22 December 2015
As a chronic traveller, I love booking holidays. Researching the best places to go, asking friends for advice, looking at photos and imagining what the new destination will be like fills me with excitement.
Maybe that’s why I was looking forward to seeing one of Flight Centre’s Virtual Reality (VR) videos. Flight Centre is the first travel retailer in Southeast Asia to use VR to immerse guests in a 360 degree, virtual version of a travel destination. For the full experience you can head to any of the Flight Centre Singapore stores and choose from Tokyo in Japan, Cairns in Australia or Hoi An in Vietnam – with more coming soon.
Flight Centre have also released the Tokyo and Cairns experiences as YouTube videos on their Facebook page. While not as immersive as the true VR headset experience, they are an awesome way to look around and get a real feel for the sights and sounds of the location. I recently checked out the Tokyo video and was blown away by how realistic the experience felt.
Jump into Japan
I’m instantly transported to the bustling intersection of Shinjuku. Here you can spin a full 360 degrees, look up and down and see people walking around you as though you had just stopped for a moment on your travels. Having been to Tokyo a half dozen times, and lived in Japan for 9 months, I can say that the video gives a real sense of what it is like to wander the country.
Next comes a gorgeous temple, and then a waterfall. I can already tell these VR experiences are so much more than static images on tourism websites, post card photos and advertorial videos. They show the world as it is, full of people and small details of everyday life in another country. While immersed in the video I just kept thinking to myself, “Wow, this is so cool,” and actually wanted to spend some more time there and examine every little nook and cranny I could find. I loved the small details like the rushing sound of a waterfall at Nikko and the colourful trinkets laid out at the Nakamise markets.
Discover your next vacation
That’s one of the best parts about Flight Centre’s VR technology – it puts you right there in the destination and gets you even more excited about planning a trip.
So next time you’ve had a tough day and need a pick-me-up, head over to a Flight Centre store to have a mini virtual escape. Then the Flight Centre crew can help you to plan your next trip. You’ll be daydreaming about your next getaway and grinning from ear to ear in no time.