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Disclaimer: We are not, in any shape or form, hereby responsible for any harm or injury caused by attempting to fit into an atomic nucleus. Please follow the instructions below without hesitation but with caution, and please use common sense upon leaving the normal world. And read quickly, but please, take your time. The contents of this article have been given a certified rating by the International Nanotourist Association.

Nano-tourism or nanotourism is a relatively new form of tourism, which has come to prominence only recently, and involves moving travellers in scale between the normal world and that of the smaller worlds beneath. (Although termed nano-tourism, the most common scale changes do not necessarily approach nano-scaled objects in the scientific sense.)


Nanotourists typically spend a few minutes to several hours in a shrunken state, as directed by a qualified physician (see #Get in). While in this state, they explore an area of their choice, examining molecules if appropriate, eating the local cuisine, and staying away from danger. When their mission is complete, the qualified physician will return them to their normal size (unless they try the McDonald's method, see #Go next for more information). The nano world is referred to by many as the "final frontier", and there are various plans and itineraries to suit all sizes of budgets (pre shrinkage of course).


Travellers who have been to Hollywood might get a feeling of déjà-vu

Although popularized by creative interpretations of what lies beyond the "limits of magnification" since at least the early 20th century, nano-tourism was not considered practical until the 21st century.

Whilst it's rumored that classified government-backed work on appropriate miniaturisation techniques was under development by the late 1960's (debunked at the time as a fantastic voyage of the imagination by critics), it was commercial sector developments in the 1980s that opened up the field to the general public. At least two techniques were under consideration in the United States by 1987. The Pendleton and Szalanzki incidents (in 1987 and 1988), respectively, however, resulted in a brief moratorium on commercial developments whilst a new regulatory framework was developed. By the early 1990's, Szalanzki had obtained patent recognition, effectively closing out competitors.

The Salanazki patents expired during 2010, opening up commercial development of nano-tourism by others. Competitors to Szalinzki include Bixby-Clement (rumored to have been involved in the still not fully disclosed 1960's govt programmes), Martin-Baker, Wexler, Zsigmondy-Zeiss (favoured in Europe), and Taniguchi (Japan). Rumours of a former russian Kroxanaut programme entering the nano tourism sector in 2019 have not yet been confirmed by a firm announcement.


The periodic table

The locals, who are called "atoms", identify themselves into groups called "elements"; there are about 120 of these, and the most common include hydrogen, helium, oxygen, nitrogen, etc. Some individuals try to be more complex, and therefore identify themselves as lead, uranium, or even plutonium, but these individuals find it hard to stick together. In addition, there are broader groups like metals and nonmetals, which are polar opposites, and individuals more moderate like the semimetals. Many locals form voluntary associations, which are called "molecules". These can range from very small, like water, to enormous associations that claim to be the basis for all other lifeforms, such as DNA chromosomes.

A census is taken regularly and the results are recorded on the periodic table. Occasionally, the periodic table is adjusted due to new discoveries, although the locals say that only humans make those kinds of errors and that the true periodic table, which was constructed by the locals, has been accurate as long as it has been in existence.


  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989). Rick Moranis stars in this hard-hitting cautionary tale about the dangers of unaccompanied-minor nanotourists. Portions of this film were heavily influenced by the intreim report into the Salanazki incident.
  • The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) This movie won a Hugo Award for its realistic depiction of combat at insect scale, and gripping social commentary on the then emerging concept of nanotourism.
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018) This movie features Michael Douglas making a trip to the Quantum Realm to rescue Michelle Pfeiffer, who was stranded there after an accident, further highlighting the unique risks of nanotourism.

What size of vacation?

Some of the content of this article relates to tourism to the true 'nano' level. However some nano-tourism does not go to that scale of involvement, and the tourist is essentially only transitioning down to 1:46 (in the US) or 1:87 (in Europe) scale, which provokes Oh! and Oh Oh! reactions from new nano-tourists. Germany has some excursions to 1:220, and not to be outdone Japan has recently opened up regular excursions to the 1:450 realms.

Get in

Travel Warning Visa restrictions:
Due to restrictions in the legal system, it is currently impossible to shrink to microscopic size if you are over 7 ft (2.1 m) in height and weigh over 250 lb (110 kg). See a medical doctor if you are unsure if you will be able to shrink to the correct size — the doctor will measure your height, weight, and circumference and determine if you can potentially be a nanotourist. Do not attempt shrinking without having approval to do so from a qualified physician (and preferably a physicist as well).

You have to be small. No, not just Nils Holgersson small but really really tiny. CERN and similar institutions are rumored to have the equipment if you need help with this. Unfortunately, San Francisco's cable cars haven't quite caught up with this technology, so if you're a resident of California, you'll have to travel a long way to find a place where shrinking is possible and legal.

The black market has a strong presence in the nanotourism industry, but in the U.S. it is against federal law to shrink without having a medical doctor to conduct the process; criminals in the nanotourism industry charge high rates and are often wanted for large sums of money. Nanotourism travel is an all-or-nothing proposition. Do not believe claims that nanotourism techniques can be applied to shrink your waistline, for example. It is, however, a quite reliable method of shrinking the balance in your bank accounts, so get a written quote in advance. Always purchase a round-trip travel fare from a reputable provider, to eliminate the risk of price gouging on one-way return trips.

