Your travel plans may be on hold for a little while, but that doesn't mean you can't dream. Lockdown gives us all a unique chance to take stock and invest in some extra inspiration when it comes to planning our summer holidays. And in this day and age, there are so many incredible resources out there to help you decide; city break or rural retreat? Exotic adventure or staycation?
We're taking a closer look at the some of the books, podcasts and travel blogs that'll help while away the hours as you explore the world from the comfort of your armchair.
3 podcasts to spark your wanderlust
Leave your body behind as your mind goes on a far-flung journey across the globe thanks to the transportive skills of these podcasts dedicated to auditory travel.
- The Travel Diaries - the interview format of this weekly broadcast allows unprecedented access to the holiday habits of celebrities, travel gurus, entrepreneurs and creatives. Still, it's not just a voyeuristic peek into the private lives of the rich and famous. Each episode, effortlessly facilitated by host Holly Rubenstain, delves into the destinations and experiences that have affected them as people, whisking the listener off on a magical mystery tour into the unknown.
- Amateur Traveler - combining an award-winning blog and podcast all on one reasuring website, the Amateur Traveler himself, Chris Christensen, navigates his listeners though the sometimes daunting logistics of worldwide travel. With topics ranging from how to save money abroad to advice on where to go, his sense of wonder is infectious, and his reassuring hints and tips would have even the most reticent traveller reaching for their passport.
- The Rough Guide to Everywhere - known for their trusty guidebooks, Rough Guide has ventured into the digital world with what we like to call, a blogcast. From whether the secret to your perfect holiday is all in your genes, to how to turn your hand to travel writing, and pointers on the wealth of hidden culture right here in the UK; this podcast gives you the true stories behind the destinations.
Escape into the pages of a good book
A book is a passport to countless adventures, as the saying goes. But that's not just paying lip service to the immersive nature of novels, as these works of non-fiction will leave you laughing, learning and raring to get back on the road. You can order these titles easily online or see if they're available as handy audiobooks.
- Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country is travelogue legend Bill Bryson's comic tale of his explorations across the vast landscapes of Australia. Relating his hilarious encounters with the local wildlife, as well as the life-changing moments that come from visiting places few before you ever have, this is a warm-hearted, anecdote-filled book that also sheds a well-deserved light on the country's fascinating history. While not a traditional guidebook, it's a must-read if you plan on visiting Australia someday. And if you don't already have plans to, after devouring this, you're sure to be tempted!
- If, like us, you have a penchant for rail travel, you'll want to feast your eyes on Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure. Winner of the National Geographic Traveller Award for Best Travel Book, this encyclopaedic tome was written by train enthusiast Monisha Rajesh over seven months as she set out to discover if the romance of rail was still alive and well. As the title suggests, she does this by journeying from Europe to Asia to North America and back to London aboard 80 different trains of varying luxury and reliability, stopping off in countries including North Korea, Canada and Italy along the way.
- A well-known face from his days as a Python, in recent years Michael Palin has established himself as the reliable figure at the helm of many travel documentaries, while also turning his hand to a spot of writing. His 2009 book, accompanying the BBC series of the same name, 'Himalaya' offers an irresistible glimpse into his challenge of travelling the full length of the Himalaya, a feat no one is quite sure has ever been attempted before. With fantastic descriptions of remote villages and precipitous mountain passes, it's the characters he meets along the way that really make you feel you're right there alongside him.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to imagination-fuelling travel writing and broadcasting, and we'd love to hear your recommendations too. Get in touch and let us know which books, podcasts or blogs leave you eagerly awaiting the time we can once again get out and explore our incredible world.