International Food

10 Tasty Ways to Travel Remotely with a Food-Inspired Staycation at Home

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I already know what you’re thinking: staycation at home?

First off, how am I supposed to pretend I’m on vacation while I’m wedged in between the same four walls, staring down my unpaid electric bills?

I could almost hear your eyes rolling into the back of your head.

Trust me, I get it. I was like you once.

Similarly, I also believed leaving my home was the only way to experience new things, create great blog content, and essentially do anything worthwhile.

Now, don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing quite like traditional traveling. Nothing beats that rush of excitement you get from discovering an epic new view, trying different cuisine for the first time, or getting delightfully lost in a beautifully unfamiliar city.

However, it’s not always possible to hop on a plane to somewhere exotic every time the travel bug bites. Whether it’s a pandemic or an empty bank account, sometimes life just gets in the way.

Fortunately, I do have some good (and potentially surprising) news.

You don’t need to travel to enjoy new and novel experiences.

In fact, with minimal supplies and maximum creativity, you can transport yourself anywhere you want right from the comfort of your own home.

Actually, one of the quickest ways to take that journey is by using something you already have in your possession. You may not think about this thing much at all – in fact, you probably take it for granted – but it has provided you with countless rich experiences since the day you were born….

…Your tongue!

That’s right, you can quite literally taste your way to your next adventure just by working with what you already have at home (and perhaps picking up an indulgence or two at your local grocery/wine store).

So if you’re tired of staring longingly at your passport, experiencing soul-sucking FOMO from mindlessly scrolling Instagram, or painstakingly counting the days until your next trip, I invite you to whet your appetite with these deliciously irresistible ideas for a staycation at home.

In a rush? Pin this post for later!

how to enjoy a staycation at home with food

10 Tasty Ideas for a Food-Inspired Staycation at Home

1. Relax with Breakfast in Bed, Hotel-Style

You know those days when you just want to stay in bed? Perhaps there’s a good thunderstorm brewing and you’re purely contented with burrowing under the covers, curling up with a good book, and binging your favorite show on Netflix?

Although it may sound relaxing, at some point, your hunger will get the better of you and you’ll start fantasizing about some magical bedside delivery service…

Well, if you live with a significant other/roommate/family member, why not take turns serving each other breakfast in bed? 

Alternatively, if you don’t have a living partner, why not pamper yourself?

After all, let’s face it, nothing says “hotel life” quite like a luxurious breakfast in bed.

breakfast in bed

Just imagine starting your day with the breakfast of champions right from your very own sleeping pod (which, for the record, is the most comfortable spot to sleep in the entire world, regardless of where you travel).

And if you do have a living partner, maybe he or she can indulge you with some housekeeping services as well. (Clean towels and chocolates on the pillow, anyone?)

Just be sure to take turns so that you can each enjoy a taste of the good life on your staycation at home!

PRO TIP: To avoid messy bedsheets, create more stability with a bed tray.

2. Arrange a Travel-Inspired Picnic in the Yard

Spring is finally here, which means it’s perfect picnic weather!

backyard picnic
french picnic spread
picnic set-up in the yard

Regardless of whether you have a sprawling lawn or a small apartment balcony to work with, you can enjoy the novelty of a picnic just outside your home.

spring picnic with flowers

To create an “exotic” picnic spread, incorporate foods from your favorite travel destination.

For instance, we went with a French theme.

picnic basket with fruit, wine, and bread

Our basket included light fare such as croissants, brie, fresh fruit, and plenty of wine, of course!

3. Toast to a Boozy Brunch

Who doesn’t love a good boozy brunch?

pretty boozy brunch spread
brunch cocktails

I don’t know about you, but brunch always makes me feel like I’m on vacation (I suspect it’s all the alcohol).

mimosas and fruit
boozy brunch decor

Plus, the best part about enjoying this indulgence while you staycation at home is that there won’t be a fat check waiting for you at the bottom of those bottomless mimosas.

country kitchen breakfast spread
fresh cut lemons spread
rustic brunch spread
espresso at brunch

Need some boozy inspiration?

