For your next vacation, travel back in time and be on the spot as history unfolds.
It’s possible with new virtual reality tourism, an idea that will immerse tourists in historic moments.
One firm, TimeLooper, already has an app and VR headsets that allow visitors to see history unfold at 12 sites around the world. You can be part of the fall of the , the Great Fire of London in 1666, or see immigrants arrive at Ellis Island in the 1900s. Most virtual reality scenes require a visitor to be at the site. They then download the app or don a headset to immerse themselves in a scene from the past that changes as they walk.
Owlized takes a different approach. Using the classic coin operated viewing stands, the visitor does not see the present day, but instead sees the scenery as it once was.
UrbanTimeTravel creates virtual reality scenes for cities. Users can don goggles to view the scenery from a past era. This can be done from a tour bus, for example.
The companies work closely with museums and historians to bring the landscape and history to life, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The VR experiences cost about $7 to $10 per view. You’ll be seeing these options everywhere you travel.
Seven hot island paradises to escape to this winter
Are you dreaming of sunshine and scenic beaches? Here are seven magnificent islands and archipelagos around the world that won’t disappoint.
1. Aruba: lounge on lovely beaches of soft, white sand, swim in “Conchi,” a natural pool formed by volcanic stone circles, go scuba diving and take in Oranjestad’s colonial architecture.
2. Guadeloupe: go hiking along the volcano Soufrière Saint Vincent, relax on white- or black-sand beaches amid beautiful scenery, enjoy authentic Creole cuisine and go dolphin or whale watching.
3. Martinique: bask in the sun on tranquil beaches, dive off of Diamond Rock, discover tropical flora at the Jardin de Balata and travel through gorges en route to a magnificent waterfall at Les Gorges de la Falaise.
4. New Caledonia: become acquainted with Kanak culture while you kitesurf on Anse Vata Bay, explore magical grottos and discover an array of spectacular landscapes including dense forests, immaculate beaches and turquoise creeks.
5. Phi Phi Islands: gaze upon the limestone cliffs, visit Maya Bay (made famous by the film The Beach), explore Thailand’s incredible snorkeling sites and party on the beach at night.
6. Maldives: stay in a villa propped up on stilts, fly over the isles on a seaplane, take part in your favorite aquatic sports and unwind on exquisite beaches.
7. Roatán: view Honduras’ marine life from a glass-bottom boat, see animals roaming free in Gumbalimba Park, lie on beaches with clear water and go zip-lining at Mayan Eden Park.
Six dream destinations for some fun under the sun
Are you longing to travel somewhere hot with plenty of sunshine? Do you daydream about finding the perfect ? Here are a few heavenly vacation spots to consider:
1. Hawaii. With gorgeous beaches, a national park featuring several volcanoes, breathtaking panoramic views, fascinating historic sites (like Pearl Harbor), and a vibrant cultural scene, Hawaii has something to please every type of traveler.
2. The Cayman Islands. Whether you wish to scuba dive in crystal clear waters, explore tropical forests, observe turtles, parrots and other exotic wildlife, or simply soak up the sun, this Caribbean paradise will not disappoint!
3. Jamaica. Visit the Bob Marley Museum, relax on white sandy beaches (perhaps a rum and coke in hand?), swim with dolphins against a beautiful backdrop, and paddle down the Rio Grande. Which will you do first?
4. Saint Lucia. Sailing, diving, hiking, golfing—there’s no shortage of activities on this beautiful island! What’s more, between botanical gardens and endless beaches, Saint Lucia has a unique way of charming travelers.
5. Florida. Between the Everglades, Orlando, Miami and Cape Canaveral, Florida has a lot to offer, from beautiful landscapes to exciting activities for the whole family.
6. Mexico. Whether you’re interested in a relaxing holiday or a cultural experience, Mexico—with its breathtaking beaches, ancient Mayan villages and colorful colonial towns—is always a sure bet.
So, which sun-drenched destination will you be visiting next?
Six countries hiking enthusiasts will want to explore this winter
Does your ideal vacation include strapping on a pair of hiking boots? Here are six compelling destinations that hikers will love. These places have trails galore and stunning scenery to boot.
It’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Hike under the sun amid a lush variety of flora and fauna in:
1. New Zealand. Famous for Tongariro National Park—where you’ll recognize landscapes from Lord of the Rings—this island country has hiking trails for adventurers of all skill levels. The terrain? Rolling green fields, lush forests and volcano-covered deserts.
2. Chile. With its steep cliffs, immense glaciers, blue lakes, and diverse wildlife, Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is without question one of the world’s most beautiful hiking spots. You have the option of doing either short day hikes or longer treks spanning several days.
3. Tanzania. Kilimanjaro might be a bit much for some but Tanzania has countless other less demanding—but equally inspiring—journeys to undertake. Steep escarpments, grassy ridges, dense forests, volcanic peaks and vistas of the Great Rift Valley, make for scenic trekking.
Rather trek through a winter wonderland? Then grab your snowshoes and get yourself to:
4. Scotland. Pristine nature and diverse wildlife (such as reindeer and snowy owls) await you at Cairngorms National Park, which is richly occupied by scenic mountain paths.
