Virtual travel: How to travel with kids without leaving your home

by Jan

Although all non essential travel has gone for the foreseeable future, virtual travel is easy and free and now is the ideal time to take your kids.  It is also a great way to add some adventure to homeschooling lessons.

We have all been told to stay home with our families and non essential travel has been banned.  The travel industry has come to a standstill as the Coronavirus pandemic takes over the world.  Holidays, mini breaks and days out have all been cancelled and new travel plans put on hold.  But does this mean we still can’t travel?

Here are 12 ways you can virtual travel with kids from the comfort of your own home.

Go to a virtual zoo

Have a day out at the zoo, without leaving your house.  Children can get a front seat view for watching their favourite animals from the comfort of their own home.   Tune in to the giraffes at Marwell Zoo, the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo or travel a little further afield to see the orangutans at San Diego Zoo.

Webcams in the enclosures mean that children can connect with the animals over the internet and check in for feeding times.  What better way to learn about their favourite creatures?

Giraffe at Folly Farm Zoo, near Saundersfoot, Wales

Visit a virtual aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium Sardine Shoal

If your kids prefer to see what is happening under the ocean, you should pay a virtual visit to an aquarium.    See what’s happening at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth or Aquarium of the Pacific in Los Angeles.

Our favourite aquarium is Monterey Bay, California.  Here you can keep up-to-date with the lively antics of the sea otters (4pm-4am Pacific time).  They also have live cams of their sharks, the Open Sea, Kelp Forest and Coral Reef exhibits.  Well worth a visit.

Discover a National Park

View of family at the Grand Canyon

If your children have ever wondered what it would be like at one of America’s National Parks, this would be the ideal time to take a virtual tour.  They could see Yosemite Falls, one of the world’s tallest waterfalls or the Grand Canyon, one of the most impressive natural wonders of the world.

Alternatively, you could let them look inside the US’s most notorious prison, Alcatraz and have a virtual tour of the cells.

To infinity and beyond

If your child is interested in space travel, the NASA website has videos showing tours of the international space station and a whole series of images of the day.

Image of astronaugh saluting to american flag on moon with lunar modual and lunar rover in background

Show them a bird's eye view of the world

View of the Earth from space

Kids can have a lot of fun taking a virtual tour of the world with Google Street View.  They can choose which country or tourist attraction they want to visit.

Alternatively, they could head for more adventure with an immersive,  guided tour from Google Earth.  They can choose from hundreds of cities to visit in 3D or use creation tools to make their own maps and stories.

A cultural day out

Many of the best museums and galleries from around the world are offering virtual tours, so kids can enjoy priceless art and valuable artefacts without the crowds.

Children will love seeing diplodocus at the Natural History Museum or Egyptian mummies at the British Museum.  Or explore some of the finest royal residences, such as Windsor Castle.

Alternatively, Google Arts and Culture is an online platform with content from over 2000 museums around the world.  There are 360 degree tours to suit every taste.  Not just art, but famous attractions and iconic travel sites from around the world.  Let their imagination run wild.

Windsor Castle, Windsor, UK

Other travel activities for kids

Learn a new foreign language

Children can get ready for their next overseas trip by learning a new language.  One of the most popular language learning platforms for kids is Duolingo, as they can download the free mobile app to their phones.

Duolingo is ideal for learning a new language, as you learn in small chunks for a few minutes each day.  Moreover, Duolingo is designed to be fun, so children won’t mind playing and learning a language at the same time.

Cook a meal from a different country

Learning to cook an international dish will not only be great fun, but a good way to fill the hours of homeschooling.  Start with something simple and tasty like pizzas or spaghetti bolognaise, then extend the menu as they get more experienced.

BBC Good Food has lots of simple recipes for kids or you could look on for instagram lessons during the lockdown period.

Biryani rice, Asian food

Go on a camping trip

picture of a yellow tent with blue and white stripe

When the weather gets warmer, you can think about pitching a tent in the garden for an overnight camping trip.  Of course, you may not have a garden.  Don’t worry –  improvise and get the kids to build a den indoors – they will love it!

Be inspired by travel programmes

Tickle their curiosity with one of the many travel programmes available.  See any of the David Attenborough documentaries, such as the awe-inspiring Seven Worlds, One Planet or groundbreaking Our Planet to inspire them to spread their wings and explore the world we live in.

Or subscribe to the new Disney Plus channel for a never-ending supply of breathtaking, child-friendly nature programmes from around the world.  Get an upfront view of pandas from China, bears in Alaska or lions in Africa, to name but a few.

TV remote with TV in background

Read some travel books

selection of travel books on shelf

Inspire the children’s wanderlust with a browse through some of the best travel books.  The Lonely Planet’s Travel Book for Kids will take them on a virtual journey to every country in the world.

Alternatively, the National Geographic’s Kids Almanac will provide interviews with explorers, and photos and facts about science, nature and animals.  All will pique their curiosity and give you hours of independent homeschooling.

Plan your next adventure

As well as seeing the world through virtual travel, you could get the children to plan the next family adventure.   Work with the kids to create their own “money-no-object” travel bucket list.  Help them plan their ideal round the world trip.

Alternatively, you could all take a trip down memory lane with some old holiday photos.  Or, find time to make photo book or holiday montage.

We may not be able to travel for real, but we can still dream!

maps, notepad, coffee, planning a trip

Thank you for reading

Thank you for reading our article on virtual travel with kids.  Have you found any good ways to entertain your kids during lockdown?  Please feel free to comment below.

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Avatar for Jan
the Curious Pixie 19th April 2020 - 4:44 pm

Amazing suggestions, I’m going to try the camping trip idea.

Avatar for Jan
Jan 19th April 2020 - 6:59 pm

Thanks. My boys have camped in the garden twice this week – they loved it!

Avatar for Jan
Emma @ Adventures of a London Kiwi 6th April 2020 - 9:17 pm

These are such lovely suggestions!

Avatar for Jan
Jan 19th April 2020 - 7:00 pm

Thanks Emma


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