No time for a vacation? Try a 30-minute virtual trip

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Working too hard and need a holiday but don’t have the cash? Two Australian artists have come up with the answer -- a 30 minute virtual vacation for A$10 (US$9.60).

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Welcome aboard “Holiday,” a multi-sensory vacation experience where the holidaymakers settle into an airplane seat wearing video goggles, with touches and smells during a tour of fake Australian bushlands and iconic Australia tourist hotspots.

“In a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, it’s a cheap holiday satirizing quick fix culture,” Sydney-based Lara Thoms, one of the two creators of “Holiday” told Reuters.

The show, which began in Melbourne this week to a packed audience, is part of the biennial youth festival Next Wave, which aims to push boundaries in terms of concept and art form.

“Holiday” caters for an audience of 12 people at a time and tries to recreate the full vacation experience.

Arriving at the theatre, viewers go through the usual airport process of checking in their luggage, undergoing a security check and then, more unusually, remove their footwear before sitting down on aeroplane seats.

The four-member cast act as flight attendants, helping people prepare for the flight by issuing safety instructions and handing out video goggles which take wearers to fake destinations such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge surrounded by bushland, a sandy beach in the middle of the outback, and a rainforest in a casino.

“As the traveler goes along the sand the attendants sprinkle sand on their feet, and water is sprayed around (to get the sense of the waves),” said Thoms.

Each traveler is given an airplane meal with the food packaging made up of different smells that are relate to the image on the screen, such as eucalyptus scent reflecting a walk through the bush and tanning lotion for the beach.

“We feel that trying to create smell-o-vision is something that is really quite immersive and interesting for all different people,” added Thoms.

The show fits the 14-year-old festival’s specialization in shocking with the new, with this year’s theme “Closer Together.”

Other shows included in this year’s festival were held in nightclub toilets, in a concrete tunnel underneath one of the city’s squares and also underneath a freeway. One show takes place over a phone and another in a hotel room to one person.

On closing night the festival will send an interstellar message three lights years into outer space.

Reporting by Pauline Askin, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith