The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions around the world to stay in their homes. While the ability to travel has disappeared, the human soul’s natural sense of wanderlust has not. Many people are turning to “virtual travel” to satiate their desire for new experiences.
With virtual reality apps and internet “tours” becoming a sudden sensation, many are speculating that virtual travel might be the new normal. Besides, why go through the inconvenience and expense of airports and planes when you can explore the world right from the comfort of your home?
Ready to go on an adventure? Here are somethings you need to know about virtual travel.
How Virtual Travel Works
“Virtual travel” refers to the use of virtual reality technology to simulate the experience of visiting a distant destination. Virtual reality can take “travelers” to such exotic locals as Machu Picchu or the Galapagos Islands, while they sit comfortably at home. Ideally, this is done using a virtual reality headset, which makes for a more intense and realistic experience. Virtual travel apps can also take viewers to distant locations with impressive photos and videos.
Standard websites also specialize in “virtual tours” for those who want to see spectacular photos of a destination without actually going to the location themselves.
The U.S. Smithsonian’s website, for example, has dozens of sublime photo collections packaged as virtual tours of places like the Rocky Mountains and California wine country. The photography is some of the best out there, giving the viewer a look into the sublime.
Recent Surge in Popularity
As you would expect, the coronavirus pandemic has brought about a surge in interest in virtual travel. Stuck in their homes and longing to visit faraway places, people are turning to their computers and handheld devices. Virtual travel companies that used to sell their products to travel agencies and airlines are now dealing with eager individual customers. What was once a gimmick, used to sell real trips to customers, has now become another form of travel itself.
Potential Long-Term Benefits
Virtual travel could be a big help in the fight against global warming. The past decades have seen a massive increase in world travel, due mostly to the recent growth of the global middle class. For centuries, only a privileged minority of the global population had the means to travel.
With many stuck at home and looking for better ways to spend their time, however, a virtual tour sounds like an excellent idea. Don’t you think? Apart from being significantly more affordable, it’s also more eco-friendly. With scientists warning of future ecological collapse due to current emission rates, the potential for a virtual travel trend that lessens the consumption of fossil fuels would be a welcome shift.
Will It Replace The Real Thing
Luckily for those in the tourism industry, virtual travel is unlikely to replace actual travel any time soon.
Sure, it may be a trend right now. But as soon as borders open and flights resume, you can expect many travel junkies to be booking for their next adventure in an instant.
Additionally, for virtual travel to become predominant, the technology will have to improve significantly. Up to now there have only been modest advancements. If that trend continues, then good old fashion travel will continue to be the method of choice.
Virtual travel is an interesting idea. It is currently filling the hole in people’s hearts as the global pandemic keeps them home. As lockdowns end and the world staggers toward normalcy, however, it seems classic travel will regain its status as favorite among adventure seekers. The pictures of some natural wonder might make for a breathtaking sensual experience. But nothing can replace the awe and wonder of actually being there.