As we enter another year and the COVID pandemic still rages on activities such as camping, road trips and ice skating become unadvisable during growing case numbers, and the yearn to travel and get out and see the world sets in once more. Melancholy is at an all-time high – but just because we are confined to our homes held at the mercy of a stable WIFI connection, does not mean that we can’t give ourselves the luxury of virtual travel. While you may not be able to enjoy a cup of Kinder gelato along a Venetian canal side to the lulling sounds of an accordion just yet, many popular tourist locales have pivoted during this time to offer experiences from your home. This means you can enjoy these beautiful places, without the crowds, and see some things that you may not have been able to see in real life anyway (ahem, trekking Mount Everest).
Below you’ll find a list of some places that you can visit or experience right now, from the comfort of your own home, in your coziest sweats to nurture the wanderlust that rests inside (at least until we can get back out there safely!).
Interested in visiting a new country?
Now is the perfect time! As briefly mentioned before, tourism boards have opened virtual experiences to see some of the most sought after places on earth. Take a trip across Japan with the Japan National Tourism Organization in this 360-degree movie exploring everything from ancient architecture to serene bamboo forests. Crack open a Guinness at home and stroll the Giants Causeway in Ireland with the National Trust. Chile 360 is a free app you can download to discover the country’s many natural wonders, from the Atacama Desert to Easter island, or an evening star gazing in Santiago. If you find none of these adventures fit your fancy, Google Earth might have you covered! Enjoy a 3D experience through over thirty World Heritage sites, including the Pyramids of Egypt, the Taj Mahal and more!
Big into beaches?
Crank up the heat, make some margaritas and float in the crystal-clear waters of the Maldives with this video from Amilla Fushi Resort. The well-known pristine Grecian beaches and blue-as-the-sky waters can be found on YouTube, which is home to a wide range of quality videos throughout some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, including this one from RealTyne at Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia. Put on your tropical best and create your own at home paradise.
And if white sands don’t fit your fancy, consider a trip below sea level with these unique experiences. Carlsberg Caverns in New Mexico offers a virtual trip through its dark and eerie depths from the comfort of your own home. Have you ever wanted to try scuba diving? Tour the sea floor during an interactive journey with historian David Attenborough through five key locations along Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Miss strolling through museums and art shows?
Googles Arts and Culture has collections that include virtual visits to a wide range of iconic establishments, such as the Guggenheim, the Louvre and the British Museum to name just a few. See the finest art and exhibits up close and personal, without the crowds or entry fees!
Need something for the family to enjoy?
Many children love animals, and luckily there are a lot of fun, family friendly activities where you can get up close and personal with nature’s best! Experience a true African safari alongside rhinos, gazelles, giraffes and more through Kruger National Park. Watch live zoo cams from a variety of zoos across the US, including this livestream from the Seattle Aquarium of their seal exhibit from 9am-6am every day! Maybe make it an adventure by watching the videos outside on a family screening night, but don’t forget your Brave Era sheet for the snuggles and softness.
In the end these troubling times will hopefully soon pass, but as we venture through, we mustn’t lose our love of travel and our curiosity for the world. Take this time to build up the foundation of travel knowledge so you can ready your bucket list, so that when our world opens up, you’re prepared to take it on full swing.