One of the good things to come out of the COVID pandemic and social distancing has been the rise of virtual tourism. From the comfort of your home, you can travel the world for free via your TV, phone, or computer, as these amazing virtual tour apps show.
With the growing demand for virtual travel, tour operators have also become more creative. You’ll now find walking tours, driving tours and even drone tours, with add-ons like a local radio station playing in the background or a chance to interact with tour guides and your “co-travelers” “.
1. Salvation (Web): Live virtual tours to interact with tour guides and cowatchers
Heygo comes as close as possible to the real experience of tourism with a tour guide. The website hosts live virtual tours from around the world, led by a guide, which anyone can join for free. To access it, simply register on the site.
As a registered user, you can join one live tour at a time, broadcast in full screen on your computer. The guides broadcast their tour live and talk to the camera like in real life. You can also chat with other spotters and interact with the tour guide to ask questions or ask them to change angles or stay in one place long enough to “take pictures” in the form of a screenshot. ‘screen. In the end, you can also tip the tour guide to directly support him.
Apart from live tours, Heygo also stores all previous virtual tours for you to browse. You can find them by categories (history, architecture, culture, museums, etc.) or by location, and also check out the most popular Heygo tours. The calendar lists upcoming live tours in case you want to schedule it as an activity and join what is truly one of the best free virtual travel experiences.
If you have a big screen 4K TV at home, these YouTube channels are a treat for you. All three channels shoot 4K videos of walking tours in major cities and tourist destinations, all available for free.
These provide a great slow virtual touring experience. You can even create a playlist and set it as your background display as you go about your day.
- 4K walk film slow walking tours through real cities and upload the full video without editing and without cuts.
- 4K city life mixes things up in the shooting experience. Although there are walking tours, you will also find driving tours, city-wide exploration guides, and videos where a camera is placed in a few bustling places in a city to observe its life, tipping between these three.
- ProWalk Tours is the most professional “tour” experience of these, offering 4K videos of walking tours, drone tours and scooter tours. In several videos you will also find captions to read about the city as the tour captures its sights and sounds. On the big screen, it’s an excellent virtual travel experience to enjoy with the family.
Two virtual tour apps are trying something creative to enhance the local travel feel by adding a local radio station as background music. It’s a novel idea that adds charm.
Walk With Feel is a walking tour through major cities around the world, while Drive & Listen puts you in the view of a car as it moves through a city. The latter also includes a city map to show where and how you are getting around. Local radio adds to the ambience, as that’s what you would do in a car.
In both apps you can control walking and car speed by choosing between 1x, 1.5x and 2x. You can also turn street noise on and off, depending on how much you like the feel of the radio. Once you’ve chosen your settings, look for the little icon to turn off the menu overlay and enjoy the full-screen experience.
4. Tab with a view (Chrome): virtual travel inspiration in a new tab
With Tab With a View, every time you open a new tab in Chrome, you’ll be greeted with a photo or video of a beautiful place you should be. Sometimes you’ll also find live streaming webcams from the windows of real people, which is one of the coolest ways to virtually travel the world.
For each location, Tab With a View gives you additional information. You will see if a virtual tour is available on Google Maps and if a drone view is available on Google Earth. It also indicates if you need a visa to visit this place and the cost of the trip. If you like something, add it to your wishlist so you don’t lose it.
Tab With a View also focuses on productivity and doesn’t just try to distract you. You can add a Google search bar, your most visited websites, and your bookmarks bar in the app’s dashboard interface so that you don’t miss the conveniences of the default New Tab page in Chrome.
To download: Tab with view for Chromium (To free)
5. Gez.la and Virtouroso (Web): Matterport Directories and Other Virtual Tours
Gez.la and Virtouroso organize the best free online virtual tours you can take. This includes virtual museums you can visit from home, nature trails, zoos, historic sites, and live webcams of interesting sites or animals.
Virtouroso’s interface has five drop-down columns to choose from Museums, Historical Sites, Nature & Science, Land Animal Cameras, and Marine Animal Cameras. Gez.La hosts a directory listing 152 interesting places to visit virtually, which you can filter by type (aquarium, historical, museum, nature, theme park, zoo) and by country. You can also browse pins on the world map.
Many of these virtual tours are conducted by Matterport and will also work on the Matterport mobile app. For those who don’t know, Matterport is one of the best apps for creating virtual tours and is widely used by some of the best travel video makers.
Physical travel or virtual tourism? It’s not a choice
As you can see, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to the buffer of virtual tours available for free. But you might hear a voice say, “Well, that’s not like the real thing.” And it’s true, the physical journey is still a more immersive experience.
But the folly is to think it’s a choice between physical travel and virtual tourism. It’s not. You can do both and enjoy both differently for what they represent. Even if the virtual trip isn’t as good as the real-world experience, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad experience. Give it a try, and you might find a new hobby and a way to explore the world, especially when you need to avoid the crowds.
Do you feel locked up and miss being in nature? Take a step towards them with virtual hiking sites and natural tourism applications.
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