Seeing a city’s highlights from an open-top bus crammed with weary tourists is so passé. This 2009 is all about whizzing around on your own personal guided tour in a zero-emission mode of transport — the GPS-guided electric car. Hop in and enjoy the ride.
Electric Time Car Rentals, San Francisco
Electric Time cars are the eco- and leg-friendly way to crawl up and zoom down the notoriously steep streets of San Francisco. On board your cute little electric vehicle, your guide is an audio GPS system that shows you the city’s sights. Choose one of three routes and discover the city at your desired pace.
From the Japanese Tea Gardens to the overwhelming Golden Gate Bridge, this audio tour is a fun way to spend a sunny afternoon cruising around the city. From about $50/hour, www.etcars.com.
GoCar Tours, Barcelona
Scan the sights of Europe’s quirkiest capital behind the wheel of your yellow GoCar, an open-topped mini electric car with integrated GPS and a unique storytelling audio guide. The GPS ensures you don’t get lost while the audio guide gives lectures similar to those of a traditional tour, minus the herd-like experience. From the multi coloured Boqueria Market over to Gaudi’s magical unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral, Barcelona is there for you to discover.
Throughout 2009, head to the Hotel Miramar, which in association with GoCars is offering a hot new “deal on wheels.” This two-night package includes a five-star hotel suite and use of the GoCar throughout the day, from about $830; www.ac-hotels.com. Otherwise, GoCars cost about $55 for an hour; www.gocartours.es.
Bi-Partisan Tour Company, Washington DC
Show your allegiance with this alternative way to see Washington, D.C. The Bi-Partisan Tour Company, provides politically-driven tours in mini-electric cars. Get to know the federal city and if you’re feeling eccentric, toot the horn — an elephant trumpeting for the Republicans or a braying donkey for the Democrats.
You can even wear a rubber mask representing your favorite political figure — although this may obscure your vision when it comes to seeing the White House or the monuments of the Mall from your car. From about $50/hour, www.bi-partisantourcompany.com.