Virtual reality has changed our lives in many ways, especially during the height of the global pandemic. People were able to pursue educational opportunities and continue working, despite the closure of schools and workplaces around the world. Moreover, with the help of VR headsets, we got to have brand new experiences as we enjoyed virtual concerts or went on virtual trips. And while borders have reopened and life has more or less returned to the way it was, experts predict that the demand for VR devices will increase 16 times its current value in the coming years, as these gadgets continue to be highly useful even for the average consumer.
Some people believe that being constantly immersed in the metaverse may prevent us from forming connections in real life. However, virtual experiences are not only a sustainable way to travel, but they also help us to get a closer look to how people live on the other side of the world. Thus, we become more understanding and appreciative of our differences and similarities. Here’s how virtual experiences can make local cultures accessible to all.
Virtual Guided Tours
Virtual tourism has been around for years as it was often used to showcase the unique aspects of a destination. However, due to travel constraints and closed borders, virtual tourism has evolved to become much more interactive, with travel companies and even individuals now offering virtual guided tours. For instance, Ligia Morera, a virtual guide based in Costa Rica, has been offering virtual travel experiences such as a hummingbird virtual tour in her country, and virtual tours in Panama. In an interview with Business Insider, Morera said that most of her clients sign up in the evenings when they want to unwind, but don’t want to spend their free time idly scrolling on their phone. “It’s better to be learning something than just scrolling through social media,” she said. “That way, they’re not only relaxing but learning from other humans around the world.”
Virtual tours allow you to experience the beauty of a certain destination without ever having to leave your home. It’s also the perfect way to sample a place before going there, making it ideal for female travellers. Safety is a primary concern for women, so virtual tours can give you a clue whether particular destinations are safe for solo female travellers.
Virtual tourism platforms such as Dokodemo Door Trip have more than 1,000 tours that you can participate in for a certain fee, provided that you own a VR headset. Meanwhile, websites such as Live Virtual Tours and Hop a Tour provide private live tours wherein you can chat with tour guides as they take you around a walking or driving tour of a particular destination in real-time. Think about going on a virtual walking tour of Nesso at Lake Como in Italy, or go on a historic old town virtual tour of Prague.
Virtual Cooking Classes
Enjoying local cuisine is crucial to any travel experience. Not only do you support the destination’s local economy, but you also get to experience its unique history and culture through food. It’s no wonder that millions of travellers plan their trips around food, and a survey has found that nearly a quarter of tourists say that trying new food takes priority over visiting new locations.
If you want to discover new food but are unable to travel at the moment, consider taking a virtual cooking class. A guided cooking class, especially one that’s led by a local, enables you to replicate a regional dish at home so you get to have an idea of what it’s like to have it at that certain destination. You can sign up for interactive virtual cooking classes at Cozymeal or The Table Less Traveled, where you’ll learn how to make everything from authentic Italian pasta from a real Italian chef, to Spanish Paella from a local cook based in Valencia.
Virtual Cultural Workshops and Classes
Ever been on a trip wherein you wanted to participate in a cultural workshop, but didn’t have the time for it? Now you can, with VR-powered cultural workshops and classes. Attending one of these allows you to get up close and personal with certain customs, traditions, arts, and crafts. Imagine learning kabuki theatre acting and participating in a virtual performance. Or, how about learning flamenco from an actual flamenco dancer? There are tons of classes that you can choose online, so take your pick to learn a new skill.
Virtual reality has helped us to explore new destinations without leaving our homes. Moreover, it’s proven to be useful to connect with and understand other cultures. Try going on a virtual experience and see how it can enrich your life.