Here are some popular brunch cocktail ideas to get you started:

  • Classic Mimosa (1 part champagne, 1 part orange juice)
  • Bellini (4 oz prosecco, 2 oz peach purée)
  • Screwdriver (1 part vodka, 2 parts orange juice)
  • Fuzzy Navel (1.5 oz peach schnapps, 4.5 oz orange juice)
  • Bloody Mary (3 parts vodka, 6 parts tomato juice, 1 part lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper, to taste) 

In addition, check out this great list of brunch cocktails for more ideas.

4. Cook Recipes from Your Favorite Countries

Above all, one of the best ways to relive your travels on your staycation at home is to cook your favorite international dishes.

The sky is truly the limit here, as there are so many delicious options to explore!

Even if you’re not blessed with culinary skills like my husband is, there are still plenty of easy-to-follow recipes you can start with to get your feet wet.

Personally, my husband and I have experimented with dishes inspired by our travels to France (Coq Au Van), Belgium (frites), and, most especially, Greece.

After two trips to Greece – one for our honeymoon and a recent return to explore Kefalonia and Crete – I can officially say we are full-on Greece addicts.

Together, we’ve made everything from fava, to traditional Greek salad, to pastitsio, to Kefalonian meat pie, to spinach pie, to domatokeftedes.

In fact, we’ve enjoyed the dishes so much that some of them have made it into our regular dinner rotation.

As I result, I thought I’d provide you with an easy-to-follow recipe for one of our favorite Greek delights, domatokeftedes, as inspiration for your own culinary escapades.

domato keftedes
domato keftedes on plate

I’m sharing this one in particular because the ingredients are inexpensive, it’s quick to make, and it’s vegetarian.

While my husband and I are not vegetarian, I figure this will appeal to a wider audience.

How to Make Domatokeftedes

Domatokeftedes (Greek Tomato Fritters)

Prep Time:  20 min
Cook Time: 20 min

Ingredients:

18 oz tomato paste
2 small plum tomatoes, diced
Seasoned breadcrumbs
1 medium red onion (approx. ½ – 2/3 cup), diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup crumbled feta
1-1.5 oz fresh basil, minced
Greek EVOO

Instructions:

1. Start by dicing the tomatoes.
2. Next, in a large mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, and crumbled feta.
3.  After combining, cut up onions, garlic, and basil and add to mixing bowl.
4. Begin to mix all the ingredients and add small amounts of oil until the mixture is smooth.
5. Slowly begin to incorporate breadcrumbs and combine until the mixture is just dry and firm enough that it can clump together. It will have the appearance/texture of a ground beef meatball mixture. This will typically require between one half cup and one cup of breadcrumbs.
6. Spread extra breadcrumbs on a large, flat baking pan or plate.
7. Begin rolling the mixture into palm-sized balls, then flatten into patties.
8. Coat patties in breadcrumbs on both sides by placing and flipping them in a pan lined with breadcrumbs.
9. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat on the stove.
10. Once hot, begin to pan-fry the coated patties until they’re golden brown on both sides.
11. Finally, serve them hot and garnish with a drizzle of EVOO as well as basil and/or parsley.

Chef Husband Note: For the love of Zeus, don’t go dipping them in some sort of ungodly dipping sauce; these are meant to be enjoyed as they are.

In addition, we’ve also grown quite fond of the classic Greek salad, which we prepare fairly often. Similarly, it’s another easy-to-make option for vegetarians.

FUN FACT: Did you know that traditional Greek salads don’t typically include lettuce? Instead, the base is usually bell peppers.

traditional Greek salad in salad bowl

So, if you’re interested in making this delicious and colorful salad for yourself, I’ve included the recipe below.

How to Make a Traditional Greek Salad

Traditional Greek Salad

Prep Time:  15 min

Ingredients:

3 bell peppers (green, yellow, red)
1 medium red onion
1 cucumber
3 plum tomatoes
Kalamata olives
Dried oregano & basil (you can substitute any dried Italian herb seasoning mix)
1 block of feta cheese
Capers, to taste
Greek EVOO
Sea salt & fresh pepper
Balsamic glaze, to taste

Instructions:

