• April 5, 2020

Hills Balfour’s top 10 virtual travel experiences

Hills Balfour’s top 10 virtual travel experiences

Hills Balfour’s top 10 virtual travel experiences 1024 576 micebook.

There are plenty of ways to explore the best of a destination and its authentic local culture and stunning scenery whilst staying safe at home. Here, HillsBalfour shares its top 10 virtual travel experiences from national park and cycle trail tours to hula and salsa dancing sessions…

Enjoy authentic Hawaiian experiences from hula dancing to ukulele performances

Those who have always dreamed of visiting the Hawaiian Islands can use the Hawaii VR app to take part in authentic local experiences across the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and The Island of Hawaii. Experiences include hula performances, peaceful catamaran rides and original songs sang alongside a ukulele, with local celebrities, singers and musicians joining them along the way. Users will not only feel acquainted with the warm hospitality of the Hawaiian locals, they will want to return to the charming archipelago to meet them in real life. www.gohawaii.com

Brighten a morning with the Northern Lights in Manitoba, Canada

With an average of 300 days of aurora activity in Churchill, northern Manitoba, visitors are in for a chance of viewing the colourful night-time spectacular. Now, from the comfort of an armchair over breakfast, or during a morning yoga session audiences around the world can enjoy nature’s free light show, admiring the Northern Lights live on Explore.org. The platform has live cameras at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, located directly underneath the aurora oval, where shooting particles from the sun collide with the Earth’s atmosphere. During the UK springtime its best to log onto the live cam in the morning, viewers will have a chance to see the Northern Lights between 5am and 9am BST. www.travelmanitoba.com

Explore the hidden worlds of the U.S. National Parks with Google Arts & Culture

For a healthy dose of the great outdoors, Google Arts & Culture is hosting interactive documentaries on a number of contrasting U.S. National Parks including Kenai Fjords, Alaska; Hawaii Volcanoes, Hawaii; Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico; Bryce Canyon, Utah; and Dry Tortugas, Florida. Audiences can immerse themselves in 360-degree video tours through some of the United States’ most remote and breathtaking landscapes. In each of the parks, a local ranger guides viewers through beautiful wilderness areas which very few get to explore. Visit The USA encourages audiences to transform their homes with this stunning National Park scenery, which offers a serene backdrop for homeschool classes, yoga sessions, fitness workouts and lunch breaks – or even ‘camping out’ in the living room! An archive of artefacts from the National Park Service’s many museums is also available to provide further insight into the locations.www.VisitTheUSA.co.uk

Learn salsa dancing from Puerto Rican professionals

Discover Puerto Rico has extended the uplifting spirit and joy of the destination’s rich culture by inviting the world to escape to the Island, virtually. Travellers can daydream now and visit later, meeting some of Puerto Rico’s best local talent in the meantime and immersing themselves in workshops, including a salsa lesson with Tito Ortos, the director of the San Juan City Salsa Dance Program. Ortos and his partner Tamara Livolsi perform around the world and both work as judges for the World Salsa Summit, Euroson Latino and the World Salsa Championships. The online salsa lesson, recorded at home during social distancing, kicks-off with a brief overview of basic salsa steps and turns into a salsa dance party, so people can have some fun in their living rooms. For those who would like to learn the art of salsa, the lesson is available on Youtubewww.discoverpuertorico.com

Traverse Chile, the world’s longest country, with 360-degree virtual views

Measuring a distance that spans from the top of Norway to the bottom of Greece, Chile is the world’s longest country and is home to glacial wonders, desert sands and cultural capitals. Travellers keen on adventure and awe-inspiring landscapes can now take a virtual visit to every corner of the country, from the comfort of their own home. The free app, Chile 360, is loaded with 360 degree scenes from the vast Atacama Desert in the north, to the peaks of Torres del Paine in Patagonia in the south and magical maoi sunrise shots from Rapa Nui (Easter Island). The app can be used on a mobile device (both apple and android) or with VR headset for an extra immersive experience. www.chile.travel

