It’s fair to say that we travel enthusiasts are experiencing a massive change of plans. Health concerns have created challenges to mobility that most of us have not experienced before. Many of us are staying home to safeguard our own health, the health of our families, and the health of our communities. As a result, we’ve had to cancel or delay plans for leisure travel, and we’re not sure when it will be safe or possible to move forward with those plans.
But that doesn’t mean that we can no longer experience the joys that travel brings. Discovering attractions and cultures, meeting new people, and tasting local and traditional foods are experiences that we enjoy when we travel. When we’re inside our homes, it might seem like those pleasures are out of reach.
Fortunately, that need not be the case. Sure, we’ll need to move to a more virtual experience, since we cannot physically travel right now. But participating in online travel communities is a wonderful way to stay connected with our travel dreams as well as with others who can share their knowledge, experiences, and feelings with us now.
There are many excellent online travel communities -- places to share stories, photos, questions, and ideas. In these communities, we have made friends, received great recommendations, learned some authentic recipes, and engaged in meaningful discussions with other travelers from around the world.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places for travel lovers to connect. In everything from Facebook groups and Twitter chats to live videos and comment threads, we’ve found that our travel tribe is alive and well.
During this challenging time when many feel disconnected, these delightful online travel communities are places where travelers can reconnect and get some fantastic ideas for future adventures.
Frugal Travel With Holly Johnson -- Facebook
Holly Johnson is an expert at making a budget go a long way, especially when it comes to spending on travel. Holly’s Facebook group, Frugal Travel with Holly Johnson, shares plenty of ways to optimize your travel dollars. It covers topics such as how to use your credit card rewards, where to find the best travel deals, and how to plan solo or family travel on a budget. Holly is very knowledgeable, and she writes on financial topics for many top publications. Her Facebook group is a lively community of like-minded travelers who love to share tips, ideas, and information on ways to see the world for less.
Wanderful Women Who Travel -- Facebook
Wanderful is a unique community for women who love to travel. There are 46 local chapters of women who gather and travel together in real life. There’s a growing homesharing network in 10 countries, and there's an annual Women in Travel Summit (WITS).
Wanderful also has an incredible online network and Facebook group, where its 40,000 worldwide members can connect in a virtual environment. The emphasis here is on the power of sisterhood and travel, and Wanderful provides an empowering and safe space to explore and share. We love exchanging ideas, experiences, stories, and information with like-minded women around the world.
#FoodTravelChat -- Twitter
Our global virtual dinner party happens every Wednesday on Twitter. For an hour, people who love food and travel chat using the hashtag #FoodTravelChat. We ask 10 questions -- a new one every 5 minutes -- using the #FoodTravelChat hashtag. Anyone on Twitter can follow the hashtag to see the questions, post their responses, and see the responses of everyone participating.
Participants share brief stories, photos, videos, recipes, and lots of recommendations and ideas in a fun, friendly environment. The topics change weekly, giving participants something new to discuss every time. Breakfast around the world, favorite food and travel shows, best food travel memories, and holiday trips and treats are just a few examples.
The crowd is welcoming and fun, and we’ve seen online friends become travel companions in real life. We ourselves have met many participants at their favorite local hidden gems.
TravelAwaits -- Facebook
Since you’re reading this article on the TravelAwaits website, you might be interested to know that TA also has an amazing Facebook page featuring questions, articles, deals, and items of interest for its active community of 50+ travelers. The community is by and for 50+ travelers, and we love that we’re totally surrounded by people who get us -- because they’re like us. The sense of community is strong because we’re thinking about many of the same things, even though we have different experiences and points of view to share.
There are always great photos to inspire us, and there is lots of interaction, so we feel like we’re among friends. We love the warmth and sense of humor that infuse the discussions. And we know that we can count on the authoritative information that caters to our specific interests and needs.
There’s always something going on in the TravelAwaits community, and we check the Facebook page several times a day so that we don’t miss out.
America’s National Parks -- Facebook
America’s national parks are a treasure that we appreciate so much. This Facebook group is a community that posts videos, photos, comments, and questions about the landscapes, wildlife, and incredible attractions at the parks. Scrolling through the feed gets us excited about the parks we’ve already visited as well as the ones that remain on our must-see list.
Run by the hosts of the America’s National Parks Podcast, this Facebook group helps us stay in touch with the natural wonders of our parks and enjoy the adventure they provide -- even when we're at home.
Eatlivetraveldrink -- Instagram
D.C.-based travel photographer and blogger Nicole Sunderland has created an amazing Instagram account where more than 100,000 people look for inspiration and ideas. Nikki works hard to provide a fabulous stream of gorgeous photos featuring food, scenery, accommodations, products, and people that encourages conversation. She’s able to capture the essence of her subjects in a way that can’t help but draw you in. Once you dive into this dreamy land of plenty, you won’t be able to keep away for long.
Food Travelist -- Facebook
We seek and share unique and memorable food and drink experiences. Our Facebook page and Facebook group provide Food Travelist readers and #FoodTravelChat Twitter participants with a way to connect on a daily basis. Members of the Facebook group share photos, recipes, videos, tips, and information about the tastes of travel.
Because so many folks are staying home, we’ve started creating Facebook Live videos of “pantry cooking” to show our readers how to prepare easy dishes with simple ingredients they have on hand. Many of the dishes are globally inspired, providing ways to add variety to everyday meals. We also host a virtual happy hour on Fridays to share a new beverage recipe, unwind a little, and enjoy some time within a friendly and relaxed community.
Travel Community -- Facebook
This Facebook group is a place for people who love to talk about travel and share the stuff that fuels their passion. The discussions cover many travel-related topics, such as how not to stick out as a tourist and where to go for a mountain retreat. Folks post their photos, ask and answer questions, share stories, and offer insights. Itineraries, favorite places to visit, and how to get the most out of travel are commonly discussed.
Because the group is so large (well over 100,000 members), you get a diversity of voices on everything from photography to solo travel to destination-specific ideas.
Women Who Travel -- Facebook
This enormous Facebook group, part of the Conde Nast Traveler Community, offers a digital place for female travel lovers to call home. The group’s conversations focus on what it means to be a female traveler in today’s world.
Community guidelines include treating others with respect, staying on topic, and checking facts before sharing news. These help ensure that the more than 150,000 members have a great experience each and every time they interact with others in the group.
As you can imagine, with so many people sharing an online space, there’s pretty much something for everyone when it comes to travel. If you want even more, there’s a Women Who Travel podcast hosted by the group moderators on topics like solo travel and frequently asked travel questions. The podcasts also feature interviews with female authors and travel-industry business leaders.
Exotic Food And Travel -- Facebook
Our passion is the crossroads where food and culture meet. So it's only natural that we love the Exotic Food and Travel Facebook group, where members share recipes, photos, stories, and tips related to the unique foods of the world.
The photos are so appealing that we want to try everything we see. Fortunately, a lot of them also come with recipes, so we can prepare them at home. We’ve encountered Indian soul food, homemade pasta, Korean street eats, and Mexican breakfast dishes, among many other dishes we can’t wait to make at home. There are videos that cover techniques and ingredients, and you’ll learn where to go to try these wonderful flavors on your travels.
This is a great group for those who love to cook -- and for those who love to eat!
While our travel experiences may be virtual for now, we know that our friendships continue to grow. We learn from one another and share ideas, hopes, and dreams. And when the future brings us physically closer to our online friends, we know we’ll have plenty to celebrate with them and plenty of places to go.