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COVID-19 certainly has a lot to answer for, and it has impacted us in numerous ways. In 2021, just as we thought the world was reopening, newer strains, including Delta, have put paid to travel plans and grounded many an ardent traveler.
But just because your physical passport isn’t getting any action doesn’t mean that travel is entirely off the cards. With that in mind, here we review four top ‘trips’ you can take from the comfort of your sofa.
1. Wander the world’s art museums and galleries
This one is for all the art buffs and culture fanatics. There’s nothing quite like an afternoon (or whole day) spent perusing paintings and sculptures in the world’s leading galleries and museums. To keep you amused and so that the world’s cultural treasures are accessible for everyone, Google teamed up with 2000 institutions around the globe.
The result is Google Arts & Culture, a platform that combines virtual explorations into a museum’s works with long-form cultural commentary and insights. There are also a few fun additions, such as making a ‘pastapiece’ from macaroni, that young explorers will enjoy.
2. Watch travel programs for inspiration
Granted, it might make your own home-bound situation feel more acute, but watching travel shows is an excellent way to get inspired for your next trip (whenever that may be). To kick things up a notch and escape the Western lens, stream travel content from other countries.
The best way to do this is by using a VPN, aka Virtual Private Network. This nifty piece of privacy and security software allows you to hide your IP address, a unique digital signifier that indicates your device’s physical location and restricts what content you can view. That is, if you’re in America and you open Netflix, you will see Netflix’s US catalog, and you can access France’s catalog, for instance.
But if you open your VPN, select a server in another country, then open Netflix, you can access a whole world of new content.
3. Hire a tour guide
Yes, you read that right. Under COVID, many tourism workers have suffered from a lack of income, especially in the so-called developing countries. To help out, you can hire a guide to take you on a virtual tour. Even in the current climate, you can hire a tour guide for a virtual tour of their home city or region.
Explore Bangkok’s infamous Patpong night market (be sure to stop by the Superstar Go-Go) or take a short hike in Chile; the options are endless and affordable.
4. Head to space with NASA
If the idea of staying earthbound doesn’t float your boat, consider exploring the stars instead. NASA offers several virtual tours on its website, all of which let you get a feel for space exploration. If you have a VR headset, even better. But if not, there’s still plenty to see if you’re using a laptop or handheld device.
We highly recommend the Moon and Mars Perseverance Rover tours. Small kids will also find plenty to keep them amused and give the adults a short break!
Hopefully, these virtual ‘trips’ have inspired you. Kick back, grab some popcorn, and explore something new today!