Let’s face it, social distancing is tough. But for all of us who suffer from acute wanderlust, not being able to travel is tougher. Thankfully, destinations are desperate to get our attention now as we think about planning future trips. The result? An abundance of virtual travel options. Explore cities with local guides. Celebrate talent at a virtual festival. Pick up a few tips for bringing a touch of luxury home. You can even bring the taste of travel home with online cooking classes. Yeah, we know it’s not the same. But hey, you don’t have to pack.
Exploring Spain’s Cities
Known for the stunning architecture of Antoni Gaudí, world-class museums like the Prado, gastronomic delights and all things Flamenco, Spain occupies a spot on many travelers’ bucket lists. While you’re waiting for the world-class cities of this spectacular country to reopen, download the CityMe app and meet the locals: Laia in Barcelona, Jose in Madrid and Rafa in Seville who will show you their respective cities.
With over 500 points of interest in each one, your virtual guides are sharing plenty. From history to novelties to curiosities, you’ll view the highlights. The guides also offer tips that will help you plan a real trip to Spain when travel opens. Typically priced at €3.49 per city, the app fee has been waived during the coronavirus quarantine period.
Editor’s Note: Apps for London and Paris will be released soon…stay tuned!
Discover a Southern USA Cultural Treasure
Lauded as the “Cultural Mecca of the South”, Oxford, Mississippi brims with creativity. Home to literary favorites including Nobel Prize-winning author William Faulkner, Barry Hannah and John Grisham, talent abounds in this small southern town. Musicians, artists and chefs also found inspiration in the picturesque community nestled in the hills of North Mississippi. Find your inspiration for a future visit through the community’s virtual experiences.
Among the offerings, the Stay@Home Festival launched by The Yoknapatawpha Arts Council provides the creative voices of Oxford a place to share their talents virtually. Daily online programs feature local music talents, art exhibits, talks with artists, film premieres and more. www.visitoxfordms.com
Five-Star Luxury at Home
While booking a five-star hotel is temporarily eluding you right now, you can still bring a touch of luxury to your home to ease the sting.
Celebrating 40 years of luxury, the Four Seasons Washington D.C. is offering a luxury life skill. The hotel’s learning and development team has broken down the 12-step process to perfect turn-down service. Treat yourself or a loved one to a blissful night’s sleep. Don’t forget the chocolate for the pillow. www.instagram.com/fswashington
And Miami’s luxurious Acqualina Resort & Spa recently introduced a “Bringing Acqualina to You” series to virtually inspire you. The series shares ideas to make Acqualina’s amenities available to you wherever you’re quarantined. Take a virtual tour of the property. Discover at-home health and wellness experiences. Get nutritious cooking tips to try at home. Or, share the resort experience with the whole family through Acqualina’s marine biology-inspired children’s program, AcquaMarine. www.acqualinaresort.com
Up Your Cooking Game
Are you envious of all the expertly prepared meals your friends are sharing on social media? Up your game with a cooking class. The Chopping Block, Chicago’s largest recreational cooking school, offers comprehensive online courses through videos from Chef Shelley Young. Brush up on the basics like how to chop an onion (sans the tears) or roasting a chicken. If you’re looking for more advance techniques, learn how to create the perfect risotto. www.thechoppingblock.com/videos
Are your skills already perfected? Give the recipes that are hand-picked by Chicago’s top chefs a try. Chef Jeff Vucko of Travelle shares his recipe for Melted Leek and Burrata Ravioli with Sugar Snap Peas and Bacon. Sounds better than that Tuna Casserole you were planning for dinner, doesn’t it? www.choosechicago.com/chicago-chef-recipes
For the Kids
If you’re a parent dealing with the challenges of homeschooling and keeping the kids engaged, we know you could use a break. While we can’t virtually send you a bottle of wine or whiskey, we can help with ideas. Compiling all types of “Virtual Adventures for Kids,” Austin Adventures’ online learning series includes upcoming escapades in Costa Rica “The Land of Fire” (April 16), Life is Good Adventures “The Power of Positivity” (April 23) and Peru “The Land of the Inca” (April 30). More on the way for May. And if you miss any of these dates, Austin Adventures records and posts all the adventures for future viewing. www.austinadventures.com
More Virtual Experiences to Come
While we’re all staying home, the editorial team at TravelSquire will continue to bring you virtual experiences to keep you entertained and inspired. And when we’re free to travel again, we’ll have plenty of adventures to share with you. Stay tuned!