As soon as traveling to distant virtual destinations from the comfort of your favorite armchair became a reality, pundits began touting the idea of a virtual vacation. In theory, the opportunity to slip on a pair of VR goggles and transport yourself to the middle of the Sahara is tempting. But will users want to spend extended periods in digitized dream destinations?
This article will explore the mechanics of a virtual vacation. It will cover some of the existing and proposed technologies that could make it a reality. There’s no need to pack, so let’s make our way straight to the airport.
Conversely, the easiest part of a virtual vacation compared to a physical trip is getting to your destination. Forget all the hassle at the airport. All you need to do is find somewhere comfortable and don a VR device.
Today, the best VR devices are like the best airlines. They offer a level of sophistication that enables you to arrive at and enjoy a trip inspiringly close to reality. The most impressive VR headsets are already capable of transporting users convincingly to far-flung destinations in our world and beyond. The top headsets include the Valve Index VR Kit, Oculus Quest 2, and HTC’s Vive Pro 2.
So, once you’re strapped in, where do you go? There are already several platforms and programs that enable you to explore vacation destinations in high resolution. Some of the best include:
- Wander: This immersive travel app created for Oculus enables users to explore real-life destinations through 360-degree photos. Users can take custom tours, join other travelers, or even travel back in time, experiencing the past through old photographs.
- Titans of Space PLUS: If you want to travel beyond the confines of planet Earth, this app enables you to do so. It takes you on a self-guided tour of the Solar System, with impressive visuals and an accurate sense of scale.
- Google Earth VR: It’s no surprise that Google provides one of the most immersive and comprehensive travel experiences available. Leveraging Google Earth data and technology, Google Earth VR enables digital tourists to travel the globe. You can explore any destination covered by the company’s extensive camera crew.
Where to Stay?
It’s all very well exploring this world and beyond, but you’ll need somewhere to rest your head at some point. Incredibly, the first Metaverse hotel is already under construction.
In April 2022, the Dutch hotel group CitizenM, announced it was opening the first Metaverse hotel. Situated in The Sandbox, the hotel is ultimately a marketing tool, but the aim is to provide avatars with a space to work, rest, and get involved with activities—just as you would in a real hotel.
As yet, the exact details are vague. Still, reports suggest that the hotel chain will use the space to create virtual experiences, sell NFT artwork, and develop ideas for physical properties using the digital twin concept.
Beyond this, virtual tourists will eventually be able to traverse existing platforms like The Sandbox, Decentraland, and others, and visit well-known Metaverse constructions. Perhaps in a few years, we’ll be talking celebrity tours of a virtual Beverly Hills, with Snoop Dogg‘s mansion center stage, of course.
One aspect of Metaverse travel that many overlook is the options it gives regular users to participate in 5-star experiences usually reserved for the mega-rich. Of course, high-end travel may come with a premium price tag, but nothing will compare to the physical equivalent.
For example, visiting an exclusive resort in the Metaverse Maldives might cost a few dollars and come as part of an offering from an app. As Meteverse companies vie for users, we’ll likely see competitive pricing and in many cases, free experiences that enable everyday users to operate on a level playing field with the wealthy.
In one example, the airline Emirates Middle Eastern airline recently launched an app that enabled users to tour its first-class suites in VR. However, as with any new concept in the Metaverse, the possibilities are endless.
Want to compete in the Metaverse? Subscribe to the My Metaverse Minute Channel: