50 Fun Things to Do At Home When You Can’t Travel

photograph of a jigsaw puzzle on a table

Right now due to coronavirus, everyone is home-bound. For us, that’s Asheville, North Carolina. Rather than sit around moping, we’ve come up with a list of 50 fun things to do when you can’t travel. Keep reading to see how we’re busting boredom. Please leave a comment below if you think of something we should add!

  1. Make a new recipe. Here’s one of our favorites: It’s a banana bread recipe!
  2. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Some of our favorites include 1000 piece puzzles and 500 piece puzzles. We’re not die-hard about a specific brand but we like Ravensburger, Masterpieces and Sprinkboks.
  3. Work on a DIY project for your van. We made screens for our windows to keep out bugs. We also made a DIY van life bed as well as storage pockets for our sliding side doors.
  4. Use Zoom.us to connect with friends and family. It’s free and can allow you to ‘hang out’ with people from all over the world.
  5. Have a dance party at home. Here’s one of our Spotify travel playlists. You’ll need the app to listen but it’s free to have an account.
  6. Go for a walk or run. We’ve got plenty of gear reviews about running gear if you are just getting into the sport. Our favorite brand is Hoka One One and we’ve done a couple reviews on their trail running and road running shoes.
  7. Binge on Netflix. You were probably already doing this.
  8. Explore new places via Google Earth. You can explore over 100 National Park sites via Google Earth. 113, to be exact.
  9. Take a virtual tour of a museum or gallery. Google again rises to the occassion with their Arts and Culture app that lets you tour some of the most famous and well-known museums on the planet. One of my favorite tours which they’re offering is of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. It’s world-class. All you need is a device and the Google Arts and Culture App, both of which are available for Android and iOS (Apple).
  10. Learn a new skill. We recently wrote a whole article on new van life skills. If you need a place to start, head here.
  11. Tune up and clean your bike, skateboard, fishing rod, etc.
  12. Make the photo album or collage of all your travel photos that you never quite got around to.
  13. Play an old-fashioned board game or card game. One of our all-time favorites is Uno.
  14. Draw. Paint. Sketch.
  15. Pick up the needle and sew. We like to cross-stitch. But you can also knit. Here’s a link to help you get started. Here’s a link to a quick kit that’ll give you all the basic supplies you need to get started.
  16. Do a workout video at home.
  17. Start that blog you always wanted to start and begin sharing about your passion. Our van life travel blog that you’re reading is built on WordPress. It’s a good platform but these days there are many options to choose from such as Wix, Medium, Weebly, Squarespace, etc.
  18. Go down the Reddit rabbit hole. Some would argue that this is the opposite of fun. We’ll leave that up to you. But they don’t call it the ‘front page of the internet for nothing!’ Here’s a link to the r/vanlife subreddit. Enter at your own risk! There are some great tips in this subreddit but it can also sometimes feel a little negative.
  19. Set up a birdfeeder and watch the wildlife come to your backyard. Better yet, make a birdfeeder! You can spring for a birdfeeder kit or make your own from scratch. When I was a kid we made some out of pinecones. We’d smear some peanut butter on the edges of the pinecones and then get birdseed to stick to it. After that it’s just a matter of attaching so yarn to the pinecone. Here’s a link to a quick tutorial.
  20. Build a fort. If you’re down on this idea you might just have to get your inner child to come out and play. Move the furniture around, grab a few blankets, use your imagination.
  21. Read a book. We’ve got a list of great adventure books that keep our travel stoke high. You can see it here. We’ve also been getting some great laughs out of books by David Sedaris. He’s written a bunch of books but our favorite so far is Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.
  22. Get a TikTok account. There’s a lot of funny stuff happening over there. You don’t have to create short videos in order to enjoy them.
  23. Go on a date at home. No, really. Set up candles, cook a sweet meal, break open some wine.
  24. Do a beer tasting. Or wine tasting. Or mezcal tasting. You get the point. It might not quite be like going to a brewery, but it’ll keep your tastebuds happy. Here’s a list of some of our favorite Asheville breweries for when it’s safe to go out and drink again.
  25. Plant flowers or food. Some see gardening, farming and yard work as a chore. We get it. But there are plenty of people who seeing getting in the dirt as play.
  26. Make a take a bubble bath. Grab a glass of wine. Turn on some music and relax.
  27. Give your partner a massage. Then, get a massage in return!
  28. Eat your meals outside.
  29. Be your own barista. Here’s some of our top tips on how to make a delicious cup of coffee. It’s also got some information about some of our favorite pieces of coffee gear. Hopefully that’ll tide you over until you can revisit your favorite Asheville coffee shop or seek out one of our favorite coffee shops in the United States.
  30. Reorganize your closet. I wouldn’t have added this to the list of fun things to do at home when you can’t travel but my mom gets a lot of joy out of organizing her closet. Maybe that’s you, too. Bonus: when you’re done, your closet looks amazing.
  31. Train for your own race. Many people were working towards racing in a 5k, half-marathon or marathon when the coronavirus cancelled events. If this was you, keep training and then do your race anyway. Lean on family and friends for support and post about it on social media. Maybe you can even raise money to go to COVID-19 research or relief efforts. I did a version of this when the NYC Marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy back in 2012. My friends and family helped me raise over $1000 in less 48 hours. I ran 26.2 miles on my own and then donated the money when I finished.
  32. Tie dye. Add a little fun color to some t-shirts or your bed linens or cloth napkins. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to do tie dye at home.
  33. Read an audiobook. We’ve recently started listening to books via the app Audible. It’s been a fun thing to do when you can’t travel in that you can go places via books without ever having to leave home.
  34. Pitch your tent. You can do this one outside if you have a backyard or even indoors if you don’t.
  35. Take a nap in the middle of the day.
  36. Binge on a podcast. Podcasts are cool because not only are they offered on tons of different topics but they require less of a commitment than an entire audiobook. We love This American Life and How I Built This with Guy Raz. Hidden Brain is another good one.
  37. Meditate. There’s no better way to calm your mind than to meditate. You don’t have to have a ton of fancy gear to meditate, you can do it anytime, anywhere. If you’re new to meditation, check out this app called Headspace. It’s super soothing and has videos and animations to help guide you to a better … headspace.
  38. Roll all the coins in your house up in wrappers. We recently wrapped a bunch of coins we had lying around. It didn’t look like much in the glass jar we’d been keeping it in, but once it was all wrapped up we had enough money to go out to dinner a few times! Here’s a link in case you need some coin wrappers. It’s much cheaper to roll your own than to dump your jar in one of those machines at the grocery store.
  39. Make a backyard bonfire. We love Snow Peak’s Takibi Fire and Grill. You can set it up pretty much anywhere and it comes with a lifetime guarantee. It folds up flat and comes with it’s own carrying bag so it’d be a great addition to any van life road trip kit.
  40. Make your own infused oils. Here’s a link to a tutorial.
  41. Make a sundial.
  42. Do a photo shoot indoors with your family, partner or pet.
  43. Keep your travel stoke alive by planning out your next trip with routes and restaurants and fun things to do along the way.
  44. Stargaze. Grab a blanket and lay out under the stars. Bonus points for staying up late to see a meteor shower. You can learn the stars with old fashioned identification cards or employ the help of an app like SkyView which is available for iOS and Android.
  45. Karaoke. Sure there are karaoke machines that you can buy but a wooden spoon and a stereo will do the trick for most people.
  46. Start your own composting bin. Want to get started but not sure how? Here’s a good guide to some composting basics.
  47. Throw a baseball or a frisbee with a family member.
  48. Write an email to a friend or family member that you’ve lost touch with.
  49. Work a crossword puzzle or Sudoku. There are tons of puzzle books you can purchase online. You can also access puzzles online via The New York Times.
  50. Make some music! Dust off the old guitar and pull out the piano bench. Music is uplifting. If you’re bold enough, make a video of you playing and put it on social media. Nothing brings people together quicker than a song.

