Virtual Travel – A New Way to See the World From HomeJune 8, 2020 | By
Many of us are going into month three of travel bans, self-quarantine, and social distancing. This time of stillness has forced travel enthusiasts to get creative in the way they can see the world. Virtual travel has hit the mainstream with online experiences that take you to faraway places without leaving your living room. But what is virtual travel? Will this trend stick around once borders begin to reopen? And how can virtual travel be used to enhance the real travel experience?
Here is a quick deep dive into the world of virtual travel, how to get started, and the benefits for those feeling antsy at home.
What Is It?
Virtual travel is an online or digital alternative to travel. With nearly 90 percent of the world on travel restrictions in the last two months, virtual travel allowed people to explore castles in England, museums in Paris, and caves in Japan without leaving their homes. Virtual travel can range from videos, digital images, interactive maps, 360 videos, and virtual reality experiences. If you’ve ever used the “Street View” feature on Google maps, that is also a form of virtual travel. Chances are, you’ve taken your first virtual trip without even knowing it.
What are the Benefits?
Virtual travel has the potential to open new possibilities of exploring parts of the world many people may be unable to see in person due to physical, medical, mental, or other impairments – not to mention financial limitations. These alternatives are also excellent educational tools for children to engage in cultural learning in new ways and for people to research their next getaways from home. Virtual travel is an excellent tool to supplement real travel, not to replace it.
How Do I Get started?
With so many options on the internet, it can be difficult to know where to start. Google Arts & Culture offers some great virtual tours as a place to begin. Forbes also recently ranked the top 15 virtual tours to take while we are all stuck at home. If there is a place you have been dying to visit, chances are, there is a way to explore parts of the region through virtual tours. Hopefully, these highly engaging experiences allow you to learn about a new region in the world and inspire you to book your next trip.
Can Virtual Travel Get any Realer?
Yes, with virtual reality. Virtual reality travel takes the virtual travel experience to the next level. In order to fully enjoy virtual reality, you will need a headset. Headsets typically range from $50 to $500, but Google Cardboard offers a very simple alternative for only $15. Virtual reality is a technology that allows you to figuratively step inside a computer-generated world. Walk across the great wall of China, stand under a waterfall in Costa Rica, or run with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain – through virtual reality, it is all possible without leaving your home. It’s easy to get lost in these hyper-real experiences which give you a full 360-degree virtual world to explore.
If we can’t hop on a plane, virtual travel is the next best thing. It’s free, it’s convenient, and more than likely, it’s the technology of the future.