Some people accepted that 2020 would be a year of no traveling. Others channeled that frustration into pandemic projects that did not fully capture the essence of travel, but brought some comfort to those locked down with wanderlust.
For better or worse, 2020 was the year for "traveling" from home. We pored over (and posted) old vacation photos. We dreamed of future trips. One guy even brought some of the airplane experience home by buying Delta first-class seats for his living room.
Here are other elaborate ways people traveled from home this year.
Nature photos with indoor illusions
Before the pandemic, photographer and blogger Erin Sullivan spent most of her time traveling in the great outdoors. During shutdowns, she looked inside for photography inspiration and began shooting everyday household objects to look like nature scenes. Broccoli became trees. Sugar became sand dunes. Sullivan enlisted the rest of the Internet to join in on the fun, and she started a faux outdoors photography movement under the hashtag #OurGreatIndoors.
Disney fans made magic at home
Disney fans who could not hop onto Splash Mountain, Soarin' or Pirates of the Caribbean turned to their own souvenirs and home office supplies to create versions of their favorite rides. Jess Siswick, a digital content specialist who kicked off the #HomemadeDisney hashtag in March, said she was glad her idea gave people something fun to focus on. "Having these little video projects brought back, like, the magic of Disney," she said. "It's keeping it alive when it's not there for us."
Regional foods at home
People craving New York bagels, Chicago pizza, Texas barbecue and other local delicacies went online to satisfy their cravings - and found restaurants more than ready to deliver. Goldbelly, an online food marketplace that works with more than 500 restaurants and shops nationwide, said demand more than doubled after the pandemic forced people to stay home. "That's the thing about food from places that you love," said Joe Ariel, the company's founder and CEO. "It's not just about the food, it's about experience and nostalgia. It's like a time machine."
Some of the most crowded places in the world - Venice, Times Square, Destin, Fla., during spring break - offered eerie views of their emptiness through live streams. Would-be travelers could catch waterfalls in Yosemite, geysers at Yellowstone and sunsets at beaches all over the world.
The airplane experience at home
When a plane is out of reach, sometimes a toilet seat or washing machine will have to do. Social media users who missed flying got creative trying to replicate the experience and shared their efforts with the world. One man played a video of a plane landing through his washing machine, which was outfitted like a cabin. A woman gazing at the ocean out her plane window was actually looking at a YouTube video through a toilet seat. And another woman heading to the airport gate with her carry-on bag was, in reality, on a treadmill.
A Washington Post started a travel tradition of collecting wine (bought by her parents to save for when she was of legal drinking age) wherever they went. She thought she would open the bottles on special occasions, such as wedding anniversaries and milestone birthdays, but the right opportunities never came around. Single and isolated, she decided the pandemic was the perfect occasion to crack open the improperly stored collection to relive her old travel experiences. Results were mixed.
Art lovers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram rose to the Getty Museum's challenge for people to re-create works of art from home. This was April, when many people were home with pent-up energy to spare, and people rose to the occasion. They used their kids, pets, cans of tuna, toilet paper and bonsai trees, among other props, to mimic famed artwork, and they loved scrolling through the results.
Virtual cooking experiences
Chefs around the world pivoted when coronavirus shutdowns meant fewer customers coming to their restaurants and cooking classes. Some, such as Graciela Montao in Mexico City, turned to Airbnb Experiences to share their lessons to students near and far over the Internet. Online experiences opened up opportunities for people to learn to cook dishes from their favorite travel destinations, interact with Olympians and more.
Oktoberfest at home
Oktoberfest, the annual two-week Bavarian folk festival that draws visitors from around the world, was canceled amid mounting global coronavirus cases in April. It was the first time since World War II that the festivities did not go on, but revelers still took to their backyards, living rooms and laptops to "prost" their favorite fall beers and eat traditional German foods. U.S.-based breweries, farms, and restaurants offered pretzel kits, recipes, beer-tasting live streams and more for grounded travelers to hoist their steins at home.
In a difficult year for airlines, travelers brought the in-flight experience home. Carriers sold everything from in-flight meals and cult-favorite snacks to designer clothing and even entire bar carts plucked from 747 planes.