Across the pond, one clever company has found a creative way to entice would-be globe-trotters: travelers short on time and long on wanderlust can now visit Egypt without boarding a plane. Throughout the year, Thomson (, the travel agency giant, will bring its multimedia Virtual Holiday to 20 of its flagship branches. Customers don a special headset that lets them not only see and hear the African country's top attractions (Valley of the Kings, the temples of Karnak, the Red Sea) but also smell the spices of the Naama Bay open-air market and the musty tomb of a pharaoh. If the new technology succeeds in getting viewers to book a trip, Thomson will make additional exotic destinations available next year, taking armchair travel into the 21st century.
—Elena Bowes