The best virtual travel gear 2020 – what you need for the trip of a lifetime

If your vacation or other travel plans have been canceled due to COVID-19, don’t despair. While you’re stuck at home, there are still ways you can visit an exclusive museum or have the experience of a lifetime. Virtually. Yes, virtual travel is real and could revolutionize the travel experience, especially this year.

The best virtual travel gear 2020 – what you need for the trip of a lifetime
The best virtual travel gear 2020 / Credits: Photo by Frank Vessia on Unsplash

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, vacations for the rest of 2020 look dubious. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people avoid or postpone large gatherings of 50 or more people until May. Of course, this means circumventing airplanes, museums, hotels, and other points of interest. If your travel plans to Europe and other countries have already been canceled, or you’re worried about your summer plans, there is some hope. Museums, historical sites, and national parks have stepped up to offer virtual tours. And we’ll bet you’ll need the right gear to experience it. Here are our picks for the best virtual travel gear in 2020.

What can you virtually tour?

Before we get into the best virtual travel gear for 2020, it might be helpful to know some of the places you can visit virtually. According to the Washington Post, virtual travelers can book tours at the Louvre, Sistine Chapel, Yosemite National Park, The Great Wall of China, The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, and many more. So, from the comfort of your own home, you can now gaze at the interior artwork of the Sistine Chapel and its renowned ceiling. Likewise, the remains of the Louvre’s moat and the museum’s Egyptian Antiquities collection are sights you can enjoy without the long lines and crowds. Furthermore, virtual tours are guided. This is a feature you’d have to pay extra for, if you visited.

Live-stream your vacation

For its part, Forbes lists a plethora of virtual travel experiences people can take advantage of online. While you’re stuck at home, they recommend basking in the sun on the virtual beaches at Maui, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and the Hamptons. You could also get a close-up of rare animals at zoos like the San Diego Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Another possibility is taking in the arts. Catch a performance at the Seattle Symphony and The Metropolitan Opera. These theaters offer streams of its best performances on specific days.  And even though Broadway went dark, you can still watch some of the shows that lit up the stage on Broadway HD and Amazon Prime.

What equipment do you need?

During tough times, it’s the small things that give us hope. Now that so many of us are restricted to our homes, VR travel could offer a welcome distraction and inspiration for the travel industry’s future. With that in mind, you’ll need the right equipment to make the most of your VR travel experiences. Sorry, your 13″ laptop just isn’t the right way to view the Giant Sequoia Grove at Yosemite. So, these are our picks for the best virtual travel gear in 2020.

Virtual Museum Tour

Virtual Museum Tour

The best monitors for online trips

LG 27UK650-W

The LG 27UK650-W is an excellent 4K monitor that has great resolution and impressive performance. It also boasts a speedy response time so that motion appears crisp with almost no blur, the input lag is remarkably low, and the 4K resolution shows a ton of detail on its 27-inch screen. It can become quite bright and can handle reflections well. You can easily share view a tour with a friend or use it with colleagues as it’ll let enjoy the same image thanks to the monitor’s wide viewing angles. It’s a great addition to the best virtual travel gear 2020.

LG 32UD99-W

If you’d prefer a larger screen, then the LG 32UD99-W is also a good choice. Its specs are similar to the LG27UK650-W, but its viewing angles aren’t as good. However, with its contrast ratio and black uniformity, this monitor is an improvement over the smaller LG. For this reason, it would be a better choice for a dark room if you plan to “travel” in the evening. What’s more, the LG 32UD99-W has a full-color display for HDR content, perfect for the content you want to display.

Dell U3818DW

The 38-inch screen offers an ample viewing space, and the 4K resolution delivers crisp images. An IPS panel generates good viewing angles, so the image quality won’t go down if you’re viewing a tour with others.  According to RTINGS.COM, this monitor has fantastic out-of-box color accuracy. For this reason, it shouldn’t need to be calibrated. It also has an excellent SDR color that supports nearly all of the sRGB color space used in most content. So you’ll get vibrant, impressive images. However, this monitor doesn’t support HDR content.

