It is hard to believe that it has been almost 9 months that we’ve been living with this pandemic, and even harder for me to believe that most travel has come to a complete standstill. I have not been on a plane since February! All of us have had to make major adjustments whether for work, school or our social lives.
For over 20 years, I have been addicted to travel and have been fortunate enough to travel for work, for leisure and to visit family and friends. The reality is that I have always found thousands of excuses to travel (to both frequented destinations and those completely new and ready to be discovered). So how do you adapt when your entire adult life has revolved around travel? Well, I have been able to continue my journeys and adventures around the world by taking “virtual tours” and engaging in “virtual experiences”.
For months now, travel companies, museums, attractions, guides, and local experts have been busy putting together some pretty amazing programs to share with the world. The idea: if you can’t come to us, we will bring our destination or experience to you! I have managed to take tours to destinations I have yet to visit, making me so much better prepared for when I can physically visit in the future!
A few months ago, I took a virtual trip to Budapest, which has been on the top of my bucket list for years. Our virtual guide shared stories, historical insights, and recommendations on what to eat, where to hang out, and even which attractions not to miss while there. But with today’s technology, I really felt like I was there, experiencing the destination much more so than just reading a book or article about it. I was able to ask questions and dive into what made Budapest so special and unique!
I have also attended virtual wine tastings offered by wine experts in France and will be doing a virtual cooking class in the next few weeks by an Italian chef. There are also some incredible virtual tours of museums (in the US and overseas) that I have on my to-do list. And in an effort to keep some of my clients inspired for trips they may want to take in the future, I even put together a virtual tour series program with free virtual tours to a different destination every Sunday until the end of the year!
Note that some of these virtual tours and experiences are free, and others are offered at a charge. And some are great to do with a group of friends, as a sort of gathering, or as a fun virtual party idea!
Here is a list of some of the available virtual tours out there, so you can see what it’s about. Some tours are self-guided or recorded, while others are real-time tours with live guides or experts. I invite you to do your own searches as well online, as there are quite a few options out there these days.
SOME RECOMMENDED VIRTUAL TOURS
Daiquiri Tours Virtual Tour Series: different European city every Sunday for free. https://blog.daiquiriusa.com/daiquiri-depart-your-way-program-free-virtual-tours/
Savor Our City Virtual Culinary Experiences: from wine tastings to cooking classes and chocolate pairings. https://savorourcity.com/liveonline/
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: self-guided but with options to zoom in on exhibits. https://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour
The Five Cousins Travel: real-time virtual tours of European and South American destinations at very affordable prices. https://thefivecousins.com/ourtours/
Musee d’Orsay in Paris: not a live tour, but allows you do walk through the museum and provides some nice facts while doing it! https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/musee-dorsay-paris?hl=en
Tours by Locals: live virtual tours all over the world with local guides, redeemable for free in-person tour in the future. https://www.toursbylocals.com/Live-Virtual-Tours
TRY IT FOR YOURSELF!
The truth is that, though a virtual environment can never replace the real thing, there is plenty to keep my wanderlust alive for now! Hoping you, too, can find some comfort in taking part in some of these virtual experiences out there from the comfort and safety of your own homes.