3 High-Tech Ways to Actively Explore a New City
For active travelers, one of the best ways to explore a city is by foot. Not only are you really immersing yourself in a new place (without viewing it from behind the grimy window of a tour bus, thank you very much), you're checking off your daily workout. (Looking forward to vacation runs is one of those random things that totally makes you a runner.) But running has its limitations-as in, there are only so many miles you can cover at a time, especially if you're not, you know, training for a marathon.
There is a happy medium for travelers who want to feel like they're breaking a bit of a sweat without actually wearing holes in their sneakers from walking 16 miles a day. Tech companies are developing more and more transportation options that call for a little bit of effort but that cover a lot of ground. Even better? They're starting to pop up all over the world-or they're affordable (and travel-friendly!) enough for you to pack them yourself.
Next time you book a vacay, see if you can check out one of these high-tech ways to get around-so you can spare your sneakers and your feet.
Rentable, dockless electric scooters are popping up all over the country: Portland, Memphis, Scottsdale, and Salt Lake City, to name a few. Scootering sounds like child's play, but it's actually a legit leg and core workout to stay balanced on that little platform. With the scooter start-up Bird, which is available in 20-plus American cities, you can find nearby scooters via smartphone app, then rent them for the cost of $1 plus 15 cents a minute. Competitors like Lime and Spin can also be found all over the world. And this fall, Uber will roll out electric scooters for a fee of $1 plus 15 cents per minute in over 70 cities across the U.S. and Europe. (Related: Some of The Most Unusual Places to Work Out)
Uber is also launching electric bike rentals with JUMP starting this fall in Austin, Chicago, Denver, New York City, Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Washington, DC. You're still getting a typical bike workout for your entire lower body, but JUMP bikes cover way more ground with e-assist technology that provides up to a 20-mile-per-hour boost every time you pedal. You'll be able to book them right from the app at $2 for 30 minutes and 7 cents per minute after that. And travel companies like Bike Tours and VBT are adding more e-bike tour options to their roster of adventures, giving tourists the opportunity to see way more of a country without a bus window in between them and the real world. (See: 5 Lessons I Learned from Riding 500 Miles Across France)
You'll need to pack these yourself, but Segway-you know, the company behind those two-wheeled standing transportation vehicles-just released rechargeable roller shoes. The Drift W1s ($399; segway.com) are like two hoverboards, and using them feels a bit like rollerblading or ice skating. To move, you control your speed via smartphone (they can go up to 7.5 miles per hour) and direct the two platforms by leaning in the direction you want to move. The balance challenge is obvious here (hello, core workout!) and you can bet your inner thighs will be burning from trying to sync up your feet during a 45-minute ride (that's how long the battery lasts). (Test your balance with these drills before you set out.)