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Why everyone’s talking about Space and Astro Tourism RN

Nasa outer space

There are two new travel trends taking the world by storm – space tourism and astro tourism. The former has people paying to have themselves launched into space and is a recreation only the richest can afford (live streams available to watch from the comfort of our own home). The latter meanwhile is way more accessible, and it’s set to get BIG. We’re here to give you the lowdown on both, and to tell you why now’s the perfect time of year for a star-studded experience.

What is Space Tourism?

Recreational space travel. It lets you experience outer space and what it’s like to become an astronaut for business, leisure or recreational purpose only. Right now, it’s all the rage. That’s because billionaire business tycoons such as Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Branson have been making a splash in the news as they rocket-launch into the stratosphere (causing Bezos’s cowboy hat to go viral). The sum of these quests has made headlines too; a ticket there and back will set you back upwards of $28million dollars. No biggie.

Jeff’s jaunt to the edge of space and back on July 20th only lasted 11 minutes, allowing a few minutes of weightlessness to take in the surroundings, before the imminent return to Planet Earth. As far as experiences go, this one’s big, it’s bold, and it’s brief.

Jeff Bezos cowboy hat

Image source:Joe Skipper / Engadget

What is Astro tourism?

Astro tourism on the hand is much more about mindfulness than machines. This is travel that focuses on astronomy or any space related activities. Think stargazing, planetarium visits and camping outside to see meteor showers IRL. It’s been growing in popularity for some time, but the pandemic has really catapulted this new trend into the spotlight. With people spending more time at home and looking for inspiration from their back yard, as well as a desire to now travel to places with more open spaces, astro tourism has taken off in a big way.

And there are so many incredible places to experience this growing phenomenon, particularly the USA. The southwest USA is one of the greatest dark sky regions which makes it perfect for stargazing and planet gazing.

Group stargazing in Bolivia

Image source:Contiki

Where to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower

This year, whilst you might not make it into outer space, you can definitely experience a taste from the ground and observe something truly remarkable instead. The Perseids Meteor Shower is the best meteor shower of the year, starting in July and reaching a peak by mid-August. Expect to see up to 100 meteors an hour and plenty of bright, colourful fireballs. It’s astro tourism at its finest, and every stargazing lovers dream.

Now, everyone wants to know where they can watch the best meteor display of 2021 – and luckily, we’ve got just the ticket! (this one won’t cost you $28 mil)

Contiki’s officially back on the road and our Yellowstone & Grand Tetons trip kicks off in August, coinciding with the peak of the Perseid shower. On this four-day camping trip, you’ll witness the magic of the elements and watch fireballs light up the night sky in the world’s first (and arguably greatest) National Park. Chase waterfalls, hike winding trails and search for geysers in the day. Then, get out your binoculars, switch off your phone, and engulf yourself in the staggering enormity of nature by night. If there was ever a time to get into stargazing and astronomy, now would be it.

We kinda like this vibe more anyway, Bezos.

A silhouette of a man standing under a starry sky.

Image source:Unsplash