1. Start by combining all ingredients into a large mixing/salad bowl.
2. Then, slice the bell peppers into rounds from the top to the bottom. (If they start to split, not to worry; you can always make use of the pepper meat leftovers on the top and bottom.)
3. Next, halve the onion and slice crescents out of each half. Break up the petals and add them to the bowl.
4. Once the onions are added, halve the tomatoes once, then again, and then quarter them. Avoid chopping them into uneven chunks.
5. Roughly peel the cucumber, but leave a little skin for texture. Then, cut it into rounds and add to the bowl.
6. Add capers, to taste.
7. Next, introduce some of the Kalamata olives, but save a few for the garnish.
8. Add a generous drizzle of EVOO, basil, and oregano to the bowl and mix all ingredients.
9. Finally, serve on a plate and top with roughly one-quarter-inch-wide slices of feta on top. Finish with a drizzle of EVOO and a sprinkle of salt & pepper to taste. A drizzle of balsamic glaze can also be tasty, but it’s not necessary.

Chef Husband Note: A good Greek salad (χωριάτικη) is all about different fresh textures, so don’t go chopping all of the ingredients too finely or consistently. Also, never add “Greek” dressing!

5. Indulge with an International Wine Tasting

One of my absolute favorite things about traveling is tasting the local wine. In fact, most of our trips involve wine tastings.

rustic wine and cheese spread

Most recently, we enjoyed a tasting in Chania, Crete.

If you’re also a wine lover, why not set up an international tasting right in your home?

For instance, you  can purchase a few favorites and then experiment with some newer varieties from different countries to transport your taste buds.

wine tasting with international varieties

If you could use some wine-spiration, here are a few of our favorite foreign varieties:

  • Assyrtiko (Greek, white, Santo Wines brand)
  • Bordeaux (French, red)
  • Montepulciano Trebbiano (Italian, red)

6. Unwind with Tea Time, English-Style

I first discovered the magic of high tea in my home state of Connecticut a few years back, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

For me, tea is more than a drink, it’s an experience.

pouring hot tea

Above all, tea time is a reminder to unwind, savor, and appreciate – all of which are essential elements of traveling.

As it turns out, a staycation at home is the perfect excuse to put each of these into action.

So, why not put the kettle on and kick back right at your kitchen table?

fresh lemon and honey tea

PRO TIP: If you like tea, I highly recommend trying some loose varieties. Trust me, once you live the loose life, you’ll never go back! I personally recommend checking out the extensive collection over at Simpson & Vail. They have a robust tea library, and, funnily enough, they even have a “Literary Collection!”

My personal favorites from that collection are the Emily Dickinson (jasmine tea blend) and Lewis Carroll (black tea blend) varieties. However, even if those don’t interest you, there are plenty of other options, from your most basic teas to the most indulgent dessert varieties.

I personally like pretending I’m attending high tea in England by using our finest dishes and treating myself to delicious scones or tea biscuits.

tea time with cookies

Above all, no matter what your personal style, just use this tea time to unwind!

7. Enjoy a Romantic Dinner

For all of the travel couples out there: Have you ever looked across the table at your partner in front of an epic view and thought: “Is this real life?”

romantic candlelight dinner

I hope that every single one of you reading this gets to experience that one day.

In any case, how amazing would it be to create that magic at home?

Even if your home arrangement is a far cry from a romantic Parisian balcony, you’d be surprised what a magical setting you can create with just a few simple items and the right lighting.

In fact, I felt a romantic spark just setting up the above photo with my guy, let alone enjoying a candelight dinner!

Here are my top recommendations for a romantic dinner at home:

  • Cook something together – You don’t need to be top chefs to have fun in the kitchen together. In fact, the messier and more clueless you are, the more laughs you’ll share! On the other hand, if you do have some culinary chops, you can totally woo your partner with a home-cooked meal.
  • Set the mood – When it comes to setting the stage for a romantic meal, nailing the atmosphere is key. Set the mood with dim lighting, candles/tea lights, soft music, and your favorite wine. You may also wish to incorporate a lantern and fill it with twinkle lights, as we did.
  • Unplug – Nothing spoils the romantic mood faster than your latest post notifications on Facebook. Unplug by leaving your phones in a separate room, freeing your minds of work-related obligations, and truly just being present with one another.

Bon appétit!

