Among one of the many adjustments we’ve had to make since social distancing and self-isolation has been put into place is our travel plans. Perhaps you’ve already had to cancel a trip or are picturing a summer vacation spent within the confines of your own home.
While you likely know in your heart these measures are for the best, it’s possible that the same heart is also experiencing extreme wanderlust for all of the places you’ve been or have yet to explore. So, until you can pack your bags again (treat yourself to an upgrade perhaps?) take one of these virtual field trips—or movie vacations.
Go on a Safari
Staying indoors has robbed us of enjoying the beauty that comes with the natural world—even if that means your local park. But in times like these, why not kick it up a notch by taking a virtual safari? Luxury travel company andBeyond and wildlife broadcasting experts WildEarth TV have come together to stream personalized game drives from two renowned South African game reserves. Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve (which shares unfenced borders with the famed Kruger National Park) and Djuma Private Game Reserve (part of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve).
You can take up to two safaris a day (approximately three hours each) and because they are in real-time, you never know what amazing wildlife you’re going to see.
Participate in a Wine Tasting
Who knows how long digital happy hour sessions will last, so you may as well beef up your wine knowledge with an interactive, virtual tasting hosted by St. Supery winemakers in Napa Valley. Purchase the sampler pack and then join in on a Zoom tasting session each Thursday.
Sip, ask questions, and make a few virtual friends who share the love of the grape. Just don’t forget to slice up that charcuterie and cheese board beforehand.
Build Your Own Castle
Whether you have children or you’re a history buff who’s young at heart, spend your spare social distancing time by building your own version of the Dromoland Castle, a 16th-century castle in the Irish countryside of County Clare. The Castle's own Una Heaton, former museum curator and watercolor artist, is leading virtual arts and crafts projects for families to join while homeschooling. The first video is a step-by-step tutorial on how to craft a castle from materials found around the house, including big castle doors, stone towers, and tiny Irish flags.
Take a Rafting Trip at the Grand Canyon
Calling all thrill-seekers. We’re sure staying indoors is harder for you than some other people, so take a refreshing rafting excursion down the Colorado River (starting at Lees Ferry and ending at the Lake Mead National Recreational Area) after partaking of an eye-opening archaeology tour.
You can also take a virtual hike on the famous Phantom Ranch or into the canyon itself. While you may not feel the burn in your legs the next day, at least your mind will be strengthened.
Ogle Art at the Louvre in Paris
You may love Paris in the Springtime, but until you’re able to visit the City of Light in person, your couch will have to do. Considering it’s the largest museum in the world (home to more than 35,000 displayed works), perhaps avoiding the crowds and long lines is a good thing—especially when you want to get up close and personal with Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. So, pour yourself a glass of crisp rosé and take a virtual tour through one of the museum’s impressive galleries and exhibits.
Hike Through Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes mountains is an Instagram favorite and while selfies at these iconic, sprawling Inca city ruins aren’t an option right now, you can still hike through the 15th-century citadel, thanks to a 360-degree virtual tour, provided by You Visit.
Along with stunning mountain views and a close-up look at history, you just may be treated to adorable llama sightings.
Visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace
Pinkies up! Take tea time with the Queen at Queen Elizabeth II's home, Buckingham Palace while beefing up your British history with a virtual tour of the Grand Staircase, the White Drawing Room, the Throne Room, and the Blue Drawing Room. The website is also filled with interesting feature stories such as what it’s like to be behind the scenes at one of the Queen’s famous garden parties, no fascinator required.
Take a Tour Through the Vatican
The average wait time to get in to see the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City is 3-4 hours and once you do, it can be difficult to take in all of the intricate artwork due to the hoards of people elbowing their way through the small space. While an in-person tour may still be on your bucket list, in the meantime, you can take a virtual tour of the gardens, Pontifical Villas, Vatican City museums, and of course, the Sistine Chapel. You’ll even be able to zoom in to get a more detailed look at all of the paintings.
Take a Trip to the Land of Creation
Home to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Jerusalem is a place that stirs the soul. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City in Israel is known for being the place where Jesus was crucified and resurrected—his empty tomb is said to be present here, too. See these sites, as well as the Old City Markets, Mount of Olives, the Western Wall, and more of this famous pilgrimage destination with a 360-degree virtual tour.
Stroll Past the Great Wall of China
Stretching an impressive (approximate) 13,170 miles and boasting a history of 2,000-plus years, the historic landmark known as the Great Wall of China was built as fortification walls to protect the country against invaders (though it never stopped an invasion) while controlling trade along the Silk Road. Visit China’s most popular attraction with a virtual tour that takes you from Jinshanling to Simatai, a 6.5-mile stretch that is known for having some of the most well-preserved sections of the wall, complete with original features.
Head to the Top of the Taj Mahal
Everyone’s familiar with the iconic front view of the Taj Mahal, but this virtual tour allows you to get a bird’s eye view of the very top of the building—something that’s not possible in person. Located in the city of Agra, the mausoleum is India's most famous monument and is considered a sublime shrine to eternal love. Built between 1632 and 1647 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the Taj was allocated to Jahan's beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who passed away during childbirth.
Take a Steep Hike In Yosemite National Park
Strap on your gear and get ready to take a 3,000-foot climb up El Captian in Yosemite National Park, one of the most iconic rock formations in the entire country. Along the way, you’ll learn some hiking fun facts ranging from intel about the equipment used back in the day to some of the famous (and brave) individuals who have made the dangerous trek over the years.