I’ve had this post partially written and on the back burner for a while, in favor of writing actual travel posts. But, under stay at home orders, this seems like a good time to finish it. My husband, a VR headset aficionado, has tried to get me to travel virtually for a while but met with resistance. But there are some VR travel programs worth exploring, plenty of immersive videos and many online virtual tours as well if you don’t have a VR headset available. Here are some of the best VR travel experiences and online tours I’ve found so far:
Before the coronavirus hit, keeping us all at home, my husband and I had a conversation about the idea of not traveling. I was high on the idea of seeing as much of the world as I could and, though I knew about the environmental impacts of flying, cruise ships, RVs — that was at war with my desire to experience the places in the world I had always wanted to visit. Carbon offsets? Wasn’t that an option? Hadn’t I offset my carbon use already by not traveling at all for so many years? But, deep down, I knew that both these things didn’t truly mitigate the impact of frequent flying (though I still don’t fly that frequently in comparison to many people.)
My husband is into VR headsets. “Here. Put this on,” he would say, a virtual VR pusher. But I mostly avoided the headset, both because they look idiotic and because I have the tendency to get easily drawn into escapist pastimes. And virtual travel? It’s nowhere the same as going to a place, meeting people, tasting the food, experiencing the culture…
But. Here we are all stuck at home now. And, on the other end of this crisis, many of my adventures may end up being local rather than international ones.
Maybe it was time to finally take him up on his suggestion and do some virtual exploration. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), I liked it.
Online Virtual Tours
Google Virtual Tours: Versailles and Other Tours
Platforms: The Versailles tour is available on VR headset via Steam on the Oculus Rift and also has a website component. Other tours are on the website.