5 ways technology can influence your travels

5 ways technology can influence your travels

Technological advances in recent decades have been incredible. Back in the 90s, when bulky laptops were a prized possession of the privileged, few could have dreamed we’d be carrying multi-function computerised devices around in our pockets today. The arrival of the smartphone was a game changer for many industries – but none more so than the travel and tourism sector. Here are just a few ways that smartphones and other advancements in technology have influenced our travels:

1/ Social Media

 

 

Gone are the days of receiving a landmark postcard from your family. We don’t need to wait several weeks for their holiday snaps to be developed before popping round to hear all about the trip over a cuppa. These days, we need only log on to social media to see a full account of our their travels from the moment they jet off, right up until their return home. This provides a huge amount of free advertising to the travel industry and also gives us a much more personal insight into the destination. Advertising itself has been hugely transformed and become much savvier with technological advancements. Many companies in the travel sector are now employing social media influencers to show us the very best of those ‘must-visit’ locations, alongside specifically targeted ads moulded by social media algorithms.

2/ Online reviews and recommendations

 

Visiting a new area for the first time? Not to worry! It’s easier than ever before to find the best places to stay and things to do. The world of online blogging means that you can even find itineraries for your entire stay in popular locations! Searching review sites such as TripAdvisor enables you to see the top-rated destinations as ranked by previous guests, often including photographs and written reviews. Be careful how much you depend on these sites though, you wouldn’t want to miss out on a fantastic up-and-coming venue through lack of reviews!

3/ A world of information

 

Dig deep enough and it seems there is no limit to the information available to us online. Before going on holiday we are able to see exactly what a destination has to offer, from landscapes and tourist attractions to food, drink and nightlife. We can visually sample the destination without even leaving our homes! Compiled together, these aspects form the service we offer here at Destination VR.

4/ Ease of booking

 

The growth of online travel sites has heralded a marked decline in high street travel agent stores. Flicking through brochures before booking in store has been replaced by a few online clicks from the comfort of our own homes (or indeed anywhere with an internet connection). Many travellers now book their trips through laptops, tablets or even smartphones. 87% of travellers in India, for example, even book their entire trip through their phones. This has made the whole process much quicker and influenced many spontaneous bookings.

 

 

5/ Ease of navigation

 

There is no longer any need to fear getting lost in an unfamiliar place. GPS and satellite navigation have made it easy to explore new destinations, allowing us to venture further from the ‘touristy hot spots’. This technology has also seen a rise in road trips, with travellers choosing to drive their own routes at their own pace rather than being restricted by commercial transport options.

Swimming with Dolphins in Mozambique

Swimming with Dolphins in Mozambique

Dolphins in Tofo, Mozambique

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of swimming with dolphins in the wild. I saw them many times on TV, in Dolphinariums and I even got to swim with them at the Atlantis Hotel in Bahamas – an experience I will never forget. However, nothing beats seeing them in the wild. In the past week, I had the chance to meet them twice in the open ocean off the coast of Mozambique!

Everyone loves dolphins – they have such a great energy and the power to make you smile. Their chatter and laughter are irresistible! Often you can hear them on a dive. They communicate and hunt by emitting sounds and waiting for the resulting echo to locate their quarry. Although I heard them a few times, I never saw them on scuba.

The most common dolphin that we see here in Mozambique is the Bottlenose Dolphin. They are around 2m plus in length and have a grey back & lighter underside. This is called counter-shading and is actually a form camouflage since it makes the animal hard to distinguish from both above and below.

Tofo is also lucky enough to be called home to a much rarer and more shy species called the Humpback Dolphin. They have a very distinctive hump and the base of their dorsal fin and can often be seen joining in with larger Bottlenose pods.

Dolphins, Tofo, Mozambique

The little orange dots in the water are plankton.

Dolphins off the Coast of Mozambique

The surest way to see dolphins in Tofo, Mozambique is to go on an ocean safari. You often see them accompanying the boats and if you’re quick enough, you get to swim with them! This was the first time I saw them in the ocean. It was an amazing experience and I even caught it on a 360 video (see below).

The second time was when we snorkeled off the coast of Tofinho in the early morning. As we were at the edge of the bay, I saw a few fins popping out of the water. Before I knew it, we were swimming with a pod of about ten dolphins. A few of them were super curious and stayed with us for a while, swimming around us, just a few meters away. It was really magical!

Dolphins, Tofo, Mozambique
Dolphins, Tofo, Mozambique

A family with a baby dolphin!

Dolphins, Tofo, Mozambique
Swimming with Dolphins, Tofo, Mozambique

So happy! We just swam with dolphins!

Experience Swimming with Dolphins in VR

To watch, play this 360 video in your VR headset or Google cupboard. To enjoy the video on the screen, click and drag the mouse across.

Liked the video? Share it with your friends!

To see more 360 videos, check out my VR Travel page.

