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Here's what to do with all your travel wanderlust

Nov. 08, 2020
8 min read
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Editor's Note

/strong> This story has been updated.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

As England begins the second lockdown of 2020, thousands of us back in the States are still having to either postpone or cancel upcoming trips -- and who knows for how long? Traveling for leisure -- both domestically and internationally -- is still up in the air for many.

Though some prefer not to travel at the moment, there are some other ways to quench that wanderlust. From cooking something exotic to dancing the salsa, here are our top tips to help.

Organize your travel photos

(Photo by Kohei Hara/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kohei Hara/Getty Images)

With smartphones constantly in tow and the rise of social media apps, it's easy to take thousands of photos over the course of a simple weekend beach getaway. If you're anything like me, these photos sit on your phone to never be looked at again, except for the lone few you send your mum and dad and a couple you've doctored for Instagram.

Now is the time to organize all these photos! Here are some of the things you can do with them:

  • Delete duplicates or ones you don't like to free up space on your phone;
  • Make photo selections to print;
  • Create digital albums or photo folders;
  • Back up your photos digitally using services like iCloud, Dropbox or Google Photos; or
  • If you have photo printing access or hard copies of photos, make albums or scrapbooks.

If you have children at home, you can include them in some of these projects. Kids can help with scrapbooking and teens can go through their travel photos and pick favorites too.

Online shop for travel gear

(Photo by Olga Shevtsova/EyeEm/Getty Images)
(Photo by Olga Shevtsova/EyeEm/Getty Images)

Shop online for all sorts of travel items, such as new luggage, packing cubes, eye masks, neck pillows, travel clothing, adaptors, external batteries, selfie sticks and more. Here's what's on my list to purchase:

Make sure when online shopping to check airline shopping portals, which will allow you to earn additional bonus points at specific retailers. Make sure to check out the full TPG guide to shopping portals here.

Points and miles inventory and strategy

(Photo by Tom Werner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Werner/Getty Images)

This would be a great time to dig into your accounts and see what's happening. Once you have an inventory, you can think about possible strategies for gaining (or not losing) elite status and earning miles or points. If want to grow a particular bank of miles or points, consider applying for a credit card to speed up earning. Go through award charts and think about sweet spots or best ways to use your points and miles for when you can travel again.

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Book (or at least start daydreaming) about your next trip

(Photo by Dana Neibert/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dana Neibert/Getty Images)

Now that you're aware of your points and miles and hopefully have a strategy in mind for earning and burning, it's time to daydream about your next trip.

Christian Kramer found that planning his next trip was one of the ways he could stay sane during these difficult times stuck at home.

"I am an avid traveler, and the thought of sitting at home with little travel to look forward to was not overly appealing. Knowing that airlines around the world have put generous travel waiver policies in place, I was perfectly comfortable booking a trip for the summer," he explained.

If you don't feel comfortable booking just yet, you can at least make a bucket list with destinations, dream hotels and routes you'd love to fly -- and ponder how you can use your points and miles to get you there.

Watch a travel film

(Photo by Marco Piunti/Getty Images)
(Photo by Marco Piunti/Getty Images)

If you aren't quite sure about where your next dream trip should be, or you simply need to virtually escape the confines of your walls for a few hours, watch a travel film. Here are a few you might like:

  • "Motorcycle Diaries": For those who dream of being wild and free, take a virtual trip on a motorcycle through Latin America with Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
  • "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel": If you're not dying to head to Jaipur by the end of this film, the Bollywood dance scene at the end will at least put you in a livelier mood.
  • "Vicky Christina Barcelona": With stunning shots of Barcelona's Park Güell and Gothic neighborhood, you'll be itching to visit Spain.
  • "Eat, Pray, Love": Shot in Rome, Bali and India, you'll be inspired to do a bit of soul-searching after you watch this feel-good film.

Read a travel memoir or novel

(Photo by F.J. Jiménez/Getty Images)
(Photo by F.J. Jiménez/Getty Images)

Quarantine is the perfect time to curl up with a good book. Here are some of my favorite travel memoirs and novels:

  • "Cathedral of the Sea" by Ildefonso Falcones: Travel back in time to 14th century Barcelona where townspeople carried stones on their backs to build the Santa Maria del Mar cathedral, which still stands today in the Born district.
  • "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed: Follow one woman's journey of finding herself after dealing with death, divorce and drug use by hiking the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail in the U.S. -- alone.
  • "Under the Tuscan Sun" by Frances Mayes: The book is indeed better than the film. See how one woman recounts the trials and errors of renovating a dilapidated Tuscan farmhouse.
  • "Turn Right at Machu Picchu" by Mark Adams: Read this if Machu Picchu is on your bucket list, as the author retraces explorer Hiram Bingham's steps through the lost Inca territory in Peru.

Try some vacation-inspired recipes

(Photo by VICUSCHKA/Getty Images)
(Photo by VICUSCHKA/Getty Images)

If you can't eat street food in Bangkok or tapas in Spain, you can do your best to cook international dishes at home. You may have to order ingredients online, of course, but once you have them, you can test your luck in the kitchen. It may be a perfect time to order that crockpot or instant pot, too. Google recipes online for things like:

  • Thai or Indian curries;
  • Greek salads;
  • Italian lasagna;
  • Spanish omelet;
  • Japanese sushi;
  • Any vegetarian/vegan dishes you've been wanting to test out but haven't had time;
  • Mexican tacos, enchiladas or quesadillas;
  • Homemade bread of all kinds: Irish soda bread, Matzo bread, German rye and beyond; or
  • Hungarian beef goulash.

Listen to international music or travel podcasts

(Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)
(Photo by Westend61/Getty Images)

If you can't travel, you can at least perk up with some tunes. Here are some ideas for mood-boosting international music styles:

  • Latin salsa or reggaeton
  • K-Pop
  • Italian opera
  • French rap
  • Dominican bachata
  • Spanish flamenco guitar
  • African djembe/drum beats

If you prefer to listen to podcasts, check out TPG travel podcasts:

Bottom line

Here at TPG, we're all frequent travelers so staying put is quite difficult for us -- as it likely is for many of you. Doing some of these travel-related activities can help you channel that inner wanderlust or travel bug, getting you through these complicated moments.

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How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023