Living in Canada for the past 11 years, we have sort of found our happy place when it’s cold and – 40 degrees Celcius! Yea we lived in cities and towns where temperatures drop that low on certain days. So here are 29 travel related things to do when it’s cold outside to keep you warm in wanderlust!
29 Travel-Inspired Things to do when it’s cold outside
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In this post we will share things that you can do both inside and outside your house when it’s cold. As soon as you dress warmly and layer on, you will be ‘well-equipped’ to enjoy the winters.
Sit by a fireplace and sip hot chocolate
When it’s cold outside, sit tight at home, wrap yourself in a warm blanky (or snuggly check out my favorite one here) and sip hot chocolate. This is my favorite part/corner of the house where I have the fire on, snuggly and a bean bag – dreaming of travels – and sipping cocoa.
We are lucky as it often snows and we are guaranteed a white Christmas in Alberta Canada. If it snows often where you live, I recommend that you soak in those snowy flakes from the comfort of your house. It is one of the most calming moments in winter.
Watch a travel movie
To crank up wanderlust vibes, turn on the TV/ Netflix/ YouTube whatever it is to watch an awesome travel movie. We have a list of movies here like Eat, Pray, Love, Wild, and more.
P.S: Still don’t forget your snuggly and hot chocolate!
Create or update your travel bucket list
When you can’t go out this is the best time to create your first ever travel bucket list or update your old one. I LOVE curating bucket lists and I am still old school and love the pen and paper style – writing and creating my travel bucket lists.
If you are unsure or need some inspiration, I am super happy to share my lists, you can click on the link and grab a copy. Print it, place it in a binder and start checking them off!
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 84 page mega bucket list here
- Europe Bucket list: 101 bucket list ideas
- London Bucket list: Grab your list here
Start planning travels for next year
Winter is the perfect time to start planning for next year’s travel. As we work full time, our vacation year starts in January. So in November and December we plot our travels for the upcoming year, this includes overseas trips (upto 3 weeks). And several weekend trips internationally and domestic travels.
This is also a good time to browse for any festivals or events that you are interested in attending (from your bucket list). Add it to your annual travel plan.
Once you have everything laid out, you can start tracking flight prices, accommodation and sightseeing tours and of course come up with a savings plan to boost your travels.
Use year end gifts/money etc. if you receive any, towards your travel fund for the upcoming year.
We have a free 20 page planner wherein we share our annual travel planning method. Grab a copy here
Create a travel scrapbook
Creating a travel scrapbook is a fun activity when you don’t want to go outside and it’s cold. You as a solo traveler, or you and your partner or kids can sit together and create a lovely scrapbook depicting all the photos, notes and memorabilia from your past travels.
You can easily buy scrapbook materials from Amazon or ETSY and start creating it!
Start a travel journal
Travel journaling is a great way to keep the wanderlust lights on. Think of –
- Why do you travel
- Favorite travel memories
- Which city/destination left an indelible mark on you
- Your top 5 lists (city, national parks, countries, etc.)
I love sharing my love notes to cities, and I look back to my travel books from way back when I first traveled solo to Canada in 2009. Salil and I love to go on long drives where we play host and interviewer and ask the top 5’s/top picks/favorite memories! Try it with your travel partner 🙂
Listen to a travel podcast
Travel podcasts are a great way to hear wanderlust stories from travelers and influencers. Listen to travel fails, lessons, and interesting encounters, from tips for solo tips, couples getaways to budget traveling podcasts have you covered. Here are our top picks for travel podcasts that you must follow!
Read a travel book or travel memoir
One of the amazing things to do when it’s cold outside is to read a travel book (preferably near the fireplace or a window from where you can adore the sparkling snow fall).
During summers, you will see me with a book (or on my Kindle) on my commute. There is hardly any time to sit at home and read – I am always out and about. Winters make it easy, in a way to forgo the need to go out – and just relax and start (and finish) a nice travel inspired book.
Check out virtual tours
This year virtual tours have been a huge thing. Imagine the ability to explore a place or a museum from the comfort of your couch and fireplace (you can tell I’m obsessed with fireplaces – we have 2 in our little house!). Anyhow, you can check out free 360 degree tours or pay for an expert to take you to heritage sites!
GetYourGuide – our favorite guided tours vendors organizes many guided tours. Check them out here!
Join a cooking class
Whether virtual or in-person cooking classes are a great way to experience cultural travel. Learn how to make French macarons, Moroccan soup, Indian or Italian meals – the list is endless!
You can look up for in-person classes in your home city. GetYourGuide provides online cooking classes at certain times of the year.
Bake cookies at home
I envy my friends who love to bake. And many make it a day long affair, with families getting together and indulging in baking cakes, cookies for the holiday season. Bless my friends who give me cookies with wanderlust messages – ain’t that creative, but I love helping out and eating!
Maybe 2020 will be the year, I will give it a try!
Cook a meal, inspired by your travels
This one I can try! And I have – from Goulash (inspired by Hungary), Couscous (Morocco), Schnitzel (Germany) and of course delicious Indian cuisine – prepare them from the comfort of your home when it’s snowing outside.