8. Have a Bake-Off

baking muffins

If you’re usually the one hunting down and rating the best patisseries, gelato shops, and cafés on your travels, why not do a bake-off at home?

fresh blueberry muffins out of the oven

In fact, you can hold this friendly competition right in your own kitchen with your partner/roommate/family member. Think “Cake Boss,” but less intense.

blueberry muffins up close
fresh blueberry muffins in pan
baking blueberry muffins

It’s your home, so you make the rules, but if you want some inspiration, here are two different ideas:

  1. Competitive Version: Decide on one dessert with your living partner that you will each bake on your own. When you’re both done, taste each other’s and pick a winner.
  2. Non-Competitive Version: Bake two different desserts (each of you will make one) and then indulge in a whole bunch of deliciousness together afterward. I prefer this version myself!

Whatever you choose, make sure to save plenty of room for dessert!

stack of chocolate chip cookies
eating a chocolate chip cookie

9. Prepare Gourmet Popcorn for a Foreign Film Night

Are you looking to travel right from your living room couch? If so, it’s time to start poppin’ some popcorn for a true Netflix and chill, wanderlust edition!

salted chocolate drizzled popcorn for movie night

If you’d like to get a bit more creative in the kitchen than nuking some “Pop Secret” and calling it a day, I have just the thing: toppings!

In fact, you can easily create gourmet-style popcorn right from home in just a few quick minutes!

Here are some of our favorite topping ideas:

  1. Classically Indulgent: Extra butter
  2. Savory: Buffalo Wild Wings “Desert Heat” seasoning
  3. Sweet & Salty: Salted dark chocolate

Alternatively, if you can’t decide on just one topping, create a “popcorn bar” instead.

For instance, you can set aside some tasty toppings (we used nuts, chocolate chips, and sprinkles) and mix it up to your liking, ice-cream-sundae style!

flavored popcorn for movie night

Next, once you have your tasty snack ready to go, it’s time to fuel your wanderlust with the click of your remote.

Here are some of my favorite travel-themed movies and foreign films:

  • Midnight in Paris
  • Vicky Christina Barcelona
  • The Talented Mr. Ripley
  • Amélie
  • In Bruges
  • Murder on the Orient Express (1974 original and/or 2017 remake)
  • Lost in Translation
  • Life Is Beautiful
  • Wild
  • Little Miss Sunshine
  • Sideways
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

10. Plan a Virtual Dinner Date

Sometimes your friend/family member/significant other/loved one is miles away, but you still want to enjoy a meal with them.

Fortunately, modern technology affords us all the luxury of staying connected.

For instance, you can set up a virtual dinner date with FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc. and share good food and a stimulating conversation.

In addition, as a bonus, you can each give each other a virtual tour of where you are when you’re done eating.

This could be a fun way to experience a totally new living environment (or reminisce on a beloved one) from the comfort of your dining table, couch, or bed (no judgements).

As you can see, traveling doesn’t have to mean spending boatloads of money, taking multiple forms of transportation, and putting together a jam-packed itinerary.

On the other hand, something as simple as cooking a favorite meal, indulging with a drink, or reimagining your living environment can transport you to another place.

In short, if you’ve got that travel itch, consider how you can scratch it with a staycation at home. All it takes is just a few simple items and imagination, above all. I bet you’ll be surprised by what you find!

Did you find this post useful? Pin it to your boards!

10 tasty ideas for a staycation at home
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how to enjoy a staycation at home with food

31 thoughts on “10 Tasty Ways to Travel Remotely with a Food-Inspired Staycation at Home

  1. So gorgeous photos and food! And great ideas! p.s. Are those real cookies somebody made? I think you may be giving my hubby competition with those 😉

  2. These are such wonderful ideas Elena! I absolutely love all your photos, you staged everything so perfectly. Also, all of your food photos on here are making my mouth water, especially the Greek food. Yet, another amazing blog post. 🙂

  3. Love all your suggestions, think I need to treat myself to a boozy brunch haha! Also your food photography is amazing, maybe I should take this extra time at home to practice mine! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. I love this! Food is the base of all good times! I love the hotel breakfast idea – my partner and I were saying today That we miss staying in hotels!

    Also LOVE the cocktail recipes that you provided! I’m making screwdrivers tonight!

  5. First of al the pictures are GORGEOUS!! And such great ideas!! I never thought to do any of these at home and a great way to keep busy also. Great post!

  6. We’ll be doing some of this the coming weekend…stuffed cabbage to celebrate my Polish heritage on Polish Independence Day! It’s the little things, right? 🙂

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