Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic it was incredibly easy to book an adventure anywhere in the world with a small amount of planning and an adventurous spirit. Think, an Antarctic cruise, cycle tour in Tuscany, jet boating in Queenstown, diving in the Caribbean, hiking in Patagonia or climbing to the summit of Mt Everest.
While the pandemic put an effective halt to most of these activities for now, it has allowed a chance to dream, plan that adventure you’ve always wanted to go and complete and also to consider new and innovative ways to see and experience the world around us.
The team at exploreGO.com – an adventure travel start-up based in NZ and with product across the globe on all seven continents – know just how important adventure is for peoples mental and physical health and wellbeing. They have recently begun exploring how to utilise virtual adventures to supplement their extensive catalogue of preferred partner adventures.
“What is surprising some businesses is the impact virtual adventures and activities are having on a consumers choice. 67% of people want more businesses to offer virtual tours, and subsequently customers spend 5 to 10 times more on websites with virtual tours”, explains exploreGO co-founder Aaron Halstead.
And something driving a new wave of virtual adventures are millennials (18-34 year olds) who are at the forefront of this new marketing technology, as they are 130% more likely to book an experience or use a service if the business website offers a virtual tour.
A selection of global adventures you can undertake from your sofa include;
Virtually Trek to Everest Base Camp as you get fit or train indoors
Why not take on a once-in-a-lifetime Everest Base Camp Trek Series. This is an 8 part series where you’ll be led by Everest experts and experienced iFit Guides Kenton Cool, Lydia Bradey, and Ang Tshering Lama. Prepare yourself for an adventure unlike any other. iFit is a subscription model that uses world leading experts to deliver virtual training sessions on you home or gym exercise equipment.
Climbing Mt Elbrus virtually, the highest mountain in Europe with a local mountain guide
Beyond Red Square is a US company whose founders are based in Russia and one of the co-founders – Andrew Slate – describes how their initial motivation to create virtual tours was to develop a travel product/experience that was not dependent on international borders being open or closed. Feedback from recent clients is that people love the authentic connection they make with the local guide leading the virtual tour. They also indicate it is very good for families or those who can’t/won’t travel and is more accessible to people time-wise and money-wise. And as one of Andrew’s client’s says “Wow, now I really want to come there and experience it in person!” Virtually Climb Mt Elbrus
Explore Peru’s Inca trail …in your slippers
G Adventures leads virtual tour to the Sacred Valley. Just because you aren’t travelling right now, doesn’t mean you can’t experience the amazing, beautiful world around us. Join one of the G Adventures guides for a virtual walking tour of Peru’s famous Inca Trail. Explore the Inca Trail
Walk the Great Wall of China
Visiting one of the Seven Wonders of the World is a bucket list item for many, and an item that unfortunately will have to wait until travel opens up again. However, if you’re looking to fulfil your dream of visiting the seven wonders, there’s a simple way to do this right now. The Great Wall of China can be visited via a Great Wall Virtual Tour and though it may not be quite the same as seeing it in real life, it’s a pretty close second.
Space – the final frontier
exploreGO have plans to not only offer tickets to space with Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, but to also offer virtual reality tours to space for those who won’t be signing up anytime soon to launch 100km above the earth. In the meantime, there are still special opportunities to explore space and NASA has opened up its virtual doors to let you check out some of their facilities. Take a trip through Langley Research Center in Virginia as well as Glenn Research Center in Ohio. Take a tour through the vacuum spheres where researchers test aerodynamics. Explore NASA on Earth to learn more about what goes on up in space.
Have you ever wondered what underground Paris is all about, but don’t have the courage to find out for yourself? Well, you can explore the fascinating Catacombs of Paris without having to be there. There are an estimated 200 miles of tunnels under Paris, and a portion of it is available for you to see. With over 6 million corpses sitting in the dark underneath the City of Lights, you may feel some chills up your spine while taking the tour. Take the tour here
If you’re keen to explore the U.S’s amazing national parks and can’t go there in person, you can experience them virtually thanks to Google Earth. Your hike from your couch may not be as much of a workout as the real thing, but seeing nature in all of its beauty will inspire you to get there in person when you can. Some of the national parks available to visit via your computer include: Canyonland’s National Park, Death Valley National Park, Denali National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Yosemite National Park.
Explore the natural wonders of Chile
Download 360 Chile, a free app to virtually explore the amazing natural and cultural heritage across fascinating and diverse Chile. Explore the majestic Torres del Paine, the Atacama Desert, the mysteries of Easter Island and plenty of other destinations from the comfort of your sofa, using your mobile device or VR glasses to have a unique experience.
Dive deep into a new world
An underwater virtual tour has got to be on everyone’s bucket list. Imagine exploring new underwater locations without leaving home or getting wet. Explore the Great Barrier Reef or the Palmyra Coral Garden, and then if you like what you see, plan on getting open-water scuba certified for real.
Andrew Slate from Beyond Red Square describes why virtual adventures are so on-point right now; “For some people, it will be a new form of entertainment to enjoy. For some, it will be a way to build community with others. For others, it will be a way to research new adventures to pursue in-person one day. Whatever the reason is, I do think the sky is the limit for virtual experiences in the adventure travel industry!”
A virtual tour is appealing because it makes people feel like they are walking through the actual experience. It allows customers to engage while playing around the virtual playground that is created and supported by the actual adventures.
Why not find out about your next virtual adventure? Who knows, it might inspire you to book the real thing after you’ve had a virtual taster.
www.exploreGO.com offers virtual and actual adventures across the globe on all 7 continents and is aspiring to be the world’s most authentic and comprehensive adventure travel network. And as a massive social enterprise benefit they give back 1% to the planet via local communities with every single booking on their website!