How to Keep Busy During a Pandemic and You Can’t Travel (Ideas for Those Self-Isolating)

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Hopefully, not many of us will be in a situation where we find ourselves confronted by large scale travel restrictions. But during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for many, this is just what is happening. Around the world people are finding themselves with closed borders, cancelled flights, city or countrywide lockdowns, as well as other restrictions. This means it can be easy to find yourself bored, twiddling your thumbs and obsessing with the news. However, there are plenty of ways to keep yourself busy during this time and to use this time to your advantage. Here are our ideas on how to keep busy during a pandemic when you can’t travel.

Learn a new skill

To start with why not use the time that you would normally be out of the house socialising, or doing other activities to instead learn a new skill. This might be something you’ve wanted to do for a while, such as learning to programme, photography, or how to improve your cooking skills, to name just a few things. A website that offers lots of online tutorials is Skillshare which has over 22,000 tutorials for you to choose from.

Another site that we personally use and recommend is Udemy. Here you can find courses for a huge range of subjects from programming, writing, business, design, marketing – you name it.

Depending on your interest it’s also likely you’ll find plenty of other websites providing ways for you to learn, such as online courses. Some of these might even give you a qualification at the end of it.

Use our Skillshare link for 2-weeks free access.

Practice yoga

Yoga is a great physical exercise to do, allowing you to improve your flexibility, improve your cardio and circulatory health and provides heaps of other benefits. And better yet yoga is an activity you can do almost anywhere in the world. Thanks to online streaming and the many fantastic sites available you’ll find plenty of videos to get started. A series we recommend on YouTube is Yoga with Adriene. She has a huge selection of videos that you can stream as well as custom series such as HOME – A 30 Day Yoga Journey and better yet, these are free to watch.

Yoga - CC0 (Pixabay)
Yoga via Pixabay

Practice meditation

Another highly recommended activity to practice is meditation. Meditation is a wonderful way to clear your mind, especially if you are struggling with the negativities and news during the pandemic. For meditation, you’ll find several apps available such as Calm,  Mindfulness and Headspace (to name a few). Many of these are free to download (for the basic app). As well as apps and videos there are also articles (such as this one) which will be sure to help you start with your meditation practice and clearing your mind.

Meditation - CC0 (Pixabay)


Many people think you have to go to a gym to workout, but it’s actually possible to work out at home. Again this might involve doing things such as watching online videos, where you follow an instructor and class. As well as this though you could just put on your favourite exercise tunes and then get cracking with bodyweight exercises. For some tips and exercises for working out at home see this article from the BBC. Or also consider having a look on YouTube for ideas.

Start a website or blog

Lockdown is the perfect time to start a website or blog. To start you’ll need to spend time deciding on the theme of your site, buying your hosting, installing your blogging application of choice (such as WordPress), creating the design and style, and then, of course, creating content for the world to read.

The good thing about blogging and creating websites is that it can be on any subject you want, such as cooking, music, photography, or travel (to name a few things). It is important though to start a website on something you have a passion for and an interest in, otherwise it’ll be extremely hard to motivate yourself.

Have video chats with friends and family

Chatting to friends and family is always nice, but many people’s lives are now so fast and none stop that they might forget to pick up the phone and chat to people. So, why not use the time you have at home to call your friends and family and catch up and talk about the good times you’ve had together and things that you look forward to in the future.

As well as speaking to people on the phone a few good options for video chats include Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype and House Party. Some of these also allow the option of quizzes and other games which can be quite fun.

Complete items on your to-do list

Maybe you’re like us and you have a never-ending list of things to do. And on this list are lots of items that have been there for weeks, months or even years. If possible then why not use your free time during the pandemic and lockdown to tick some of these items off. It will almost definitely feel like a huge relief once you’ve finished.

To do list

Read a book or online

Have you got some new books sitting there on your shelf or even an oldie that you recall enjoying in the past? If so then why not pick that book up and have a read. Reading can be a great way to get off screens and distract yourself.

If you’re not wanting a big collection of books then something such as a Kindle would also be a good idea. This allows you to download books straight to the device but is designed so that it’s still friendly to the eyes, therefore, doesn’t feel quite the same as reading from a normal screen.

Play chess or a board game

If you’re stuck at home with friends or family another way to keep yourself busy and also to bond is to play a board game. This could be something such as chess, Monopoly or maybe you have a whole stack of games which have been gaining dust above the wardrobe.

As well as being a good way to bond these games might also keep your brain a little sharper rather than allowing yourself to sink into a bored mindless state of mind.

For chess sets and other games consider having a look on Amazon and hopefully home delivery is still available.

Chess Set

Do an online quiz

Quizzes can be great fun and are a nice way to stay busy when you can’t travel. Check out our Travel Quizzes and see how many questions you can get correct. You may also be reminded about some of the beautiful places out there that you might want to add to your bucket list.

Find a new show on Netflix

Not that you should spend all your time in front of the TV, if you have a TV you will undoubtedly find yourselves wanting to watch something. Thankfully there are plenty of streaming services out there including the ever-popular Netflix which offers heaps of shows for you to watch. Including plenty of travel-related shows that can ignite that wanderlust ready for when the pandemic is over.


Watch happy movies

It’s important to stay positive during difficult times. To try and get those happy thoughts into your head considering watching some cheerful and happy movies. Such as comedies, or movies that are known to lift the spirits. Here are some suggestions from timeout on what to watch.

Listen to good music

Music is another great way to lift your spirits. From listening to your favourite live set such as on Youtube, streaming podcasts, or listening to a great mix on Spotify. There are plenty of other benefits to listening to music too, such as reducing anxiety, providing comfort, and reducing stress. Once you have the tunes on then why not get up and dance, keep that body moving and rock your body.

If you’d like to take it to the next level and you have an instrument you could also try playing something yourself, or singing out loud.

Lady listening to music and dancing with headphones


Many of us probably don’t write enough these days, so why not use a pandemic lockdown to start. This might be writing in a journal, something online, or even starting a novel that you’ve had an idea for. Some of the benefits of writing including clearing your mind, improving your skills and enhancing your communication skills. Also once you start writing you’d be surprised at how quickly you get into it and by the end of the lockdown, you may have produced something fantastic.

Dream and plan future trips

Finally, why not do some research and dream about future trips that before long you’ll be able to go on. Read articles such as 10 Best Beach Destinations to Visit in Europe, or 10 Best and Must-See National Parks in Africa for some ideas on where to go. Even if these trips don’t happen anytime soon, it’s still nice to think about those trips and some of the amazing experiences that you could hope to have.


A global pandemic that causes lockdown will definitely not be something that anyone wants, but it’s definitely worth using that time to your advantage. Make the most of the opportunities it gives you to catch up on things, learn new skills, switch off and unwind, or speak to friends and family (even if it’s not directly).

For those looking for more information on the Coronavirus (COVID-19), such as symptoms and how to avoid infecting others, then we recommend visiting the NHS page or your local government health website.


Written by

Mike Clegg

Mike is a traveller, photographer, WordPress developer and the creator of He started this website so as to share his experiences and tips with travellers. He is from the UK and has travelled to many places around the world. He loves to shares his pictures and stories through Instagram and this website.

Read full bio | More articles by Mike

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