Posts in the Travel Trends category
I’m a GPS fan. When I first moved to Melbourne my specially purchased GPS saved me untold amounts of stress while house-hunting, and probably a few arguments too. I also love maps – but in a more nostalgic way. I collect vintage maps from flea-markets and recently acquired a huge classic atlas. I like to sit, dream and trace potential routes that I’ll one day take, but I suspect that when that day comes I’ll navigate my way around with a GPS.
A year or so ago, I was thinking how cool it would be to have a GPS that not only navigates, but also recommends interesting stops along the way. Seems I was a little behind the ball with that one, as unknown to me, the tourism industry has recently exploded with GPS tour guides tailored to specific regions. During our summer break, Sean and I decided to try one out, and hired the Yellow Brick Guide during our stay at the Hunter Valley wine region in New South Wales.
I can’t speak for all the other guides out there, some of which I suspect would be rather irritating, but the Yellow Brick Guide really improved our experience. First of all, we know NOTHING about wine, and without it we probably would have driven aimlessly with no idea which of the hundreds of vineyards to visit, before giving up and going back to our absurdly huge hotel room (they gave us a whole lodge to ourselves, but that’s another story) to watch Breaking Bad. With the guide, we were able to navigate our way around all the little back-roads with the best views, plus we were told which vineyards were organic, which ones had great cafes and where to stop for farm-gate purchases like olives or smoked trout. Basically, it was like having a local guide in the car with us, talking about the vineyards and history of the region as we passed by. Some people criticise GPS tours for taking the spontaneity out of travel, but we found ourselves in little places we never would have known to visit otherwise.
I found a few other examples of GPS tours from around the world, such as Red Tour in Portugal and Gypsy Guide in Canada, but they could definitely be better. It’s still early days, and I think GPS tours have the opportunity to get super-nichey. Imagine a tour of, I dunno, mid-century architecture in L.A. or a cheese-lover’s guide to Roquefort in France. Actually, on a more lo-fi level, Every Trail is a service that allows users to create their own trip routes which anyone can then download, so maybe we’re closer than I thought.