It’s safe to say that pretty much every traveler utilizes technology these days to plan and book trips, but some people are taking things a step further by planning holidays that revolve around technology.
Some people love beaches while others embrace culture and iconic landmarks, and then there are those that seek out cities where tech takes center stage.
Researchers believe that as much as two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas in the not so distant future. To accommodate this growth, cities are needing to employ the latest technology to be able to not only provide employment opportunities but also make things like transport, commerce, and food production more streamlined.
When it comes to high-tech hubs around the world, there are definitely cities that stand out from the rest of the pack.
Whether it’s offering travelers access to the latest electronic gadgets, providing homes for the world’s largest technology companies and successful startups, or highlighting the history of technology’s advancements through fascinating museums, here are some of the top cities that are embracing technology and attracting tech-savvy travelers.
The Best Destinations for Tech-Savvy Travelers
Silicon Valley, U.S.
Home to some of the most notable high-tech corporations on the planet, California’s Silicon Valley brought us technologies such as the microcomputer, microprocessor, integrated circuits, and more. Companies here have expanded by bringing us some truly outlandish innovations every year such as A.I.-dog collars and voice-activated fog baths which debuted this past year.
Situated in the southern fringes of the San Francisco Bay Area, Silicon Valley is where tech-lovers congregate and salivate at the headquarters and corporate campuses of companies like Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, Microsoft, Ebay, Intel, etc.
These are the companies that invented the technologies we all use daily whether it’s paying for things online, gaining followers, staying connected to the world, and getting around censorship, geotargeting, cyberattacks, and various internet restrictions with the help of a VPN which hides your location.
Even when you’re in a tech savvy place like Silicon Valley remember not to connect to free public Wi-Fi without a VPN. Public networks are frequently targeted by hackers, though with your IP address hidden by a Virtual Private Network, you are untraceable online, making it impossible for criminals to track you. Additionally, it encrypts internet traffic, preventing entities from snooping on your traffic.
What to do in Silicon Valley
Tech-saavy travelers booking holidays to Silicon Valley are giving landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and other San Fran sightseeing opportunities a pass in favor of simply standing on the grounds of some of the top major high-tech companies and possibly being lead on a tour if they happen to have connections.
Other notable attractions in and around Silicon Valley include the science and technology center known as The Tech Interactive with its interactive exhibits, labs, and IMAX Dome Theater.
You can also pay a visit to the Computer History Museum which claims to exhibit the world’s greatest collection of computer-related artifacts. There’s also NASA’s Ames Research Center which is an active research laboratory void of public tours but does offer a cool gift shop.
And of course you can’t miss the chance to check out Apple Park where you can stock up on the latest Apple products and branded merchandise not found elsewhere, while also seeing what’s on offer in their exhibition space.
If you’re a techie wanting to book an Asian holiday, then why not consider the Silicon Valley of China. What was once a rather small town several decades ago has quickly become a global city that is a technology powerhouse, being home to something like 15,000 high-tech companies.
While Silicon Valley is known as the software capital of the world, Shenzhen has claimed the title of world’s hardware capital. Some estimate that upwards of 90% of the world’s electronics we all use daily are manufactured in Shenzhen.
And tech gadgets are what many travelers come here for. Everything from smartphones to TVs and drones to hard drives can be purchased at great prices in places like the Huaqiangbei shopping district.
This global technology hub is home to tech companies such as Tencent, Cisco Systems, Huawei, and the world’s largest camera drone maker DJI. Shenzhen is also home to China’s largest technology fair known as the China Hi-Tech Fair which offers up exciting exhibitions, conferences, and forums that focus on technology’s latest advancements in environmental protection, energy production, and IT technology.
Xi’an to the north is also becoming a tech city, with both Samsung and Micron calling the city home. Others will also claim that the technology hub of Zhongguancun in Beijing is China’s Silicon Valley due to it being home to Chinese-based headquarters and research centers of companies like Intel, Oracle, Sony, and Motorola.
Tech lovers looking to travel to China should note that it may be wise to get a VPN before you travel in order to be able to access otherwise potentially blocked websites thanks to China’s internet censorship.
Staying in Asia, Tokyo is another top destination for tech lovers. The futuristic high-tech culture of Tokyo hits you from just about every corner of the city.
The Akihabara district is where you’ll want to head first to stock up on all the latest gadgets from the abundant tech stores. One store is Yodobashi Camera which sells computers, various electronics, and of course cameras. The store’s online platform is so popular within Japan that it’s only beat out in sales by Amazon.
After getting your fill of the otaku and gaming culture of Akihabara, head to some of the tech museums such as the Toshiba Science Museum and National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (aka Miraikan). Both of these museums are especially great if you have tech-loving kids due to their immersive interactive exhibits.
See Toshiba’s latest innovations as well as how their older products evolved over the years within the museum. Meanwhile, at Miraikan you will get to understand how the internet works, see and interact with various humanoid robots, check out some seismometers, and dive into a number of technology-driven exhibits that focus on Earth. Even more enticing for tech lovers is the fact the museum can be reached by a driverless automated transit system.
Another tech attraction to check out is the Panasonic Center, although I should note that their popular interactive RiSuPia museum just recently closed last year to make way for a new facility.
You may also want to research whether any tech conventions are occurring during your visit since they are quite a common occurrence in Tokyo throughout the year.
Berlin is regarded as Europe’s start-up capital because of its many top tech firms. Over two-thirds of the country’s start-ups can be found within the city.
A diverse range of technology firms can be found here including big names like Google, Facebook, and Apple, as well as companies like Soundcloud, ResearchGate, and the app-only bank N26 which already has more than a half-million European users.
Berlin seems to be currently placing an added focus on health, financial, and machine learning technologies in particular. Berlin’s German Technology Museum meanwhile shines a light on transportation technology and its history.
You can browse exhibits that cover rail, aviation, automotive, and maritime technologies over the last century. You can even observe a number of Konrad Zuse’s early computers from the 1930s.
Another highlight in Berlin for tech lovers is the GSC Game Science Center, a self-proclaimed interactive future museum. The museum’s aim is to allow visitors the chance to be introduced to the technologies of the future thanks to an exhibition space filled with independent start-up displays.
Seoul, South Korea
If you’re anything like me, you enjoy fast internet while traveling and one place where you are assured of your web pages loading lightning-quick and seamless streaming is in Seoul.
Korea was the world’s first nation to commercialize the 5G network and now ranks number one in average 5G connection speeds. With average speeds over 120Mbps, it outperforms the world average threefold.
Korea is also home to the world’s second fastest mobile network, SK Telecom. You’ll also find big tech companies in Seoul alongside PC cafes, and VR hangouts.
They have a 15,000-square-foot drone arena as well as the famous Yongsan Electronics Market with its thousands of market stalls selling just about every type of tech you could want.