Virtual Vacations: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to VR

Virtual VR Vacations

How many cities have you visited in your life?

Ten? Twenty? A hundred? No matter how many you’ve seen, it’s a miniscule number compared to the variety that planet Earth has to offer. This is to say nothing of all the incredibly uncharted locations around the world—rich, thick Amazonian jungle, snowy arctic fjords, and vast, arid deserts that no human has ever fully explored.

With virtual reality, gamers have the opportunity to see the world, all from the comfort of their own living room. Beyond real world locales, it’s even possible to play the tourist in an imaginary setting, traversing Middle Earth or exploring the galaxy.

So throw away your passport and forget about packing your suitcase: here are some of the most incredible vacation destinations that you’ll be able to visit over the next few months in virtual reality.

Tokyo

There are few cities quite as busy and exciting as Tokyo. Every day, millions of people rush around busily, surrounded by neon lights and enormous towering skyscrapers. The city really is a sight to behold.

However, getting to Tokyo isn’t exactly a quick journey for most people in the West. Thankfully, Lufthansa airlines has a solution.

Drag this video around with your mouse to see the whole 360 degree view, or strap on Google Cardboard for the VR experience.

A series of 360-degree videos shot in a variety of cities around the world, including Tokyo, Hong Kong, Miami, and San Fransisco, let Google Cardboard users experience the city in virtual reality. This might not be the most immersive travel experience, but think of it as a budget airline alternative to some of the more advanced options on this list.

Mount Everest

Want to travel atop the highest mountain in the world without needing a thick coat? Everest VR is available now on Steam, and allows players to do just that

Everest VR turns you into an arctic explorer, right in your own living room.

Explore five locations along the route to the top of Everest, taking in the phenomenal scenery without ever leaving your living room. The views are phenomenal, and once you’ve finished the main missions, there’s an opportunity to unlock God Mode, where you can view the peaks, realistically created from accurate maps, from a vantage point that humans are unable to reach.

For added authenticity, why not open all the windows or crank up the AC, and play Everest VR in your underwear? Chilly!

The Bottom of the Sea

Ever wanted to explore a sunken shipwreck, or get up close and personal with an enormous blue whale? Now you can do both of these things without the need for any breathing apparatus, or even a wetsuit.

TheBlu lets you explore a sunken ship while surrounded by beautiful underwater creatures.

TheBlu is a VR game that lets the user discover a myriad of underwater wonders. It’s a fairly on-rails experience, since the player doesn’t have much control over where they go or what they see, but it’s hard to argue with some of the impressive sights that the game has to offer.

Parisian Skies

When it comes to VR tourism, why stick to viewing cityscapes from the same old eye-level perspective that everyone else sees? In Eagle Flight, the player can traverse the historic city of Paris by taking to the skies for a whole new view of the world.

See Paris from the sky in Eagle Flight.

Unlike previous experiences on this list, Eagle Flight is more than just a tourism simulator. There’s a full game in here to be enjoyed as you loop, twist, and dive through the skies of Paris, completing objectives and seeing the world through the eyes of a bird.

Good luck finding a real-world package vacation deal that offers this unique approach to Europe!

Windlands

VR tourism is unrestricted, and in addition to being able to provide unique viewpoints on real-world environments, it’s also possible to explore fictional settings.

Windlands lets you swing across a colorful cartoon landscape.

One such place worth your time is Windlands, a game with a fairly abstract art style that lets players explore and solve puzzles in a dense forest. The player shoots out ropes like Spider-Man and careens across the skyscape to explore a beautiful collection of mountainous outcroppings.

There’s plenty to see and do here, so you can spend as long as you like wandering around Windlands, taking in the scenery and swinging through the trees to your heart’s content.

A Dinosaur Planet

Robinson: The Journey is an upcoming VR game from Crytek, who’ve also produced excellent virtual reality experiences like The Climb. In The Journey, you find yourself on an alien world filled with dinosaurs that you can explore to your heart’s content—as long as you avoid the threat of large meat eaters who might like to gobble you up.

Robinson: The Journey gives you the chance to see some very special local fauna up close.

The sense of scale and perspective in this game’s promotional footage is wonderful. Dashing quickly from between the legs of various dinosaurs makes for an exhilarating experience, and it provides a view of the world that hasn’t been seen in millions of years.

A Luxury Sci-Fi Apartment

If you’re going to be taking a VR vacation, you’ll want to stay somewhere nice.

Forget a Marriott or a Best Western room—your apartment in Loading Human is far more luxurious. With beautiful hardwood floors, state of the art décor, well-kept plant life, a spacious bathroom, a reflection pool, and an absolutely phenomenal view of arctic glaciers, it’s hard to turn down the chance to call this place your own.

Loading Human gives you the chance to explore a gorgeous sci-fi research facility.

If at any point you get bored of the apartment, there are plenty of other places to explore on this arctic base, including an impressive, technologically-advanced research lab. The only downside is that you will have to share the base with your aging father, who’ll stop at nothing to finding the secret to eternal youth—so this’ll be a working vacation. But fear not, there’s still plenty of fun to be had by romancing his assistant during your time off.

Outer Space

In the real world, space tourism is beginning to turn heads, but it’s a long way from being anywhere near affordable for the average person.

If, like most of the population of the human race, you have dreams of reaching out and spending time among the stars, you might like to try Adfr1ft, which puts you in the place of an astronaut as you explore a space station from both the inside and the outside (sometimes both at the same time, as it has a few more open windows than you might like).

Adr1ft lets you explore the wonders of space.

Sure, the place is a bit run-down, and there’s the constant threat of malfunction. But it’s worth it for the incredible chance to look down at planet Earth from the stars as you try desperately to stay alive.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

These vacation destinations are just a few of the places you can visit while exploring the wonders of virtual reality tourism. With more games being developed and released regularly, there will always be more places to explore, more horizons to chase. So get ready for some of the most incredible views you’ll ever see—the future of tourism means staying exactly where you are, and letting your vacation come to you.

If you’d like to explore the wonders of Loading Human’s luxurious arctic research base and apartment for yourself, order the game today for PS VR,  available for HTC Vive, or Oculus Rift.

 

Lead Image Source: Forbes

 

Andrew Nguyen

Producer, gamer, coffee roaster, leather worker, and part-time streamer.

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