Do you have some ideas for virtual travel during this Covid-19 period? With travel restrictions in place, I’d rather use the time in lockdown to take some virtual tours so that I can plan for what to do when things improve, which I sincerely hope they will soon. I’m sure I’m not the first to ask about it! What have you heard about?
This is a timely question. We are hearing about all kinds of (we hope) temporary changes to the travel landscape because of coronavirus. Some people are still planning in-person domestic trips to places like national parks, where social distancing is imaginable (Yosemite National Park is 8 miles long!), but trips to places like New York City or Washington D.C. appear to be on hold for many people. Crowded venues and national museums are making adjustments to accommodate visitors, but plans are still in the works.
If you aren’t able to get into the great wide open near you, there are virtual travel experiences you can consider in the meantime. Things like webcams, headsets (VR headsets too), livestreams, 360-degree videos, Netflix, National Geographic and Google Arts & Culture are making all kinds of virtual experiences (including virtual reality experiences) available and they tend to be free ways to learn more about some of the natural wonders of the world (and some of the human-made ones as well). Even with Google you can use the Google Earth and “street view” features to get an up close view of a place you might like to visit.
If you follow travel accounts on social media, you will see that many are covering virtual travel experiences and you can pick and choose based on your interests. Sure you won’t get what it feels like to fully experience the Northern Lights, the smell of Central Park during a NYC spring, the sound of the waves in Hawaii mixed with scent of salt air or the thrill of seeing giraffes up close in a natural environment on a virtual visit, but with a combination of video, audio (cue up the right playlist!) or even virtual reality, you can start to explore.
In North America, there are sites from New York to California, Washington to Florida, Arkansas to Illinois and more. Art Museums such as the Guggenheim have online tours and history museums such as the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum are doing their best to provide people with information and entertainment during these trying times. If the Grand Canyon is on your list you can take a virtual tour now. Every state in the union has places of great beauty and historical interest. Not to mention the recent excitement generated by the show that SpaceX and NASA are putting on in real-time.
If you are itching to do some international travel there are plenty of interim options. You can see the Egyptian artifacts at the British Museum, say hello to the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, check out some of the works of Van Gogh in Amsterdam, see the sights of the Great Wall of China, stare at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, wander the walls of the Uffizi Gallery and even crest Everest–all from the comfort of your living room.
Naomi, we sure are glad you asked. We hope this inspires you for now and the future.
All the best,
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