Can't Get Away? These Virtual Escapes Could Satisfy Your Travel Itch

Originally Published: 
N. Vivienne Shen Photography/Moment/Getty Images

Even if you're limited to staying at home for the remainder of the summer (and potentially a while after), you don't have to totally forgo fulfilling your wanderlust fantasies — you just might have to do so in a more unconventional way. Thankfully technology can bring you practically any place in the world from the comfort of your couch, which means there are plenty of virtual travel ideas right at your fingertips (literally!).

Sure it may be a departure from hopping on a plane and exploring a new place IRL, but you can also think about it this way: Virtual adventures could be a way to experience a place that might be out of your budget indefinitely or offer you a more intimate portal than you could ever have access to in person. Besides, it's really the safest option you've got for now.

That said, if taking a road trip or a flight isn't in the cards, you might be surprised at how enriching virtual options can be, from cultural classes you can take online to museum visits in places all over the world. Through live feeds, guided tours, and more, not only will you feel like you're actually in a different place, but you might even come away learning a thing or two. Ahead find four ideas that could scratch your travel itch now — without having to leave your home. Creative date night perhaps?

Virtual Adventure: Botanical Garden Tours

Some of the most scenic botanical gardens in the US and beyond have limited or ceased operations over the past few months, but if you can't stroll through the epic seasonal blooms there now, it's nice to know you can go to them virtually anytime. Check out the online tours at Brooklyn Botanic Garden — where you can float through the blossoming cherry trees — or The Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens, where you'll be guided through the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. You can even explore Claude Monet's garden in Giverny if you're looking to travel even further.

Virtual Adventure: Museum Tours

Iconic art institutions across the globe offer virtual tours, and this can be a great way to check out some inspiring pieces and architecture as well as feeling entirely transported. For example, head to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, or even take an intimate trip inside Georgia O'Keeffe's Abiquiú, New Mexico home. The possibilities are endless.

Virtual Adventure: National Park Tour

You still may not be able to go camping at some of the most breathtaking National Parks, but you can visit them virtually with the help of live webcams and video tours. For example, go underwater in the Channel Islands, get a 360 view of Crater Lake, or watch Yellowstone's geysers erupt in real time.

Virtual Adventure: Cultural Classes

Another way to feel like you're visiting a far-off place is by exploring its culture, which you can do via Online Escapes by Go Ahead Tours. Virtually experience Oktoberfest with a German expert, learn how to create your own Japanese Tea Ceremony, or cook ravioli as instructed by an Italian chef straight from the Sorrento Coast.

This article was originally published on