7 Ways to Travel the World From Home, Virtually

Although a lot of people think that virtual reality (VR) is just for video games, the technology can provide older adults with ways to immerse themselves in destinations worldwide without leaving home or paying for an expensive vacation.

Think of it as National Geographic leaping off the page or a travel TV show where you decide what you want to look at.

From the most remote corners of the Earth all the way to Mars, you can see and in some cases hear countless cities, nature preserves and national landmarks through immersive 360-degree views on your computer, smartphone, tablet or VR headset. While a virtual visit may not replicate physical reality entirely, it does provide an opportunity to explore destinations you haven’t visited yet or places where you’d rather not haul your suitcase.

The best part: Most of these experiences are free. Discover some of the destinations that await.

1. Experience America’s national parks

You don’t need to worry about the weather at these five national parks if you visit them through Google Arts & Culture.

An especially awe-inspiring tour features Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where you can see videos of Kilauea erupting, go inside a lava tube and enjoy a 360-degree view of a rainforest, all guided by a park ranger. The series also explores the Dry Tortugas in Florida, Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Yosemite in California.

2. Explore the mysteries of Stonehenge in England

See the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, through a variety of lenses on this Skyscape site from English Heritage. There’s a representation of what the burial ground looked like before construction of Stonehenge began about 5,000 years ago and an account of its evolution through the millennia, as well as a skyscape that explains how the stones were aligned with the sun, moon and planets.

During the virtual tour, select the circular “hotspots” to watch a video about each tagged area. An interactive map provides an aerial view of the grounds, allowing you to learn the history of different locations from above.

You’ll also find lots of written information about this unique landmark.

To learn about other ways to travel the world from home with virtual technology, from AARP, CLICK HERE.