Holidays are off the cards at the moment as the COVID-19 pandemic means countries worldwide face an unprecedented lockdown. Despite the current “stay at home order”, some hopeful holidaymakers have found a new way to travel the globe that sidesteps the rules without breaking them.
In a time when technology has never been more relied upon, some ingenious internet users have found a way to fulfil their travel cravings for free.
One holiday hopeful posted their idea to Reddit, where it has been described by likeminded users as “cool and amazing”.
Others point even say: “It’s like you can have a free vacation to wherever you want”
So, how exactly has this internet user achieved such a feat from their home?
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Lockdown travel: Holidaymakers are finding new ways to explore the globe
Lockdown travel: The user edited this picture of Milan, Italy
The answer is Google Maps Street View.
Developed in 2007, Google Maps Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth allowing interactive on-the-ground experiences where users can map their way around the world at street level.
The Reddit user began to explore some of the most stunning places around the world using the Street View function, snapping interesting pictures along the way.
These images have since been edited and collated into an Instagram gallery @googlemapsvacay.
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Using clever angles and photo editing filters, the user has managed to create a dreamy travel aesthetic without ever boarding an aeroplane.
One Reddit user hailed the Google application for providing much-needed adventure during this time of lockdown.
They wrote: “I like taking little road trips on google maps in places I want to visit, it’s as close as I can get to being there. Google street view is really under-appreciated.”
Another shared their own anecdote, writing: “I once found a train trip on Street View somewhere in the Indian mountains. I followed the whole trip and it was amazing!”
Lockdown travel: A creative traveller used Street View to create a beautiful holiday Instagram
The UK is asking residents to push forward an additional three weeks of “stay at home” orders and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is urging Britons to avoid all but “essential travel indefinitely”.
With many people already eager to know when lockdown will end and how the future of travel will look, a little exploration may come as welcome relief.
It turns out Google Maps isn’t the only way to enjoy an adventure.
Tourist destinations and areas of natural beauty here at home are also joining in on the virtual fun, providing online tours and experiences to be enjoyed from your couch.
For example, Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher are helping eager travellers to transport themselves to the coastline and span the 14 kilometres of rugged clifftops.
Take in the views from Blarney Castle gardens, fly high above O’Brien’s Tower and watch the day turn to twilight simply by visiting https://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/virtual-visit-tour/ for the full experience.
Aside from virtual exploring, adventure-lovers are also being encouraged to use this time to inspire others with their own anecdotes and memories of holidays gone by.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has launched a campaign which it hopes will boost lockdown morale and share stories from across the globe.
The new campaign is called #TogetherInTravel and asks travellers to share their favourite photos and videos of memorable holiday moments.
The website for the campaign shared a poignant message.
It read: “At a time when new travel stories cannot be made, let’s take a moment to reflect on our most special, inspiring travel memories and share them with the world using #TogetherInTravel.
“Even though we can’t leave home right now, as a community we can fill social media with stories, images, videos, and more to keep the spirit of travel well and truly alive.”
The WTTC also hopes the campaign will keep people’s appetite for world travel high and ultimately protect the industry. They warn that if not, around 75 million jobs in the travel and tourism sector could be lost.
Gloria Guevara, President & CEO of WTTC, added that travel “touches everyone” and is critical to the global economy.