Virtual Tours Let You Travel At Home

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Being sequestered in our homes shouldn’t stop us from experiencing the world. Thankfully, we have amazing technology now and that brings with it the fabulous ability to take us into other lands virtually.

I don’t know about you, but to me, traveling is highly therapeutic to give your soul a much needed change of scenery from the norm.

My husband and I have a wanderlust spirit anyway, so we travel a few times a year, typically. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to be the case this year – most likely.

This year with the pandemic going on, we have come to grips with the idea we will not be able to go anywhere too far from home – which means, no international trips and limited other trip possibilities.

Even though we won’t be able to breathe in the air of another country, we can visit places that almost seem touchable via the virtual realm. Some of these virtual visits really make you feel like you’re seeing them as if you were there – and even more so if you are using a VR headset or even a Cardboard to view it in true VR. If you don’t own one of these already, the investment is around $35.00 for a decent headset, and you can use your smart phone as the VR device.

The following are my recommendations for some incredible virtual getaways – and instructions on building your own Virtual Tour using Google!

If you weren’t aware of these – check them out, be transported to another place, all from the comfort of your own home.

Park and Landmark Tours

Google Arts & Culture

The U.S. National Parks are full of wonder, but most people don’t get the chance to experience them in person. While nothing beats the real thing, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service, we used Google technology to bring the parks to everyone with a smartphone, laptop, or tablet in an immersive 360° VR experience.

Google Street View Searches of Landmarks & Famous Places

These are self-driven by you navigating (i.e., Google Street View drops) but will tour you through famous landmarks and museums all over the world.

Google Street View Panoramic Tours

Street View, by Google Maps, is a virtual representation of our surroundings on Google Maps, consisting of millions of panoramic images. Street View’s content comes from two sources - Google and contributors. Through our collective efforts, we enable people everywhere to virtually explore the world.

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Virtual Museum Tours

The Louvre

Visit the museum's exhibition rooms and galleries, contemplate the façades of the Louvre... Come along on a virtual tour and enjoy the view...

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

This award-winning series of six short videos invites viewers around the world to virtually visit The Met's art and architecture in a fresh, immersive way. Created using spherical 360° technology, it allows viewers to explore some of the Museum's iconic spaces as never before.

The Vatican in Rome

A Virtual Tour of the Vatican in Rome including all of the most famous artwork and the Sistine Chapel.

 

Car Lovers

Mercedes-Benz Museum

The Mercedes-Benz Museum is the only museum in the world that can document in a single continuous timeline over 130 years of auto industry history from its very beginnings to the present day. On nine levels and covering a floor space of 16,500 square metres, the museum presents 160 vehicles and over 1,500 exhibits.

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Virtual Animal Tours

Virtual Marine Sanctuaries

Immerse yourself in the ocean and your national marine sanctuaries without getting wet! These virtual reality voyages use 360-degree images to highlight the amazing habitats, animals, and cultural resources you can find in each national marine sanctuary.

 

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Virtual Amusement Park Tours

Virtual Orlando

Try riding the tallest roller coaster, ziplining over alligators or standing on Main Street in front of Cinderella Castle. The Orlando Virtual Tour takes you into 85 experiences, from theme parks and hotels to dining and shopping hot spots, with a 360-degree perspective.

Virtual Disney World

Virtually experience Walt Disney World attractions, shows, hotels, monorails, trains, boats, park areas, and more within an interactive 360º video environment. These 360º videos are on YouTube and are best experienced using a VR headset.

Virtual Roller Coasters

Virtually experience recreations of your favorite roller coasters from different theme parks in Virtual Reality. These 360º videos are on YouTube and are best experienced using a VR headset.

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3D Art

Poly from Google

Poly is a website created by Google for users to browse, distribute, and download 3D objects. It is intended to allow creators to easily share and access 3D objects. It features a free library containing thousands of 3D objects for use in virtual reality and augmented reality applications.

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How To Create Your Own VR Experience

While all of the previous experiences are tons of fun to watch, it’s even more incredible to have the ability to create your very own walk through of any place you want to visit or re-visit – FOR FREE.

You can build your own VR Tour simply and easily through Google Tours, which allows you to pick any locations, any specific areas of interest, include your own personal 360 images, narrate with audio if you want, and build the story you wish to create. Then, you have the option to share this with others or keep it private.

While the primary audience seems to be educators in schools, there’s no reason this couldn’t be used for anything you’d like.

—Here are some of the experiences a VR Tour might be perfect for:—

  • Former houses and streets you lived on to share with family members
  • A reunion memory-book of common landmarks visited by people who were in a club or school together
  • Prior vacation trips
  • Upcoming vacation trips
  • Bucket list of places to go
  • A preview for a specific hike or road trip

And, there are probably countless other fun ways you can use this functionality. Be creative!

Create a VR Tour in Google Tours

Watch this tutorial video or follow the instructions below it to create a tour. It’s SUPER easy to do!

Virtual Tours Let You Travel At Home

Virtual Tours Let You Travel At Home

There are 2 ways to create a tour in Google Tours: 1) Use a Template, or 2) Create one from Scratch

USING A TEMPLATE

  1. Log in with your Google Account and go to Tour Creator
  2. Select the “Templates” tab at the top and pick a template that closely matches what you want to show.
  3. Edit all of the places, hot-spots, narration, etc. to display your personalized tour the way you want it to be set up.
  4. Select “Publish” when you are ready to publish, and you can make it public or private. Public means anyone can see it.

FROM SCRATCH

  1. Log in with your Google Account and go to Tour Creator
  2. Select “Create a Tour”
  3. Add a photo to represent your cover image, give your tour a name and description
  4. Start to add scenes by entering an address or a known place of interest.
  5. Each new scene will add an interactive section at the bottom, and you can move these left and right.
  6. You may customize your scene by saving the starting point you wish people to see first, and can add any hot-spots for places of interest.
  7. To add the hot-spot, click on “Create a Point of Interest” and use your mouse to position it over the spot you wish to explore.
  8. For each scene or hot-spot you can add more information, a description, and narration if you wish to add any voice-over information.
  9. You might also include a soundtrack if you wish to put music behind your scenes.
  10. Once you are done, select “Publish”. You have the option to make it public or private. If you make it private you can still send the link to those you wish to share it with, but it will not be available to anyone else.

I hope you enjoyed all of these options for exploring the virtual travel realm.

Safer journeying – at home!!

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out below.

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