Discover The Palm Beaches, Florida, on a virtual cycle ride

The Palm Beach Lake Trail, one of many cycle paths Florida’s Palm Beaches area, can be experienced virtually this spring. This new virtual cycle ride hosted on Discover The Palm Beaches Instagram will banish the blues and allow globetrotters to escape to sunshine, whilst exploring Florida’s Cultural Capital, from the comfort of their home. Boasting seven miles of golden-sand beaches, more than 200 cultural attractions including theatres, museums and art centres, and priding itself as Florida’s Golf Capital, those tuning in will get a virtual taste on what The Palm Beaches has to offer. www.thepalmbeaches.com

Virtually visit the Grand Canyon in Arizona

The Grand Canyon is considered to be one of America’s greatest natural spectacles and a little-known fact is that one doesn’t need to leave the comfort of home to experience its vast landscape. With a river archaeology Grand Canyon National Park VR tour, travellers can delve deeper into the history behind the Grand Canyon and its incredible formations. Visitors begin their adventure at Lipan point on the South Rim, where they can overlook the canyon and explore the history of the ancestral homelands of the Native American people.  After the South Rim, the tour travels to Hilltop Ruin, an archaeological site located just above the Colorado River, providing a view of the inner canyon. The site allows its audience to click through the breath-taking 360-degree panoramic photos and discover the intricacies of the first major excavation along the Colorado River in 40 years. www.visitarizona.com

Laghetto del Monte Cavallazza, con il Cimon della Pala del Gruppo delle Pale di San Martino sullo sfondo

Explore the Dolomites in Trentino, Italy

Anyone craving wide open spaces will be able to make the most of Trentino’s ruggedly beautiful Dolomites scenery with the Trentino VR app, available on iOS and Android. Users simply need to plug their smartphone into a Google Cardboard viewer to ride a classic Italian scooter through vineyards, go hiking through the Dolomites, admire ‘Aperitivo Hour’ at sunrise from an Alpine mountain hut, and try out sports like paragliding, snowboarding, climbing, trekking, paddle-boarding, skiing, canoeing and more. La Dolce Vita has never felt closer. www.trentinovr.com/en

Get some Florida sunshine and a dose of vitamin-sea with Greater Fort Lauderdale’s live beach cam

For those looking to escape from home and start vacationing virtually, Greater Fort Lauderdale’s live beach cam offers real-time coastal views of some of its stunning beaches, from the white wave wall along the beachfront promenade, to Hollywood Oceanfront Broadwalk and Deerfield Beach’s Blue Wave beach. Known as the ‘Venice of America’ Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to Venetian-style canals and waterways, and offers an average of 3,000 hours of annual sunshine and an average year-round temperature of 25⁰C. Audiences who load up the live beach cam in their homes can sit back, relax and picture themselves in Greater Fort Lauderdale, virtually topping up on much needed vitamin-sea. www.sunny.org

Explore Nevada’s Great Basin National Park with ranger videos

Discover the stunning Great Basin National Park in the state of Nevada via a series of three-minute to four-minute videos by the park’s very own Rangers, covering a variety of topics from astronomy to the ancient bristlecone pine groves. The stunning diversity of the larger Great Basin region is showcased within the Great Basin National Park located in eastern Nevada near the Utah border. It is home to the South Snake mountains, an array of wildlife including bighorn sheep, ancient bristlecone pine groves and the marble Lehman Caves with their distinctive stalactites. The park’s Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive takes visitors up to the 13,063-foot summit of Wheeler Peak offering breath-taking views over the sage-covered foothills.www.travelnevada.com

Click on the links within this article to contact or view the micebook profiles on any of the venues, hotels or suppliers mentioned. Alternatively, search all our Destinations for ideas on where to take your next event and create your own inspiration board…

Need more inspiration? Check out our Emerging Destinations eXperience guide for ideas, DMC’s, hotel suppliers and more…


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