For greater happiness, spend on experiences rather than possessions. That’s the recommendation from a recent study published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. But it’s been difficult to attend sporting events or travel this past year…and it may be a bit longer, while many Americans await their COVID vaccines. If you’re ready for something new, here are virtual experiences that provide the interactive adventures you’ve been craving from the safety of home.
Mysteries in the mail. Dear Holmesmails weekly letters to subscribers, each containing clues to crack a mystery—a new mystery begins each month (from $49.99 for three months or $159.99 for a year, DearHolmes.com). And Hunt a Killer mails monthly packets containing clues about fictional murders—a new “season” starts every six months ($165 for a six-month membership, HuntAKiller.com).
Video walking tours are a way to explore distant cities and historic sites without being there. Unlike prerecorded video tours on YouTube, these are live and interactive—you can ask questions. “Secrets of Venice with a Born Venetian” ($20) and “Fabulous Day in Paris with a Parisian” ($16) were among hundreds of English-language options recently on Airbnb.com/experiences.
Virtual escape rooms. Escape rooms traditionally are in-person games where groups of people working together puzzle their way out of locked spaces. “Virtual” escape rooms re-create this online, either by arming their employees with webcams so guests can interact with real-world escape rooms from home…or by creating 100% digital escape rooms. Options include Paruzal Games ($15 per person, Paruzal.com) and The Escape Game ($30 per person, TheEscapeGame.com).
Enjoy the Great White Way. Broadway’s bright lights may be dimmed, but with a subscription to BroadwayHD.com ($8.99/month), you can stream hundreds of contemporary and historic productions. For an interactive Broadway experience, there’s BroadwayPlus.com, which offers one-on-one interactions with performers ranging from Rockettes to Hamilton cast members—everything from video meet-ups and messages to singing and dancing lessons. Prices vary by performer and interaction type. Similarly, Cameo.com offers personal video messages from hundreds of actors, athletes and other celebrities.
Take a cooking class. There are online cooking classes for everything from New Orleans jambalaya to home-style Thai. The Chef & The Dish offers private Skype-based instruction from top chefs around the world (prices vary according to cuisine, number of people and kitchens participating, TheChefAndTheDish.com).League of Kitchens provides Zoom-based classes from a diverse collection of home cooks ($60 per class, LeagueOfKitchens.com)…and a range of cuisines and dishes are taught through Airbnb experiences, for $15 to $30 per class—scroll down and click “Cooking” on Airbnb.com/experiences.
Source: Bottom Line Personal research.