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~ THOUGHTS ~
Virtual Travel is so easy. Why haven't we made it a bigger part of our lives?
Good question. Select the box below for some thoughts on this issue.
I can already travel virtually by simply doing a search on either YouTube, Google, Edge or any other search engine. So, why can't I do this?
You certainly can.
However, if you think about people who are unable to physically travel (those in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice, 55+ communities, etc.), they typically would look at you cross-eyed if you suggested they go check out Paris on YouTube. I live with some of these lovely people and regularly receive this reaction.
More importantly, this website is curated. This means that only the most interesting videos, podcasts, and articles will always be listed. (As voted by the masses.) There are plans to add top-notch material and weed the lower-rated material regularly. This feature is critical to having an outstanding experience. Most people tell me that trying to find something interesting on YouTube, even for the most advanced user, is an incredibly difficult task.
There are also plans to continually add features to give a visitor an outstanding experience, which will make them want to return regularly. (See 'Our Goals' under the top menu bar item, 'More,' to see a list of these planned features.)
What all is required for virtual travel/sightseeing in place?
Starting from the viewer's point of view:
1) a viewing device (TV, PC, tablet, smartphone, etc.),
2) an intelligent component to feed the video from the Internet to the viewing device (likely already a part of the viewing device; if not, one will need to be added),
3) an Internet connection, and
4) content that is available on the Internet.
The great part about this idea of traveling virtually/sightseeing in place is that everyone likely already has what is necessary to do so. As well, there is a great deal of content that is already available to everyone. Even if someone doesn't have what is necessary, it should be fairly easy to acquire what is necessary or access what is necessary.
Does this mean virtual travel is going to replace traditional travel?
I am not suggesting that virtual travel will replace traditional travel for most people. Instead, it can be used as a way to augment traditional travel. For instance, people can now visit places they wouldn't have thought they could. Or, they can re-visit somewhere that they have already visited. Or, they can preview different locations to see where they might want to travel. Or,...
How did you choose the sites listed?
It was not an easy process.
There are literally thousands of virtual tours listed when doing a search on the Internet. However, many of these tours listed have a disqualifying characteristic: they are either no longer available, they are just not very interesting (too short, don't tell a good story, etc.), or they are merely meant to tempt the viewer to spend money.
So, the ones listed have all been 100% fully viewed and certified otherwise. We intend to add many more sites as time goes by. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions/requests.
How do I search for a travel site?
You can only do this now by selecting a category first. Once on a category's page, there is a search bar at the top left of the screen. This will allow you to search within that category. We are working on getting a search utility that will go on the Travel page and search through all categories at once. Stay tuned!
When watching a video, how do I turn on closed captions?
If on a PC, click on CC at the bottom of the video. If on a phone, click on CC at the top of the video. If closed captions are offered with the video, they will immediately be turned on.
To turn closed captions off, do the following. If on a PC, press the X in the top right corner of the closed caption box to turn them off. If on a phone, click the CC on the top of the video again to turn them off. You first may have to tap the screen to get CC to appear.
The great thing is, regardless of your browser, once closed captions are turned on for one video, they will be turned on for all videos.
When watching a video on a phone, for better viewing, you will want to rotate your phone and select the full-screen icon.
Click here for instructions regarding automatic phone rotation settings.
The full-screen icon is typically located in the bottom right corner of the video. (Rarely can it be found somewhere else on the edge of the video.)
The full-screen icon used in a video will appear like one of the three symbols found in the following image.
"You mention on your 'Our Goals' page that this website will be a cooperative effort. How can I help?"
Firstly, thank you all for asking this question.
The best way that you can help right now is to offer any insights as to how I can make the site better, especially identifying good videos to be listed. You can do this by sending an email to email@example.com.
As well and most importantly, you can best help by becoming a member (of course, this is free) and visiting the website often. Additionally, please share the website widely and encourage everyone to become a member.
For this site to be successful and meet its primary goal, being the go-to Virtual Travel site for those unable to travel freely, it will need a lot of members/visitors. So, think about how doing such a small thing as becoming a member can help improve the quality of life for so many others!
Also, we will always be looking for people to make regular suggestions for new content. After we are able to include this feature, we are counting on visitors to view and rate the existing content regularly. (Note: I will likely be updating this answer as things progress. So, please check back regularly.)
How can you help beyond these what I mentioned above? It is so hard to say. Press the 'Contact' button below. Send me a message to open a discussion. I'll be able to give you a better idea given that this effort's needs will be changing over time.
Also, thank you for the wonderful compliments about the website. Building this website has been fun and rewarding. Admittedly, however, I am an amateur at building a website - a passionate amateur but an amateur nonetheless. Imagine what the website will look like when developed by professionals! With your help, we can get this produced by professionals.
What is a FREETOGO Helper?
(This position is mentioned on the 'Our Goals' page. "If needed, we plan to build a team of FREETOGO Helpers just in case anyone needs assistance.")
A FREETOGO Helper is a volunteer made available to ensure that each user has a 100% successful experience traveling virtually through this website. Viewer satisfaction is our #1 goal and we will do everything we can to meet this goal. If necessary, we plan to build a team of FREETOGO Helpers in the near future. At that point, the button below will be added at the appropriate locations on the website.
-HOW TO USE -
- HOW TO HELP -
How do I become a FREETOGO Helper?
Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. FYI, you will need to provide us credentials and plan to go through a number of staged real-life scenarios so that we can be sure you can help all Virtual Travelers have a 100% successful experience.
How to use
How to help
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