Virtual travel: how to beat the coronavirus blues with Xbox

Helen Fanthorpe

written by
Helen Fanthorpe

updated 02.07.2020

With more than 100 countries around the world on lockdown, it’s time to get creative about armchair travel. What better time to pick up your Xbox and explore its mind-boggling in-game worlds?

As in-game graphics get bigger, bolder and better than ever before, a new concept has emerged: digital tourism. (Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.) From the comfort of your sofa – which, let’s face it, you may be confined to in early 2020 anyway – digital tourism replicates the feeling of exploring the physical world… the only difference is that you’ll be travelling in the digital dimension.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, digital tourism was taking off. Immersive graphics had become so realistic, and in-game worlds so vast and beautiful, that the possibilities were endless. Digital tourism not only made travel more accessible than ever before, it was also cheap and environmentally friendly. Best of all, in-game worlds didn’t need to be defined by the laws of Earth – alien worlds, landscapes of the future and apocalyptic ruins were all fair game.

Exploring the virtual worlds of Xbox is a brilliant and novel way to “travel”, and you can even meet up with your friends and play together online to beat the coronavirus blues. Once you’re hooked, you may even want to experiment with some in-game photography – yes, it’s a thing too! You’ll find snap-happy gamers across the globe sharing their in-game shots on dedicated Insta accounts – and we have to say, many of the “photos” really are staggering. Reserve your judgment until you’ve checked out the most beautiful places to visit with Xbox.

Anthem_Bridge at Fortress of Dawn

Anthem: Bridge at Fortress of Dawn

The Rough Guide to Xbox

Here at Rough Guides, we’ve partnered with Microsoft to create the Rough Guide to Xbox, delving into the hauntingly beautiful, crazily realistic and downright bizarre worlds of eight Xbox games: Forza Horizon 4, Sea of Thieves, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Anthem, Halo 5: Guardians, Metro Exodus and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

What better time to buy the book and start exploring? All proceeds go to SpecialEffect, a charity committed to helping people with physical disabilities connect via gaming and technology access.

Beyond the book

Just because actual travel is off the cards right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t start thinking about your next trip. So if your digital voyages have whetted the appetite for some real-world exploration, consider booking an Odyssey Adventure in Ancient Greece (Assassin’s Creed Odyssey), Mexico’s Tomb Raider Experience (Shadow of the Tomb Raider) or the Great British Road Trip (Forza Horizon 4). These evocative trips – planned by local experts – take in the real-life sites depicted in the games. For gaming addicts, there’s nothing more compelling than seeing the digital landscapes of your living room realized in person.

Well, what are you waiting for? Put bum to armchair and plug yourself in.

We are currently giving away a free eBook to the Rough Guide to Xbox, to keep you safe and travelling during Covid-19.

If you are planning your next real travel, vi

sit our up-to-date article with

the latest news on Corona virus and travel

here. And check out

how to make sure that your travel insurance covers Corona virus


Top image: Sea of Thieves

Helen Fanthorpe

written by
Helen Fanthorpe

updated 02.07.2020

Helen worked as a Senior Travel Editor at Rough Guides and Insight Guides, based in the London office. Among her favourite projects to work on are inspirational guides like Make the most of your time on Earth, the ultimate travel bucket list.

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