Virtual Travel: How to Travel Without Leaving Home

by Matthew Stern
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virtual travel, Machu Picchu, Nancy Zaffaro

While it is a completely different experience when you see Christ the Redeemer or the Mona Lisa up-close, the current pandemic has made traveling and vacationing nearly impossible for many. With so many travel restrictions, consistent lock downs and Covid-19 waves, traveling may not bet on your bucket list for the foreseeable future. Perhaps your  travel options currently include camping and visiting sites available in your local area. Thankfully, in this era of exceptional access to digital technology, world-famous destinations have gone ahead and created virtual libraries where you can enjoy a tour of the greatest museums, parks, world wonders, and galleries from the comfort of your home. Here are amazing places you can visit virtually for a vacation-like experience straight from your living room. Explore your virtual travel options today; we think you’ll catch the bug and continue traveling virtually even after we’re back to our old travel habits.

Prince William Sound virtual travel

Prince William Sound (Photo by Nancy Zaffaro)

Visit the Seven Wonders of the World

If you had planned to visit any of the Seven Wonders of the World pre-Covid, virtual tours present you with a lifetime opportunity to visit all seven wonders, plus a few more without leaving your home.

From visiting the Great Wall of China to the Pyramids of Giza, you can join one of the many virtual tours offers by AirPano, Panoramas, the New York Times or Google for a wonder world Series experience.

With modern technology, you can visit some of the other wonders that never made it to the list of the seven, like the Easter Island, La Giralda or the Alhambra.

virtual travel

(Photo by xandreaswork on

Join Virtual Museum Tours

In the last few years, even before the pandemic, Google collaborated with more than 25,000 art museums worldwide for a project that makes it possible for people to visit these museums virtually. They offer high-resolution versions of different art pieces. The highlights you can visit virtually include the National Gallery of Art in DC, MoMA in New York, Art Institute, Chicago, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and the Casa Battló.

Other museums that offer virtual tours include The Louvre, the top-rated British Museum, The Vatican Museums, the Russian Museum, the Smithsonian Museums, the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Minneapolis Museum of Russian Art.

(Photo by Mehmet Turgut Kirkgoz on

Worry-free Tours in National Parks

One benefit of taking virtual trips through national parks is not having to worry about the weather. The Virtual Yosemite offers stunning views of the park, complete with audio cues. You can also take a tour with Google for 360-degree audiovisual park tours for US-based parks and more than 30 on Google Earth.

The next best thing about virtual park tours is the opportunity to get up close with more than 4000 species through online exhibits.

Go on a Digital Safari

If you are a big fan of wildlife, you can beat the pandemic blues by taking a digital safari to any destinations in the world. You can see the big five in Africa, whales in North America, and even take your family with you for a family safari as you introduce your kids to new animals. Many aquariums and zoos are giving people digital access.

Several webcams are available on the best zoos and aquariums, including the San Diego Zoo, Tennessee Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium that offers virtual viewings of penguins, pandas and beluga whales.

(Photo by Hu Chen on

Discover Space

If you seek a different experience, you do not have to wait for the year 2050 to visit mars. You can take a virtual tour to explore mars in 3D, 360-degree images recorded on NASA’s curiosity rover or explore any of the other planets through the available videos.

(Photo by Nicholas Lobos on

Virtual Reality Scuba Diving tours

If you are more of a watersport person, you can still enjoy scuba diving through virtual reality (VR) technology. National Geographic has come up with 360-degree videos of dive sites and nature sports that can be explored on a virtual reality headset. You will get the opportunity to explore coral reefs in Indonesia or swim with Humpback whales in Antarctica.

If you do not have a virtual reality headset, you can still explore the marine life on other devices such as your computer. The National Marine Sanctuaries website has 360-degree videos and photos of the marine ecosystem.

(Photo by Aviv Perets on Unsplash)

Enjoy an Online Theater Performance

Theater performances are yet another cultural experience you can enjoy via live stream. The Glastonbury Festival announces that it would host its 2021 festival, which will be virtual. You can also enjoy classics like Shakespeare originals from the London Globe Theatre website or the Royal Opera House website for ballet performances.

(Photo by Kyle Head on Unsplash)

Bring Broadway Home

If you are a fan of Broadway, the idea of not dressing up to watch your favorite show can be frustrating. Fortunately, different streaming services available like Disney+ are including Broadway shows for their subscribers. You can stream this and other virtual programs to have the best experience on Broadway without leaving home.

(Photo by Denys Nevozhai on

Bottom line

Even though these virtual experiences do not come close to what is offered by real-life ones, they still take you a little closer to some of the most amazing places on earth.

With virtual tours and streaming programs, you have the chance to visit places you may have never considered as ideal travel or holiday destinations under normal circumstances.

At the very least, virtual experiences will help you make better travel choices once travel restrictions are lifted.

(Photo by Maxim Tolchinskiy on

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-All Photos as credited. Cover photo, Machu Picchu, by Nancy Zaffaro.

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