Take a virtual vacation

Make yourself a Mai Tai, put on sunscreen, open your laptop and away you go

By Bill White on April 30, 2020

While most of the world has gone indoors, that doesn't mean you can't explore the globe from the comfort of your own home. If you're looking to rekindle your inner explorer or just longing for a trip to the beach, read on to see some amazing ways to take a virtual vacation -- all without leaving your house.


Take a tour of 12 famous museums including the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

The Smithsonian opens up its 19 museums, galleries and National Zoo for virtual viewing. In addition to highlighting virtual views, many Smithsonian museums offer exhibitions optimized for digital audiences. smithsonianmag.com/travel/virtual-travel-180974440

World Travel

Visit the world's most epic landmarks in the form of livestreams, virtual tours and 360-degree videos. Mentally climb the Great Wall of China, marvel at the intricate ceilings of the Sistine Chapel or hangout in the Queen's official residence at Buckingham Palace. buzzfeed.com/annahaines/virtual-travel-experiences

Experience the thrill of the world's natural wonders including the Grand Canyon, Mt. Everest, the Namib desert dunes and Giants Causeway in Northern Island. theguardian.com/travel/2020/apr/06/10-best-virtual-tours-of-worlds-natural-wonders-everest-patagonia-grand-canyon-yosemite

YouTube has a virtual travel section featuring a bicycle ride in Seoul, South Korea, snorkeling in Yucatan Mexico, a safari in South Africa's Kruger National Park, and a Mount Everest helicopter flight, plus more. Go to YouTube and search virtual travel.

For something different, Newsweek Magazine explores nine travel-inspiring films. Travel to Alaska in the 2007 film Into the Wild. Have you been to Greenland? You can in 2013's The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Greece provides the background for the 2013 film Before Midnight. And finally, find your private paradise at Maya Bay, Thailand, in The Beach (2000). Find them all here: newsweek.com/2020/04/10/take-virtual-vacation-these-travel-films-1495081.html.

U.S. Travel

Play the tourist and experience historic places and important events in American history without leaving home or spending a penny. savingplaces.org

Forbes Magazine will lead you through "20 Virtual Travel Experiences to Try" including beaches in Hawaii and Florida, zoos, aquariums and musical performances. forbes.com/sites/forbestravelguide/2020/03/24/20-virtual-travel-experiences-to-try/#4881f0086b82

Better Homes & Gardens invites you to experience the country's best national parks from Florida to Alaska. bhg.com/syndication/virtual-national-parks-tours/

Games Anyone?

Vrbo.com invites you to play their family vacation game Trip Boards which allows each family member to search out vacation homes from Maui to Costa Rica. Then the whole family votes on the best location. To get started, visit Vrbo.com or head to the Vrbo app, create or log into your traveler account, and click "Trip Boards" at the top of the page.

If games are not your cup of tea, go to the website, type in a location and start dreaming about a rental home for your first post pandemic vacation.

Whether you're planning a vacation for the future, or you just need to feast your eyes on a beautiful beach, you can go online to explore many of the great destinations around the world.