Escape is just a click away

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

In the age of social distancing and travel lockdowns, many destinations are using virtual reality to keep bored, homebound travelers dreaming about where they want to go when the pandemic ends.

But a number of luxury companies are also coming up with a host of other innovative and interactive ways to stay engaged with their customers through their social media channels and other digital platforms.

• Planning a virtual happy hour with your friends this week? Tune in first to the Langham London's Artesian Bar social media feeds for virtual mixology classes.

• Rather eat than drink? Aqua Expeditions this week launched culinary masterclasses via Facebook and Instagram. First up is a lesson on how to prepare ceviche and pisco sours from chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, owner of the Malabar and maZ restaurants in Lima, Peru, and the consulting chef on Aqua's Amazon river ships, the Aria Amazon and soon-to-be-launched Aqua Nera.

The company also promises future releases from chef Benjamin Cross, consulting chef of the Aqua Blu, and chef David Thompson, consulting chef of the Aqua Mekong.

Surviving the pandemic, however, will also require balance. And more health-focused resorts and travel companies are offering everything from virtual yoga to general fitness tips.

• Follow Six Senses for videos, tutorials, articles and advice on mindfulness and healthy eating and sleeping.

• Take free vinyasa yoga classes, compliments of the MacArthur Place Hotel in Sonoma, Calif.

• For those dreaming of the great outdoors, Natural Habitat Adventure has enlisted 150 guides from around the globe to sponsor free webinars every weekday. The series will feature everything from nature photography tutorials to conservation updates, even tips on how to create a wildlife habitat in your own backyard.

• Already burned through your watch lists on Netflix and Hulu? Viking this week launched its own online tv network
with a host of categories. In addition to museum tours, wellness tips and destination pieces, Viking highlights the Hagen family's  friendship with the Countess of Carnarvon, who gives a tour of her family's Highclere Castle, featured in the popular television series "Downton Abbey."

And no digital channel would be complete without a good animal video or two. Viking's channel also has plenty calming dog fun with Karine Hagen's yellow lab, Finese, who was born at Highclere Castle and was gifted to her from the countess.

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