Travel agencies can be found in a PC or a cell phone. New technologies make of a trip a more intimate process and at the same time provide knowledge that can turn users into real experts when reaching an unknown city. But as the world is getting smaller, major aviation companies are now prepared to get a simple mortal human being out of the earthly orbit and turn him into an astronaut
Today, traveling can be considered a habit, that due to the recent violent events, it requires effort, patience and a dose of humbleness; especially when passengers face a customs officer who doubts their intention.
There is no need to travel with those tickets of countless pages anymore; just a passport is needed. The selection of seats on an airplane does not depend on how lucky you are; it is done from a cell phone or a PC. The only requirement is to register on the airline webpage.
The difficult -and at the same time funny- task of choosing a hotel and making connections requires some knowledge and discernment, in addition to being able to surf the Internet and select reliable websites.
Another relevant point is to know the airport where one gets to locate the pier doors easily and to not waste time. This is simple thanks to the web pages held by air terminals. But the Internet offers the possibility to become familiar with bus routes, book train tickets and know in depth the city expected to visit. However, some measures need to be taken as a precaution. Javier Pons, director of Souvenir Tours, points out that experience and certain abilities are required to not make mistakes that could spoil any trip.
Technology addicts will be the travelers who will spend less time at airports and less concerned about documents. Just their cell phones will be enough. This is a fait accompli. Mobiles become boarding tickets at the time of booking on the websites of certain airlines. One the ticket is bought, a SMS containing a bar code is received on the mobile. It gives access to the security zone without having to get past by the counter.
The world is more and more smaller and although traveling across the world could take more than 80 days, space trips are a reality. Virgin Galactic offers its passengers the chance to be astronauts -at least for a brief moment. Tickets cost USD 200,000 and they are offered on the website www.virtuoso.com. At the beginning, it will be governed by exclusivity as only six rich and lucky passengers will board the first spaceship tour in outer space. Requirements: Having an American Visa, since the spaceships are launched from the United States; being at least 18 years old and being in perfect health conditions.
But these trips are not exclusive to Richard Branson's company; other companies promise to satisfy some people's desire to have the world at their feet. As Dennis Tito did, who paid 20 million dollars for that.
Colombian magazine Semana published the foretastes of the spaceship Virgin. When it is finished, it will take off from New Mexico. Rather than landscapes, sensations are the main aspects that will be experienced by the passengers; absolute silence and weightlessness while leaving the earthly atmosphere are some of the experiences to live. Now, there are 200 passengers on the waiting list.
Pleasure for the web
The steps to get visas and documents are taken via Internet. A journey can be arranged from the desktop or one can set out with no fixed plan around the most incredible places.
Thanks to the Internet, there are no excuses to get lost when landing in an unknown city; Google Earth 3D does the task for us. It is a true simulator to get to know the areas to travel. Virtual museums show the exhibited artworks and delve into the pieces. Restaurants are also in the palm of your hand. Getting lost happens to be a past experience because now we count on GPS.
Alexis Navas, president of High Class, recommends those who are not familiar with these digital resources seeking advice from an executive officer. Further, he suggests surfing on the net with caution so that our personal information is not exposed on unsafe websites. Venezuelans -he declares- arrange their trips but also want to count on the experts' opinions.
But there is some more, the ones who leave everything to the last minute could make their reservation and run during the trip. Lufthansa uses the system FlyNet, broadband Internet access on intercontinental flights. The fee is 10, 95 Euros an hour.
Social networks have happened to be important allies. Tourism as a business uses them as strategies for promotion. Facebook is at the top in this policy. Twitter also stands out as an information tool, giving news of specific situations and warning passengers against a strike or any other inconvenience that might arise in their journey.
Flickr offers the possibility to share photos and videos online. Some hotels add to their official photos the pictures taken by costumers affiliated to the group.
Translated by Adrián Valera
Cristian Fonseca, a businessman in La Candelaria district downtown Caracas, was doing the accounts in his small shop office on Sunday December 21, 2008. The Christmas shopping season kept him working late hours into the night. It was around 11 p.m. and his phone rang. A friend broke the bad news to him over the telephone.