There is a network of world cities that offer legal, free shrinking daily. (In many countries, taxes labeled as "scientific purposes" are actually used to fund the nanotourism industry.) Free shrinking is available in some of the major world cities like London, New York City, Paris, Hamburg, Moscow, Tokyo, Mexico City, among others scattered around all the continents except Antarctica. The physicians who do the shrinking in these cities work for the government, have received a college degree in the business, and have all been through the shrinking process themselves. Therefore, they won't, for example, shrink you to a height of 1 in (25 mm) and then step on you, which is what some black market operators are known to do. In short, never ask a stranger to bring you down to microscopic size. Remember that whoever makes you shrink will also need to be there to return you to normal size when you want to, or else you will be faced with a life at microscopic size.

Passports for entry into the nano world may be obtained at any state or federal government offices. You are required by international law to show this passport to your medical doctor before shrinking.

Get around

By waves

A popular way to get around in the superior smaller world is via acoustic waves, though some prefer to ride thermal differentials. Electromagnetic waves are a little too fast and within a few years of travelling on one of these, you'll find yourself in another solar system. They're also known for their side-effects like undesired changes in mass and length, so stick to the acoustic waves and thermal differentials.

Since acoustic waves are commonly used for travel, sound is extremely valuable in the nano world, and since locals do not typically have any hearing, they can only guess where the acoustic waves are. This makes airports popular destinations for locals, not so they can board a plane, but since the sound produced by the jets can be used for transportation.

By Rail

Yes, you can find moderately extensive rail systems at certain 'micro' scale resorts, but be warned that in others the system may only be a simple loop or out and back line linking 2 or 3 small stations with a central terminus. That said you can find all manner of heritage stock in operation in these lines, especially in Europe.

By road

Streets tend to be well-aligned, but warmer areas can be more hectic. Currently, there is no public transportation system, and there are no plans for such a system to exist. There are no cars or bicycles, since these are seen as inefficient modes of travel by the locals, since they compare cars and bicycles to acoustic waves. Therefore, oil is not valued in the nano world and is disposed of in regions that are considered by the locals to be wastelands (or "oil wells"), notably Texas, the North Slope of Alaska, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and outside of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Nigeria. There, the oil is reused by other, unknown organisms who apparently value the oil for purposes unclear to the locals.

A helium atom

On foot

If you're out for a stroll, it's easiest to get around molecules with a crystalline structure; it can be extremely difficult to find your way through substances that have an amorphous structure. A general rule of thumb is to know what kind of substance you're going through before you go through it.

But if you go on foot, you'll travel very slowly. This has its benefits — it's harder to accidentally find yourself in another universe. But, unfortunately, it means that you won't be able to see so much.

By electron

Sit on an electron and literally get around the atom nucleus of your choice. If you like, you can sing the 80s classic "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)", and in 95 out of 118 cases it's appropriate to bring an electric guitar and make it a metal cover. However, it's important to keep in mind that playing an electric guitar, if it is at its normal size, is rather difficult when you're so small — the strings will seem as large as the asteroid belt. If you want to successfully play the instrument, you will have to shrink it, too.

However, if you're looking for a positive atmosphere, don't hang around electrons, since they are always negative. Head to the nucleus, where there are protons, for a more positive atmosphere.

By motor protein

Kinesin on a microtubule

In living cells, molecules are often carried between parts of the cells using motor proteins, with the most common ones being kinesin, dynein and myosin. The former two make use of a network of highways known as microtubules, while the latter makes a separate, secondary network of highways known as microfilaments. As these usually carry larger loads than plain electrons, they are a good choice for people who are larger in size.

By thumb

If you can find any molecules that are moving, just get on top of them and they'll take you wherever they go. While this can be quite a pleasant ride, it's extremely slow, and makes a snail's pace seem fast. Still worse, you must be in a liquid or gas for this to work, and even if you're in one of these, you'll rarely travel direct from one place to another. (One way to solve this problem is create pressure differences so molecules will have a tendency to move a certain way.)


The Islets of Langherans—maybe not quite a trip to the Caribbean

Since there will be so many potential places to visit when you're this small, it's hard to pinpoint specific destinations that are the best to visit. A list of such destinations could never be all-inclusive since, like the normal world, there are simply so many possible places to visit. Since the various destinations are in various parts of the world and so far apart, travel around via acoustic waves as recommended as stated in #Get in.

