From watching wildlife in the African plains and climbing the Great Wall of China, to experiencing the Northern lights in the frigid Arctic, here’s how you can globe-trot without leaving the comfort of your living room.
Itching to satisfy your wanderlust but can barely leave home, let alone the country? Here are six ways you can sightsee and travel the world virtually, from the comfort of home. The best part is, you can ditch the hefty price tag that comes with globetrotting, and take in all of the sights, with none of the hassle!
Watch wildlife on an African safari game drive
Conservation-led travel company andBeyond, which usually offers guided tours to places like Africa, South America, India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, has launched WILDwatch Live, bringing to viewers live-streamed game drives, so you can imagine you’re driving through a safari sans the bugs and the heat.
They will be streaming from two safaris, namely Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private Game Reserve, both located in South Africa.
The virtual safari brings the wilderness to you twice a day, via three-hour long live-streamed videos on YouTube and Facebook.
You can view the safaris between 12.30pm and 3.30pm, and between 9pm and 12am, local time.
Experience the best of Japan’s tradition and modernity
The three-minute video offers a glimpse of traditional Japanese tradition, modern bustling cityscapes, food, activities and nature.
Best experienced with VR goggles.
Tour the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
One of Northern Ireland’s most iconic tourist attractions, the Giant’s Causeway is essentially 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, caused by the eruption of an ancient volcano.
If you’ve always wanted to experience this up close, now’s your chance – they’ve gone virtual.
Take a virtual panoramic tour of the landscape (at sunset, no less) and navigate the geometric columns using your mouse or keyboard. You can pan around different key areas of Giant’s Causeway, but you can’t ‘walk around’.
Enjoy a beach day in the Maldives
There are a plethora of 360 degrees Virtual Reality beach videos out there, but this one of the Maldives, with over three million views on YouTube, is especially soothing.
Put on your VR goggles and experience, in perfect resolution, the beauty of the Maldives, from sandy white beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, to the blazing sun overhead. Some shots are taken half-submerged in the water, so you can even look down into the watery depths and gaze at corals.
My only gripe is that the video is only slightly over two minutes long.
Watch the Northern Lights dancing overhead the Arctic
Now you can finally check this item off your bucket list.
Every night, Polar Bears International and Explore.org live-stream the night sky, so if you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the fabled Aurora Borealis – nature’s light show.
Of course, as it is #irl, you’re not guaranteed a view of the Northern Lights, so camp out at home, cross your fingers, and if you’re lucky, the sky might just light up the way you might see in certain parts of Norway, Sweden, Canada or Iceland.
This live cam is located at the Churchill Northern Studies Center in Canada, directly underneath the aurora oval, which is supposedly one of the best places on earth to watch the Northern Lights.
Hike up the Great Wall of China
Now, you can finally climb the Great Wall – one of the new seven wonders of the world – without having to huff and puff your way to the top.
Go on a virtual tour of the ancient structure and visit the main sections of the wall, including the watchtower. You can even choose to view it in winter, when the Great Wall is dusted with snow.
A version of this article first appeared on www.herworld.com.