How to Get Access to Virtual Tours and Events

Free Virtual Tours and Events

Due to the public safety measures in places, many of us have had our summer vacation plans disrupted. Despite the closing of public spaces, some very resourceful and tech-savvy people have found a way for you to still enjoy world class virtual tours and events. This means that we now have access to the most loved galleries and landmarks around the world. The public can now tour some of the most famous sites and museums absolutely free. Here are ten amazing virtual tours and events that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

Museums

One major factor in my travel planning is the local museums. I always set aside a few days to immerse myself in the art, history, geography and culture of my destination. I had planned to mark another bucket list item with a visit to the British Museum this summer. Even though my travel itinerary has been indefinitely postponed, I can still peruse their extensive artifact collection. The tour includes photos and an interactive inventory for you to browse without worrying about closing times.

Another benefit of virtual tours and events is that I have the freedom to spend as much time examining the exhibits as I please. When I’m studying the masterpieces in the Louvre, no one is rushing me to the next display. I can also absorb the information and timelines of the fossil records as I explore the archives of the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Best of all, there are no lines or crowds to contend with.

Astronomy

For the more scientifically minded crowd, NASA has published all its images online as public domain. You can search images, listen to audio, or watch videos discussing information collected using research satellites. If you decide to take a break from scanning the skies, you can return to Earth with virtual tours and events of NASA Research Center in Langley, Virginia. It’s also an excellent tool if you need resources to supplement you children’s science education.

Cultural Landmarks

As a student of history, cultural landmarks and ancient sites are my top priority when traveling. However, many of these locations are inaccessible until further notice. Thankfully, there are a number of sites that have published free virtual tours and events for these tourist attractions. You can now meander the subterranean tunnels of the Roman Colosseum or stroll along the expanse of the Great Wall with a few clicks. If you have more time to dedicate to the experience, you should consider a virtual reality trek and tour of sites like Petra. Once remote wonders of the ancient world are now at your fingertips.

National Parks and Zoos

Those who lead an active lifestyle and love the outdoors are especially suffering under quarantine. If you are aching to get back to nature, there a few online resources where you can take in the beauty of America’s national parks. Thanks to modern technology you can traverse the sequoia forests and famous peaks of Yosemite National Park. You can then continue on to the craggy canyons and iconic geysers of Yellowstone National Park.

Animal lovers can also enjoy the open-air habitats of the San Diego Zoo with live streams. You can observe the animals without combating weather and large groups of people. While it still remains the most visited zoos in the world, it is now available for people around the globe.

No matter where your interests lie, there are tons of virtual tours and events available online. Check out this complete list of free tours and resources to help you plan your next virtual vacation.

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Parents of Millennials Likely Help Pay For These 6 Things

parents of millennials

The parents of millennials help their adult children pay for many different things. They foot the bill for everything from rent to vacations. In most cases, parents of millennials just offer some support. However, sometimes they pay the full cost of their adult children’s lives. Here are the six most common things that parents of millennials help pay for, according to a CNBC report.

1. Cell Phone

It’s no surprise that parents of millennials often help them pay their phone bills. Most likely, this is due to the ease, availability, and affordability of family cell phone plans. Kids are often already on the family plan when they enter adulthood, leave for college, or move out of the house. Parents may find it easy enough just to keep the kids on that plan. They’re used to paying that bill so it doesn’t feel like an added expense.

2. Rent/ Mortgage

13% of millennials report that their parents pay the full cost of their rent or mortgage bill each month. Many other parents help pay a portion of that housing cost. This is a big chunk of money. It’s certainly helpful to the adult kids not to have to pay the bill themselves. However, it can put a big strain on their parents.

3. Groceries

A large percentage of these parents pay for their adult children’s food including all of their groceries. Some of these kids might still live at home, in which case the parents are used to paying for all of the household food. In other instances, parents might pick up some groceries for their kids whenever they do their own shopping. But in other cases millennials buy their groceries on credit cards and their parents pay that bill when it arrives.

4. Automobile Costs

Millennials often get help from their parents when it comes to their cars. Parents might pay for some or all of the car loan. Alternatively, they may help out with car repairs when their kids can’t cover those emergency costs. Sometimes parents buy themselves a new car and pass the old one on to their adult children.

