Five tech-lovers' hotspots
Holidays don’t just have to be about being supremely active or inactive. It can often be about following your passion across the globe, which works out especially well for lovers of gadgets and tech.
With development at the very heart of the industry, seeing places of innovation first-hand can be awe-inspiring.
So if your ideal downtime is more about surfing the web than surfing the waves, the Flexicover team have channelled our inner geek and compiled some top tech-holiday hotspots for inspiration.
Silicon Valley, San Francisco
Silicon Valley is Mecca for tech-lovers the world over. This southern area of the San Francisco Bay has birthed and nurtured some of the world’s greatest tech companies, including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Intel to name a few. For anyone wanting a rare glimpse into what it might be like to work here, San Jose Silicon Valley Tours give up to six-hour overviews of the complex and can be tailored to each groups’ interest. The tours can’t get inside the private offices but popular points include a visit to the Apple employee store and a stop at the Computer History Museum. Current exhibits feature a celebration of mathematician Ada Lovelace’s work, while a History of Autonomous Vehicles has arrived at the right time for Google’s project on driverless cars.
Akihabara district, Tokyo
The gadget geek’s paradise of Akihabara is an assault on the senses; dominated by colour, bright lights, and bursting with electronic shops, it’s overwhelming at first glance. Japan has always been at the cutting-edge of technology and this is its ultimate marketplace. The best place to start is down Chuo Dori, the main boulevard, from which there are plenty of smaller streets to explore after orienting yourself. Akihabara has also become a haven for gamers, and lovers of manga and anime, so cosplay enthusiasts will feel they’ve found their tribe. Interestingly, the goods on offer are almost entirely geared towards Japanese visitors – you won’t find any cheesy Godzilla themed souvenirs here.
Grand Canal Dock, Dublin
Dubbed ‘Silicon Docks,’ this area of Dublin is home to the European headquarters of the giants of the tech industry. Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Dropbox and Airbnb have all set up camp here, and after Brexit, many are predicting that Ireland will become even more attractive to international business. As with Silicon Valley, tours aren’t offered inside the offices. But walking around the tech-heavy area, which is still home to generations of working-class Dubliners, means you can explore both old and new Dublin in one fell swoop.
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
For anyone serious about space, the only thing that can top a visit to the Kennedy Space Center is a trip to the moon. It has been NASA’s primary launch facility of human spaceflight since December 1968. Those visiting on rocket launch days (which happen regularly) will be lucky enough to witness one from the ground. A $50 (£38) ticket includes the shuttle launch experience (an all-too-real simulation of the eight-and-a-half-minute ascent into orbit), but for $149 (£115) you can upgrade to a tour of the Launch Control Center with Launch Director Mike Leinbach.
CERN made headlines back in 2008 with fears that switching on its Large Hadron Collider would create microscopic black holes leading to the end of the world. Luckily, that hasn’t come to pass. Instead scientists at CERN have gone on to discover the legendary Higgs Boson particle, and continue to investigate our universe today. CERN offers free tours of its headquarters to tourists with a passion for physics, and they’re not led by any run-of-the-mill guides - they’re conducted by a working physicist from the team. Hugely popular and quickly filled, tours can be booked through a form on their website. There are interesting areas accessible without advance booking, including the permanent Microcosm exhibition, an impressive display which takes visitors on a journey through CERN’s ground-breaking experiments.
Wherever you choose to recharge your batteries this year, it’s good to know that Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure 24 hours a day while away.