I recently got back from the SXSW conference which apparently has been dubbed "Spring break for geeks", now, I am a geek, and I was there, but I am sure we can do better than Austin, Texas as a geek-destination. Where should I go for the ultimate geek vacation?
Don't get me wrong, I loved SXSW. It is after all a gathering of internet, computer game and multimedia nerds - it was like coming home to the mothership! But could I recommend it to any geek? Probably not. The reason being, while the interactive conference is going on, there are many many parties full of musicians and film makers (ie. actual cool folks) going on which might chase the ultra nerdy away.
So what we need is an environment where there is a low risk of wedgies, and high geek factor. No easy task.
To make it easier on us, while I need to keep the fact that the only tan we geeks are likely to get is radiation from computer screens, we also need to admit that some sunlight might be beneficial with a suitably "nuclear fallout shelter" strength sunblock.
Trekkies and Science Fiction
I thought I had the ultimate answer when I recalled the "Star Trek Experience" in Las Vegas. Which geek doesn't like a bit of Trek?
Based out of the Las Vegas Hilton, this was an emersive combination of hotel and fantasy, including simulators, dressing up in full Star Fleet or alien getup, talking Klingon, and shopping for merchandise.
Unfortunately all the search results I am turning up suggest it closed in 2008 so I have to keep on looking for my answer.
There is more to the sci-fi vacation world than Star Trek, fortunately.
If you are going to think of a competitor to Star Trek for fan devotion, the first name to spring to mind is going to be Star Wars. How about staying at Luke Skywalkers home?
Located in Matmata in Tunisia, Hôtel Sidi Driss has become one of the most famous filming locations of Star Wars, nicknamed the Star Wars hotel. It's a traditional Berber house, built centuries ago. It served as the interior for Lars' homestead on Tatooine, the exterior being filmed 300 kilometers west, on Chott el Jerid. After the filming of the first movie, A New Hope, the decorations were taken down, only to be completely rebuilt in 2000 for the filming of Attack of the Clones. The hotel is open all year and the decorations are still intact. There are five pits in the hotel, four of them with rooms; the fifth one, the Star Wars pit, is the hotel's restaurant. Although it is not allowed to sleep in the sets, it is possible to dine in the same room as in the film.
How awesome is that? And the best part is you can use it as a stealth-geek-vacation as a trip to Tunisia will not ring any alarm bells for the non-nerds in your life!
Orlando vacations aren´t complete without a trip to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Just east of the most popular Orlando attractions and theme parks, NASA´s launch headquarters is the only place on Earth where you can tour launch areas, meet a veteran astronaut, see giant rockets, train in spaceflight simulators, and even view a launch.
It could be your best bet if you are trying to promote your geekery to the entire family. Having all those other attractions close by could be all it takes to clinch the deal.
Fantastic Fantasy Down Under
For anyone who wants to go the fantasy route, the grand daddy of all fantasy epics, Lord of the Rings, has been a huge tourism boost for New Zealand. Of course the lands "down under" were already a big draw for people all around the world due to their fantastic and varied landscapes, but this blockbuster film trilogy really put New Zealand on the geek map in a big way.
Using IMDB you can spot the locations yourself, but there are also many companies ready and only too willing to give you a guided tour.
Over to You
What have I missed? Do you have any tips, recommendations, or experiences to share? Please let us know right now in the comments!