5. Vacations

It might be surprising that parents help their adult children pay for travel, but it’s a very common practice. In fact, it’s the third most common expense that parents pay a portion of behind groceries and the cell phone bill. In many cases, parents of millennials pay their vacation costs in order to spend time together as a family. Adult kids that have moved away may not be able to afford to travel back home without their parents’ help. The family might vacation together elsewhere each year. Whatever the reason, when millennials can’t afford a trip, they are generally comfortable asking their parents for financial help.

6. School and Student Loans

Many parents of millennials consider it their responsibility to pay for some or all of their children’s education. They pay the costs of tuition. They also help pay for books and other necessary supplies. Additionally, parents of millennials who have already graduated often help them pay back their student loans.

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What Is Middle Class? You May Be Richer or Poorer Than You Think.

middle class

My sister lives in North Carolina. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Naturally, we have very different viewpoints on money. After all, a new report shows that you need to earn more than $60 per hour to rent a two-bedroom house in my city, whereas my sister just bought a 3-bedroom home (albeit a fixer-upper) for $60,000. Technically, she and I are both “middle class” but I got to thinking about what that even really means today.

Middle Class As a Number

There isn’t any specific legal or governmental definition of what it means to be middle class. Generally speaking, if you earn more than the lowest 30% of wage earners and less than the highest 20% of wage earners, then you’re somewhere in the middle class.

People also frequently define middle class in comparison to median income. If you earn between 67% and 200% of the median income, then you’re generally considered middle class.

If you’re interested in where you fall income-wise, then you can use the Pew Research Center’s income calculator to find out. You’ll enter your state, region, income, and number of people in the household. This will tell you if you’re lower, middle, or upper class compared to the rest of the country. It will also tell you how many others in your area fall into the same category.

For example, if I enter an income of $100,000 for a one-person San Francisco household, I discover this household would be:

  • Upper class
  • 19% of the rest of the US is also upper class
  • 30% of the San Francisco area is also upper class

I also learn that 52% of people in the US are considered middle class but only 47% of people in the Bay Area are in that range. Only 23% of the population here is lower class, as compared to 29% of the rest of the US.

Middle Class Isn’t Really a Number

You can gain a little bit of information about class when you look at income. However, there’s so much more to it than that. Middle class is really a mindset, a lifestyle, a way of being. People in this category generally go to college, although not necessarily to the Ivy League. They often live beyond their means with credit cards and mortgages, but they may have good credit scores and access to additional money in emergencies.

Middle class income clearly affords my sister a different lifestyle than what it affords me in San Francisco. And yet, despite the fact that my money would go further there, I frequently pay for pricey cocktails and organic groceries and the services of a housecleaner using my middle class Bay Area income.

Class is a confusing thing, especially as the gap grows between the lower and upper classes. (We used to define the middle as between the lower 20% and the higher 20%. Now we define it as between the lower 30% and the higher 20%. Middle class shrinkage is a real thing.)

Do You Feel Middle Class?

Your perspective on wealth or class makes a big difference. You may technically be in the middle income-wise but feel poorer or richer because of your perspectives on earning and wealth. For example, in a recent survey, most people earning $100,000+ don’t consider themselves upper class.

Technically, by the numbers, this is an upper class group. However, nearly one fourth of them said they’re upper-middle class. Perhaps that’s reasonable. But what about the quarter of them that say they are either working class or poor. That’s right 7% of people who earn $100,000 or more think of themselves as poor.

Where you live affects this. If you live in an urban area, you’re more likely to consider yourself poor by comparison to others. Many people see homeownership as one milestone to becoming middle class, but you’re more likely to rent in a city than in the suburbs.

Plus, if you’re in the middle income bracket, chances are that you have a lot of debt. If you do own a home, there’s a mortgage. Even if you don’t, you probably also owe a lot towards school loans, car loans, and/or credit card debt. When you have a lot of debt, you feel poor, even if you earn a lot of money.

What is Wealth?

Wealth relates to money. However, that’s not all that there is to it. Research shows that millennials think it would take nearly $2 million net worth to be wealthy, and yet 75% of them still feel rich. People feel rich when they make their money work for them. If you use your money to obtain the lifestyle that you want – including health, education, family time, social activities, etc – then you can feel rich.

Sure, you might not call yourself upper class. You might not even identify as in the middle. But you can still identify as rich in the things that matter if you have the right perspective on your wealth.

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