Virtual Travel in 2021: The What, How, and Why of a New Experience
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Global travel is slowly opening up again, but we are unsure of the new norm. Even when some of the biggest tourist-bound destinations are supposed to let visitors in, the fear of a new delta variant of the coronavirus and how much it could cripple their economies is keeping them from fully opening the borders.
In the regions where travel is possible, mandatory tests and quarantine sessions might ruin the experience. This is where suitable alternatives such as virtual travel come into the mix.
What is Virtual Travel?
Imagine being able to see the world without having to pay a transport fare. This means enjoying locations and experiences from all around the globe without the usual costs of accommodation, food, and other logistical considerations.
So, what is virtual travel? This refers to the systems and processes that allow tourists to see other parts of the world from the comfort of their current location, usually leveraging tech to reach these new locations remotely.
Virtual travel is mostly built around VR and immersive video experiences, which allows the travelers to feel like they were in the place where they have been catapulted to.
While some virtual travel options (like reading books) are non-technology-based, the majority of the options that we will discuss here will use technology to immerse you around the world.
Where Can You Virtually Travel to, Right Now?
Quite a lot of places, and they are as diverse as they come. These virtual locations cater to different people with diverse tastes, so you are sure to find something that you like here.
Let’s explore some options that are easily accessible around you today.
National Park Tours
Enjoy the stunning details of national parks from all around the world.
You might have visited some of these parks, but we can assure you that you have not seen them all. Even for the parks that you have been to, the chances are that you only experienced part of the park and didn’t see what the rest held for you.
Now, you can get an immersive experience where you are neither limited by time nor the ability to exert yourself physically. Some tours even come with the full histories of all these parks, so you get an educational and fun tour in the same package.
You can start by exploring the various National Parks in the US and other parts of the world for a global experience.
An ingenious creation called Window Swap makes it possible to see the world through someone else’s window in any part of the world.
Through a continuous network of people streaming the happenings from their windows live to the central platform, you are instantly catapulted into different parts of the world to see what happens on a normal day.
You are not restricted to one window either.
So, if you don’t like what you see on a busy East Cairo street, are not interested in staring at how Germans spend their evenings on the sidewalk, or would rather watch anything other than Australians having fun in the streets, you can always switch to another window.
NASA gets in on the virtual travel fun by taking you beyond the shores of the earth into outer space.
This NASA virtual tour starts with familiarisation with everything that happens in NASA and what the brand stands for. They take that a step further by showing you their offices and some other important rooms in the establishment.
You won’t get access to secret level bases anytime soon but you’ll see enough to amaze you.
Once you are done with all that, it is time to relive the lunar missions like you were there too. This time around, you are not limited to grainy footage but some high-quality rendering, all thanks to Google and the Curiosity Rover.
When you consider how much billionaires are paying for the space experience these days, you’ll see how this is such a steal.
The search engine giant has also curated a list of museum tours to enjoy from the comfort of your couch.
You can choose to explore the museums by region (France, Germany, Italy, etc.), era (modern, classical, Renaissance), type of art and so much more.
The good news is that you are not limited to Google’s solution here. Other top museums also have private virtual tours that you can join, so make sure to look for those before you commit to anyone.
But then, again, joining one tour doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy another one later.
So, what’s there to lose in checking them all out?
This is a kind of virtual travel that not many people talk about and is right within your grasp.
Platforms like Netflix went all out last year in adding new content to their platform, and they have not slowed down. Fortunately, they did not neglect the documentary section.
Whether you’re a lover of animals, art, culture, history, or any other topic, Netflix and other streaming sites give you a great head start on your new interest.
Now, allow your mind to travel into all these concepts, expand your thinking and broaden your horizons.
Go to the zoo
This is recommended as a family event and is best suited to the kids, but nothing is stopping you from live streaming and seeing these animals as an adult.
The zookeepers and runners of this show have placed strategic cameras to ensure the animals are captured during their natural behavior. If you’re interested in a zoo visit but don’t know where to start, the San Diego zoo show is one of the best virtual experiences of this sort out now.
Looking at the official catalog on the zoo’s website, you can even choose which camera to follow different kinds of animals. Besides that, kids also get lessons on the animals in a fun way, teaching them to be aware of the creatures in their surroundings.
READ ALSO: “Easy Steps For Planning Your Trip”
Getting the Best out of Virtual Travel
The above is not an exhaustive list by any means but it does show you what is possible and sets you on the right track to find even more of these virtual travel experiences for yourself.
Once you commit to seeing what the globe holds for you this way, here are some tips and strategies to get the most out of your experiences.
Choose a curated event
Punch a virtual travel experience of your interest in search engines and you’ll most likely come back with a lot of options.
Some of them will be legit and others will be illegitimate. From the legit options will also be those experiences that are, at best, a waste of time.
That is not for the lack of trying on the content creator’s part. It is simply that not everyone has the means to curate such experiences at this time.
This is why we recommend that you go for curated events that have been put together to deliver the best results – both in the fun and learning department – for you.
Go with a trusted brand
Hackers and unscrupulous individuals will try to leverage the fact that virtual travel is booming now to scam unsuspecting users.
Make sure you only go with the reputable vendors and curators of these programs so that you can enjoy your virtual travel safely. The good news is that there are a lot of big-name brands creating such virtual experiences already, so you don’t lack options.
Access multiple contents
When streaming virtual travel tours and experiences, there are a number of reasons why you need a VPN to enhance your experience.
One of the most common cases is the geo-restriction of content. You may find that you have limited access compared to other countries.
With a VPN, you can bypass geo-blocking by connecting to a secure server location to stream your content securely without any issues.
The VPN will also come in handy to reduce latency (and improve connection speeds), boost your network encryption level and ensure that your connection is secure throughout the session.
Tech has come to the rescue once again, ensuring that we are not left without an option to pass the time as the world recovers from the pandemic.
Virtual travel provides a valuable escape mechanism for those who do not currently have the means to travel anyway. Thus, you can enjoy some of the benefits of being in another place without having to pay the premium that is associated with traveling the world.
Atop it all, virtual experiences like these continue to whet our appetites for when things go back to normal again. At that time, we can cultivate new interests and prepare for exploring the world again.
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Book Air Tickets
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Booking.com is currently the most dynamically developed search engine where you can find not only hotels, but also hostels, apartments, and flats to rent. According to my personal experience, it has competitive prices and a very convenient search system. I like that on Booking you can find many refundable rates, book your stay without a credit card and even pay on the spot.
Looking for Additional Travel Resources?
Check my Travel Resources page to find the best deals on car rental, booking ferries, trains and other companies that will make your travel more comfortable and pleasant.
This is a guest post. All the websites and companies included here are based on the author’s personal travel experiences. Please note that some of these links contain personal affiliate links, and with no extra cost to you. I may earn a small commission that helps me run this website and helps me share my adventures and travel tips which can help you.
Very interesting article and many ideas especially for Covid days. Even though adults may appreciate this one cannot compare to the real thing — try going to the virtual zoo with a 6 or 12-year-old …. not the same
Hello, Barbara! You are right! Not all virtual reality is suitable for all children, so we hope that everything will return to normal soon. I’m a big fan myself of Oculus VR and their documentaries )