Google AustraliaAround the web we’ve seen a surge of travel news already this month, and to keep you up to date we’ve rounded up yesterday’s most exciting announcements, from Google Maps’ Street Roo to map Australia’s Outback, to Virgin Volcanic’s introduction of volcano expeditions. There’s also a host of new airline options and even some job postings worth looking into (especially if you, like most people, did not win this weekend’s Mega Millions lottery).

You’ve undoubtedly already heard of Virgin Galactic’s space tourism, but Virgin announced yesterday its next project, Virgin Volcanic, which will allow travel to the cores of active volcanoes (www.virginvolcanic.com). Trips in the 3-person WS1 volcano vehicle are scheduled to begin in 2015, with initial trips manned by Virgin billionaire CEO Sir Richard Branson, Tom Hanks, Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, Seth Green, and Barbara Kopple, a two-time Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker who will direct a documentary on the expeditions. As Sir Richard says, “Alongside our adventures with Virgin Galactic and Virgin Oceanic, volcanoes are the next great unexplored terrain. What can I say, I lava challenge!”


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Spirit Airlines is also getting into the spirit (pun intended) of exploration with moon expeditions at only $9 each way if booked round trip (www.spiritgalactic.com), although that offer was only valid yesterday. Aside from the $9 each way, however, Spirit loaded on its usual hidden fees with space suits at $1,000,000, oxygen masks (which sold out) at $2,000,000, and rocket fuel at $1,200,000,000.99. The deal wasn’t great, but it’s good to see Spirit taking such large steps toward the future of space tourism.


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For those of you who can’t quite afford space or volcano travel, air travel has its own new offerings. We’re particularly excited about WestJet’s Kargo Kids program, which takes the kids out of cabins and puts them with a Kargo Counselor and out of everyone’s hair. At the baggage desk, you can send your kids off in a travel toboggan and breathe easy – they’ll be taken to the special VIP cargo area with other kids, toys, and a state-of-the-art feed trough. (If traveling in comfort and relaxation isn’t important to you, but traveling cheaply is, consider Air New Zealand’s standing tickets instead. With new hand holds hanging from the ceilings and the STRAIGHTUPFARE, passengers can stand in the aisles and fly for less.)

If road trips are more to your speed (and budget), Google has introduced new ways for you to plan your drives. Finally, the millions of Nintendo Entertainment System owners can soon access an 8-bit Google Maps Quest via NES cartridge and dial-up connection. Yesterday the 8-bit Quest Mode was also available for computers, but if you missed that, you’ll just have to wait for the NES cartridges; a Game Boy version is also in the works. Google Australia also announced its innovative new Google Street Roo, which will equip Big Red kangaroos with 360 degree cameras to capture street views of the Outback.

(Note: This news is brought to you by April Fools’ Day, and is therefore entirely fictional. Happy April!)

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