Whether digital or just a taste of travel, these experiences might help sate a little bit of your wanderlust!

Thanks to the coronavirus, a lot of people’s plans have been completely turned on end. Weddings have been cancelled, graduation ceremonies have gone digital, and travel plans have been postponed or cut off altogether. Even if you do want to go somewhere, in many cases you can’t, since many countries are limiting travel. Taiwan, for example, closed its borders in March, and only select travelers with very special circumstances are allowed in. That means there’s no getting in, but also if you leave the country, there’s no getting back.

So if you’re anything like us, you might be feeling some serious travel withdrawal. But don’t worry, if you feel like you need just a taste of a vacation, there are lots of options out there!

For example, Taipei Songshan Airport in Taiwan is offering a limited-time pseudo-vacation to nowhere for 90 lucky people. For half a day, they’ll get to tour the international terminal at Songshan Airport, go through mock immigration, and board a plane, but it won’t take them anywhere; after boarding. They’ll simply get off the plane at the same airport, and “re-enter” the country though immigration and customs.

▼ They’ll probably get the whole experience, even lining up to check in like this photo, taken at Haneda Airport, Tokyo.

Allegedly, an advertisement for the program says, “Can’t leave [Taiwan]? Then pretend to go abroad at Songshan!

Apparently there will also be “mystery gifts” and a chance to “complete missions”, so perhaps there’s more to it than just boarding and deplaning a plane that goes nowhere. In spite of the fact that we thought no one in their right mind would want to go to the trouble of going through immigration and getting on a plane without actually going anywhere, it seems like responses to the idea were overall positive

“I was feeling kind of down that I wouldn’t be able to go anywhere this summer, so I’m grateful for this kind of thing. It looks like it will be a good memory for my family.”
“I want to go on vacation, but I’m still worried about flying with my young children. This looks like good practice.”
“This sounds like great promotion for the airport.”

Though some did find the idea somewhat comical:

“What’s the point of getting on a plane, just to get right off without going anywhere? I thought this was a joke.”
“I thought they would still fly to another country, even if they can’t get off there.”

Taiwan isn’t the only place offering an outlet for their citizens’ wanderlust, though. Japan also has opportunities for “pseudo-travel”. For example, Kotohira Bus, a sightseeing bus company, offers customers a chance to virtually ride around popular tourist destinations throughout the country through the video conferencing app Zoom. One course in Tokushima Prefecture stops at a souvenir shop, where customers can order souvenirs online, and another in Okayama Prefecture sends customers a white peach, the local fruit, before the date of the tour, which they can munch on while they join.

Guesthouses in Kobe and Wakayama also offer digital stay experiences over Zoom, including “meeting customers at the closest station”, conducting the check-in procedures, holding guided tours around the facilities, and even directing a twilight, bay area stroll. Both programs have been so popular that they’re often full.

Though the Japanese government is offering some nice benefits for domestic travel, for many, there are still too many risks to flying on a plane or even traveling by bullet train. Taipei Songshan Airport’s option is riskier than Japan’s digital tours, but the country has far fewer infections per capita, so it seems relatively safe. It could be a great way to get your travel fix while you’re waiting for travel to become safe again!

Of course, you can only participate if you’re in Taiwan, but for those living anywhere else, you can still sate your wanderlust with virtual tours of popular tourist destinations in Japan, like the Ghibli Museum.

Source: CNN, Travel + Leisure via Excite News via Kinisoku
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert Images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3)
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