You’re on the train to work and you’re squeezed into a mass of bodies like a human sardine and you’re just trying to play Candy Crush on your iPhone when wham, it hits you – all you can think about is getting away. All you want to do is, not scream necessarily (okay, maybe you want to scream), but definitely run to your nearest coffee shop, open up your laptop, and book that flight to Peru you’ve been putting off for all these years. Sure, you have a 9 am meeting that you’re already late for – but the world will keep turning without you, right?
Thing is, though, that the world does keep on turning – and you’ll still find yourself on it after your jaunt, unemployed, with only a few iPhone selfies in Lima to show for it.
And deep down, you know this to be true. So you don’t run to the coffee shop. You don’t book the flight on your laptop. All you’re left with is a dream of climbing to Machu Picchu as you shuffle along with the rest of the crowd exiting the train, only to disperse into thousands of little cubes and offices and cubby holes for the next eight to ten hours.
Escape into virtual reality with your iPhone
So perhaps you can’t escape in the real world. But if you own an iPhone, you can escape – in the virtual world. You can escape into virtual reality, with a VR travel app.
Below are our five favorite virtual reality travel apps for our iPhones – because we, like you, can’t always get away either.
(If you’re wondering which affordable virtual reality headsets are out there for your iPhone, we’ve got you covered on that also.)
This app is all about traveling the world in guided virtual reality tours. With a whole host of curated travel “collections”, you can explore everything from Miami to the Himalayas to Australia’s Great Ocean Road. If you’re a videographer, you can even produce content for the app and get paid to show the world your latest crazy travel destination.
It’s compatible with iPhones and iPads – but you do need to download each “experience” directly onto your device, which could take up a bunch of your storage space.
Like its name suggests, this app allows you visit exotic locations and even “participate” in live events. Take a helicopter ride over New York City – beats taking the subway! Visit a hotel you’re thinking of booking a room in. Explore Croatia by boat. Jam out at Tomorrowland. You can even tour the Louvre Museum in Paris. If you’re feeling nostalgic or claustrophobic with your life, the world is now literally at your fingertips. Don’t bother getting jealous over your friend’s amazing Facebook photo album of her Vietnamn trip.
Similar to YouVisit, Jaunt VR lets you travel to and tour breathtaking destinations in total immersion with your own tour guide. Blow your mind with the California redwood forests or scale the peaks of Nepal – your choice! The app also has other virtual reality experiences, including sports and horror videos.
Yup, you can experience virtual reality and travel the world right from your trusted YouTube app. You’ll need the latest app update for iOS, but once that’s installed, search #360video and you can start browsing and exploring 360-degree YouTube video content. If you’re in a travel mood, check out the Lufthansa YouTube VR page. From there, you can explore different cities around the globe, including New York, Beijing, and Tokyo.
You probably already knew that you can basically “walk” around the world with Google Street View, even entering buildings to check them out (Remember that game Geoguessr?). But now you can do that walking in virtual reality as well – and because Google is pretty much everywhere, that means you can be pretty much everywhere also, using your iPhone. The only downside of the app is that you can’t interact with it directly through your headset.
These are just a few of all the great VR travel apps out there. You can even access location-specific VR apps for download! So now you have no excuse not to travel the world on a rainy Tuesday night when you’re stuck in your apartment. Just slot your iPhone into your VR headset and get out there.