Friday, September 17, 2021

When in lockdown, there’s always Virtual Travel

Explore the world from the comfort of your living room thanks to modern technology

Reading Time: 3 minutes
When in lockdown, there’s always Virtual Travel

While it’s goodbye to travel for now due to COVID-19 as planes are grounded, borders are closed and travel plans are on pause – travel is an online click away thanks to virtual travel. Yet many of us don’t know anything about it.

Using social media, I conducted a survey and received quite a response. My question was: ‘Today was meant to be the final day of my cruise, the cruise that never happened, that got cancelled at the very last minute. Now that we are all cooped up inside, are any of you experiencing virtual travel of places you want to visit? Does it help you decide where to go next or provide you with a sense of escape?’

Over 50 respondents said they were dreaming of their next trip, watching travel documentaries, reading books on travel, rummaging through boxes of old photos and memorabilia to relive past trips – but no one mentioned virtual reality as a way of exploring the world.

Even my internet savvy 82-year-old neighbour uses virtual reality to tour her favourite European cities, taking aerial tours of the buildings, parks and life on the streets below.

When I returned from Egypt in September, I described the pyramids of Giza to my daughters and showed them photos. But conveying a sense of scale of their overwhelming size proved difficult. So, we took a tour of the pyramids using Google Arts and Culture to experience the site as though we were walking around it.

And though cancellation of my trip to South America has meant I don’t get to hike high up into the Andes to view Machu Picchu as planned, I was able to experience 360 degree images on YouVisit’s virtual tour that includes commentary on the architecture and history of the site.

Virtual touring also comes into its own when you’re tossing up how long to stay at a destination, and is a handy tool when planning a trip. For example, for Angkor in Cambodia, the largest religious monument in the world, a three-day pass is a must. There is so much to see, and the site is so spread out though most visitors don’t realise that until after they arrive. By using virtual reality to explore the site beforehand, the enormity of the site becomes obvious. The virtual Angkor project provides 360-degree views and narration by historians and archaeologists. Other sites can also be visited in this way including the Taj Mahal that uses interactive digital pathways around the mausoleum, reflecting pool and gardens while 360 -degree images soar above the dome and minarets.

A site that I had wanted to visit for as long as I can remember, the ancient city of Petra took my breath away, but in hindsight I would have benefited from viewing an interactive guided tour of the monuments before I arrived. I would have approached the site altogether differently by knowing its history, and I would have better planned my time there by arriving early in the morning to avoid the tourist hordes, and followed pathways to lesser known temples that I could have enjoyed all to myself.

To get you started using a virtual reality tour application, look at Google Arts and Culture, or Google Earth that gives you the chance to fly from the streets of mega cities to oceans, mountains and rivers, the YouTube channel VR World Travel that provides 360-degree windows into global wanderings and National Geographic VR. And to entice you to visit their countries, some government tourism boards offer virtual reality tours that include stately palaces, lakes, mountains and street scenes.

So, while travel may be off limits for now, you can still take an interactive online tour to ignite your dreams of exploring the world.

READ ALSO: A virtual tour of Orlando for your little ones

- Advertisement -
Petra ONeill
After growing up in Australia's outback she enjoys visiting remote destinations in Australia for the wildlife, vast open spaces and brilliant night sky and travelling overseas to exotic destinations to experience different cultures. Her bag is always packed and ready for the next trip

Related Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

shreya kalra

WATCH: Indore influencer dances on road for video, booked by police

  A woman who was filmed running across the road to dance at a busy intersection in Indore, Madhya Pradesh has landed in trouble for...

21 burps: it’s modak time as we celebrate Ganesha

  “I’m going to burp 21 times,” I would declare to my Ajji, after eating her mouth-watering modaks. Sweetmeat dumplings made with rice flour and some...
virat kohli

Captaincy comes with its own set of challenges

  Captaincy! The word itself is so powerful that it can prompt anyone to have an opinion - either for or against it. And when...
Baby Hanuman, Ganesha and Krishna cartoons. Source: Twitter

Play-based experiences to teach your kids about your cultural festival

  When you think about celebrating festivals, what is the fondest memory that comes to your mind immediately? For me, it’s definitely the fun, frolic and...

From an Indian Palace to the Outback: The Last Prince of...

  The Last Prince of Bengal is the intriguing true story of one of India’s most powerful royal families. It’s a fascinating tale about Nawab...