It will be a while before COVID restrictions ease up. Websites say vaccines are going out, and the infection rate may be reducing, but countries will still want to be careful until COVID is eradicated by all accounts.
Fortunately, people who have missed traveling can begin traveling again, just not in person. With technology and the Internet, it’s never been easier to travel the world from the comfort of your home.
How You Can Explore the World Virtually
1. Virtual Museum Tours
There is no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than touring a museum. From famous sculptures to aged fossils, there’s no limit to what you can see at a museum. Unfortunately, COVID puts a limit on how often you can visit a museum, and in many places, it’s impossible to go to the museum at all.
Not all hope is lost, though! There are currently many museums offering virtual tours of their exhibits. For example, you can currently take a virtual tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
These virtual tours do lack the personal touch that in-person museum visits offer. However, these virtual visits are a great way to stave off that museum craving until COVID ends and these museums reopen.
Keep in mind that not all museums are offering virtual tours, and there’s a slight chance that your local museum may not be offering such tours.
2. Experiment With Recipes from Around the World
Nothing beats traveling to another country and experiencing new cultures in person. But until COVID travel restrictions are lifted, most are stuck in their homes, unable to visit other states, let alone other countries! There is one way you can experience different cultures at home, however, at least when it comes to food.
There are tons of recipe repositories on the Internet. Finding these sites is easy and free. Using these sites, you can locate recipes from the country you’ve wanted to visit and cook these recipes. Sure, it won’t beat visiting the country, but it is a good way to experience one aspect of the culture.
This can be expensive, however, so only do this if you have the money to spend on ingredients and don’t mind spending a lot of time in the kitchen. If you love cooking, then doing this is a no-brainer!
3. Watch Interactive YouTube Videos
The history of YouTube is littered with gimmicks. Some of them have worked out and have their own place on the site, such as the YouTube Communities, but others have either gone away completely or are rarely used.
In the middle, you have 360-degree YouTube videos. 360-degree YouTube videos were designed to be more “immersive” and “interactive,” and it would almost be like you were there. These videos didn’t—and still don’t—require a virtual reality headset, as all you need to do is move the device you’re watching the video on to see a different area of the video.
Here’s the thing: these videos have gone from a useless gimmick to an entertaining niche since quarantine started. They really can be immersive, and while there aren’t many 360-degree videos on YouTube, there are a few that are worth watching, even if there’s not much replay value in these videos.
4. Watch Travel Programs
On the other side of the spectrum, opposite of 360-degree YouTube videos, you have regular programming—regular shows and movies that you can watch on your TV. And while these TV programs lack the “immersion” that comes with 360-degree YouTube videos, the truth is that those shows—whether they’re documentaries or shows centered around watching other people travel—can be just as immersive and scratch that travel itch.
Take Rick Steves’ Europe, for example, where he travels all throughout Europe, visiting every city and landmark he can. Other shows like The Layover are also good for general tourist viewing. There are also more experimental travel shows, like Dark Tourist, which focuses on morbid landmarks (like the Paris Catacombs).
Living through these people is a good way to get your fill of travel, even if you’re not the one actually doing the traveling. Be warned that some TV shows may not be available in your area, but you can use a VPN to watch any show from anywhere. Make sure you choose a trustworthy VPN provider such as ExpressVPN to ensure stable and secure connection. .
5. Use Google Earth and Street View
But what if you don’t have cable and you don’t feel like paying for a Netflix subscription? Well, there are some ways to virtually travel the world without needing to pay for a streaming service. Virtual tours are free, like the ones mentioned earlier, but what if you want to explore the world, not just certain exhibits?
If you want a free way to explore the world, nothing quite beats Google Earth and its Street View. Throughout the past decade, Google has been able to create an always-updated layout of the earth and every country in it. From the bright shores of the Maldives to the towering pinnacle of architecture that is the Eiffel Tower, it’s easy to get lost for hours, clicking through Google Earth.
It’s not a perfect service, and depending on where you are in the program, beautifully crafted 3D buildings will be traded in for low-quality JPEGs (info as to why this happens is available). That said, however, there is no service quite like Google Earth.
6. Buy a VR Headset
If you have the money to spare, buying a virtual reality headset is one of the most immersive ways to travel the world from your home. With a virtual reality headset, you can play games focused on mountain climbing, watch immersive videos, or place yourself in a virtual recreation of any spot in the world that you want to be in,
The best option for those wanting to get into virtual reality travel is the Oculus Quest 2, though stock will vary depending on where you’re located; Oculus Quests have become very popular since the pandemic started, probably due to the same reasons being discussed right now!
Just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t travel the world. With the Internet, nothing is impossible, so go ahead and start traveling