News Home & Design Intrepid Travel's Virtual Tours Allow You to Travel From the Comfort of Home Sign up for a cooking or art class led by someone in another country. By Katherine Martinko Senior Writer University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is a writer and expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Katherine Martinko Published February 12, 2021 02:13PM EST Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checker Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a writer, fact checker, and conservationist with a certification in sustainability. Our Fact-Checking Process Article fact-checked on Feb 12, 2021 Haley Mast A little girl in Poland shows off a plate of strawberries. Intrepid Urban Adventures Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices One of the most rewarding aspects of travel is connecting with other people in the places you visit. Meeting and talking to locals offers insight into a way of life that may be drastically different from your own, and it creates lasting memories. Unfortunately, the pandemic has meant that most of us are cooped up at home, unable to travel and connect with new friends in foreign countries, but Intrepid Travel has a solution. This forward-thinking travel company, ever the innovator, has launched online virtual experiences to fill the social void that some people might be feeling right now. These tours are a part of the company's Urban Adventures division, which normally offers in-person day tours all around the world, but has had to resort to technology to continue its cross-cultural connections. The idea is simple: You sign up for an online experience led by someone in another country and spend an hour or two interacting, learning a new skill, asking questions, and learning about local culture and traditions. You'll come away with new knowledge and that same thrill of satisfaction that comes with having hung out with someone in a new place. Take a cooking class with a Vietnamese family. Intrepid Urban Adventures This month Intrepid expanded its online offerings to include family-centric ones. These are run by families for families, and are a fabulous opportunity for children to be exposed to another way of life – even if they're unable to leave their own home. The new family tours include cooking pierogi with a family in Krakow, Poland; baking Anzac biscuits with an Australian family; and creating a watercolor painting inspired by Frida Kahlo, led by an art instructor in Mexico City. While traveling virtually can never be as satisfying as in-person adventures, these experiences have been selected because they are conducive to an online format and there's still much to take away from them. Think of it as an awesome online tutorial video, that allows you to speak to and ask questions of the presenter. A spokesperson told Treehugger, "The virtual experiences are selected based on cultural experiences that will provide interactive and educational pieces for customers, which are also virtually possible. For the family-themed portfolio, the team wanted to provide experiences unique to each destination that allow for both children and parents to learn and interact, creating social connection and educational, fun learning." Taking these virtual tours is also a way to support tour guides whose livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic. All are local guides who would normally run in-person tours for Intrepid and they draw on their expertise to make the virtual experiences as engaging and educational as possible. The spokesperson continued: "Typically, on our day tours, travelers would visit the locales referenced on the website (for instance, the local shopping market in Krakow) during the in-person experiences, so we’re really bringing the local experience to our customers, virtually." Take a painting class with a Mexican artist. Intrepid Urban Adventures In a world where our pre-COVID jet-setting travel habits will need to change and slow down in order to rein in CO2 emissions, there's something to be said for virtual travel experiences transporting people to faraway countries while remaining in the comfort of their own homes. It doesn't replace the real thing, of course, but it still accomplishes the goals of learning, connecting, and supporting others. Sometimes these reminders of a broader world still existing out there can be hugely uplifting and motivating. Intrepid Travel is a company worth supporting if you're looking for an ethical, sustainable tour guide. Carbon-neutral since 2010 and now working toward carbon-positivity, it's a certified B-Corp and signatory to both the UN Global Compact and Tourism Declares, a collective of tourism businesses and individuals pledging urgent action on climate change. It has strong policies against animal cruelty and exploitation, and it pays guides a fair wage, with a goal of training more female tour leaders (right now that number is at 30% globally, 50% for tours in India). Learn more about Intrepid Travel's virtual tours here.