YouTube is a great source of recipes and they show how to prepare and get it done.
Or order an international cuisine, delivered to your house
Don’t like cooking? No problem ordering some international cuisine for your dinner or lunch can help. You will be helping a local business/restaurant too in return. Use TripAdvisor to locate the best restaurants serving in your area!
Decorate your living room with travel inspired decor
Stay warm and toasty inside your house and decorate your living space with travel inspired decor from mini globes, coffee table books, your photos from past travels to scratch maps!
Shop travel deals for the next year
Winters also bring in festive sales and discounts (Black Friday, Cyber Sales, Christmas Deals, Winter sales – you name it). Use this time to shop for travel related goodies like backpacks, travel jackets, thermal wear, hotel deals, camera gear, and digital downloads!
Every year, we shop for electronics and digital products during this time.
For my beautiful ladies, stock up on travel sized cosmetic items (Sephora sells them as gift boxes). You can use them when you fly overseas – super easy to breeze through security with smaller containers.
Most of the cosmetics will have 12 to 24 months expiry date (except mascaras that are only good for 6 months after opening). So you can stock up for next year’s travel!
Travel Board Games
Invite friends over and play board games. This is a fun activity to do with friends and family at home. Maybe bring in comfort food as well.
Get outside, it’s okay (but dress warmly)
Each season is special, and so is winter. It is okay to get outside and play! Just remember to dress warm. From ice walks, winter hikes to treks, there are many activities to fuel your wanderlust and keep you active!
We like embarking for quick walks in the winter. Of course we dress appropriately and use well marked walking trails. Walking on snow is not fun, it’s important to wear sturdy boots with a good outsole and take it slow.
Enjoy a snowball fight
My husband is great at snowball fights lol. We love our parks during winters for a fun filled day. Snow flights won’t hurt you, it will increase your love for snow and winter!
Embark on a winter road trip
This is my favorite activity – to go on winter road trips. Imagine drooling at the snow covered farms, towns and mountains. I live in Alberta, so my/our views include mountains and flatlands, it is PRETTY though! I love spending winters in Canada!
So, on a road trip in the winter, you can stay warm and cozy inside the vehicle and enjoy the cold from a distance. Winter driving requires special preparation (winter tires, backup essentials/snacks in the car), and most importantly practice of driving on winter roads!
Visit a museum
Winters in most cities are not super crowded with tourists. Mostly people rush to ski resorts, why not use this opportunity to explore a local museum you adore. Museum will keep you warm inside, you get to learn and admire artefacts, historical remnants at a nice/convenient pace.
What do you think?
Head to a planetarium
Planetariums are romantic (and great to keep kids busy and engaged too!). It is warm, and cozy and you would love starry skies and learn all about our planets, and moon and the stars!
Drive through lights events in the city
Winter means festive lights events, and drive through lights events are a thing!
Most of the Canadian cities organize Christmas light events in winter (and they last for 1-2 months). For as low as $20 CAD, you can drive through the farm, raceway track – all decorated with twinkling lights to ring in the ‘most wonderful time of the year.’
Ice Skating indoor or outdoors
Yea, it is cold outside, but this is also a great time to skate in a natural ice rink in the city or nearby. If it’s too cold for you, and no outdoor rinks then opt for an indoor one!
We have one at the largest shopping mall in Canada! YO!
We didn’t know what ‘snow shoeing’ was when we were living in India. Snowshoeing is a winter activity done on snow wearing a pair of special ‘snowshoes’. It is a nice form of exercise and can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of your fitness level. Snowshoeing is not difficult to begin, and have fun!
Find out if there are snowshoeing opportunities in your city, and have fun!
Spend a day or weekend at a ski resort
Get outside and enjoy the winter activities and what is better than heading to a ski resort for a day or an entire weekend. We are heading to Whistler BC this winter for skiing!
What about you?
Go Ice Fishing
Our friends love to go on ice fishing trips. This is another activity that is cold weather and winter driven. Ice fishing involves catching fish through an opening in the ice on a frozen water body!
Enjoy sleigh rides
Sleigh rides are so so romantic, and are a fun way to enjoy the winter season with loved ones. This is the only time you get to enjoy such an exciting activity. So don’t miss this winter!
Checkout Christmas Markets, festive stores
If you are living in Europe, of course you are blessed with Christmas markets. In North America, especially in the US and Canada there are German inspired Christmas markets for you to enjoy.
It is one of our favorite things to do in the winter to surround ourselves with sparkling lights, souvenirs and food – Christmas markets will have everything in one spot for you!
Travel somewhere warm
If cold weather is TOO much for you, plan to travel somewhere warm.
For Canadians Mexico and Cuba are a real treat in the winter. There are many winter sun destinations in the world, find one near you, and escape there, away from the winter blues!
So that’s a warm wrap! We hope you enjoyed this list of fun things to do when its cold outside!
P.S: Please join my new awesome Facebook group where we discuss all things travel, culture, and trip planning. Let’s build a tribe together ✈️ Join Here.