There's nothing like being experiencing the color, smells, culture, and food of a location first hand. But for seniors, virtual reality travel just might be the next best thing.
I am now old enough to be called a senior citizen. To be blunt: getting old sucks. I've traveled close to 5 million miles over my 37-year career, much of it when I was much younger. Travel has always been a hassle, but these days I often struggle with hectic schedules and airline-related annoyances.
Still, there are still some locations on my bucket list. For example, I have always wanted to go to Morocco and South Africa. I would like to check out certain islands in the Mediterranean and a few places in Asia. But lately, I wonder if I'll ever get there. That's not to say I won't try. But it's clear I'm no longer a spring chicken.
There's nothing like experiencing the color, smells, culture, and food of a location first hand. But for seniors, virtual reality travel just might be the next best thing. I recently used Lenovo's Mirage Solo VR $393.19 at Amazon headset to walk the streets of Venice, explore Rome, visit Morocco's night market, and explore underwater regions in the Great Barrier Reef.
At the moment, VR-optimized travel content is still light, but there is a lot of work in this area. VR travel apps like Ascape offers 360-degree videos and scenic virtual tours with a lot of visual content from sites around the world. This app is also a tool for creating VR travel content; it's working with Thomas Cook Tours.
VR travel has even spurred new businesses. World Travel VR is a service that creates virtual and augmented reality end-to-end production for the travel industry. TV networks such as the Discovery Channel has Discovery VR and delivers some great VR travel shows already.
All of this activity is good but VR will need much more travel content. To that end, VR cameras make it possible for consumers and professionals to create VR content of their own trips and post it to sites like YouTube, from Lenovo's Mirage 180 Daydream VR to the Vuze+.
I don't believe travel VR is the killer app that brings VR to the masses, but it could be the first real commercial consumer product that helps dedicated VR headsets gain more market acceptance.