Traveling while staying on your couch is possible

For all those who stayed at home during the Ascension weekend, it is possible to travel in virtual mode, from your sofa.

Everyone has used Google Street View at least once, the service that lets you virtually navigate 360 ​​degrees around cities around the world, which turns 15 this week. Casually, it’s a way of escaping virtually which continues to improve and whose potential is exploited very little except to find one’s bearings.

You can use it to stroll the streets of cities around the world, but also in mythical places, from the Grand Canyon to the Great Barrier Reef. Or even inside certain monuments: visit the Invalides in Paris, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai but also many castles, the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles for example. Among the little-known features, the one that allows to travel in time: we choose the year that interests us and we see the evolution of a street or a site over the years.

For the record, Google has just published the list of the most visited places on Street View. In France, the Eiffel Tower is in the lead, without much surprise. But in number 2, much more surprising, in front of the Louvre or the Palace of Versailles, the beach of Saint-Brévin-les-Pins in Loire Atlantique and more particularly the ocean serpent, a contemporary artwork that depicts the skeleton of a serpent by the ocean. Why such popularity? We have no idea, even Google can’t explain it.

“VR Tourism”

Another proposal: after green tourism, here is VR tourism, tourism in virtual reality with the well-understood headset. And there is not necessarily a need to ruin yourself. You have cardboard models that cost 10 euros, you put your smartphone in them, and you will virtually teleport to the other side of the world. There are tons of videos on Youtube, filmed in 360 degrees specifically for VR headsets that transport you to the most beautiful places in the world. The volcanoes of Hawaii in the morning, the Galapagos and a small safari in Kenya to end the day.

There are also applications specifically developed for this: Google Earth VR which gives the possibility of looking around at 360 degrees, of getting lost in the streets of Paris or Tokyo for example. Or National geographic Explore VR, which allows you to visit Macchu Picchu or navigate around icebergs in Antarctica as if you were there.

The big advantage is obviously the immersive side: you really have the impression of being there, of having the ocean in front of you, you look down you have the sand of the beach and behind you a cocktail bar . You can also use it to dream about your future vacation. For a few years now, tour operators have been using this technology to give their customers a taste: you can see the landscapes or visit the hotel or the holiday camp where you will be staying -it avoids disappointment- a bit like real estate agents for the apartment visit.

>>> Anthony Morel’s column can be found in podcasts

The zoom trip

Finally, after the “zoom” aperitifs, here is the “zoom” trip. We have seen a better change of scenery, but it is developing more and more since the health crisis and the confinements that we have experienced. It goes through virtual travel platforms, called Beeyonder, ToursByLocals or even Amazon. There, what we offer you are guided trips by videoconference with a tourist guide, live.

You choose a destination, a theme: the castles of Ireland, a visit to London in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper, the tea ceremony in Japan. As in a traditional guided tour, you can ask questions to the guide. The only difference is that you see with your eyes, through your smartphone or a camera that films it. The price: 10 to 15 euros per person and per visit.

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Traveling while staying on your couch is possible


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