How to Travel from Your Couch

If you’re anything like us, staying at home – though necessary – is taking a toll on your inner wanderer. Trips have been canceled for the foreseeable future, but getting on a plane isn’t the only way to explore cities and cultures. There’s ways to travel that don’t even involve getting off your couch. So if you’re itching for a new experiences but you’re unsure how to have them, you’re in luck: we’ve rounded up the best resources for the phenomenon known as “armchair travel.” Let’s get exploring!

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Ivan checking out the view | Photo By: Maria O’Neal

Nature

National Parks

In need of a dose of the great outdoors? The National Park Service is offering 360-degree exploration of National Parks across the country. See the beautiful views and learn about the plants and animals that reside in places like Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon.

Scuba Diving

For wrecks or species you’ve always wanted to discover around the world, this site allows you to go deep underwater without getting wet or worrying about your air tank. Choose one of the marine sanctuaries and dive in.winterline, gap year, scuba, virtual travel

Museums

The Louvre

The Mona Lisa is right at your fingertips! Let your browser take you to the famous Louvre Museum in Paris, and click through their beautiful galleries to examine art spanning ages and cultures.

National Museum of Natural History

Work your way through this Smithsonian museum to see past, current, and permanent exhibits like the Hall of Fossils, to Objects of Wonder, to the timely Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World.

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Photo By: The National Museum of Natural History

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

One of New York City (and the world)’s most famous museums, the Met has 26 virtual exhibits for you to explore. Of course, you can’t leave this museum without ogling the fashion-forward looks from the last Met Gala!

The Van Gogh Museum

Whether you’re already a fan of Van Gogh or you’re looking to learn more about this painter, this Amsterdam museum is the place to go. Go ahead and view over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 personal letters. There’s even exhibits on the books Van Gogh read and on his love life.

Monuments and Heritage Sites

Machu Picchu

Hiking the Inca Trail is a bucket-list worthy adventure, but you don’t have to fly to Peru to see Machu Picchu anymore. These ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a spectacular backdrop, and a virtual narrator has all the historical information you need to know.

Acropolis of Athens

These Greek ruins are a must-see for any history lover. The buildings at the Acropolis of Athens include the world-famous Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike. Head over to examine these monuments and learn about their origins.

The Vatican 

You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate the iconic Sistine Chapel – and you don’t have to be in Vatican City to see it! The Vatican Museums are offering virtual tours for visitors to see the artwork amassed by the Roman Catholic Church and the Papacy. Heads up: this site requires a VR headset to view the images properly.

Taj Mahal

See this spectacular cultural landmark in India without bumping into other visitors. The mausoleum, another UNESCO World Heritage site, is considered of the most magnificent architectural achievements. You’ll definitely want to see it for yourself.

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Justin at the Taj Mahal | Photo By: Liam McIlwain

Easter Island

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an island located off Chile and is famous for its enormous statues called moai. Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world, so this virtual tour is a great opportunity to see an unbelievable historical attraction that you might otherwise never visit.

The Great Wall of China

Walk the longest structure ever built by humans in just a few minutes, and see it all in perspective. You can’t visit China without seeing the Great Wall, but thanks to technology, you can now see the Great Wall without visiting China.

Out of this World

Even Hogwarts?

Harry Potter fans, rejoice. There are 360-degree virtual tours available for some of the filming locations used in the Harry Potter films, specifically Gloucester Cathedral in England and the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Go ahead and immerse yourself in these magical places to pass a little time in the home of your favorite wizards.

And Mars!

How about a trip you can’t take from anywhere else? Mars may not be accessible yet for humans, but NASA’s letting you see what a trip is like through the eyes of the Curiosity Rover. Get ready for blast off!

And so much more…winterline, gap year, virtual travel

If you’re still looking for more or need some inspiration on where to “travel” next, check out this comprehensive guide from Condé Nast Traveler. You’re sure to find someplace new to explore! Thinking of somewhere in particular? Try searching for the name of the location + “virtual tour” to see if it exists.

Happy 50th Earth Day

Today is no ordinary Earth Day. Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Over the years, Earth Day has become “recognized as the planet’s largest civic event and it led to passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air, Clear Water and Endangered Species Acts.” However, despite incredible progress over the last 50 years, circumstances are dire today.

Every year, the Earth Day Network chooses a priority to focus on for Earth Day. This year is all about climate action! Here’s a few ways you can act to combat climate change even during the current quarantine.

Start a Garden

Bring a little bit of green into your life. This is a great way to safely enjoy the outdoors while adding to the earth. Utilize whatever space you have: a yard, window boxes, or some pots on a sunny shelf. Do your research to find the right plants for you. Consider how much room you have, light you get, and attention you’re prepared to give. If you love to cook, consider some vegetables or herbs. If you love fresh flowers, get some colorful blooms. Looking for something more lowkey? Stock up on succulents. There’s plenty of online stores you can order seeds and plants from to be delivered right to your home.earth day, garden, flowers

Stream a Documentary

Travel right from your sofa! There’s plenty of shows and movies on networks like Discovery Channel, Netflix, EarthX, and National Geographic. From the deep sea to the mountaintops, jungle to desert, you can explore every corner of the world without moving a muscle. Learn all about our world, the creatures who inhabit it, the issues our environment is facing, and how we can help.

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Check in on Animal Livestreams

Need a dose of cuteness? Zoos and aquariums around the world have set up livestreams so that you can see what their animals are up to at all hours. Penguins, elephants, and even senior dogs – chances are, there’s a stream set up to see your favorite creature. So if you’re wondering what animals do when no one’s watching, now’s your chance to find out!earth day, elephant, animal

Shop Sustainably

When you turn to online shopping, gear your attention toward brands that are kind to the environment. Goods that are package or plastic free, made with recycled materials, or give back through donations are your best bet. By buying from these companies, you’re lessening your own environmental footprint and creating higher need for sustainable products.sustainability, shopping, earth day

Donate

Put your money where your mouth is! If you have discretionary funds, why not donate them to an organization that aims to help the earth and those living on it? By simply donating money, you can help work toward climate neutrality, save endangered species, bring clean water to underprivileged communities, replant rainforests, and so much more. Truly, every little bit counts: just give what you can. And remember to do your research and be sure that you know how an organization uses donated funds before giving them your money.

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Go for a Walk

Put on your mask and head outside for a walk. As long as you keep your distance from others, it’s okay to get outside for some fresh air. Listen for birds, smell some flowers, and be thankful for this beautiful world that we live in.

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Andrew walking in Maharashtra | Photo By: Lex Messitidis

How are you making a difference this year? Let us know!