travel virtually

Travel virtually: See the world without leaving your couch

In these new and bizarre times that we find ourselves living in, there isn’t much opportunity for travel. Luckily, the needs of our society have shifted during this pandemic to bring travel to us. That’s why hundreds of interesting experiences around the world have been recreated online to allow us to travel virtually. Here are just a few of the things you can take part in when you’re stuck at home during a pandemic or when you’re too broke to travel.

Museums to see from home

Visit the Louvre

The Louvre, which is currently closed until further notice is offering four virtual tours of some of its famous exhibits including the Egyptian wing and the Galerie d’Apollon.

Visit the Met

New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is another museum offering virtual tours through several 360-degree videos of some of its exhibits. You can see the Great Hall and the Met Cloisters with complete directional control. The music in the videos is a little annoying, but the visuals are pretty effective.

Visit the Vatican Museum

traveling virtually

As someone who has been to the Vatican Museum in person, I can tell you there’s almost nothing more unpleasant than seeing the Sistine Chapel with 9,000 other people, so this is definitely a great way to see the detail of the iconic ceiling without feeling like cattle on the way to be slaughtered.

Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

You can now have your own night at the museum (without the groups of children on field trips), by taking a tour of DC’s Smithsonian natural history museum. The experience comes complete with infographics and giant dinosaur bones.

The State Hermitage Museum

traveling virtually

St. Petersburg’s stunning and massive State Hermitage Museum has one of the most comprehensive virtual visits, allowing you access to a huge array of exhibits and see the beautiful architecture in fine detail. This is a good way to see this museum, pandemic or not, if you don’t want to support the dastardly Russian government by traveling there.

Take a street art tour of NYC

If you prefer your art to be public, graffiti lovers can also get their fix on Google Arts & Culture’s NYC virtual graffiti walk featuring art by Banksy and Kobra. This is also a fun way to remember how busy our streets used to be before coronavirus sent us all home.

Historical sites you can visit virtually

Go underground to see the Paris Catacombs

Holding the remains of more than six million people, the Paris Catacombs’ tunnel network is a good way to lose yourself for an hour or two. Now you don’t have to waste time waiting in line to get in because you can visit the underground ossuary from home.

Take a VR tour of Versailles

This is probably one of the coolest reasons to get a Virtual Reality headset; so you can take a private virtual tour of Louis XIV’s Palace of Versailles. If you don’t have a VR headset, you can still enjoy a virtual tour of the famed Hall of Mirrors and the king’s bedchamber.

traveling virtually
It might not be all that breathtaking from your internet browser, but it’s certainly less crowded.

See the Buckingham Palace State Rooms

Most of us have only seen the courtyard of Buckingham Palace while we watch the boring and overrated changing of the guard ceremony. But now you can see the inside of the palace without the crowds. Aside from history, you can take in the fashion on display that was worn during a reception in the palace for London Fashion Week in 2018.

Get in touch with wildlife from your couch

Visit the Georgia Aquarium

traveling virtually

Is there anything more relaxing than watching fish swim? Now is a great time to check out the Georgia Aquarium’s live cams. The different cams give you a peek inside various exhibits like the African penguin enclosure and the beluga whale tank. If you don’t have a fish tank at home, you put the web cam on your TV and zone out with a glass of wine. It’s like the yule log under more apocalyptic circumstances.

Check out Taronga Zoo

Though I don’t enjoy supporting zoos when I travel, I certainly don’t mind seeing the tiger and elephant cams from home. Australia’s Taronga Zoo is offering 24/7 live-streams of their animals. If you enjoyed waiting for April the giraffe to give birth, you’ll like seeing the animals at feeding time.

Take a virtual cooking class

One of the coolest travel experiences you can enjoy is learning to cook a local dish. Luckily, now you don’t have to go to Italy to learn how to make pasta, because an Italian grandma can come to you. Professional cooks have gotten in on the pandemic action, too. Chef Massimo Bottura is offering nightly cooking classes on Instagram in his free Kitchen Quarantine series. Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski is also taking to Instagram to teach the world how to cook.

Attend a virtual concert

If live music is more your preferred travel entertainment, you can catch free streamed concerts on Billboard Live at Home and Live Nation’s Live From Home, which currently feature an extensive lineup of shows including Dua Lipa, The Killers, and Major Lazer. It’s like if Coachella came to you and you didn’t have to spend $400 on a ticket and die of heat exhaustion.

Go to the theater

Theater is wonderful, but when Broadway’s lights are dim, you’re going to need an alternative. That’s why Broadway HD is offering a 7-day free trial of their subscription service that gives you access to classic live productions including Kinky Boots and Cats. From across the pond, NT Live will air free streams of past shows from London’s West End during the pandemic. Might not be quite the same experience, but at least you’re guaranteed to have the best seat in the house.

This pandemic has opened up a lot of digital ways to see the world, offering us hours of free entertainment from the comfort and safety of our home. If these live streams and virtual visits don’t live up to the real thing, then perhaps it’s time to find some hobbies that aren’t travel… ‘cause I think we’re gonna be home a while.


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