Since many of our clients have put their travel plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic and many more of us have been asked or mandated to shelter in place, we wanted to share with you a few thoughts – including how to do a “virtual escape”.
Currently, our priority is to provide assistance to our customers who will not be able to travel in the immediate future – certainly March and April and probably longer. Our partners in Europe have been flexible with their cancellation terms and for the time being we are able to move trips into the future or get most bookings refunded. We continue, however, to urge all our clients to purchase travel insurance – especially for trips booked for 2020 in case the coronavirus situation remains severe and travel bans are not lifted as we go into the summer and fall.
Plan for Future Travel
As eternal optimists, we are confident that as the pandemic eases, many of you will once again want to travel. We are already thinking about future travels and helping ourselves and our partners rebuild. John and Beth recently returned from Thailand and are excited to share that with you as they are planning their next trip to Vietnam. In the not so distant future we will be able to enjoy travel and family get-togethers, so while everyone is staying in and safe don’t forget to think about the future.
In the Meantime…
Google Arts & Culture
Install the Google Arts & Culture app on your smartphone to get access to thousands of curated artworks as well as videos and photos of famous landmarks around the world. Explore the Collections section of the app and take a virtual reality tour of some of the best museums in the world, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, British Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Musée d’Orsay, Versailles Palace and many more. Have some fun with the Art Selfie feature: in the app tap the camera button and select Art Selfie to take your photo and get matched to portraits that look just like you.
Tip: you can order a VR cardboard viewer online or make your own – see instructions.
Even though opera houses and theaters are closed, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a show. For the time being, every evening the Metropolitan Opera is committed to streaming a live performance. Likewise, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra goes live each day until the public ban is lifted, and the Paris Opera in collaboration with the French TV stream its ballets and operas for free (only available in certain countries).
If you miss the outdoors and can’t go out for a walk, you can enjoy a virtual tour of Yosemite National Park. Or maybe you always wanted to see the Great Wall of China, but haven’t had the chance to travel there yet.
Several zoos have live streaming cameras you can tune into. Kids may especially like diving under water with otters, jellyfish or sharks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium or watch their favorite animals on live cam at the San Diego Zoo.
We recognize that these are difficult times. However, we have faith in the resilience of Americans and our friends around the world. Stay safe.