I’m not even going to recommend travel books per se, because (at least for me) guidebooks can be boring and stories about one person’s travel experiences can be annoying. All the book needs to have is some adventure or even just a really good sense of place. Something with words that make you feel a place, imagine what it would be like to be there, maybe even spark an interest in visiting. The last greatest book I read (and it ranks up there with best books I’ve ever read) was “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi. It’s Gyasi’s debut novel (she’s only 27) and in just 300 pages, she traces eight generations of one family over 250 years, from slavery to today. It paints a very colorful and moving picture of life in Ghana and in the U.S. over those years, and apart from giving an excellent history lesson in perfectly written prose, it makes you feel entirely elsewhere, caught between two continents and feeling life as it were on both. If you read it and like it, I promise not to say I told you so.

Go somewhere new in the neighborhood

Every time I meet up with a friend in Brooklyn—any friend—they mention some other place in Brooklyn and ask me if I’ve ever been, and I’m ashamed to say how often my answer is “nope.” Wherever you live, there’s things you probably haven’t seen/done/tasted/taken Instagram photos in front of. Go try something. Feel new in your old surroundings. It’s good for the soul and it helps pass the time until your next out-of-the-neighborhood escapade. I should take my own advice here (but to be fair, it is winter).

Make travel photo books from past trips

OK, for the most part, we can probably agree that scrapbooks are passe and really, ain’t nobody got time for that. So moving on. Now, it’s all about photobooks. But not the ones that take seven hours to make because the uploads are slow and you can never figure out the dang formatting and you made one mistake that took you 20 minutes to undo and then the site froze and you had to start over. Nobody has time for all that either. I recently found Chatbooks (sorry to those of you who have already been hip to the game and are now wondering where I’ve been) and it’s the best because it’s cute, but mostly because it’s easy. If you’ve already been posting snaps of your travels on Instagram, you’re pretty much done making your Chatbook. All you have to do is link your IG to your Chatbook and it will pull up your photos, you can select the ones you want, organize them, or not, and order. Done. And don’t fret if you’re not on IG—it also pulls photos from your Facebook or you can upload them from wherever else. This is a winning travel drought activity because it at least gets you happy about all the great adventures you’ve already had, and reminds you that there’ll surely be more ahead.