A trip through the Amazon (website)
Books, clothes, toys and electronics – there isn’t much you can’t get on Amazon. And now it looks like the online retailer, whose tax activities are currently under investigation by the European Commission, could be getting into the travel business.
According to a report on the travel website Skift, customers will be able to book nights at selected hotels through Amazon Travel as early as January 2015. The website will initially feature hotels in the USA, the report said, but there’s obvious potential for Amazon – a company with a huge global reach – to expand into other markets.
Wheelie bags… and scooters
There are two kinds of people when it comes to wheelie suitcases: those that use them and those that think they’re annoying. I’m in the second camp, and apparently the good people of Venice agree – the city council there has just banned tourists from dragging hard-wheeled bags through the bumpy streets. But now there’s another menace to look out for when travelling: the ride-on suitcase. For adults.
These Olaf scooters, which just got funded on Kickstarter, come either as a backpack or a more traditional-looking carry-on case. Both types are apparently strong enough to ride on, “blurring the boundaries between a backpack/suitcase and a kick scooter”. Just don’t try riding one in Venice.
See Iran by rail
The Iranian government recently reported a 200% rise in the number of tourist arrivals from Europe. And, as diplomatic relations with the West continue to thaw, the options for those wanting to explore the country keep growing.
One of the latest additions is a luxury train journey from Budapest to Tehran, passing through Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey along the way. Tickets for the first ‘Jewels of Persia’ tour, which took place in October, sold out within three weeks – and now a further eight tours are planned for 2015, four of them running in the opposite direction.
Sound intriguing? Well the prices might just push your plans off track. The cheapest tickets for a ride aboard the plush train cost more than £9,000 per person, based on two sharing.
Smell trend is not to be sniffed at
Heathrow Airport has installed an unusual ‘scent globe’ in its brand-new terminal, allowing passengers to experience smells from places as far afield as China, Brazil and Thailand before they jet away from London. Brazil smells like “coffee, tobacco and jasmine,” a Heathrow spokesperson says, while Thailand is a mix of ginger, lemongrass and coconut.
This is not the first time that smells have been called upon to add colour to the travel experience. Many of the world’s best hotels now have their own signature smells, and earlier this year we wrote about an American company that’s using smells to enhance virtual reality tours of its resorts.
Final call: Mentawai Islands, Indonesia
If you’re in wintry Europe or North America, you’re probably ready for a serious shot of sunshine. This video from the Mentawai Islands in Indonesia, filmed entirely on a drone called Phyllis, offers five minutes of pure escapism.
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