Bicycle, Portland, Oregon

How to Take Your Hobbies With You When You Travel

I have met people who spend a large part of a trip saying that they are looking forward to returning home because they’re missing something that they regularly do there. They want to play golf, or watch their regular shows on TV, or be able to cook in their own kitchen because they love putting meals together and don’t much like eating out. It’s a real shame, though, to spend even a short part of your travels pining for the hobbies you’ve left at home, because home will always be there and you should enjoy your trip while you can.

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But if you’re one of those people who miss their hobbies, perhaps these tips on how to take your hobbies with you when you travel will help you have the best of both worlds.

Explore Possibilities in Your Destination

Thanks to the internet it’s easy to look up possibilities for enjoying your hobby in your destination. If you love to go cycling but will have to leave your beloved bike at home, hop online and find out where you can rent a decent bike in your destination, figure out some great bike trails and build in a riding day (or more) into your trip. Golf nuts can look up the best golf courses in their destination and make a booking at a new course even before they leave home.

Sometimes you’ll have to think outside the box. If you love skiing but you’re headed to a summer destination, perhaps you need to look at trying an alternative like water-skiing.

Bicycle, Portland, Oregon
Lone Bicycle in Portland, Oregon © Ian Sane

Make Your Hobby Mobile

Say you love cooking and can’t bear the thought of eating restaurant food every night on your trip (though I certainly don’t feel this way myself!). Consider booking into some kind of self-contained accommodation rather than a hotel so that you can shop locally and cook up your own feasts. It’d be a great chance to try to learn to cook some local dishes as well.

If your hobby is something that doesn’t translate well to taking it mobile — perhaps you’re an avid lacrosse player and you can hardly take your whole team with you, nor find somewhere else to play — then think consider other ways to indulge in your hobby while on your trip. Perhaps there’s a great book about it to read, or a particular skill you can practice on your own in a hotel room, or some instructional podcasts or videos you can listen to or watch while you’re on the plane.

Learn Something New on Your Trip

If your hobby’s the kind where it’s common to have courses or workshops to do, then look up any relevant courses happening in your destination. You might learn a new angle to a hobby that you thought you knew a lot about already.

If you think language may be a barrier, sign up to a beginner’s day of a hobby you already know plenty about and you’ll be learning the basics of language while you spend a day with local people who share a common interest with you.

Your interest might be something that has some unique cultural differences across countries — for example, if you like cooking — and then the chance to learn about how another culture or nationality does it will be especially interesting.

© Zaytsev Artem

Choose Your Destination Based On Your Hobby

If you know in advance that you have a special interest you really don’t want to leave behind to take a trip, then why not turn the hobby into the basis of the trip?

For example, you might practice karate or martial art and pine for your classes if you’re traveling. Instead, you could travel to Asia and base part of your trip around visiting schools or experts from that martial art.

I had a boyfriend once who learned kendo (a sword-fighting art from Japan) and not only did we explore much of Japan seeing kendo dojos (or schools) but we also traveled to various places to attend kendo tournaments, including Prague. While he did his kendo thing, I was free to explore other sights that were perhaps of more interest to me.

The possibilities for travelers to take short courses or workshops have exploded in the last few years as destinations are trying to provide unique experiences for tourists who don’t want to be bussed around to the familiar sights for photo opportunities. These workshops are a great way to engage with the locals and learn something new, so if you can find something that really matches what you’re interested in it will make your trip even more worthwhile.

Set Yourself a Holiday Challenge

More than just taking your hobby on holidays with you, you can use your trip to make extra time to spend on your special interest, the way you can’t when you’re back at home working or studying every day.

For someone who loves photography, for example, it’s an easy task: decide on an aspect of your photography you’d like to improve – say street or portrait photography – read up on some tips and get practicing while on your trip.

If your hobby isn’t clearly related to traveling — perhaps it’s a sport, or a game like chess, or even computer games — then you can still create a challenge to complete during your trip. Instead of playing football, do some fitness training, and aim for increasing the number of reps you can manage of simple exercises that fit in a hotel room; if your traveling partner loves chess too, set a goal of planning a game every evening. Traveling is something we should get some pleasure out of, so there’s nothing wrong with combining your hobby with your trip.

  1. I love the idea of basing your trip around one of your hobbies. The Kendo trip sounds amazing, but even signing up for workshops is a great way to really get into the culture of a place while interacting with locals. In the U.S., I know there are tons of community colleges and local Adult Education organizations that you could sign up for. Even checking in with the visitor’s bureau in an area would be useful. Great tips!

  2. Nice trips, sometimes you just have to be a bit creative. I’m not sure if I have a hobby, I really like watching horror movies though so I’m definitely loading a few onto my notebook when I go overseas next!

  3. I’ve actually gone on a trip based on my hobby last eyar: I went to Los Angeles to take dance classes in two famous dance studios there.
    And I’m going back this year:)

  4. Good idea. if you’re passionate about something then you can always take your hobbies with you. I like the idea of basing your holiday around your hobby.

  5. Ooh this is lovely! I like the idea of basing your travel around your hobby, like you guys did in Japan. That was you see things you’re really interested in, rather than just going through all the motions of seeing the tourist sights. My backpack is always full with my hobbies – pens and notebooks, cameras, knitting needles and wool – I’m like a little kid, and I always seem to bring everything but the kitchen sink, despite thinking of myself as fairly minimal……! Katie.

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