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Tourists walking on the Isle of Capri.

4K Visual Imagery: Are armchair tours the future of travel?

BY MICHELLE STRANGLINE

After returning from the trip of a lifetime to Italy and Greece my husband discovered 4K Travel Walks and Tours on You Tube. He shared this with me as I was recovering from the jet lag of our return flight from Athens Greece.  

You Tube now offers several 4K Travel Walking Tours and the list is growing. In digital television and cinematography, 4K is the name given to technology, equipment, or content providing a very sharp image quality, with a horizontal screen resolution of around 4000 pixels, according to the Oxford Dictionary.

Tours can be seen in 4K from around the world. Rome, Paris, Venice, Egypt, Capri, Dubai, London, Madrid, and Austria are just a sampling of the tours that You Tube is starting to offer. However, these are very different from the Rick Steve's Travel Tours and other traditional travel tours. 

My favorite thus far is "Pro Walks" Walking Tours. Basically, there is a man—he represents the tourist—recording an actual walk through a specific place in Europe. He does not talk. Viewers hear the actual sounds of the place as the tourist and locals go throughout their day. With a large screen TV, the visual experience in 4K is almost as good as being there. Even without the large screen these 4K tours are worth viewing.

My first 4K "Pro Walks Tour" was one in which I retraced the steps taken on my recent tour of the Island of Capri. I was amazed at how real this walking tour seemed. The sights and sounds were the same as I recalled from my own visit. I could almost smell the lemon scent of Capri as I relived my trip in the most incredible way. My husband and I showed the tours to family members who wanted to see what we experienced and it was so much better than just showing a home movie or photographs.

Next I visually toured the Colosseum of Rome. Again, I was not disappointed as I got an even more in depth look at the inside of the Colosseum. What I didn't miss was the heat, the crowds, and the annoyance of people coming up to me and trying to sell me something.

A Pro Tours Walk of the Egyptian Pyramids, which I have not been to in person, was all I needed to see. I experienced the grandeur of this place without having to walk around the rocky terrain and possibly break an ankle. Now, I have taken this place off my travel bucket list. For me, I experienced a good taste of the pyramids without actually going to them. Of course, being there in person would have been the preferred choice, although a much more expensive and exhausting choice.  

Could this be the future of travel, especially with 8K television coming to the market? For those who can’t travel due to health restrictions or just can't handle the airport anymore, 4K tours are an excellent alternative. As a former flight attendant, I can attest that airport traveling, even in first class, is not the same as it used to be. The older I get, the less I like the actual act of traveling to a new destination. I find it exhausting and very expensive!

So yes, there are still places in the world I want to experience but for places I want to revisit or for new places I want to explore the Pro Walks 4K can help me feed my travel bug needs!

Michelle Stangline is a licensed professional counselor who has written 12 books on creative counseling.

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