Yep, it’s that season again – the season when all your friends’ Facebook and Instagram feeds explode with pictures of exotic locations and fun in the sun. But if you have a chronic illness or serious medical condition, you might not be able to travel. Whether it’s due to symptoms or to the realities of treatment, you may have to stay closer to home or may even be stuck in the hospital this summer. There’s no denying that missing out on summer travel is a bummer. But there are ways to make the best of it. If you can’t travel in person, you can still travel in your mind. Here are three ways to make the most of summer travel, even if you can’t book a flight and head for faraway lands:

  1. Virtual Reality

Until you own one of those VR body suits from Ready Player One, virtual reality will never fully be able to replace the real experience of travel. But it can help you choose from a list of destinations on your bucket list, can help you prepare for a trip that you will take later, and can let you get the flavor of a destination that might always be beyond your means. Like outer space! Take Titans of Space, which lets you travel the solar system, or Everest VR, which brings you to Earth’s highest peak. Another good use of VR is to see sights that some people don’t feel need to be experienced in person, for example some works of art. At the VR Museum of Fine Art, you can visit 15 masterwork sculptures, all rendered in higher definition than you could ever get from behind the velvet rope. Again, VR isn’t going to completely soothe your travel bug, but it’s a great way to narrow your list, prepare for a trip, visit impossible destinations or see things that are better in VR than they are in real life.

  1. Google Earth

If you know where you want to go, let Google Earth take you there. If not, consider browsing the world’s top destinations with Google Voyager. You’ll have to download and install Google’s Chrome browser. Then launch into the most thorough and comprehensive tour of the earth that terabytes of data can provide. Google Earth has gotten so advanced that you can “street view” the Amazon Rainforest. Like VR, consider using Google Earth to check out possible travel destinations before spending time and money to visit in person.

  1. Visualization

This may seem low-tech compared to VR and Google Earth, but don’t discount the power of your own mind. It can be useful to look through guidebooks or surf online to get ideas about a place. Then picture yourself there. Where would you go? What would you see? Who would you meet? What would you do? What would you smell and feel and hear? With practice, you can have a rich travel experience right behind your own eyelids. When you’re able to visit these places in person someday, the visualization you’ve done ahead of time will make the experience that much richer.

No matter which stay-at-home travel strategy you use, we would LOVE to hear your experience! Marie used Shadow’s Edge to share the images below. Comment your travel-of-the-mind tips or inspire us like Marie with your travel images in the game!

Garth Sundem
Garth Sundem is a parent, husband, GeekDad and author of books including "Real Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change". Find him at www.garthsundem.com.
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