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A Complete Guide to Virtual Travel

Even if you’re not planning your next trip any time soon, turning to a vacation state of mind is an excellent way to maintain your mental health. We know that switching off now and then is necessary, but we rarely do it because we don’t feel like we have the time. However, at the same time, we spend hours with phones in our hands, believing that we’re giving ourselves a break. Well, guess what, mobiles can be pretty harmful to your mental health if used in the wrong way. Thus, you have to be mindful of how you’re using your technology and its effect on your well-being.

Next time you need a pick-me-up, consider going on a virtual trip to a distant destination of your choosing. If you need help coming up with a perfect destination, we have a great guide to virtual travel for you.

GUIDE TO VIRTUAL TRAVEL

1.    Go on a virtual hike

Nature enthusiasts, pack your backpacks because we’re going hiking! Choose the peak you want to reach and enjoy the magnificent view. If you want to see a geological wonder resulting from millions of years of rock-forming processes, the Grand Canyon is your choice. Watch the sun setting on reddish slopes, or enjoy the burbling sound of the Havasu Falls.

However, if the Grand Canyon’s summer temperatures are a little bit too much for you, pop over to the Himalayas to cool down. You can reach the highest point of our planet and experience the view from every climber’s dream – Mount Everest, without breaking a sweat. Also, if you have a VR headset, the experience will be immaculate. You can try Everest VR: The Journey to the Top of the World – a three-part documentary VR experience with a guide that narrates your whole climb. Also, you can hear the wind blowing and snow rustling under your feet.

While virtual hiking can be a great choice, for some, it just won’t cut it. Those who want a real piece of the deal can enjoy the perks of virtual reality combined with real-life activities. The Conqueror Virtual Challenge is labeled as one of the best virtual fitness challenges. It offers an array of exciting routes like Marathon to Athens, Route 66, or a painstakingly long Pacific Crest Trail with 4000 km (2485 miles) to conquer. Every challenge requires you to complete various distance-based exercises like running, swimming, hiking, and cycling to eventually finish the route. You can challenge your friends to take this journey with you, and you can even collect actual medals for each challenge.

mount Everest, virtual guide to travel
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Photo by Andreas Gäbler on Unsplash

2. Stream a travel show

If watching a travel show or a movie tends to be your way to escape the dullness of everyday life, we have some options that will make you feel like you’re on a real adventure. For the food lovers who enjoy trying new restaurants and unique flavors, Street Food is a no-brainer. In this Netflix docuseries, you can travel the world to meet with some of the greatest street food legends. The first season will take you on a journey across Asia, while in the second season, you can taste the street food of Latin America. It’s almost guaranteed that you’ll try to recreate some of the dishes from the show right after.

Those who are more into unconventional types of fun could enjoy the Dark Tourist – a Netflix show like no other where journalist David Farrier travels the world to discover some of the strangest and darkest tourist attractions. You can enjoy a hike through Aokigahara, more commonly known as Japan’s suicide forest, and engage in a voodoo ritual in Africa. Dark Tourist is trying to understand some of the most bizarre customs across different cultures and understand their unique religious and spiritual beliefs. It’s definitely worth a shot.

Coral reefs are sanctuaries of the most diverse marine life in the world. Sadly, pollution, destructive fishing methods, and similar practices are destroying them, and we have to do everything in our power to keep them safe. Thus, in the documentary film Chasing Coral a group of marine life scientists and filmmakers decided to go on a journey around the world to investigate and document the roots of this ecological disaster. We can’t recommend this one enough; it’s a true eye-opener. Even though streaming services cover almost any topic under the sky, you may struggle to find the exact movie or a show you want to watch because they’re geo-blocking some of their content. If you want to bypass these restrictions, there are ways to do it. For example, you can access more content with a VPN. A Virtual Private Network can hide your actual IP address and give you another one corresponding to your desired location, meaning that you can access any streaming catalog – you just have to change the location in your VPN app.

