Now, now, you didn’t really think an essential worker who’s preaching “flatten the curve” would come here posting about how to travel during a pandemic, did you? Of course not. That would be wholly irresponsible of me, but I’m glad I have your attention. It’s business as usual for me everyday as I already spoke about in my previous post from the #covidchronicles. However, I’m aware that’s not the same for many of you who are staying safe at home everyday. Staying home has infected a lot of people with a serious case of wanderlust as I keep seeing a tonne of throwbacks and people lamenting having to cancel their travel plans on my social media feeds. In response, several corporate entities have made their content free as an incentive to provide home entertainment and encourage people to remain indoors.
Decades ago, the only way to travel the world virtually was through books. Oh, how the times have changed!
The travel industry has caught on too, with many virtual tours being created or at least highlighted online since the pandemic. Many are from countries far and wide, places I’ve scarcely heard about or even dreamt about visiting, while several others are closer to home from my beautiful island home of Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region. Thus, I thought it fitting to collate 12 virtual ways to enjoy the diversity and beauty of our Earth in a single post. I wish I had the opportunity to take more of these e-tours myself but duty calls. Anyway, let’s go! #tanayuhyaad (Translation: Stay home!)
E-Tours to Take Advantage Of
Downtown, Kingston in Jamaica is a city that has been plagued by many issues for decades but is currently experiencing a renaissance from within. One of the areas in which it has been blooming is art– street art in particular. Fleet Street, for which I did an extensive write-up several years ago, is one place to enjoy some of these creative inspirational murals but there are so many other places to enjoy fine graffiti in the Downtown art district. On the last Sunday of every month, Kingston Creative hosts a day of events to allow people to experience the cultural best of what the city has to offer, but this month they hosted it online because– you know. I have a feeling April’s artwalk will also have to be held virtually too so follow them @kingstoncreativejm and save the date (April 26).
Update: The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) now has an “Escape to Jamaica” weekly series. Find the schedule here.
St. Lucia is a small island located in the eastern Caribbean and honestly, whoever’s idea this was in the St. Lucia Tourism Authority deserves a raise. Known for the Pitons, a pair of majestic mountain peaks, a beer bearing the same name and a drive-in volcano, St. Lucia was already on my bucket list, but no plane? No problem. Catch the schedule of events to enjoy the best of the island here, then watch the actual events on the country’s tourism authority’s Instagram account here: @travelsaintlucia.
Trinidad is the second Caribbean island I’ve visited, but is actually a part of a twin-island republic with a sister island Tobago which I didn’t get around to exploring. Well, no plane? Yet again, no problem. Explore the more tourist-y sister isle here via Virtual Tour Tobago, and if you tilt your chair back far enough with a rum punch in hand, you may actually believe you’re in a tropical paradise for just a second.
Fort Lauderdale in Miami, Florida is a popular vacation spot known for its excellent beaches and boutique hotels. A vacation here sounds alluring– in fact ANY beach at all right now sounds very tempting but these live cameras covering every angle of the beach have you covered.
We may not be able to visit the animals at the San Diego Zoo but we can see recorded footage of their antics here. They have more than 3,500 species including rare and endangered ones which you’re unlikely to encounter elsewhere.
Experience casual live-stream concerts for free at Global Citizen‘s Instagram page. Search the hashtag #TogetherAtHome.
The Metropolitan Opera and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) are both based in New York City and offer classic alongside contemporary shows and pieces. MoMA’s collection contains almost 200,000 works and more than 85,000 pieces are currently available online for free. Explore both locations here and here respectively, and if you’re interested in taking a free course from MoMa to deepen your understanding and appreciation of art, click here.
Explore street views of numerous European cities via VR Europa. Have you ever visited Oxford, Liverpool, Glasgow, Dublin, Azores, Canaries or the Isle of Man? I thought so, but fret not. Even in the middle of a pandemic, now you can.
The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Netherlands is the home-turned-museum where Anne Frank and her family went into hiding during the Nazi occupation, and it has now been brought to life in digital form. Tickets to visit this museum are usually sold out for weeks in advance, so it’s a pleasure to skip the crowds in this online version of the Anne Frank House. In fact, this is currently the only way to experience the museum which is closed until June 1 due to the coronavirus.
The Louvre, Paris Musees and the Palace of Versailles are iconic spots not to be missed by tourists to Paris, France. Travel may be at a standstill globally, but experiencing these cultural icons is still possible via online tours available here, here and here respectively.
Italy is home to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence which houses the work of several Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and Leonardo da Vinci after the Medici family gifted their art collection to the city of Florence in the 16th century. My heart goes out to Italy as they grapple with this horrible illness. It will be some time before they are able to accept tourists once more, but in the mean time these works of art are there to be admired on the museum’s Google Street view feature.
360° South Africa offers virtual tours of South Africa’s most popular attractions including museums, hiking trails, hotels and safaris. Some of the country’s most popular destinations include Cape Town, Johannesburg, the expansive Kruger National Park to the north, and the coastlines and beaches of the KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces.
I hope this post is an antidote to being stuck at home, but something tells me only going outside can cure the desire to go outside. Let’s stay indoors for now though, please? Especially for my fellow Caribbean dwellers. We’re third world; we don’t have the resources to deal with too many of you becoming critically ill all at once. This may be your only chance to save the world from your sofas. Use it.
This post barely scratches the surface of all the free virtual tours, performances and resources available on the Internet so feel free to share others you may be aware of or have enjoyed below in the comments. P.S. You can also explore Jamaica via my older posts here. Share with your friends and bookmark your favourites so you’ll have ideas of where to go once it’s safe to do so again. I too am refreshing my own travel list as we speak.
Thanks for stopping by. ‘Til next week. ✌🏽
Read next: 22 photos which show why Portland is Jamaica’s most beautiful parish.