Let’s face it, travelling is an irreplaceable experience, and while staycations might be the norm now, it doesn’t mean you can’t bring the outside world into your homes. If you’re asking yourself if you can really travel without travelling, the answer is YES. It’s become easier than ever to “travel” without leaving your home, and experience virtual travel with such travel experiences and tours popping up all over the internet.
While there is no shortage of movies or television shows to fill every waking minute, sometimes we want more. From museum tours to cooking classes, these virtual experiences will make the ultimate staycation. Think of these virtual tours as guided meditations. You can zone out for an hour as your cursor escorts you through museum halls, forests, palaces, and rivers. Here are some amazing ways to experience virtual travel.
Here Are 25 Virtual Reality Travel Experiences To Get You Started
VIRTUAL TOURS OF FAMOUS LANDMARKS
Experience the world’s most famous landmarks without the crowds. Thanks to live streams, virtual tours, and 360-degree videos, you can see amazing sights from your home.
Sistine Chapel: Marvel at the intricately painted ceilings of this iconic religious landmark in Vatican City on this virtual tour.
CN Tower: Look over downtown Toronto from anywhere in the world with this live stream from the top of the 1,815-foot tall architectural wonder. It’s one of the most stunning things to do on virtual travel.
Buckingham Palace: Perhaps the most famous palace in the UK, this is the Queen’s official residence. You’ll have many public rooms all to yourself with these virtual tours.
Palace Of Versailles: You can walk through France’s Palace of Versailles, including the famous Hall of Mirrors, from your own home at any time. In addition to the lavish architecture, the palace includes canvas art and beautiful murals.
The Eiffel Tower: This iconic structure has three different levels for visitors to see, all with amazing views of Paris. You can now experience these from anywhere in the world right here on a virtual tour of the landmark you can take from home.
VIRTUAL MUSEUM TOURS
Museums around the world are offering virtual tours of their collections, along with interactive experiences, and many more ways to experience virtual travel; perfect for history buffs and art lovers.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Met Gala may have been cancelled, but you can still get your fix of elaborate costumes with the online collection at The Costume Institute, as well as 26 other virtual tours the Met has for you to explore.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: You can spend days exploring the Smithsonian collections of over 150 million items related to American history and culture. From current and permanent exhibitions to a tour of the Smithsonian Castle, there are virtual tours for everything.
Grammy Museum: Browse the newly released curated content at this museum, all accompanied by a specially curated Spotify playlist so you can actually listen in on this virtual reality travel experience.
The National Palace Museum: Visit Taipei’s National Palace Museum and go treasure hunting for Chinese artefacts that date back as far as the Neolithic age on this 720-degree virtual tour, complete with an audio guide.
VIRTUAL TOURS OF THE GREAT OUTDOORS
If the view from your window is starting to get old, why not virtually explore the great outdoors instead? Many of our planet’s best national parks, hiking trails, and natural wonders can be seen online for those looking for new ways to experience virtual travel.
Yosemite National Park: Google Earth just launched 31 virtual tours of national parks throughout the United States. Why not pick one of the most visited and check out Yosemite’s majestic waterfalls and stunning cliff faces, all set against the backdrop of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
Inca Trail: Take the long trek to Peru’s iconic Machu Picchu in under one hour with this virtual journey. Experience the breathtaking mountain views and rugged trails (almost) first hand, and the best part is — you won’t even be sore after!
Grand Canyon: One of the most popular places to visit in the world, this awe-inspiring canyon is known for its rugged sprawling sandstone landscape. Now you can visit virtually whenever you want.
Northern lights: Watch the ongoing live stream of the wondrous northern lights from Churchill, Canada. You might even feel like crossing this natural phenomenon off your bucket list.
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park: Escape to this park in Australia’s Northern Territory with this virtual tour. Apart from the stunning red-sand landscapes, the tour includes stories and songs from Anangu, the traditional owners of the land.
ONLINE SHOWS & CONCERTS
Shows, live concerts and music festivals have been cancelled for the time being. But now, musicians, clubs, and more are bringing the entertainment to you. Around the world, people are holding free live online performances to help fill your time while you stay at home and think of ways to experience virtual travel.
Together at Home: This campaign features lots of big-name artists, from Niall Horan to John Legend performing over social media for fans to help promote social distancing.
BroadwayHD: From Broadway shows to Shakespeare, this service has more than 300 productions for you to binge-watch. They offer a free seven-day trial, after which you can either pay for more content or cancel your account.
The Metropolitan Opera: If you’re craving a night at the opera, while you can’t leave the house, you’ll love this. The New York institution is sharing a performance every night for free if you’re still wondering how to travel virtually.
Seattle Symphony: If you’re looking for even more classical music, the internet has your back. This esteemed symphony is posting free broadcasts on social media for you to watch from home.
Disney Rides: While Disney may have announced a closure of its parks, you can still revisit iconic rides like Space Mountain and Splash Mountain and even kid-friendly favourites like It’s A Small World or Snow White’s Scary Adventure.
VIRTUAL FOOD EXPERIENCES
If you want more ways to experience virtual travel, we’ve got you covered. With several food experts, chefs and restaurants dishing out their top tips and tricks online (and for free!), now’s your chance to do all that cooking you’ve always dreamed of.
Food Network Kitchen: On this Facebook page chefs share recipes and tips every day. Try Mark Bitman’s shrimp and rice, or Michael Symon’s delicious pot roast.
Borough Market cooking classes: Join the daily cooking classes live-streamed on this London market’s Instagram account. They also have the Borough Market Community on Facebook for foodies to share recipes and cooking tips.
Pasta-making with Nonna Neria: This 84-year-old Italian grandma is live-streaming her cooking classes direct from Italy. Learn all about Italian comfort food and even try some out yourself.
GO TO OUTER SPACE
And if our planet just isn’t enough for you, why not take your social distancing to a whole new level and travel to outer space?
The Houston Space Center: Download this special app to journey into space via the space centre’s Location-Aware Audio Tour and its thrilling virtual reality experience of the moon (with fun facts along the way).
Access Mars: Finally, finish your space expedition with an exciting 360-degree virtual tour of the red planet.
How Is Virtual Reality Transforming The Tourism Industry?
There are hundreds of ways to experience virtual travel. While travelling in person will always be an irreplaceable experience, virtual reality has brought us tons of ways to travel without travelling. We may all be grounded for now, but thanks to the miracle of the internet, we can tour the world from pretty much anywhere – with the added bonus of not having to deal with long lines and large crowds. So, which of these exciting tours are you going to take next?