After five months locked down in his home, Pat Carroll desperately needed to get away. He was missing travelling, and was sick of only being able to go on the same walks around his home again and again. “It just felt like Groundhog Day, you know?”
Carroll dreamed of jumping on a plane, jetting off to some exotic destination or soaking up culture in a European city. But, leaving his local area, let alone the country, was out of the question.
Or was it? Just one day later, Carroll found himself in the middle of Venice, ferried around by “a really knowledgeable local guide”. “At one point, we tried to go into a chapel, but were told we couldn’t because of Covid restrictions.”
It was, Carroll sighs, “almost as if I was really there”. Almost, but not quite.
Carroll is among the swathes of people who, locked down, have instead turned to virtual holidays and experiences during the pandemic.
As travel restrictions remain in place for some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, adventure-hungry travellers have had to content themselves with logging into live-streamed or “virtual” trips. It is a market which has surged in popularity over the past year.