Lockdowns and travel restrictions have made it challenging for some families and friends to visit each other and spend quality time together. Even with most restrictions being lifted, travelling has become quite expensive, and many people don’t have the budget for it, especially if their loved ones live abroad.

But if COVID and lockdowns have taught us anything, it’s that there’s always a way! “The adoption of digital meeting technologies such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams has opened up a wonderful way for families and friends who live far apart to connect with each other regularly,” says Jonathan Hurvitz, CEO of Teljoy.

And it doesn’t have to be an ordinary dial-in-and-chat call. There are many fun activities that people can enjoy, wherever they may be in the world.

Wine tasting club
For adult family members, a wine tasting club is a fun and educational activity. Choose a type of grape, country, estate, or region – or have a wines-of-the-world evening. One person could choose and “present” the wines, and each person in the call can purchase the same wines for the tasting evenings.

After the “presentation”, chat about the tasting notes, which wine/s you enjoyed the most, and see how fun the evening becomes. You may even discover a wine that you love, that you didn’t previously know about!

Collaborative cooking nights
Remember when your mom or best friend came over for dinner and you would chat in the kitchen while you prepared dinner together?

Bring your laptop, tablet, or phone to the kitchen, connect it to a speaker or earphones, and enjoy a good chat with a family member or friend while each of you cooks dinner at the same time. You can even prepare the same dish, then share advice on spicing up the ingredients, and little secrets that each of you has to make the dish extra special.

If you don’t have a laptop or tablet, you can rent one for as long (or as short) as you need it from Teljoy!

Virtual disco
Did someone say Saturday night party? Having a virtual dance party is great fun! Each person clears an appropriate space in their home, puts up a few inexpensive decorations to set the mood, and makes a party playlist.

Make sure to organise food and drinks, and set the day and time for your virtual disco. To add some spark to the evening, have a dress code. Choose a theme that everyone can relate to – or a fun theme like the 70s (because a 70s disco never goes out of fashion!) and get a couple of accessories while you’re out shopping for your disco goodies.

Don’t have a good sound system to pump out those dancing tracks? You can get one from Teljoy for occasions like this for an affordable monthly price.

If one of your attendees lives in an apartment or complex with grizzly neighbours who don’t like noise, suggest that they use headphones, so they can still enjoy the “silent” disco without disturbing others.

Keep your cards close
Card games are great fun, and add some competitive spice to a virtual night in with your mates.

If you’re creating a casino vibe, place two or three lamps around the table you’ll be playing at, and wrap the lampshades in coloured plastic wrap. This creates great ambience, and sets the mood for a night of fun! Each person could use a different coloured plastic, so their screens light up in different colours.

You can use matches as “currency” for when you place bets. But also have a few incentives along the way – first one to win a round gets a prize, maybe a coffee voucher for a coffee spot in their city.

If casino card games aren’t your vibe, some fun card games to play include Cards Against Humanity, Codenames, and good old Uno.

Name the tune
Fancy yourself as the ultimate music know-it-all? Pit your skills against your friends to see who knows more about bands, song names, original artists, and genres.

The games night organiser will build a list of bands, songs, genres, etc. He or she can also be the “MC” of the evening, and ask the questions. Alternatively, each guest can choose a theme, and take turns asking the questions.

Or ditch the artists’ songs, and sing the songs yourselves for a karaoke night in! Record the virtual meeting for memories later down the line.

With a little bit of creativity and a sense of fun, you can turn a night in into as much fun as a night out on the town, and spend quality time with friends no matter where they are in the world!

Submitted by Irvine Partners