Vacation and chill: The best virtual destinations to ‘visit’ this Memorial Day

history of virtual reality gear vr

Memorial Day is quickly approaching, which means an obscene amount of people will be leaving their homes to go on vacation. Though it may seem like a good idea to go on a road trip or stay in a luxurious Airbnb, the fact is traveling is expensive, plus there is no guarantee that you’ll have a good time. You might miss your flight, lose your passport, forget to pack underwear — really, anything could go wrong. But, what if you could see the world without changing out of your sweats?

Virtual reality lets you explore places you’ve never even dreamed of right from your bedroom. No costs or long lines, just a pure, uninterrupted experience. The world is your virtual oyster, but where do you even start? Well, we’ve put together some of the most exotic and otherworldly locales to visit in VR. Pop some popcorn, put on your favorite VR headset — or one of ours — and start exploring.

Cut the lines at Disneyland Park
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Skip the long lines, screaming children, and overpriced Mickey ears for a quiet evening exploring Disneyland in the comfort of your own home. Google Earth VR navigates you pass the hordes of people, allowing you to get the full experience of the Magic Kingdom in less time than it would take to wait in line for tickets.

Available via:

Oculus Steam

Take a dive into the Caribbean Sea
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Captain Salty / Dronestagram

Don’t waste your time getting “swimsuit ready” when you can just take a dip in the virtual ocean. Ascape VR can instantly transport you to the Cayman Islands, where you can dive with sharks or wade in the water amid stunning beach views.

Available via:

Google Apple

Hike to Machu Picchu
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Machu Picchu receives more than a million visitors annually — and now you can explore the mystical ruins too, with Jaunt VR. You don’t have to camp or hike and, more importantly, you won’t be spit on by an alpaca when you’re ascending the Salkantay trail.

Available via:

Google Apple Steam

Forage the final frontier
International Space Station

Nix the space suits and the freeze-dried strawberries for a virtual tour of the International Space Station (ISS). With Google Earth VR, you can see our planet from within the Cupola Observational Module, a six-window observatory that towers above the stratosphere and houses the robotic workstation that controls the space station’s remote manipulator arm. Google Street View also lets you further explore the ISS, including the Columbus Research Laboratory. It’s mostly filled with white wires and computers, sure, but you’re in space, so it’s somehow cooler.

Available via:

Steam

Ride a gondola through Venice
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There is no better way to see Venice then riding through on a gondola, or for our sake, a virtual gondola. Explor VR lets you float along the Canal Grande and pass under the oldest bridge in Venice, the Rialto. With a city that is slowly sinking, seeing its historical monuments and bright colored buildings, even from afar, is well worth it.

Available via:

Apple

Swim with elephants in South Africa
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Alberto Ghizzi Panizza/Getty Images

While your friends are getting sunburned in Cancún, you will be virtually swimming with elephants. With Discovery VR, you can get up close and personal with one of the smartest species of the animal kingdom. Not only will this app land you front-row seats to exotic animal behavior, but the company has recently partnered with Racing Extinction, allowing you to get a closer look at various endangered species and those on the brink of extinction.

Available via:

Discovery

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