12 EXCITING WAYS TO TRAVEL WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR SOFA

These are indeed crazy times for travel as it seems runways are closed for the foreseeable future.

But what if you could travel without leaving your sofa? What if you could visit museums, hotels, cities and oceans, all without leaving your living room?

Travel without leaving your sofa
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HOW TO TRAVEL WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR SOFA

“Travel is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with existence or the exotic. It is almost always an inner experience.”

Paul Theroux, author

Have an internet connection? Then welcome to the world of virtual escapism! Tour parts of the world like you were really there.

For frequent travelers, this can calm the tripophia anxiety while continuing to feed  your wanderlust. Here are 12 exciting ways to travel while following the stay home order.

But if you are itching to travel as soon as you can, take a peek at this article for where to go!

TRAVEL WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR SOFA TO A MUSEUM

So you can continue to Netflix and chill or you can tour some of the world’s most coveted cultural places without waiting in the queue or pushing through crowds of strangers, and hey, you don’t even have to put on pants (trousers)!

Museo de Louvre, Paris

Also known as the Great Louvre and identified by its iconic pyramid entrance, it is the world’s most famous museum housing the world’s most famous painting – Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. 

The biggest museum in the world displays about 35,000 priceless masterpieces over an area of 645,000 square feet (60,000 square meters). It is so massive that it is impossible to see everything in a single day. 

Thanks to the Louvre offering virtual tours of three of its popular exhibits, you can skip descending below the pyramid and tour these free online exhibits.

British Museum, London

Travel without leaving your sofa virtually to the British Museum in London with free online exhibits

Opening its doors in 1759, the British Museum is the world’s oldest public museum and probably the most recognized interior as about 15 movies have been filmed there.

So you can either watch Hitchcock’s Blackmail, The Mummy Returns or Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb to get a live action virtual tour or just head over to the British Museum’s own virtual tour.

By the way, the graphics of this tour are amazingly interactive and the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies are just a couple of things that you’re able to see without leaving your house.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Exterior of the Guggenheim Museum in New York

Designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the building is a top heavy spiraling form that’s every bit a work of art as what’s inside. Other than using the virtual tour to awe at the architectural design of the building itself, the museum displays Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, early Modern, and contemporary art.

However, in a different style of virtual tours, the Gugg uses a Google Street View tour to feel as if you are literally wandering the halls of this museum.  But the Gugg reports that the virtual imagery was captured on a day when the museum was closed to the public, so the virtual visit is rather quiet, as opposed to noisy and busy if you actually were wandering the halls. Well, that’s a bonus to me.  

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Also known as the Imperial Museum, its extensive collection mainly explores 800 years of Dutch history during the Dutch Golden Age. Thus, it is the greatest museum in the world to see Dutch art, including Rembrandt, Van Gough and Vermeer.  

Although the museum displays about 8,000 exhibits, the virtual tour allows you to interact with 11 “stories” by  getting a first hand close-up view and explanation about these selected pieces. But do not be disappointed, they include Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and Rembrandt’s Night Watch.

The online tour also includes about 164,511 other pieces that you can peruse. Another feature is that using the same Google Street View tour as the Guggenheim, you can “walk” through the museum and browse empty galleries as well as see specifically where certain pieces are displayed in the museum.  

Uffizi Gallery, Florence

Viewing the painting of The Annunciation in the Uffizzi Gallery in Italy during a virtual tour while at home
The Annunciation Courtesy of LeonardoDaVinci.net

The Uffizi is known for its collection of Renaissance masterpieces. Here you’ll find work from Botticelli, Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael – a real gold mine for the art enthusiast. 

To make it even more special, its one of the very few museums that owns a da Vinci, the Annunciation. This museum’s virtual tour follow the same format as the Rijksmuseum.  The Uffizi has 4 “stories” that take viewers in-depth through various works, and you are able to click on other pieces to get a summary and personalized view of where it’s located in the gallery. 

Musee d’ Orsay, Paris

Circling back to Paris, the d’Orsay is situated in a building that was once a railroad station, and now this grand museum holds the largest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works in the world, including Renoir, Monet, Degas, and Cezanne. 

