Digital travel around the United States

With the health crisis present worldwide, overseas travel hasn’t been possible or practical for longer than a lot of us were expecting. Vacations, trips, studying abroad, moving abroad, and cruises were all things we mostly missed out on in 2020. And though having made the smart decision to #stayhome, international travel hasn’t lost its appeal.

New foods, cultures, and ways of living are all guaranteed when traveling overseas. It’d be an understatement to say international trips are “interesting” or even “enlightening”.

Life-changing would be a little more like it.

Regardless of where you are in the world, chances are you’ve thought about venturing outside your country or continent for a one-of-a-kind getaway. If the United States is on your list of “places to go”, then you’re in luck when it comes to virtual ways to explore the country.


What travel looks like right now in the U.S.

Virtual tours are available for nearly every tourist attraction. Pictures taken by both residents and travelers are all over the internet.

From Disney World to Hollywood to the Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and Golden Gate Bridge, the nation’s got a lot to see. And up till March 2020, was more than accommodating of international tourists.

7 months into the country’s battle with COVID-19, and U.S. tourism is down to just about 0%. For the first time in decades, America’s hidden gems are closed to both domestic and foreign access. 

Americans have been getting creative in finding ways to digitally “travel” the world they’ve been closed off from– and you can too.


Google Maps Vs. Instagram

At the most basic level of virtual travel is Google Maps; the web mapping service developed by Google.  The platform offers satellite imagery, street maps, and route planning.

explore the us

Google Maps covers a wide range of countries, and is a great tool for planning trips in which a destination has already been decided. But, like many other platforms, Google Maps fails to capture the voices of residents, guide the location decision process, or bring the beauty of travel to life. 

Now for some people, this is where Instagram comes in. The platform, for the most part, displays the most beautiful of photos and captures the thoughts of others in realtime. But where Google Map succeeds, Instagram fails. 

Instagram is by no means a tool for traveling. The location feature is rarely used, and can be easily inputted with false information. There aren’t any built-in features to guide your next trip. And the platform is much too over-populated with selfies.

However, those things are to be expected. Afterall Instagram, at it’s core, is a social media outlet. And Google Maps is quite literally a web mapping tool.

Sounds like the combination of both of these tools would be the key to a successful virtual trip right? That’s where Pingster comes in.

Google Maps + Instagram = Pingster

Pingster is a blend of the best features in Google Maps and Instagram while leaving behind their unwanted components from a traveling standpoint.

At it’s core, Pingster is a web mapping social network. Not only does the platform let you discover geotagged photos, but it also connects you with GPS Discount coupons. Meaning you’re able to use the application to both explore the world and connect with local consumers, if you happen to run a business.

  • Has photos of nearly all 50 U.S. states
  • Instantly provides you with navigation directions upon click of a photo
  • Priortizes displaying photos taken near you
  • Has a built-in search feature powered by Google Maps
  • Includes a built-in photo editor similar to Instagram’s
  • Has thousands of users
  • And has a constant circulation of individual businesses’ coupons

At any given moment, you can view photos taken overseas equipped with a hashtag and geotag. So whenever you open up the app, you’re immersed in a one-of-a-kind travel experience. 

You’re able to familiarize yourself with the cultures of other users, learn about the world, and see new places in realtime. No 5 year old photos to worry about blocking your view of the present globe.

Captions ensure you get a taste of local viewpoints, and businesses ensure users are equipped with coupons before they go. 

Final Thoughts

Your next virtual trip is just one click away. Download from the Google Play Store (Google Play – here), the App Store (App Store – here), or explore on the web (Pingster Website – here). Get a free taste of life in the U.S. while proving to other users just how great your own mother country is.

Travel may have gone digital, but it can still be life-changing.

Pingster Username: cierrasmith
Pingster Display Name: Cultured Simplicity
cierra smith