After more than a year of battling Covid-19, “Covid fatigue” is hitting hard, leaving many tired of being anxious, worried, and detained indoors. Unlike our usual expectations of springtime, where joy rings in the air, reality has secluded us behind closed doors and left us only with hope for a brighter future. To cope with this exhaustion, virtual tours can make the best out of this situation. It can be the closest we have to teleportation that seems to magically whisk us away into a new world of surprises.
Virtual travel can be an affordable alternative for families to enjoy within the comforts of their homes. With just a few clicks online, an expansive world can be unraveled. For nature enthusiasts, there are virtual programs like a WILDWatch Live safari by &Beyond, which exhibits live stream footage of wild animals in South Africa. Another unique option for viewers is to book private zoom sessions in which they can communicate with guides who answer questions and share sightings of recent drives. Profits collected from the booking fees are donated to the Africa Foundation and to conservation purposes. These virtual safaris are not only stress relieving, but also help communities beyond our reach. There are also virtual tours of the Yellowstone National Park on the NPS website, which explores a variety of natural landscapes, from the Grand Canyon to the mud volcano and mammoth hot springs.
In addition to nature, the world’s most admired museums can also be toured in an instant, eliminating the tedious process of standing in line for hours to get a glimpse of its wonders. Google Arts & Culture collaborated with 2,500 museums and galleries to create virtual experiences for people to enjoy. To name a few, museums like the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, Guggenheim Museum in New York, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the National Museum of Modern, and Contemporary Art in Seoul can all be seen in a virtual world that is just waiting to be explored.
Ko-Eun Lee, a junior at Northview High School, shares her love for traveling and her disappointment in not being able to carry on with her original travel plans. She states that her dismay was relieved by a VR headset that she uses “to add a touch of excitement to [her] daily life.” She watches 360 degree videos with her family members of “all the places [she dreams] of within the comfort of [her] own home.”
All the fantasies of traveling across the seas and witnessing different cultures, people, and breathtaking views do not have to be crushed by Covid-19. 360 degree virtual tours can instead be a safe, convenient option for people to relive their fantasies in just the blink of an eye. Virtual tours save time, costs, and most importantly brightens the day by taking people anywhere they want, whenever they want.