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Would you go on a virtual vacation?

3d illustration of a tourist with his luggage standing in front of smartphone and using smart phone application. Travel smartphone apps concept.
This article was first published in the Nov/Dec 2023 issue of IQ, the exclusive magazine for Mensa members. Find out more about becoming a Mensa member here.
 
In a world of mind-bending technological advancements gripped by fears of a climate crisis and a global pandemic fresh in our minds, the idea of virtual travel is starting to gain traction.
 
Unsurprisingly, it’s a trend that began during lockdown. With international travel at a standstill and many of us stuck at home, the urge to explore the world was stronger than ever. Many travel companies adapted to this growing market; technology that had primarily been used to market tourist destinations through virtual reality (VR) was now the final destination for wannabe travellers.
 
With the pandemic behind us, some industry experts believe that the popularity of virtual tours will endure, even if only to whet people’s appetite for real-life travel. As technology advances, virtual tourism is beginning to offer experiences that reality cannot provide, like taking travellers on a journey back in time.
 
For many, virtual tourism will never replace the feeling of arriving in person to a new destination, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the place. But it undoubtedly does provide an immersive and low-cost alternative to travel for those with limiting health or mobility issues, those wishing to reduce their climate impact, and those who simply don’t want to leave their bedroom.
 
Interested? Here are three places for free virtual travel experiences – no VR technology required.
 

One for the history buffs, FlyoverZone offers virtual tours of cultural heritage sites, including Tenochtitlan, the Acropolis and the Roman temples of Baalbek. The tours even take visitors back in time, with 3D renderings showing how the sites would have originally looked.

For art lovers, Google Arts & Culture partnered with over 2,000 museums and archives to create an online platform that allows viewers to experience some of the world’s most famous art and artefacts. The display includes high-resolution imagery, with augmented reality and interactivity bringing the experience to life.

If it’s nature you’re after, America’s National Marine Sanctuaries’ 360° videos let you dive virtually into the stunning protected waters of the ocean and the Great Lakes. Explore a coral reef restoration project in Florida Keys or swim along with Hawaiian sea turtles – all without getting wet.

Credits: Shutterstock

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Would you go on a virtual vacation?

This article was first published in the Nov/Dec 2023 issue of IQ, the exclusive magazine for Mensa members. Find out more about becoming a Mensa member here.
 
In a world of mind-bending technological advancements gripped by fears of a climate crisis and a global pandemic fresh in our minds, the idea of virtual travel is starting to gain traction.
 
Unsurprisingly, it’s a trend that began during lockdown. With international travel at a standstill and many of us stuck at home, the urge to explore the world was stronger than ever. Many travel companies adapted to this growing market; technology that had primarily been used to market tourist destinations through virtual reality (VR) was now the final destination for wannabe travellers.
 
With the pandemic behind us, some industry experts believe that the popularity of virtual tours will endure, even if only to whet people’s appetite for real-life travel. As technology advances, virtual tourism is beginning to offer experiences that reality cannot provide, like taking travellers on a journey back in time.
 
For many, virtual tourism will never replace the feeling of arriving in person to a new destination, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the place. But it undoubtedly does provide an immersive and low-cost alternative to travel for those with limiting health or mobility issues, those wishing to reduce their climate impact, and those who simply don’t want to leave their bedroom.
 
Interested? Here are three places for free virtual travel experiences – no VR technology required.
 

One for the history buffs, FlyoverZone offers virtual tours of cultural heritage sites, including Tenochtitlan, the Acropolis and the Roman temples of Baalbek. The tours even take visitors back in time, with 3D renderings showing how the sites would have originally looked.

For art lovers, Google Arts & Culture partnered with over 2,000 museums and archives to create an online platform that allows viewers to experience some of the world’s most famous art and artefacts. The display includes high-resolution imagery, with augmented reality and interactivity bringing the experience to life.

If it’s nature you’re after, America’s National Marine Sanctuaries’ 360° videos let you dive virtually into the stunning protected waters of the ocean and the Great Lakes. Explore a coral reef restoration project in Florida Keys or swim along with Hawaiian sea turtles – all without getting wet.

Credits: Shutterstock

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