Tuesday 23 March 2021
Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Drive and Listen

When air travel hit an unceremonious slump in April 2020, everyone’s dreams of travel went down the drain and the horror that is aviation customer service began. Many airlines, in a bid to keep their businesses afloat, encouraged travellers to reschedule their trips instead of requesting a cash refund. Some even made a few tweaks to their policies and made it much harder for travellers to receive refunds. 

So where does this leave eager holidaymakers? Well, it’s been a year, and air travel is still limited. 

For those who long for new atmospheres, Drive and Listen offers virtual trips across multiple cities—Hawaii, Sao Paolo, Johannesburg, you name it—without the need to take to the skies. Bringing you into the passenger’s seat, this soothing experience is the lockdown escape you’ve been waiting for. 

With more than 50 locations, users are given the option to tune in to local radio stations in real-time. Street noises are also available, which, funnily enough, can be quite relaxing. If you like absolute quietude, the option is there for you to mute all sounds. 

Unlike Google Streetview, the tedious clicking-and-dragging is out of the picture. Here, you’re put on an automatic cruise. Almost all of the videos have crystal-clear 4K quality. Street signs pepper the streets, giving you a fully-immersive experience. 

New York, USA. Photo: Drive and Listen


And if you’re not enjoying the ride (but insist on staying at the same location), all you have to do is click the location name again, and voila, you’re in a different place along the route. Most locations have more than two or three starting points. Not enjoying the speed? Three speed options are available for moments when you want to zip through a red light or coast by a scenic route. 

Created by Turkish graduate student Erkam Şeker, the ‘Drive and Listen’ web app was born out of the pandemic-induced nostalgia of driving around and listening to local radio stations. “I realised that other people around the world must be missing that same experience of being on the road,” he said in an interview

“At first, I made the app to somehow suppress the feeling of missing home but now I also see it as a new way of exploring cities. It’s an amazing experience to see new places together with some local tunes on the radio in the comfort of your home. I also think it helps us become more patient in these days of lockdown.”