Traveling From Home: The Basics of Google Street View

By Bailey Reutzel
Posted on

You know Work from Home, but have you considered Traveling from Home?

From navigating to your favorite coffee shop to taking that roadtrip to the beach to seeing how far that new Tinder match actually lives, you use Google Maps all the time. And even locked down in your house, for avid travelers and world explorers, a feature of Google Maps can offer some respite.

This summer, I was supposed to be breaking down on the side of dirt roads in Kosovo or Turkmenistan as part of the 10,000+ mile overland adventure, The Mongol Rally. Instead, I was utilizing Google Street View to offer anti-depressant effects after that was canceled.

Google Street View displays interactive panoramas of places across the globe. During my web series, Mongol Rally 2020: From The Couch, I used the feature to virtually travel  the route and brought on guests from each country to discuss the best sites to see across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The above image is a jaw-dropping remote landscape bordering Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. But you can also look up famous landmarks, like Florence’s Duomo.

Google Maps Street View of Florence, The Duomo

I was initially very sceptical about the concept of traveling from home (even though I had thought of it myself!), but the experience was actually incredible. Never in my life have I felt so small, has it been obvious how big and bold and vast the Earth really is. It was so surreal. You’re never going to make it everywhere, so in between actual travel, I’ll continue to spend days dropping into beautiful locations using Google Street View. 

Here are the basics to seeing the world from the comfort of your couch:

Infographic detailing how to use Google Street View to travel from home

To navigate the panorama smoothly, you can also use the arrows on the compass. This is located on the lower right hand corner.  I love checking out the Photo Spheres (the blue circles). Since Google Map users have taken the time to share their photos, you can typically count on Photo Spheres offering amazing views. My biggest piece of advice is just to experiment — bounce around, click all the buttons and pretty soon you’ll be a virtual travel pro. 

If you need a little inspiration to get started, I can suggest Tajikistan and Kazakhstan as amazing beautiful places that caught me by surprise. Also check out the rad story of Jacqui Kenny, the Agoraphobic Traveller, under the Instagram handle @streetview.portraits

Stay tuned for our next part in this series where we dive into some of the advanced features on Google Street View. 

About the author

Bailey Reutzel

Bailey Reutzel

Journalist, writer and traveler, Bailey wears many hats. Amongst her many adventures is a 48-state drive covering money and politics for over 6 months.  Bailey currently lives in Colorado.


 
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