March 30 is National Virtual Vacation Day, and the past year has taught all of us that almost anything can be done virtually. You can attend a crucial client meeting, your best friend’s wedding and even take a college course over the screen — and you can even take a dream vacation!
Whether you’re stuck in quarantine, you just feel safer at home, or you want to save a buck on travel costs, here are 10 tips and trip ideas for celebrating National Virtual Vacation Day.
1. Set the scene
Wherever you decide to “go,” you can immerse yourself in the experience by setting the scene. Choose a spot in your home that is separate from your work and sleep areas. Then, try to recreate the setting you’d have if you’d actually taken a trip to your chosen destination. For example, if you’ll be virtually traveling to a rainforest, you can play soundtracks of real animal calls you’d hear in that setting. Are you going camping? Kill the lights and turn on the fireplace to get that campy outdoorsy feel. To go all out, recreate the aromas and tastes you’d encounter on your trip by whipping up a dish you’d find at your destination.
2. Grab a friend
It’s always more fun to travel with company. Share the experience with a friend by jumping on a video call together as you set out on your trip. You’ll compare your impressions as you travel and share the sights and sounds for the ultimate adventure.
3. Dress the part
We’ve all had the opportunity to master the “Zoom look” this year — yes, the one with the business-suit top paired with sweatpants and fuzzy slippers. But just because your trip is taking place in your living room, it doesn’t mean you need to dress like you’re binge-watching your favorite series on Netflix. Dress up as if you were actually traveling to your virtual destination, sunglasses included. It’ll make the experience feel a lot more authentic.
4. Scuba dive in Palau
Have you always dreamed of exploring the wonderful world beneath the sea? Now you can — without dropping a boatload of money on scuba gear. Check out this tour on YouTube for a fantastic 360-degree virtual scuba-diving experience in the clear waters of Palau.
5. Tour the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania
Go on safari without getting jet lag! This 360-degree tour will help you get up close with the wildebeest, gorillas and other animals native to the African plains.
6. Explore the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska
If winter wonderlands are more your thing, you can hop on over to Alaska for a virtual tour of beautiful ice caps, enormous glaciers and frozen vistas you don’t see back home. Don’t forget your parka!
7. Across Europe in a Day
It’s time to take that jaunt through Europe you’ve always dreamed of taking! Here are some great virtual hotspots to visit while you travel through the continent:
- London Enjoy a guided tour through the city’s most famous landmarks.
- Windsor Castle Whether you closely follow the royals or you’re just mildly curious to see how they live, you’ll enjoy this virtual tour of this royal home and fortress.
- Milan This fascinating tour will take you through the metropolitan city of Milan and its most celebrated buildings and art exhibits.
- Spain Explore this beautiful country through these nine virtual tours.
- The Louvre Don’t forget to leave time for the famous Louvre museum in Paris.
8. The show must go on
If you love being entertained, you may want to include one of these venues in your virtual vacation:
- Broadway BroadwayHD offers a seven-day free trial and front-row seat to plays like Macbeth and Swan Lake.
- Detroit Symphony Orchestra The DSO offers viewers a wide range of options categorized by orchestral style (baroque, classical, romantic), women composers and composers listed in alphabetical order.
- The Metropolitan Opera The Met is offering free encore presentations from the company’s Live in HD series. Each performance is available for viewing for 23 hours.
9. An out-of-this-world adventure
If you’ve had enough of the wonders on planet Earth, check out what Mars has to offer on this mind-blowing virtual tour.
10. Transition gently
When you travel for vacation, the time you spend flying or driving back home serves as a gentle transition from vacation to your home life. If you’ll be vacationing virtually, you’ll need to actively create that in-between time for yourself to avoid a bumpy return. When your getaway is over, take a few minutes to relax, mentally review the sights and sounds you enjoyed and exhale slowly before getting back to your everyday routine.
It’s Virtual Vacation Day! We’ve got tips and trip ideas for you to enjoy the vacation of a lifetime — from the comfort of your living room.
Your Turn: How will you be celebrating Virtual Vacation Day? Share your best ideas with us in the comments.