The best VR headsets for an online vacation

Lenovo Mirage Solo VR Headset

Enjoy a completely immersive experience with the Lenovo Mirage Solo VR Headset. The Lenovo Mirage Solo comes with an all-in-one headset and motion-tracking technology using Daydream’s VR platform. Setting up a VR experience is easy for anyone with the Lenovo Mirage Solo. You can also record, watch, and share your personal VR videos. Furthermore, WorldSense motion-tracking technology allows you to explore and move around your virtual environments as if you’re there. Also, the headset’s display is built with a 110-degree field-of-view, enabling you to see even more of your surroundings. You should consider this headset as part of your best virtual travel gear for 2020. 

Lenovo Mirage Solo VR Headset

Lenovo Mirage Solo VR Headset in Use

Oculus Go Wireless VR Headset

Take your imagination on the go with the Oculus Go Wireless VR Headset. Comfortable and wire-free, this system lets you move and interact with scenes like never before. The Oculus Go is an all-in-one system. Once in place, you have access to over 1000 games, apps, 360° experiences, and more, all in stunning virtual reality. Whether you’re a gamer or a VR traveler, it will truly blow you away. Also, the Oculus Go comes with a hand controller so you can interact with everything you see with effortless control. The headset itself is nothing short of a masterpiece. Featuring high-quality and breathable fabrics, the headset is entirely adjustable. 

Oculus Go Wireless VR Headset

Oculus Go Wireless VR Headset in Gray

Oculus Quest 6DOF All-in-one VR System

Enjoy total freedom with your VR content with the new Oculus Quest 6DOF All-in-One VR System. Offering six degrees of freedom and intuitive Touch controllers, you can move freely and naturally and even interact with other objects and people around you. Without the need for a PC, wires, or external sensors, it’s ready to use out of the box. The incredible technology behind this new gaming headset is Oculus Insight. It’s capable of tracking your exact location thanks to four ultra wide-angle sensors and computer vision algorithms.

VRgineers XTAL High-Resolution VR Headset

Designed mostly for commercial use, the VRgineers XTAL High-Resolution VR Headset delivers an impressively real experience. With its 180-degree field of view, this high-res headset completely immerses you. And that’s also because it’s an 8K VR headset, which ensures you view everything as crisply as you see in real life. Additionally, this virtual reality device emits audio in all 360 degrees. This is just another way that it’ll completely draw you into whatever travel experience you’ve selected. With potential use in medical, mechanical, and exploration-based fields, the XTAL needs to be detailed. 

VRgineers XTAL High-Resolution VR Headset

VRgineers XTAL High-Resolution VR Headset Design

Other fun online travel accessories

Prescription lens adapters

If you wear glasses, then you know it’s challenging to wear a VR headset over your prescription lenses. However, it’s possible to upgrade your HTC Vive headset and add prescription lens adapters so you can use your headset without your glasses. According to Pocket-lint, these adapters are a great addition to your headset. They let you play without your glasses and offer some protection to the lenses themselves.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage Soundbar

If you’re not planning on traveling via headset, but instead by connecting your laptop to your TV monitor, you’ll need good sound. The Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage Soundbaris versatile and beautiful. Finally, here’s a soundbar from Bang & Olufsen that you can hang on your wall. With 50-watt amplifiers in each of the 11 drivers, it packs a punch. Additionally, it has four speakers that are four inches each, ensuring you don’t encounter distortion. Designed in collaboration with NORM Architects from Denmark, this TV soundbar comes in three styles: aluminum, bronze, and oak.

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage Soundbar

Bang & Olufsen Beosound Stage Soundbar in the Living Room

These are our picks for the best virtual travel gear in 2020. With so many of us stuck inside, VR is an excellent way to see and learn about the world. Furthermore, seeing museums, historic landmarks, and national treasures virtually is a great way to get a feel for a place. Maybe you’ll decide to visit them when you’re able.

Meet Lauren Wadowsky

Lauren has been writing and editing since 2008. She loves working with text and helping writers find their voice. When she's not typing away at her computer, she cooks and travels with her husband and two daughters.

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