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With the COVID-19 pandemic having curtailed or even shut down most family travel or family vacations, many families are looking to set up a virtual family vacation. Whether your family is under quarantine or a stay-at-home order or just not ready for traveling yet, scheduling a virtual field trip or virtual family vacation can be a fun alternative for some families.

Our family has definitely cut back on the travel we expected to have in 2020. In March, when the pandemic started, we were a week out from leaving for a week in Hawaii. We ended up cancelling all of those trips, and we’ve only tipped our toes back into traveling. We spent a few days in Upper Michigan in an Airbnb, and most recently I took my first flight since the pandemic before spending a few days on a road trip.

What is a virtual family vacation?

There are many different names for a virtual family vacation, and many different ways to do virtual travel. You might take a virtual vacation by looking through photos of past trips, or do a virtual tour of a national park, museum or famous landmarks around the world. 

Why would you take a virtual vacation? There are many different reasons a virtual family vacation might be interesting. For people like myself who really enjoy traveling, a virtual trip can be fun and tick off many of the same boxes. For me at least, it’s not the SAME as actually traveling, and it certainly isn’t as good, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthless or won’t be fun. 

I see two different kinds of family virtual vacation. One might be more educational or experiential in nature. A virtual vacation or virtual tour of this sort would be something where you explore a new place to learn about it. This might be in conjunction with home or virtual schooling. The other type of virtual family vacation would be more remembering or reminiscing. This could be looking back at Facebook, other social media or at old photos of past trips. Remembering and talking about the fun times you had and planning new family trips for when you’re ready to travel again.

Where to find places offering virtual family tours

There are lots of museums offering virtual tours, or historic cities and landmarks that are offering a virtual visit. Here are a few of the places offering virtual family tours. Most of them are free but some are charging or requesting donations.

Movie night ideas for virtual family vacations

Another idea for a virtual family vacation could be a movie night. Again, you could choose a more educational movie or show that talks about a specific place from a more historical or documentary perspective. Think of it as pre-planning for a trip for next year! 

The other option would be to pick movies that are set in locations that you’ve either been to or are looking to go. This might include The Bucket List, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Into the Wild or Night at the Museum. The TV show The Amazing Race is another one that I enjoy — I love watching episodes where the racers are visiting a location that I’ve been to before.

You could also try a travel-related game like Trekking the National Parks or Ticket to Ride. A scavenger hunt might be another option.

Top virtual destinations for a family vacation

In the end, the best virtual destination for a family vacation depends on what YOUR family is interested in. The best part of a virtual tour is that the cost is definitely right. Readers of PWaC know most of the secrets to free travel, but it’s nice not to even have to spend your miles and points either! 

If traveling is as important to your family as it has been to mine, some of these virtual tours, virtual family vacations and virtual field trips may provide some fun and excitement while you’re stuck at home. 

Where are some of your best virtual travel vacations and virtual tour ideas? Leave them in the comments!


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