Travel the world from your sofa

Bleisure travel – when you tag leisure activities on to a business trip – has become increasingly popular in recent years as travellers attempt to strike a better work/ life balance. But with many countries still in lockdown due to Covid-19, travel – whether for business or pleasure – has taken a back seat for most of us and we are missing it. A recent poll in Travel Weekly showed that 86 per cent of British people, for example, want to travel abroad and have not amended their holiday budgets.

We may still be a few months off from taking a vacation, but the good news is technology – which has proved to be such a valuable lifeline for millions of us through the pandemic personally and professionally – can make it possible to travel the world from your sofa, quashing your wanderlust until we can take to the skies once more.

We’ve pulled together a round-up of some of our favourites:

Unsurprisingly, the Great Barrier Reef is up there on most people’s bucket lists. One of the most spectacular destinations on our beautiful planet can now be explored virtually with the world-famous broadcaster with this interactive experience.

Their doors may be closed to the public, but you can live stream performances from New York’s Metropolitan Opera every evening online at 19:30 Eastern Time and indulge in some of the world’s best musical recitals for free. And don’t worry if you don’t live in the States, performances are available to view on demand for 20 hours after they first go live.

Quite a bit further afield than most of us will ever get to travel, NASA streams a continuous live feed of Earth from the International Space Station. It’s recently become hugely popular following Elon Musk’s Space X launch at the end of last month.

Despite being closed to visitors, you can still explore Machu Picchu in all its glory. Take in the breath-taking views of this 15th century Inca citadel and learn all about its history at the same time.

Explore the best of the famous art museum’s exhibits while still wearing your dressing gown and slippers if the notion takes you. With four different tours available, visitors can marvel at the famous ceilings of the “Galerie d’Apollon”, explore the remains of the Louvre’s moat or indulge in the Egyptian Antiquities exhibit: a beautiful mix of history and education until you can get to Paris and see it for real.

Undeniably one of the most sensational destinations in the world, the Great Wall of China takes you on a virtual tour across some of its most picturesque landscapes and ancient fortifications that stretch 3,000 km across the country’s northern borders. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the seven great wonders of the world.

Nonprofit organisation Conservation International has made it possible to explore the Amazonian rainforest from the comfort of your own home. This 360-degree virtual reality video, narrated by indigenous guide Kamanja Panashekung, and ‘The Hobbit’ actor Lee Pace, takes you on an immersive experience ‘Under the Canopy’ of the world’s largest rainforest.

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