UNLESS YOU'VE been living on the moon for the last few years, you'll no doubt be aware of the internet phenomenon of social media. Be it sharing photos with your friends on Facebook or spilling the gossip on Twitter, social media is the new online bees-knees.
The concept of using the web to network is no longer confined to business and friendship. Nowadays, social online activity encompasses travel too.
A clutch of new websites have sprung up to cater the new concept of 'social travel'. Beginning with the concept of couch-surfing among mates and newly found net-buddies, the movement has evolved into a multi-million pound industry offering up chic urban pads to a new breed of social-travellers.
Keen to get a flavour of this emerging trend, we sent our very own Hannah Cohen to Vienna to find out what it's all about.
"In Vienna I was fortunate enough to stay with a lovely archaeologist/astrologist couple living in the Weiden/Margareten district of Vienna," said Hannah.
"They hosted us in one of their several luxurious apartments - all available on social travel site Wimdu - in walking distance to the Belvedere Palace. We were welcomed with a stupendous dinner and stories of their frequent guests. They led us around their beautiful apartment to guide us through their art dating back to the 1600's, which decorated each and every corner. By the end of the night we were extremely full and able to predict our futures, thanks to our astrological readings and kindly hosts."
Social travellers "have the option of staying in the host's home privately or sharing it with either the tenant or another guest," says Hannah.
"With such a great variety of lifestyles and hosts, the guest really chooses an experience that caters to both their budget and lifestyle, offering an opportunity to socialize with locals and make the most of a new city."
Things to do in Vienna
As for Vienna itself Hannah explains: "It would be impossible to visit Vienna without relaxing in one of the best Viennese cafes for hours on end with delicious coffee, pastries, and a good book. The Viennese will inform you that this is the way to spend a typical Sunday. A must try is the Mélange-coffee with milk, similar to a cappuccino but made with mild coffee."
"Next, be sure to walk through the gardens leading up to the Belvedere Palace and enjoy the view of the city from top. If you prefer a day in the centre of Vienna and want to indulge in the marketplace then the Naschmarkt should be on your list. However, be aware that there is both a buy and try line. Sausages, olives, and spices of every kind will tempt you, so be sure to make a visit while your stomach is empty."
"Vienna has recently become well known for their pop-up restaurants. We enjoyed a delicious and luxurious meal at hofzeile27."
Hannah Cohen travelled to Vienna courtesy of social travel site Wimdu. Their apartments and homes vary in size and price, with options for a wide choice of budgets in many cities including London. Hannah stayed at this Viennese apartment.