A hobby you're passionate about can help you see destinations in a whole new light, access new activities and even travel to new places. But sometimes we all need a little inspiration. If you want to get stuck into something new, here's our top 10 pastimes for enhancing your next holiday:
1. Brush up on art
Reminisce over your favourite holiday memories and capture them on canvas. There are hundreds of episodes of the timeless Joy of Painting on YouTube. And if that doesn't help you brush up on your technique, watch our sister companies', artist in residence as he shares his top tips on how to sketch - inspired by his 5-Star Danube river cruise!
2. Get picture perfect
Going on holiday is all about making memories, and one of the best ways to preserve those unforgettable moments is by capturing them on film. Here's a handy guide on making the most of your camera so when travel is back on the agenda, you're sure to get the perfect shot every time.
3. Travel with your taste buds
We know a lot of you are fanatic foodies already so if cooking up a storm is one of your top passions, why not explore a whole new continent from the contents of your cupboards? If you've never turned your hand to Turkish kebabs or mastered Moroccan tagine, then now's the time to travel with your taste buds.
4. Create your own show garden
With the RHS Chelsea Flower Show cancelled, the Keukenhof Gardens closed and the Malvern Spring Show going online, you might need to rely on your green fingers if you want to see some beautiful blooms. Getting started is easy, though, with seeds and tutorials available at just the click of a button. Seedling pots are easy to improvise too from yoghurt pots or egg cartons.
5. Learn the lingo
It's always satisfying to go on holiday and be able to order food, ask simple questions and say please and thank you. Learning the local language seems to make things more accessible, revealing new insights about your holiday destination. And there are plenty of resources out there for all abilities and budgets. If you want to master the basics, check out Duolingo or Babbel. For those wanting a deeper dive, Rosetta Stone offers monthly subscription plans.
6. Keep a travel diary
Mark Twain famously said, 'write what you know', and who knows your holiday better than you? While photos capture what you see, a travel diary captures what you feel, think and experience. All you need is a pen and paper, or a computer, and some creative spark. Go online, and you'll find lots of great hints and tips for engaging travel writing (even if you're the only one to read it). Once you've honed your skills and are feeling more confident, you could even enter one of the many amateur travel writing competitions that take place each year.
7. Get lost in a good book
Reading is a fantastic way to unwind and escape either on holiday or at home. And whether you're into fact or fiction, it doesn't just have to be a solo activity. There are plenty of online resources and forums where you can discuss your favourite page-turners and get recommendations on what to read next. Or, you could join a digital book club to receive a surprise volume every month.
8. Calm down
Mindfulness and meditation can help you stay calm in these uncertain times. If you're in need of some rest and relaxation, there are simple techniques you can learn by just downloading an app. Practised in Hindu and Buddhist countries for thousands of years, the benefits of self-awareness and deep breathing exercises are finally being realised in the west.
9. Brush up on history
The world is full of unmissable historical sites, from Machu Picchu and the Taj Mahal to the battlefields of northern Europe and the Roman remains at Pompeii. While these places are off-limits right now, that doesn't stop you immersing yourself in a world of gladiator battles, Inca ceremonies or stories from the trenches of WWI. There are lots of offers at the moment for online courses, so do your research before you travel and unearth a whole new level of discovery.
10. Screen your own film premiere
Lights, camera, action! If you've always felt the pull of Hollywood and think you deserve a go in the director's seat, try putting together a lockdown masterpiece using nothing but your ingenuity, a camera, and perhaps some free software. It could be a triumph of stop animation or a sweeping one-shot epic; whatever your artistic flair inspires, why not celebrate at a special movie night with your quarantine crew? Don't forget to get dressed up for that red-carpet moment!
Have we missed your favourite hobby? We'd love to hear about your new-found interests and travel ideas. Share them with us.