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    The Future of Travel May Be Virtual

    Graphic developers are improving on new technology that promises to immerse users in evermore life-like digital worlds emulating popular travel destinations. But will the bright future of virtual reality really threaten authentic travel as we know it?


    Dec 30, 2014

    Whether touring museums in the city of Paris, taking a gondola ride through romantic Venice, or snorkeling off the coast of sunny Portugal, any good vacation exists as an opportunity to experience something out of the ordinary. Those who enjoy traveling crave stimulation and a trip to another country, continent, or hemisphere affords the chance for one to immerse themselves in a world of new and different ways to titillate their five senses. By definition, tourism is the act of journeying away from our respective homes in the pursuit of pleasure and we each manifest our passions for discovery by different means; seeing, doing, and eating our way to a more complete awareness of the world we live in. Sights, sounds, smells, and flavors are all part of the rich rewards to reap from a jaunt abroad, but are physical sensations the main motivation that drives us to explore new and exciting destinations?


    The Rewards of an Overseas Endeavour...

    Traveling comes with inherent limitations that, for many, seem daunting to overcome. Everyone knows that any good holiday requires proper planning, preparation, and investment in order to come to fruition. Choosing where you want to go, how you'll get there, and what you'll do are important steps in creating the reality that is to potentially be your vacation. But even when you find cheap airfare and a great deal on a hotel, you'll still be limited by time and travelers all-too-often find themselves wishing for a way to explore more than their schedules allow. It may seem too good to be true, but new developments in modern technology are creating ways to neatly cut out the inconvenient elements of international exploration.


    ...All Without Leaving the Comfort of Home

    The name of the game is virtual simulation and the creation of travel experiences that are themselves portable and accessible to anyone, from anywhere. New virtual reality systems like Sony's Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift are spearheading a prompting question: why spend the time and money to visit faraway lands when you can experience them without ever leaving your hometown? Originally designed for applications in video games, virtual reality systems like Oculus Rift transport users to another dimension of sights and sounds with immersive worlds cast in high definition 3D. Visual imagery is projected through goggles that come equipped with sensors, meters, and compasses that track the user's movements to create a virtual environment that is interactive as well as realistic. Some systems even have external fans that blow breezes of mist and wind over participants to further engage the intended atmosphere! Those who have used these engrossing new products have been astonished by the realism of the digital simulations and the systems are now employed for far more than just video games.

    The travel industry, in specific, has embraced augmented reality technology and several providers are already offering the opportunity to take a virtual vacation. Online tours and interactive applications, such as's new app highlighting recent archaeological discoveries in Greece, have been around for years but, while fascinating, these offerings lack the sheer level of immersion offered by state-of-the-art developments. Marriott has premiered the Oculus Rift at several hotel locations and encourages guests to explore a number of digitally-rendered destinations, including the bustling streets of London and sunny beaches of Hawaii. The destination marketing organization Destination British Columbia recently invested over half a million dollars to create their own interactive 3D tour called "The Wild Within VR Experience" in the first ever bid to offer virtual travel experiences to customers. The unique production showcases the Great Bear Rainforest of BC and leads participants on an uncommonly cool journey through the natural sights of the area. While advances in technology are enabling progressively more realistic experiences for those looking to catch a glimpse of a place far from home without having to actually go there, does the advent of virtual reality really threaten our traditional concept of real-world travel?


    But Nothing Beats the Real Thing

    While augmented reality and 3D simulations guarantee a few minutes of thrilling entertainment, they simply will not and have no prospect of replacing the actual act of globe-trotting. Agencies and companies offering digital travel experiences seem to be in agreement that systems like Oculus Rift are excellent tools to catalyze real travel and are not meant as an alternative to the real thing. Manager of travel media relations at Destination British Columbia, Janice Greenwood-Fraser, is quoted saying "VR video gives such an immersive sense of place that we really felt that it's a natural fit with promoting a destination as a place to visit." The excitement and wonder to behold while touring a given locale extend beyond the mere physical sensations of sight, sound and touch. The magic that makes a fantastic trip worthwhile comes from the element of the unexpected and essence of discovery; new people to meet, family or friends to enjoy new places with, and even challenges to undertake and overcome. It's always important to plan your vacation carefully but the true joy of travel arises from an impulsive curiosity and the exploration of the unknown.

    When arranging your next travel adventure, remember that the process doesn't have to be painstaking! Auto Europe is your one stop travel shop equipping you with whatever you may need on your next holiday or trip abroad, from affordable private chauffeur services to the guaranteed lowest rates for your car rental in Europe and more. We have been providing clients with premium travel transportation services like luxury car rentals and even spacious van rentals at the lowest rates for over 60 years and we'd love to put our experience to work for you!                


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