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New: A Virtual Visit to Hawaii

What is being billed as the "first interactive 3D travel portal" is the coolest way to visit Hawaii short of hopping the next flight to Honolulu. Using Google Earth technology, 3DHawaii.com lets you choose the cities, hotels, shopping malls, and tourist sites you want to visit, then enables you to roam through them in a simulated three-dimensional environment. The website also permits you to make reservations at more than 2,000 Hawaiian hotels and attractions. Check out the video for a quick overview, but to get the whole effect you'll want to log onto the website.

But that isn't even the best part.

I loved the effect of flying over the beaches and mountains, like being in a sightseeing helicopter but without the need for extra life insurance. Hey look, there's Diamond Head. Over there, let's swoop down on the Na Pali coast. Mmm, I can almost smell the poi at that overpriced tourist luau!

Team Vision Virtual, creator of 3DHawaii.com, plans to create 10 new 3D destination sites in the coming 18 months. If you want a sneak peak at the next one, have a look at the video below for 3DLasVegas. I bet you'll like it.

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Smart Traveler Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.

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