Traveling virtually in the age of the pandemic
The travel industry is having its worst year in a long while. The coronavirus pandemic has sent half a world into a lockdown, grounded most planes, and caused pretty much every tourist destination to be off-limits for travelers. The worst part is that there is no way to predict how long the current situation will last: some say we can expect it to improve in a couple of months, others expect the disease to stay with us and influence our lives for much longer.
Whichever the case, many of us are forced to stay indoors with no possibility to satisfy our wanderlust. Or better said, with no real-life way – because we still have virtual alternatives to resort to. While they are definitely not even close to the real thing, they are definitely worth checking out. If nothing else, you may discover some new destinations to check out when this is all over.
1. Webcams – avoid them
One of the ways to check out places you’re planning to visit is to seek out webcams pointed at them. There are many such services online – a simple search will reveal quite a few. These days, in turn, I wouldn’t recommend them. The webcams I’ve seen lately transmit a very dismal picture, no matter if they show the beaches of the most beautiful tropical islands or the otherwise crowded areas surrounding some of the most famous landmarks in the world. Today, they are deserted, empty, lacking their usual bustle and color.
Check them again is future once the situation is back to ”normal” and it’s ok to travel again.
2. Check out some virtual landmarks
Even before the coronavirus pandemic pretty much locked down almost the entire planet, many famous museums, galleries, and other similar venues have created virtual versions of themselves online, many of them in collaboration with Google’s “Arts & Culture”. The platform was launched in 2011 with just 11 participating institutions – big names like the Uffizi in Florence and the MET in New York – and in the meantime, its virtual collection has grown exponentially.
Today, Google Arts & Culture has artwork from over 2000 museums and not only pictures of paintings and sculptures – several major landmarks and entire museums can be explored in a way similar to Street View.
And if this wasn’t enough, there are other famous venues that can be seen over the internet – one of them is the famous Musei Vaticani that you can visit online even when entire Italy is on lockdown.
3. Watch documentaries
Online video streaming services are best friends for many people these days. Most of them are chock-full of content of all kinds – movies and series in every genre imaginable, documentaries included. The time we’re forced to spend at home is the perfect time to check them out. I recommend you documentaries about health, veganism, animal abuse, eco-friendly approach, fasting etc.
And if the selection of documentaries available on the “usual suspects” wouldn’t be enough, there is a streaming service dedicated exclusively to nonfiction documentaries and series.
4. Plan ahead
No matter how desperate the situation may seem today, this, too, will end. The time we spend grounded is a perfect time to plan for when things go back to normal. You can check out amazing places remotely, maybe try a few recipes specific to the place that catches your eye, and when the pandemic finally ends, you’ll have a brand new list of places to check out.
TIP: Bored now during the coronavirus situation? You can check some photos from my trips here 🙂