Hail a cab? Honey, this is 2019 and we're about to hail a submarine.
In a partnership between Uber and Australian tourist group Tourism Queensland, you can now book a scUber, a submarine that will take you through Australia's Great Barrier Reef (sans snorkeling gear or scuba license).
Photo: Courtesy of Uber
Here's how it works: Starting May 27 and lasting through June 18 in select Queensland cities, you can book a scUber ride for two through the Uber app, which includes helicopter rides to and from the mainland. From there, you'll go on a one-hour tour through the Great Barrier Reef to see all the marine life and underwater ecosystems you can handle. All for a cool $3,000 AUD (which is about $2,000 USD). But you can also enter to win a scUber trip vacation package.
Travel trends in 2019, according to TravelPirates experts
Travel trends in 2019, according to TravelPirates experts
1. Bucket-List Hotel Stays
"Hotels that are the attraction will be huge in 2019. Think: hotels with outdoor showers in Manhattan, beer on tap in the room, guest art classes led by a local artist, social networks for meeting other guests (and connecting digitally as you would at a good old-fashioned hostel), and walking tours of the local neighborhood.
Hotels aren’t just your starting point for travel anymore, they are your destination. People are putting accommodation at the top of their bucket lists."
2. Curation — But Ditch the Travel Agent
"This is not your parent’s cookie-cutter trip. The same-old, same-old is not in fashion anymore for travelers: they’re not looking for trendy destinations. They want to see what’s not blowing up on their Instagram feeds.
Travelers want websites that cull the knowledge of experienced travelers and lets them know where they should go and how. Inspiration is a big business."
3. Don’t Think, Go! The Rise of Spontaneous Traveler
"Point to a place on a map and go. Weekends aren’t for farmers markets anymore. Travelers want to embrace the spontaneous lifestyle — bookings for last-minute trips are up and will only continue to rise.
From a weekend trip to Bermuda or the Hamptons to a spur-of-the-moment booking for next week, the “just go” attitude is here."
4. Off-Peak Season Is On
"The boom of cheap international flights from the U.S. has led to an increase in travel. The catch used to be that many of these $99 one-way flights sent you abroad in the “off-peak” season. Yes, off-peak season, where the weather is cool, the bookings available, and crowds minimal. Sounds not-so-off, right!"
5. Food Tourism Embraces Fusion
"“Authenticity” is a huge buzzword, but apply it to food and it sparks debate. Food tourism was on the rise in 2018, but 2019 will take it to a new level, as travelers look to experience the food fusions that reflect the modern culture of the destination.
From the Singaporean hawker centers that dole out dishes that stem from the diverse ethnic group of the country to the famous bulgogi taco of Southern California to Montreal’s restaurant representation of 50-plus nationalities, travelers want to taste something different."
"In-room smart devices were a popular trend in 2017, but some hotel chains are taking the demand for hyper-connectivity to the next level with keyless room access. At Yotel Boston, you can check into your room using the chain’s app — no key required. What’s more, the Boston branch has a robot butler, YO2D2, who can deliver amenities and chat with you in the hotel’s lounge."
7. Communal Spaces — and the Hostel Vibe
"Chic, shared spaces are quickly becoming the norm for modern hotel chains. Why? Millennials want the community experience of a hostel with the luxurious furnishings of a hotel. The rooms at The Pod Hotel in Brooklyn are a minimalist’s dream, but the hotel really shines for its communal spaces.
It boasts a trendy rooftop bar and garden — the perfect place for hanging with other travelers."
8. Unique Amenities
"You know the oft-quoted mantra of seasoned travelers: See the city like a local. Authenticity is not just a recent buzzword, and the push for off-the-beaten-path travel has been amplified recently. The Freehand Hotel in New York City offers curated programming like nude drawing classes hosted by a local artist and historic walking tours of the local area.
New York City’s Arlo Hotel has suites with an outdoor shower for a truly memorable Manhattan experience — complete with shower beer."
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According to an official press release, the launch of scUber supports the “ongoing protection and conservation of the world's largest coral reef system through Uber’s partnership with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef.” The reef itself has suffered a lot of damage recently, but plans have been proposed to help repair the ecosystem (like the Reef 2050 Plan).
According to Uber, the scUber experience will be available first on Heron Island (off the eastern coast of Australia in the Southern Great Barrier Reef region) from May 27, before moving north to Agincourt Reef from June 9 onward.
One question: How much do you tip a submarine driver?
Stony Coral Colony and soldier fish Great Barrier Reef Australia
Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
Pair, snorkeler, dives hand in hand over coral reef, looks at fish, flagfishes (Anthiadinae) reeffish, Great Barrier Reef, Pacific
Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef, a unique coral formation. Queensland, Australia
Green Turtle Swimming Over Coral in the Great Barrier Reef Australia
Satellite image of Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
Child (girl age 5-6) snorkeling dive in the Great Barrier Reef in the tropical north of Queensland, Australia
Aerial view of coral formations at Hardys Reef. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
A clown fish playing in the anemone at a reef in the Great Barrier Reef
Underwater photo of a giant clam
Young woman snorkelling in a Coral reef at the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia
Underwater Life; FISH: Sports; SCUBA DIVING: Two Scuba Divers swimming on Tropical Coral Reef with Fish: Moorish Idol (Zanclus comutus), a Pair of Masked Rabbitfish (Siganus puellus), and some Anthias (Pseudanthias sp.), Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, South Pacific Ocean, Australia. (Digital Composite)
Tropical fish - Convict Tang Fish, Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef