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What Is Amazon Explore And How Does It Work?

What is Amazon Explore and How Does it Work?

You can now travel and shop the world from home with Amazon Explore.

Amazon Explore is a recently launched interactive, one-on-one virtual travel experiences.

There are local hosts from around the world who show you the sites or experiences at worldwide travel destinations and for explorations, you can even shop for local items in real time and your host will send the souvenirs to you.

The top trending countries to explore include France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, and the most popular categories have been Culture & Landmarks, Food & Drink, and Nature & Outdoors.

Each session uses real-time communication with local hosts through one-way video and two-way audio. It gives you a true sensation of “being there” as you visit the destination and participate in activities.

You can walk down a street you choose, get a panoramic view of your surroundings, and ask questions about the location with your private tour guide. If a shop interests you, your host can enter, look at items, show you an item from all angles, and ask any questions you have with the shop owner. You can then purchase the items (even those not available on Amazon.com) and receive them at your home as simply and securely as if you were shopping on Amazon.

You can click on the screen to show hosts which sites they want to visit, or choose which items they’d like to purchase when visiting a shop.  You can also take virtual photos, with the images available to download after the experience is over. 

The prices range from $10 to $60. Like purchasing any other item on Amazon, you can use your preferred stored payment method, add a new card, or use gift cards. One additional way you can pay is with travel points like Hilton Honors who has teamed up with Amazon so you can now use your Hilton points to book experiences. You just need to link your Hilton account with your Amazon one before you book. 

You can access the Amazon Explore experience on the Amazon website. The sessions require you have a laptop or desktop – they’re not mobile-friendly yet. You’ll also need to have a Chrome, Edge or Safari web browser, functional microphone (the built-in one is fine) and a set of headphones or speakers, as well as an internet connection of 5 mbps or higher.

The Top Amazon Explore Experiences To Try

From emperors to Michelangelo: the eternal beauty of Rome’s art and architecture through the ages

Ancient Rome: a walking tour in the heart of the Eternal city

Lima discovery: city of the kings

Highlights of Barcelona: discover the historic Gothic Quarter

Piazza San Marco and the highlights of Venice

Splendor and horror: Berlin’s most stunning squares and their dark past

Explore and practice Zen at Kyoto’s Zen Buddhist temple

Madrid’s most scenic spots

Discover Kyoto, the old capital of Japan: virtually shop and learn about its history at Higashiyama

Questions and Answers

Getting Started

What is Amazon Explore?
Amazon Explore is a service that connects you to interactive virtual experiences around the world. Experiences are livestreamed from a host in a different location, allowing you to see, hear, and talk about everything as it happens in real time.

How does it work?
During your session, your computer is connected to the smartphone of your host, who leads you through an experience, like a tour or lesson.

Is my experience prerecorded? Is it virtual reality?
No. Every Amazon Explore session happens in real time using livestreaming one-way video and two-way audio.

Who will be in my session?
In a private session, only you and your host are connected. In a group session, you will be connected to your host and up to 7 participants who book on a first come, first served basis.

Can I invite my friends and family to experience the session with me?
If you’d like to take a session with friends and family who are in different locations, you will all need to book the same group session. You’re free to gather friends and family around the same computer if you like. Children under 18 must be supervised by a parent or guardian.

Can my host or other participants see me?
The video feed is only one-way, so you can see your host, but no one can see you or your surroundings.

Can I take an experience if I am outside the U.S.?
At the moment, Amazon Explore experiences can only be streamed within the U.S.

Can I take an experience on a phone or other mobile device?
While you can view and purchase experiences on mobile phones and tablets, we do not support taking an experience from any device other than a laptop or desktop computer.

Who are the hosts?
Hosts may be tour guides, wellness coaches, artisans, chefs, stylists, or anyone with a skill or adventure to share.

Scheduling an experience

When can I take an experience?
Our hosts are located all over the world and set schedules based on their local operating hours. Experiences are offered throughout the day. When you find one you want to take, choose a date and time that works for you to make your reservation.

What’s included in the price?
Every Amazon Explore experience includes a session with a personal host. Some experiences also include experience kits. Look for details on the listing where you book your session.

What’s an experience kit?
If your experience includes an experience kit, you will receive a package before your session with curated items that enhance the experience. The listing where you book your session identifies if an experience kit is included.

When will I be charged for my experience?
You will be charged for your experience (as well as any purchases you make during it) after your session is completed. You can find a record of your purchases when you visit Your Account and click the Your Orders button.

What is your cancellation policy?
You can cancel or reschedule an experience up to 24 hours before your session with no penalty. If you wish to cancel or reschedule your session less than 24 hours in advance, you may be subject to a charge. Your spot in a group session cannot be rescheduled. You will need to cancel and rebook.

How do I cancel my session?
To cancel your session, go to Your Account and click the Your Orders button. Navigate to your scheduled session and click Cancel. From there, click Cancel on the Your Session page. When you are prompted to confirm that you want to cancel your session, click Cancel Session. You will receive an email confirmation.

What if my host cancels my session?
Occasionally hosts must cancel an experience due to illness, weather, or another unforeseen circumstance. On the off chance your hosts cancels your experience, you will receive a cancellation email and you will not be charged.

Can I reschedule a session? Yes. If you would like to reschedule your session, please locate your order on Your Sessions page and reschedule at a time that works for you. Your spot in a group session cannot be rescheduled. You will need to cancel and rebook.

Can I gift an experience to someone?
You can give someone a preloaded Amazon gift card for the price of the experience. However, sessions are currently tied to the account they are purchased with, so you can’t directly send an experience to another person.

What is the minimum age to take an experience alone?
Participants younger than 18 must be supervised by a parent or guardian.

Taking an experience

When will my Amazon Explore session start?
Your session will start at the scheduled time. Log in to Amazon, then find your upcoming session page in Your Orders. When you book your session, a countdown banner will appear at the top of your screen. Your host will be able to connect with you when the timer runs down to zero.

What can I expect during my Amazon Explore session?
Your host will have a plan for your session, but feel free to ask questions and focus in on the parts of your session that interest you most.

What happens if my host doesn’t show up?
If your host doesn’t join the session within 10 minutes of the start time, your experience will be automatically canceled by the system. You will not be charged for the experience.

What if my host is late?
Hosts are expected to arrive on time.

What language is the experience given in?
All Amazon Explore experiences are available in English.

What if there is bad weather on the day of my experience?
Hosts determine whether or not the weather is too dangerous for the session to proceed. If it is unsafe, your host will cancel the session and you will have the opportunity to reschedule.

Can my host do whatever I want?
No. You and your host are required to comply with the Amazon Explore Community Guidelines and Amazon’s conditions of use.

What should I do if I have issues during my session, like audio/video difficulties or a host that has to end a session early?
If audio/video difficulties prevent the session from connecting for more than ten minutes, your session will automatically be cancelled and you will not be charged. Please contact Customer Service if you are unsatisfied with your experience.

What do I do if I witness or experience something uncomfortable during my experience?
If you feel uncomfortable at any time during your session, you can exit immediately by clicking the flag at the top right corner of your screen. Contact Customer Service to report the incident.

What happens if I want to leave a session early?
Each session can be tailored to your specific interests, so it’s fine to ask your host to end the session whenever you’re ready to sign off.

Where can I find the photos I took during my experience?
You can find the photos you took during your session, and other information from your experience, by visiting Your Account and clicking the Your Orders button.

Shopping (available only during private experiences)

Can I shop during an experience?
Private experiences that include shopping as an option are identified on the listing where you book a session. If your experience offers shopping, you can purchase items from your host or the local shops during the experience. Your host will ship your purchases to you after your session.

Will my host have access to my credit card information?
No. The payments for both the experience, and for any purchases during an experience, are handled within Amazon’s secure payment system using the payment method tied to your Amazon account. You are charged by Amazon.

Can I buy anything I want?
No. There are restrictions on what can be bought.

Are the purchases customers make during their session recorded anywhere on Amazon?
Just like any other Amazon purchase, a record of items purchased during a session is included in the Your Orders section of a customer’s Amazon account.

How will I know what I am being charged?
Before a transaction takes place, your host will send you an order summary that includes the price in U.S. dollars, quantity, tax, and shipping and handling costs. After reviewing the order summary, you must select Place Your Order to make the purchase. You’ll receive an order confirmation email shortly after.

Can I cancel or return items I buy during my session?
All sales from an in-session purchase are final and cannot be canceled or returned. If a product you receive from a purchase is damaged or incorrect, the purchase will be covered by Amazon’s A to Z Guarantee. Please contact Customer Service.

How will the purchases I made during my experience be shipped to me?
Hosts will directly ship your purchases to your delivery address.

Group Experiences

Who will be in my group session?
Up to 7 total participants, booked on a first-come, first-served basis, will join the host for a group session experience.

Can friends and family experience the session with me?
You can gather as many people around the same computer as you like. To take a session with friends and family who are in different locations, each person will need to book their group session separately.

Can I book the entire group session to share with my friends?
No. You can only book one seat per group session. Your friends and family will need to use their own Amazon account and book the same session.

What if there are disruptive participants in my group session?
Hosts are trained guides who are used to facilitating groups. Their expertise, paired with our group management tools, will ensure you have a smooth experience.

Can I reschedule a group session? Your spot in a group session cannot be rescheduled. You will need to cancel and rebook.

Can more than 7 people join a group session?
Currently, group sessions can support 7 different participants who book the same session. The session will be full and no longer available to book once all 7 seats are filled.

Are group sessions available for all Amazon Explore experiences?
Not all experiences offer group sessions. Where available, you will see the option to select either a group session or a private session in the booking area of the page.

Can I shop in a group session?
No. Currently, we are not offering group shopping experiences.

What if my friends and I are in different US time zones?
You can take the session together as long as each person uses their own Amazon account to book the same session. Note that session time slots will appear in your local time based on your location.

Can friends or family outside of the U.S. participate with me in group sessions?
At this time, Amazon Explore experiences can only be streamed within the U.S.

Equipment

What do I need to take an experience?
To take an experience, customers need:
– a laptop or desktop computer with a charge that will last for the entire session
– a high-speed internet connection (5 mbps or faster)
– speakers/headphones
– a microphone (the one included on most laptop computers will be fine)
– Chrome, Safari, Edge, or Firefox browser (please check to make sure you have the most up-to-date version)

How do I know my browser is up to date?
Do a web search for “Is my browser up to date?” on your favorite browser. You can use the following browsers to launch an experience:

  • Google Chrome, versions over 84
  • Mozilla Firefox, versions over 79
  • Microsoft Edge, versions over 84
  • Safari, versions over 12

Do I need a camera?
You do not need a camera since the video feed is one-way. You can see your host, but your host cannot see you.

How can I test my microphone and speakers?
If you already have a session scheduled, visit Your Session by clicking the link at the top of this page near the countdown banner. Then, select Check your system audio to test your computer.

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