Street Food, guide to virtual travel
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Photo by Lisheng Chang on Unsplash

3. Visit some of the world’s wonders

Those who eagerly want to visit some of the magnificent wonders like the Great Wall of China or the Leaning Tower in Pisa often end up being disappointed considering that those places tend to be on everyone’s bucket list, and it’s often almost impossible to see and enjoy anything. Therefore, this is where virtual travel can be a great option. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Machu Picchu, has teamed up with Google to bring you on a unique trip around the citadel. You can stroll through the city while listening to a voice-over that’ll give more information about the destination and its cultural and religious significance for the Inca people.

The Mummyfranchise lovers will undoubtedly enjoy entering the ancient tombs to discover unique Egyptian frescoes and treasures. Egyptian Ministry of Tourism worked alongside Harvard University on their Giza Project to release virtual tours of five historical sites that you now can access from your home.

Furthermore, the Taj Mahal in India tends to be one of the must-see attractions on any architecture lover’s list. Hop on a virtual tour to see the delicate flowers carved in marble, tall minarets, or astonishingly beautiful calligraphy, and listen to one of the most beautiful love stories of all time.

Another architectural wonder, Petra, is today a symbol of Jordan. Built possibly as early as in the 5th century, it represents one of the pinnacles of rock-cut architecture, and it’s believed to have one of the most complex water conduit systems of the ancient world. Luckily for us, a few years ago, with the help of Queen Rania of Jordan and the United Nations, Google entered Rose City and brought this piece of art into our homes.

the Taj Mahal, guide to virtual travel
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Photo by Jovyn Chamb on Unsplash

4. Enjoy strolling through a museum

Museums are a great way to pass the time and learn something new. Fortunately, more and more museums nowadays offer engaging virtual exhibitions and various activities. If you don’t know where to start, choose an artist you love or find interesting. Vincent van Gogh is a favorite of many, and the most extensive collection of his works can be found in The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Besides van Gogh’s pieces, you can see the artwork of his contemporaries Pissaro and Toulouse-Lautrec, a collection of Japanese prints van Gogh collected during his life, and his letters and similar artifacts.

History lovers will enjoy a walk through many exhibitions in The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. From learning about sea monsters and colorful birds to taking a peek at mesmerizing gem and mineral collections, you can find a section of the natural history that attracts you the most and explore. 

Furthermore, the Google Arts & Culture project collaborated with British Library to bring something for fellow muggles as well. Harry Potter: History of Magic offers something for everyone. You can check out online exhibitions organized by Hogwarts school subjects, take a look at J.K. Rowling’s early sketches and notes or learn something about your favorite magical creatures.

Harry Potter wizard potions
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Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

5. Go on a virtual cruise

If you’ve never seen a cruise ship in person, they’re huge. Just a walk through one of these bad boys is an experience of its own. That being said, a significant number of travel agencies today offer virtual tours for their future customers and anyone wanting to explore these grand sailing buildings. If you want a more immersive experience, you can find plenty of videos with cruise ship staff explaining their duties and telling exciting stories from their cruises. Also, you can learn a few tricks from world-renowned chefs who used to work on some of the biggest cruise ships in the world. Furthermore, some cruise companies often invite people on social media to join their at-home cruise parties on Zoom or Facebook Live, where you can learn how to make some of the famous cocktails and engage in quizzes or scavenger hunts.

Traveling tends to be everyone’s favorite choice when it comes to relaxing and rewinding. Even though an actual trip maybe somewhere far in the future, you can still enjoy many benefits of switching to a traveling mindset. Choose the destination you want to visit, zone in, and enjoy!

Cruise ship, guide to virtual travel
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Photo by Jamie Morrison on Unsplash

About the Author

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Jack is an accomplished cybersecurity expert with years of experience under his belt at TechWarn, a trusted digital agency to world-class cybersecurity companies. A passionate digital safety advocate himself, Jack frequently contributes to tech blogs and digital media sharing expert insights on cybersecurity and privacy tools.

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Never stop exploring for any reason! When you are unable to travel physically, turn to virtual! This guide to virtual travel can help guide your "next trip"!
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