This New Amazon Feature Creates Virtual Travel Itineraries So You Can ‘Visit’ Five Continents From Home

published Oct 10, 2020
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If you’re among the many whose travel plans have been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon is here to help quell some of your quarantine-induced sadness. The online retail giant just launched a brand new platform, Amazon Explore, which is an interactive live streaming service that lets you virtually visit five continents all from the comfort of your own home, enjoying one-on-one guided walking tours, cooking tours, and shopping tours with live expert hosts from around the world answering your questions as you go.

Here’s how it works: You can choose from a slew of virtual experiences, most of which are between 30 and 60 minutes. You then choose a day and time to connect with the local host, who will guide you through the experience of your choosing. So far, there are nearly 90 unique offerings from cultures across multiple regions, including a virtual wine tasting experience in Argentina, a cooking lesson to make smoked fish tacos in Mexico, a virtual tour of Kyoto’s Nanzenji Temple, and many more.

Each experience has a booking fee, with prices ranging from $29 for the Argentinian wine tasting to $210 for a virtual tour of Prague’s Old Town Square. But if this is the closest you’ll get to those bucket list trips you’d planned for this year, it’s certainly a small price to pay for such a personalized virtual experience.

So far, the service is invite only, but Amazon says they’re working on expanding offerings and availability to more users. Each experience is one-on-one, but the host will be the only person on camera, with viewers free to ask questions via the chat function. You can even take screenshots of your experience, and some of the experiences are shopping-enabled—which means you can ask the host to pick up items for you to purchase, and Amazon will then have them shipped directly to you. What better way to snag a super cool souvenir without even leaving your house?

The platform isn’t mobile-friendly, so you’ll need a laptop or desktop with a solid internet connection and access to Google Chrome, Edge or Safari web browsers, along with a functional microphone and a set of headphones or speakers. You can cancel up to 24 hours before your scheduled time, at which time there will be a surcharge. Traveling the world without a single suitcase or passport has truly never been easier or more fun.