This online tour will take you through the the familiar interactive galleries similarly used at the Rijksmuseum and Uffizi. Here you will see an up close virtual tour of the building of the station and its subsequent renovation into the museum.

You can also explore other famous pieces, and if you do, I highly recommend Van Gogh’s Bedroom in Arles, Degas’s The Ballet Class and Millet’s Gleaners.  

If you’re interested in ogling masterpieces in general, Google Arts & Culture has a collection of online galleries from over 1200 museums, galleries and institutions around the world brought to you on one site. It’s definitely worth wandering through its vast genres, eras and collections – something for every culturally curious individual. 

TRAVEL WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR SOFA WITH VIRTUAL REALITY

Different from a virtual tour, you will need the right equipment for this experience. Virtual Reality players or known as VR players are also leaders in allowing you to travel the world without leaving your sofa. True VR’s not only provide a 360-degree immersion into your virtual environment, but the full experience will  let you engage and connect with that environment.

For one you will need headgear and goggles. Check out OculusRift, PlayStation VR by Sony, and Samsung Gear VR. Or Google Cardboard has instructions for a DIY Cardboard headset to use with your phone.

So let’s see where we can go! 

Sites in Virtual Reality

This free app will give you the VR experience of traveling to natural wonders of the world, historical museums, and famous landmarks. You can choose anything from the Eiffel Tower to the Egyptian pyramids. You can even travel to Mars if you so desire! For either iOS or Android

Emirates fleet in 3D

Virtual tour of Emirates airline from your sofa
Courtesy of Emirates

One of my favorite airline, now you can experience flying first class from the comforts of your own home. Emirates even offers extras such as the iconic Onboard Lounge, Shower Spa and other onboard products. Sit back, relax and enjoy the service at “30,000” feet in the air.

Marriott Hotels

Using Marriott’s app, you can experience staying in a luxury hotel in Poland, Paris, Vienna without leaving  your house. If you are already there, Marriott offers VR Postcards where you can follow three travelers as they share immersive travel stories and share the importance of traveling. 

WATCH TRAVEL SHOWS FROM YOUR SOFA

There’s no shortage of travel shows that bring the world to your living room: 

  • Samantha Brown, Places to Love, PBS – if you want a local experience.
  • Any Anthony Bourdain series, Netflix – if you love to find tasty food spots. 
  • The Silk Road, Go Traveler, Roku – if you like immersing yourself in the culture where you visit.
  • An Idiot Abroad, Sky One – follows a traveler who would rather not travel.
  • No Passport Required, PBS – explores communities, mainly immigrant communities, in the United States. 
  • Rick Steves, Europe, PBS – he’s back with usual places to see and travel tips.

VISIT TRAVEL BLOGS FROM YOUR SOFA

Read posts on some of your favorite places, places you’ve been and places you would like to go. Maybe you will learn something new about a different destination or culture or maybe you can drop a comment with one of your own experiences or tips.

Travel blogs are good for mentally taking you to the destination that’s being written about which certainly helps with wanderlust! Feel free to start with peeping around Sophieuncharted.com!

Along those same lines, satisfy your travelporn by spending copious amounts of time on Instagram (as if we aren’t already doing that). The ‘gram is full of gorgeous travel pics that will send your heart racing for adventure.   

START PLANNING THAT TRIP

Poster for traveling without leaving your sofa

Before you know it, normal interaction will return, travel will return. Now is the perfect time to plan travel as it’s a perfect distraction and a perfect remedy for travitude

To help planning, I like using Travelzoo to book discounted for all-in-one airline and accommodations to some great destinations. And pre-book your activities with Viator for a discount.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON TRAVELING WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR SOFA

There are plenty of ways to travel at home right now. What are some of the places you’re planning to visit?

Here’s some of my favorite travel guides to help you plan your trip:

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Lauren
2 years ago

These are such great ideas!

Liv
Liv
2 years ago

This was such a great read! I had no idea you can tour all those museums virtually. I’ll definitely be checking some of those out while stuck in isolation! Thanks for the awesome ideas!

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