5 VR TRAVEL APPS
GOOGLE CARDBOARD AND STREET VIEW
The Cardboard app gives you a fun introduction to VR, but there’s not much in the way of video content. However, before you dismiss it, you may want to go on one of its ‘Urban Hikes’: Teleport to Paris, Venice, Tokyo, New York, Rome, Monte Carlo or London and wander around with a turn of your head and a click of a button, or use Street View to go wherever you want. I spent a happy half-hour strolling through Rio looking for street art.
This was the best-designed app I tested, which also has some exciting videos. Navigation is done in VR, and good-quality videos stream without a hitch. This is where you’ll find Javier Bardem among the penguins and the catamaran race. You can also stand guard over the last northern white rhinos on Earth, or leave the planet to do the world’s first spacewalk as Russian cosmonaut Alexey Leonov. Earphones are essential.
The New York Times started producing VR content three years ago, and even released a 360 VR video every day for a year, so there are plenty of interesting VR clips and documentaries here. If the app struggles to stream them, the videos are also available for Cardboard on YouTube. (Search for ‘New York Times VR’ and click the Cardboard icon in the bottom corner when playback starts). Highlights include the Antarctica series, a journey to the hottest place on Earth in Ethiopia, or the silence of the Hoh Rainforest in the USA.
There’s some fun content here (such as a spine-chilling ‘experience’ featuring a giant shark) and, again, if your Wi-Fi isn’t fast enough, you can find the videos on Discovery’s VR YouTube channel. Choose the TRVLR tab for travel content, where you can fly an aeroplane on skis, join a ghost hunt in a Vietnamese jungle, zoom down the world’s longest zipline in Armenia, and so on.
This is where I found the Faroe Islands and stood on their lonely, snow-covered shores while being serenaded by a local folk band. You can also take your pick from a visit to the Spiti Valley in the Himalayas or the top of Mount Batur in Bali, among others.