No vaccine passport yet and it’s been a zero travel year for Indians. Worse, with the impending third wave, the rest of the year looks the same. But where there is a bill in your wallet, there is a way. Cutting edge Virtual Reality (VR) apps have come to the rescue in the way of armchair travel.
Get a 4.1 smartphone—check settings to figure out the version—and strap on a compatible headset and you are ready to go. VR headsets range from Rs 299 (Reliance Digital SHINECON VR Play G-04 3D Virtual Reality Headset) to Rs 39,000 (Oculus Quest 2 Advanced All-In-One Virtual Reality Headset, 64GB).
Google Earth VR: This app promises to help us fly over the top of Eiffel Tower or go inside Disney World just by pressing and dragging the controller. It even promises to take you to see a certain spot in Alberta, Canada, where a natural formation of the land looks like the face of a person. Google Earth promises a walk past the Hoover Dam in Arizona and Florence Cathedral in Florence, Italy.
In fact, you can even zoom into the backyard of your most-hated cousin’s ranch home in Chicago that he has been bragging about. These apps use aerial photography, satellite imagery, 3D topography, geographic data, and street view to give us an immersive experience. Not surprisingly, the tech world believes VR is the future.
Veer VR: It has interesting travel-related 360-degree photos and videos. Tech lovers are kicked that this app offers not just views of popular destinations such as helicopter rides over New York City, it it also lets you explore the different parts of the cruise ship. Like a social media app, in this too creators from over 160 countries are giving you more choices and a chance to check out lesser-known places.
Within VR: This app, also a portal, allows you to check destinations even without a VR set. However, you need a WebVR platform to enjoy this. The video titled ‘Restless in Hong Kong’ is considered one of the finest travel VR videos this season.
One can choose to see real time or recorded videos.
Expedia virtual tours
The platform has curated a list of experiences for travellers under categories such as food, art, museums, culture etc. It is best enjoyed when you watch it on your large smart TV screen. Some experiences are paid. For example, it costs $180 for a one-hour live experience of titled ‘Cook like a Roman Grandma’. For this, you need to keep ingredients ready to join her in cooking.