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Classic Cars and Cool Cocktails in Vienna

Classic Cars and Cool Cocktails in Vienna

Did you know, that some of the biggest names in Formula One made their debut by racing cars built by a man from a quiet Viennese suburb? Neither did I, until this weekend.

Alex and I took the 7:30 a.m. train to Vienna from Munich Central station. There’s something dreamy about morning train journeys – the crunch of pastry bags, the steady rocking of the train car, the sun’s rays fanning out through tree tops, still wrapped in morning mist. Outside the scenery alternates between postcard valleys and shimmering, fluffy corn fields. Pastures, perfectly trimmed, are slowly chewed on by sleepy cows. Occasionally, there’s a lake, blue and shimmering in the morning sun.

Upon arrival in Vienna, we checked into the Steinenberg Herrehof hotel. Located smack bang in the centre, it’s a great base for walking around the historic quarter and the main shopping area. The narrow cobbled streets surrounding the hotel are lined with shop windows displaying artisanal jewellery, sweets and weird and wonderful tricklets.

Just off Michaelerplatz, you find yourself in the midst of luxury boutiques, and schools of middle-eastern tourists navigating the stony landscape, laden with shopping bags and children in toe.  We turned off, into the side streets, to find shelter from the heat on a shaded terrace of a small trattoria. A cold white wine spritz is just what you need in this weather.

Train journey to vienna
vienna rooftops
Michaelertrakt vienna

Classic Cars and Family Heirlooms

After refreshing ourselves, we took a drive out into Donaustadt to meet an old friend of Alex’s father. Karl Holzinger, an antique car collector now in his 80s, greets us openly, with a firm handshake and eager eyes. He is dressed in a blue-striped shirt and suit pants. He carries himself upright, with a headful of long silver hair and plenty of charm. I imagine the kind of havoc him and Eberhard wreaked on racetracks back in the day. Without further ado, he leads us into his garage.

One of the cars is an original from Winkler Racing – Eberhard’s team.  He is a picture of nostalgia. While his father is reminiscing, Alex is nose-diving into the engine, all light up, like a kid who just met his favourite superhero. I notice how meticulously the cars are looked-after – every bit of leather is softened, every piece of steel is polished, and not a speck of dust on any hood.

Winkler Racing Vintage Car
Winkler Racing Classic Car
Winkler Racing Classic Car

After the private collection tour, we headed out to the local VW garage for a little party. Think big, open space with tall ceilings, island bars clothed in white and a display of vintage race cars from 1970’s and 1980’s.

The star of the show was a twin engine Volkswagen golf.  For rookies like me, this is a car with one engine in the front and one in the back. Why a car needs two engines is beyond me. I guess I’ll just stick to soaking up the atmosphere and the free-flowing champagne!

The garage was celebrating its 50 years of building racecars. Back in the 1960’s it’s original owner, Kurt Bergmann, pioneered “people’s racing”, now known across Europe as Formula Vee.

He experimented with the Volkswagen beetle, turning it into an open-wheeler, and developed technologies that transformed motorsports. These DIY cars, built in Austrian suburbia, had a higher corner speed than Formula 1, and an average speed of 163 km/h on the racetrack.

They say Kurt was so passionate about his work that he had tools everywhere – in his living room, in his bedroom, in his bathroom. Inwardly, I feel for his wife. Today Kurt is a sweet man of 87, happily pushing start buttons on a suspended engine for the delight of the party guests and the village photographers.

They say Kurt was so passionate about his work that he had tools everywhere – in his living room, in his bedroom, in his bathroom.

Plachutta Tafelspitz viena

Plachutta – a local’s favourite

 

Once back in central Vienna, we strolled through the cooling streets to  Plachutta, a gastronomical institution recommended by Karl. I had a Hugo to start – a refreshing cocktail of prosecco, elderflower, and mint, and decided that there’s nothing better on a summer evening in the city.

We ordered a Viennese schnitzel, and tafelspitz – a traditional Viennese dish of boiled beef. It is served in its broth, with creamed spinach and rosti potatoes on the side. The brass pots are placed onto an electric hot plate, which means you can spend several hours eating the dish without it going cold.  Admittedly, it is not the lightest of meals. However, it is as Viennese as it gets and it’s definitely worth working up an appetite for. Try the Kruspelspitz, the piece between 7th and 8th rib; so tender, it melts in your mouth.

Vienna Waits for You

The next morning we took the train back to Munich. I really enjoyed our short getaway to Vienna. The city feels like it doesn’t have anything to prove. Life runs at a slower pace. People take the time to enjoy long meals and each other’s company.  Creativity flows freely.  Whether it’s from pen to paper, or in the folds of pastry makers, or the oil-strained fingers of supercar builders. It comes as no surprise that Vienna produced so many talents. The Viennese seemed to have cracked the code –  do what you love and everything else will fall into place.
girl traveller vienna

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