Taking a Virtual Vacation During the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Woman viewing VR. Source: Unsplash

The last couple of months have been testing times for almost everyone around the world, the spread of coronavirus has led to lockdowns across Europe, Asia and the U.S. Lockdowns have meant people are spending far more (in some cases all) their time at home. As a direct result, many airlines are grounding their aircraft around the globe, all but essential travel is halting. Boredom is setting in, partly because of the countless cancelled vacations people are facing between January and the unknown end date. You’d be forgiven for thinking there’s little in the way of entertainment; you feel like you’ve completed Netflix and are becoming restless.

If your sat at home struggling to find something to do, disappointed because your dream holiday has gone up in smoke, I want to use this article to take you through a concept that should take a little of the sting from the situation. As you probably guessed from the title, I’m, of course, talking about taking a virtual vacation using a VR headset. With virtual reality, you can experience the most iconic landmarks, white-sand beaches, or even imaginary worlds from the safety of your sofa. I’ll talk you through some of the best options; these will be based on the Oculus platform, though there are many of the same or similar options for most virtual reality platforms.

  1. National Geographic VR
National Geographic VR. Source: Oculus

National Geographic comes with a globally recognized name and enough content to be a significant contender in this new realm of virtual geography. Nat-Geo VR offers you the opportunity to view the world as you’ve never seen it before and explore regions usually restricted to more affluent bucket lists. Top VR tourist destinations on this app include El Capitan in Yosemite national park. That’s not all; take your vacation to its limits visiting the far ends of space or play with dolphins in beautiful open oceans.

National Geographic VR is available for free on Oculus and Gear VR.

2. Google Earth VR

Google Earth VR. Source: https://vrscout.com/news/google-earth-vr-search-oculus-rift-touch/

Google takes advantage of the hugely popular google earth functionality and applies it brilliantly to VR. With google earth VR you have the capability to fly across the globe visiting unique attractions you always dreamed of seeing. However, a primary attraction of this app is your past. Without a doubt, a best-loved feature is the street view and the ability to walk through your childhood street and bring back memories you never thought you had.

Google VR is available for free on Oculus, HTC Vive, and Gear VR.

3. Wander

Wander VR. Source: Oculus

Wander offers up some of the best ‘vacation’ based interaction with such features as location learning and historical jumping (visit popular destinations form the past). With Wander, you can visit those culturally iconic places you often never get around to on vacation. A trip to Italy (which is currently impossible) offers vast opportunity for sightseeing from the colosseum to quaint Florentine vineyards, visit them all from the comfort of your sofa with Wander.

Wander is available for £3.99 on Oculus and Gear VR.

4. Nature Treks VR

Nature Treks VR. Source: Steam

Nature Treks is exciting as it is the only app on this list that doesn’t use the real world as a basis to build upon, which requires far more creativity. Nature Treks is a ‘build your own world’ concept, which allows you to take control of your virtual vacation for maximum relaxation.

Nature Treks allows you to control every part of your vacation, bask in the weather of your own choice, explore grasslands, mountains, or oceans. What you get from Nature Treks VR is more limited to your imagination; although this may be daunting to start, it’s an easy app to get the hang of eventually.

Nature Treks VR is available for £7.99 on Oculus.

With most of the world staying home to protect ourselves and others from the effects of coronavirus, vacations are going to be a luxury we will have to go without for a time. However, that isn’t to say we can’t still explore the world, learn new cultures, and experience history as never before. Technology has allowed us to do all this even when isolation is necessary. Download these apps on your chosen VR marketplaces and start exploring the world!

I’m a blog and article writer based in Sheffield, UK. I write about my life and passions.

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