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  • Carrie Cochran

5 Virtual Ways to Travel During Coronavirus Quarantine

As the world around us rapidly shuts down due to the coronavirus epidemic, you may find yourself confined to your home, canceling your travel plans, and wondering what in the world to do with yourself. You are not alone!

It's one thing not to be able to travel internationally, but when most forms of exploration and entertainment are cut off, what is there to do besides play board games and binge-watch Netflix?

Well, thanks to modern-day technology, you can do plenty of things virtually! So to help stave off the quarantine crazies, here are 5 virtual travel ideas to help you kill some time and feel less "trapped" inside your home.

1. Download a Virtual Reality Travel App

If you haven't gotten in on the VR headset fad, now is the perfect time to invest in your own headset. With just a VR headset, a smartphone, some good headphones, and the right app, you can pretend you're lying on a beach or exploring a gorgeous jungle rather than sitting on your couch!

Each app offers different experiences and choices of locations, so you can certainly find one that fits your specific travel interests and will occupy you for hours at a time. Here are a couple of my recommendations:

YouVisit VR: YouVisit VR puts exotic and remote locations from around the world right at your fingertips. With a wide variety of adventures from NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Lab to Hover: Helicopter Rides and more, this app will keep you occupied for a long time. The app even lets you interact in story modes for a more personal experience, rather than just walking around a scene. It also has a Play with Puppies adventure for when you really need to relax! And if you don't have a VR headset, this YouVisit VR lets you explore anyway through phone mode. This app is available for both Apple and Android devices.

Sites in VR: Sites in VR offers virtual tours of famous landmarks in nearly 15 countries and even excursions into space! Explore castles, ruins, pyramids, and the Eiffel Tower before taking a tour of Mars! Sites in VR put a lot of effort into being universally compatible with all headsets, which is a nice bonus if you have an off-brand set or often have issues with yours. Check it out on Google Play and the Apple store.

2. Take a Virtual Museum Tour

For art and culture lovers, you'll absolutely want to take the time to explore Google's expansive collection of virtual museum tours in the Arts and Culture Collection section. Some of these tours are pictures of the exhibits with informative captions, but others give you full Google Street View access to tour the museum step by step! How amazing is that? Visit the Van Gogh Museum, the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, the Acropolis Museum, and even the Palace of Versailles! You can also view some house museums, such as the Anne Frank House. There are literally hundreds of options here (maybe a thousand--I had to stop scrolling eventually), so you can certainly find something you'll enjoy!

Travel and Leisure has a great article on their 12 favorites if you don't know where to start.

3. Take a Virtual Ruins and Architecture Tour

Another of Google's fantastic Art and Culture tools lets you take a street tour of famous museums, monuments, and ruins throughout the world. A few tours are just panoramas, but most of them offer full street-tour capabilities to explore the buildings' exteriors all the way around.

I will reiterate that these are primarily street views, so you can't go inside all of them like the specific museum tours above. But you can do more with a few, such as get a stunning view from the top of the Eiffel Tower and tour St. Mary's Church in Edlesborough, England. Several locations like the Taj Mahal also have multiple "tours," so you can see them from several different viewpoints. If you enjoy architecture, this is an incredible way to see the fantastic details on hundreds of temples, castles, mansions, and even ancient ruins from cultures all around the world.

If you search "museum views" in the Google Arts and Culture section, you can choose from over 4600 amazing locations to explore! Some are more well-known, such as Machu Picchu, Brussel's Grand Palace, the Taj Mahal, and even Stonehenge. But there are many places on here I'd never heard of but now are definitely on my bucket list once international travel is open again!

4. Explore 5 National Parks with Virtual Aids

Yet another of Google's fantastic VR travel aids gives you the option to explore 5 national parks in glorious detail! Google teamed up with these parks to provide not only 360-degree views but also audio and video elements to complete your tour! You can tour the Kenai Fjords in Alaska, volcanoes in Hawaii, the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon in Utah, and the Dry Tortugas in Florida!

And I must say that the detail on this is fantastic! I just went virtual swimming through a coral reef in the Dry Tortugas, experienced life as a bat, and "stood" on volcanic cliffs overlooking the ocean! These are not only immersive but highly educational. I definitely recommend this feature to all outdoor lovers even after the coronavirus lockdown!

5. Travel Vicariously Through Travel Bloggers

As a travel blogger, this is something I do pretty much every day in search of future adventures. But if you don't already follow travel pages on social media, this is a great time to find a few new influencers to connect with.

Find 3-5 travelers with pages full of beautiful photos, meaningful captions, and on-site videos. You can very quickly get sucked into exploring the past year of their adventures. And if they have actual travel blogs, sign up! You'll get more details than just the cover photo and caption, and it will make the whole experience more immersive. You'll go beyond seeing pretty pictures to learning all about a new location and possibly planning a trip there for yourself!

A few of my favorite Instagram travel influencers are The Colors of Sam, Our Next Flight, and Wilderness Tones. And of course, if you don't follow the Mandala Traveler yet, you can find all my social media handles at the top of the main blog page!

I hope you take the time to explore these incredible avenues and don't let this temporary issue dull your love for travel and adventure! Keep exploring through every channel at your disposal, so when the time comes to re-enter the world, you already have the perfect trip planned. At the very least, you'll have an enjoyable way to kill all the extra time you now have on your hands.

If you enjoyed this post and you know someone else who's probably going stir-crazy right now, please share this to help them out! If you really, really enjoyed the post, sign up for the blog! I'll be posting new content every week to keep you entertained and informed.

I wish each and everyone one of you good health and safety during this time.

Happy (virtual) travels!

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