It’s not been the best year and a half for travel it’s fair to say. All of those anticipated trips have had to be put on hold as priorities changed when Covid-19 appeared. But it appears now the first steps to a return to more ‘normal’ travel have arrived for many. So with over 16 months of dreaming and planning, what’s on your list of destinations?
On one hand, being immersed in digital and tech all the time as we are may mean that when you get the opportunity to take a trip, you fancy switching off. You may want to toss that phone into one of your travel bags before you run off to the beach and go completely off grid.
However, if you’ve just got to scratch that tech itch even while you’re off traveling, we’d like to suggest a few ultra-modern destinations that might be perfect.
This list will contain cities that hold everyday innovations that you might not see elsewhere in the UK. They will house organisations that are leading the charge in invention and modernisation.
San Francisco, California
Shall we start with the home of some of the largest industry giants in the biz including Google, Apple and Facebook? San Francisco and, by extension, Silicon Valley is probably your first port of call if you’re thinking about heading somewhere that will indulge your inner tech-nerd, all the while basking in that ‘Cali’ sunshine. There are many visitable landmarks to satisfy your digital-fix while you stay. You can visit the Computer History Museum or the Intel Museum which is very close to the Google Campus (though you can’t take a tour of that unless you’ve got a friend on the inside and if you do, let’s have a chat). There’s also the Apple Park campus. It’s a similar setup as the Google campus which denies entry to those who don’t work there. However, there is an Apple store and cafe at the building’s entrance that can offer you something engaging to sate your Apple appetite. Facebook headquarters is actually the only one of itself, Google and Apple that doesn’t have a gift shop. It does, however, plan on creating a village with housing, supermarkets and pharmacies in five years or so.
New York, New York
Of course the city that never sleeps has a headstart on getting ahead in the digital game. If you’re thinking of making a leap and moving somewhere completely new, you couldn’t do better than this cultural and artistic hub. There are several sites associated with technology, such as the New York Hall of Science or the Museum of the Moving Image. The Museum of the Moving Image being of particular note as it is the only museum in the world dedicated to art, technology and the social impact of film, television and digital media. Even during the pandemic, interest in tech continues to prosper with more job openings for tech positions than any other job in the city during this time according to a study. So although we have just promoted the charms of Silicon Valley, you might be better off heading over to the East Coast instead with Google recently committing $250 million to its new development in Manhattan. There’s a reason for that, Google sees potential in New York that seemingly outweighs San Francisco. With this in mind, visiting one or the other is a tough decision to make. Both would be better.
Moving over to the other side of the planet, we see many opportunities in exciting tech-related travel in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. This is one of those cities with everyday innovations designed to make life a little easier for both those who live there and for tourists. This includes free WiFi in most places, with cheap and easy travel when it comes to communal biking and their train services. It’s also the place to be if you would rather explore the hardware side of tech as opposed to the software side. The focus is shifted to PCs and laptops as they are advertised in Taipei the same way a new phone would be in San Francisco, plastered all around as the new must-have item. With the country being the base for various PC companies like Gigabyte and Acer, it’s no wonder it’s a prime destination for those who prefer to delve into computer hardware.
Tokyo’s reputation for advancement is world-renowned. In the last few years, Japan has been upping the number of technology-related exhibitions and trade shows that focus on new technologies. Right now you can visit The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation and meet a 'robotic humanoid'? You can also indulge your inner tech-loving foodie by dining at sushi bars that deliver your food to your table through ordering on tablets and arrive via conveyor belts and model trains. For the latest updates on all things tech in Japan, check out the Tech section of the Japan Times.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Yet another contender to be the next Silicon Valley emerges, Amsterdam is one of the world’s leaders on all things tech. There are fantastic sites to visit like the Amsterdam Science Park campus which has been described as ‘a vibrant melting pot where business, science and innovation meet’. This campus is the home of many efforts to further develop concepts such as AI and virtual reality. If, by chance, you really are thinking of relocating, you could do worse than Amsterdam with its startup visa. With this in place, Amsterdam will have cornered the market on new tech talent.
We weren’t about to leave Cardiff out of the mix. As recent coverage states, Wales is currently a hotbed for tech despite Covid-19. Amongst our best and brightest we include such advancements in driverless delivery services, social media insight technology and comparison site software. A lot of the startups currently flourishing have created many jobs for those in the tech industry. If you’re looking for activities to fill your curiosity then you could always head over to our friends at Techniquest for a fun family outing. Being situated in the Bay ourselves, we know there’s a lot to offer here. In addition we boast the Wales Millennium Centre as a wonderful venue which showcases an eclectic mix of shows, talks, exhibitions and digital conferences, attracting the very best in the industry.
Any places we’ve missed? Let us know @WeAre_Core. Happy travels!