You might be wondering why as professional travel advisors, we would be promoting Live Virtual Tours, when the industry so obviously needs to financially recoup from the devastation of this global pandemic. Travellers, including myself have felt the frustrations of wanderlust calling, but some of us are not yet ready to get on a plane and explore the world. Here are 10 reasons why LIVE Streamed Virtual Tours can actually be good for your mental health, complete with some of my favourite websites.
1. Go Back to Your Favourite Places
Travel evokes memories. Virtual tours are a great way to go back to the places you loved and relive those memories. For me, it’s Paris and so a few weeks ago, I hopped on a virtual tour to watch the Eiffel Tower at sunset while the guide told our group all kinds of interesting stories I never knew. Next week I’m going to explore Montmartre in more depth. This is escapism at its best … and I got to share this with other like-minded people.
2. Future Trip Planning
I must admit that I frequently participate in a virtual streaming tour to help plan trips, for both myself and my clients. It’s a great way to familiarize oneself and get a real feel for the destination. It can save you time by deciding what you actually want to see and perhaps some sights that are now, not so important. I did this for an upcoming tour I’ll be leading in Split, Croatia. Not only do I have a better feel for the destination but it totally changed my perspective on the city – in a positive way. Live Virtual Tours allow you to interact with an expert guide and ask questions which broadens your knowledge and understanding of a destination.
3. Deepens Your Connections
Do you have friends or family you’d love to travel with, but it’s impractical to do at this point in time? Then whisk your friend(s) away by having them join you on a Live-Streaming Virtual Tour. Many sites allow you to chat with the other guests on the tour. It’s a great way to meet people from around the world with similar interests. Some sites even offer private tours (for a fee) explicitly for your group. Interacting and having conversations is both stimulating and provides a bonding experience from this shared event. It’s a great way for us to deepen our connection with those who mean the most to us.
4. Eliminates Stress
We all know how stressful travel can be even in the best of times. Those who are travelling now are super stressed about keeping up with all the changing requirements, testing, insurance, staying safe … and the list goes on. I recently did a Live Virtual Tour with a meditation experience on a beach in Australia – the waves lapping the shoreline while the meditation expert brought our group to a place of inner peace. Stress …. Gone!
5. Easy on the Travel Budget
Travel is getting more expensive with the additional cost associated with testing, social distancing, off the beaten track destinations, smaller groups and private transfers. Virtual tours make travel accessible to anyone who has Internet connection. Some tours are free while others have a nominal cost offering great value for your travel dollar. For my birthday this year, a friend and I took a private Live Virtual gondola boat tour through the canals of Venice. We learned so much from our guide. Now I can’t wait for my trip to Italy next year. Live Virtual Tours offer lots of affordable ideas for your next date night too!
6. 24/7 – You’re Never Alone
Thanks to the Earth’s many time zones, Virtual Tours are running LIVE 24/7. Can’t sleep at 3 am, taking a mid-day break or bored with what’s on TV at 7 pm? Just pop onto your favourite Live Streaming Virtual Tour website and learn about Byzantine art and UNESCO monuments of Thessaloniki, Greece or stroll Europe’s longest outdoor market in Amsterdam. Who says you can’t do two things at once!
7. Escape the Crowds
I’m not a fan of crowds or line ups – and for that reason have chosen not to visit some of the most popular tourism sites. We’ve all seen the negative effects of tourism on local residents due to overcrowding. Having experienced it firsthand – living in a destination known for tourism, I like to avoid crowds and often pay a higher price for exclusive experiences. On live-stream virtual tours, you are always front of the line with no rolling eyes or sighs as someone steps in front of you.
8. Learn from Local Experts
By using a reliable virtual tour site, you will connect with vetted local guides who REALLY know their destination and are able to convey information in an engaging, informative and fun manner. Imagine making an Icelandic meal with a local family in their Reykjavik home, all the while learning about their cultural and culinary traditions passed down through generations. Who knows, you might even decide to visit the destination for real and use the great local guide you met virtually.
9. Help Save the Planet
We’ve all read stories on how the canals of Venice are once again clear and teaming with life. Local residents have fought hard to ban cruise ships from meandering up the canals to preserve their precious waterways. Travel is “hard” on the planet. It comes at a cost. We will always have the desire to experience the far corners of the earth and until we can do it in a responsible, safe and healthy way, virtual tours can bridge the gap, bring us closer to those fragile places and help us preserve cultures.
10. The Far Ends of the Earth
I’ve always been curious about seeing penguins but will not be trekking to the Southern hemisphere any time soon. Nor do I anticipate being in Japan for the cherry blossoms next year. All your bucket list dreams are within easy reach on a live stream Virtual Tour. There is something quite satisfying about “being there” … if only for a moment in time. It certainly has helped this avid traveler’s mental health.
As a full service, licensed travel agency with over 30 years’ experience, we are here to assist and guide you every step of the way. Let virtual tours be a part of your travel planning until you get to experience the real deal! Oh look! I can join Silvia in Ravenna, Italy at 2 pm to cook alongside her as she makes her mother’s secret meatball recipe. Gotta go!
Anne’s Personal Favourite Live Stream Virtual Tour Websites:
HeyGo: LIVE, expert guides with optional tipping
Context Learning: LIVE, expert scholars and guides; cost varies; private and small group tours cost extra
Traveling Spoon: LIVE, cooking classes with local vetted hosts from around the world; cost varies; some include market visits