50 Fun Things to Do at Home When You Can’t Travel

The coronavirus is keeping us at home but it doesn’t mean we have to be bored. We can make good use of our time while cooped up and even have fun. How many of these things have you done? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below if you have something you think we should add.

Related: Best Van Life Skills To Learn During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Caroline Whatley and Erin McGrady are freelance photographers based out of Asheville, North Carolina. Though coronavirus has them at home and not on the road, they’re making good use of their time and eagerly awaiting the day they can get back out on the road again.

Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

7 thoughts on “50 Fun Things to Do At Home When You Can’t Travel

  1. HA! What creative ideas! Definitely more than I have seen when googling :).I LOVE the composting sundial, infused oils and the TYE DYE IDEAS! Going to do the dye today, nature walk and compost materials tomorrow, and will rummage through my medicine cabinet for infused oil materials tonight.

    Your banana bread recipe looks killer. I have a question….I am ATTEMPTING to make sourdough starter (day 4 and going strong). Could I add some starter into this recipe? Would that be totally awful or would it add a layer of goodness?

    1. Hey K! Thanks so much for the feedback – glad some of the tips are helpful. Hope you have some fun with them! Very impressed with the sourdough starter creation. Wow! I’d forgo that and make this recipe as is. It’s delicious as written. Not sure how it’d be with a sourdough starter. That said, if you try it, please let us know how it goes!

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