5. Japan. The wide variety of snowshoeing paths in the Yatsugatake mountains—not far from Tokyo—lead you over volcano peaks buried under snow. For this trek, it’s a good idea to hire a guide.
6. Canada. Experience spectacular trails and stunning vistas at Banff National Park. This western wilderness lies in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, amid towering rock faces, deep canyons and dense pine forests. Finish your trek at Lake Louise or Moraine Lake, where you’ll be dazzled by blue-green glacial waters.
Ten tips for a budget-friendly vacation
Who said you needed to tighten your belt to be able to see the world? Turn your dream vacation into a reality (without breaking the bank!) thanks to these helpful tips:
1. Consult a travel professional. In addition to saving you valuable time, travel agents can often offer worthwhile discounts that aren’t available to the general public.
2. Make it a group trip. Groups generally benefit from preferential rates that reduce costs for everybody involved.
3. Avoid peak season. Assuming the weather permits it, the off-season is the best time to find great travel deals!
4. Choose your destination wisely. Opt for countries with a reasonable exchange rate and cost of living.
5. Opt for package deals. Prioritize all-inclusive resorts for your vacation under the tropical sun.
6. Book your flight in advance. Booking your flight in advance is a good way to save on the cost of travel (not taking all-inclusive vacations and last-minute deals into account).
7. Prioritize public transportation. Use the bus or the subway to get around town rather than a taxi. Renting a car between several people can also prove cost-efficient. Make sure to fuel up outside of big city centers, where gas is usually more expensive.
8. Skip pricey restaurants. Dine in food courts, choose a hotel room with a kitchenette or make your own lunches while traveling instead of eating out at expensive restaurants.
9. Save on accommodations. Swap houses with another family, rent a property between several people, stay in a hostel or camp outdoors to save on accommodations.
10. Take advantage of free activities. Festivals, beaches, parks—there are many ways to enjoy a new city without spending a dime.
Seniors are often eligible for special discounts on car rentals, hotels, excursions, cruises, etc. Take advantage of the many options available to you!
Four great destinations for food lovers
Are you passionate about international cuisine? Here are four places where the food is simply divine.
Peru, and Lima in particular, is an increasingly popular food-tourism destination. Its eclectic cuisine draws from such diverse cultures as Spain, China and Africa. What’s on the menu? Key dishes include: ceviche, fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices; chica morada, a drink made from purple corn; alpaca meat; chupe de camarones, a type of shrimp chowder and lomo saltado, a traditional Peruvian beef stir fry.
In addition to its famous tapas and incredible seafood, Spain offers a wealth of dishes appealing to many different tastes, including: paella, a Valencian rice dish with roots in antiquity; gazpacho, a cold tomato soup; cocido madrileño, a chickpea-based stew; bocadillo,
a meat and cheese sandwich and churros, fried-dough pastries sprinkled with sugar.
Moroccan cuisine is influenced by a variety of the country’s multi-ethnic cultures, particularly the Arab, Berber and European gastronomic traditions. A few staples are: carrot and orange salad; fish tagine; harira, a traditional soup and pastilla, a kind of elaborate meat pie traditionally made with pigeon. And if you’re in Marrakesh, be sure to treat yourself to the city’s renowned street food.
Indian cuisine is characterized by its sophisticated spice mixtures, which often incorporate ginger, cumin, cardamom and cloves. From north to south, the country offers a wide array of dishes, many of them region-specific — a good reason to travel widely! However, vegetables and dried fruits are often at the heart of Indian dishes. Some popular food options are: dhal, a lentil-based soup; vegetable curry; chicken tandoori; naan bread and lassi, a yogurt-based drink.
Discover the world’s most beautiful beaches
Do you love exotic beaches? Good news! Postcard-worthy landscapes exist in every corner of the globe. Here are just a few of the most jaw-dropping destinations out there:
•Africa: You’ll find some of Africa’s most splendid beaches at Nosy Iranja in Madagascar; Cape Vidal and Boulders Beach in South Africa; Anse Source d’Argent in Seychelles; Trou-aux-Biches in Mauritius; and Legzira in Morocco.
• America: Tulum and Playa del Amor in Mexico; Tropic of Cancer Beach in the Bahamas; Lençois Maranhenses National Park, Lopes Mendes Beach and Ipanema Beach in Brazil; Harrismith in Barbados; and Big Water Cay and Pelican Beach in the Turks and Caicos Islands are absolutely stunning!
• Asia: Maya Beach and Railay Beach in Thailand; Radhanagar Beach and Calangute in India; and Sadang Beach and Cagban Beach in the Philippines are some of Asia’s most treasured shores! The Perhentian Islands in Malaysia are also known for their magnificent white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters.
• Europe: Zlatni Rat and Lubenice Beach in Croatia; Navagio Beach and Sarakiniko in Greece; and Caprera Island in Italy will take your breath away! France, with its spectacular pebble beaches like the Calanque d’En-Vau, is another European hotspot for beach connoisseurs.
• Australia and the Pacific Islands: Matira Beach on the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora; Kauai and Maui in Hawaii; Champagne Beach in Vanuatu; Karekare in New Zealand; Mouli in New Caledonia; Whitehaven Beach and McKenzie Lake in Australia — the South Pacific’s countless beaches never cease to amaze!
Ready to pick the perfect sandy spot for your next vacation?