  • Knuffingen. Started as a 'micro' scale resort attraction and city, this city has grown into a veritable architectural park, with sections of the city environs representing an entire cross section of European influences, as well as a district that would be highly familiar to those visiting from North America. Linked by an extensive railway, there are even connections to Hamburg by ICE train. Aviation enthusiasts should make a Bee-line for Knuffingen Airport, for sheer variety of aircraft types. There's even a suitably scaled mountain for those wanting to try ski-ing at smaller scales, although be warned that the gravity of a skiing accident can catch up fairly quickly.
  • Bekconsot environs. This charming portion of semi-rural England, set apart from the Chiltern Hills around, is certainly worth the time to visit, and tends to attract a more conservative crowd compared to other resort destinations. Portions of the buildings have been restored in recent years, to their original glory, often with extensive historical and architectural research involved. The usual pastimes of the English can be observed. You might even find an old fashioned travelling fair, on an otherwise quiet green. A moderately extensive railway service operates, with extensive heritage services and rolling stock used.
  • Lilliput. First mentioned in the well respected writings of a celebrated Dean (which reached at least a Second Edition), this small nation has Swiftly developed since the 1800's into a flourishing liberal democracy interested in both the sciences and the arts. It can of course be appreciated all the more so now that tourists can do so on a scale more sustainable to the Lilliputian resources and economy. Whilst a liberal nation, some issues such as Brexit should be avoided as they upset well-heeled memebrs of Lilliputian society, and break too many political eggs.
  • The Lowlands of Shaeg-Pile, Kar-pet, and the Par-ket plain. Shaeg-Pile and Kar-pet present a veritable mini jungle in which to explore unique fauna or look for lost treasure perhaps. Where as the vast Par-ket plains, present an interesting set of geometric features extending out in a plain. A local guide is strongly recommended.
  • The Ant City. And you thought dinosaurs were big....
  • Cruise the Islets of Langherans, Phone number: not available currently. Hours: Unfortunately, if you want to know when it's open, you'll have to go check.
  • Tiny Township, Ontario, Canada. Size is, truly, in the eye of the beholder.
  • Smallville, Kansas, USA.
  • The "Giants", 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, California (Baseball stadium). This baseball team is composed, literally, of giants when you're at microscopic size. Most importantly, though, don't get hit by a baseball (or, for similar reasons, a baseball bat) — when you're so small, there could be some serious consequences. Expensive for humans; free if you can't be seen by normally-sized humans, since they handle tickets and admission. However, many sports stadiums are considering the possibilities of hiring nano-sized individuals to watch out for potential nanotourists trying to sneak into their sports stadiums.


Microcracks: Like the Grand Canyon without the crowds

All kinds of interesting structures and patterns, most of them rather regular. Things are known for being a little quirky in the nano world, though; ever heard of quarks? There's plenty to see but since so much of it looks similar, you'll probably spend more time getting to know the locals and consuming polysaccharide molecules than sightseeing.


See also: Nuclear tourism

The nano world is a great place for hands-on nanotechnology experiments. Just be careful — seriously. Don't try to split atoms, or else, you'll have a real problem on your hands. And don't try to combine atoms, because that's actually very troublesome as well. And if you want to build molecules (see Wikivoyage:Joke articles/Nanotourism#People), know what molecule you're going to make before you make it. Don't just randomly assemble atoms and wonder what the result is, or else not only may you have a problem on your hands, but may soon not have any hands at all!

Unfortunately, the nano world doesn't have any parks or other areas set aside for preservation; however, space contains almost no matter, so it is more-or-less complete wilderness. Since when you've been shrunk, you'll probably have a mass of almost nothing at all, it is quite easily to float up into space. However, make sure you can get back or else, if you're that small and you get lost in outer space, you'll never be found again.

Music is of very high quality in the nano world, since there are so many good conductors (musical genres include heat and electricity). The concept of a live concert has not yet developed in the nano world however, as instruments such as nano guitars are quite expensive to fabricate.


Unfortunately, there are currently no schools or universities for the nanotourists, although any physics book will do. There is, however, a professor called Experience who is unpopular, though commonly encountered, by the locals. Despite being unpopular, he is considered by a better teacher than Foolishness, who occupies the minds of locals but more often occupies the minds of nanotourists who think they can put any molecules together, as they choose (see #Do for more information).

The best way to learn while you're a nanotourist is to explore the world around you without doing anything dangerous — but that's not always easy.


Compared to other destinations, money is not such a problem at small scales. Combining 79 protons and 118 neutrons with a good measure of electrons will readily get you some gold, which you can use to acquire some exotic souvenirs. The downside is that scams are highly likely, since paper euros and dollars are far too large for use.

Apple has long been trying to make devices at a size appropriate for the nano world; the closest they got was the Apple Watch, which, frankly, wasn't that close. Modern computer chips in the nano world seem to be about the same size as the ones made back in the 1970s, so to locals they seem very primitive.

In a similar way to how humans buy clothes and groceries, the locals trade electrons, neutrons, and protons with each other to change the way they look. While some locals choose to live frugally and stick to the bare necessities (hydrogen or helium are good examples) many choose to form bonds and use various sneaky means to gain as much as possible — however, the greedier they get, the faster their downfall. One such local accumulated so much that he turned into Livermorium and fell apart almost instantly.



Popular meals include monosaccharide and polysaccharide molecules, but since we're in the 21st century, fast food has become greatly popular. Many restaurant brands known to normally-sized humans have moved into the nanotourism sector and they have had great success among nanotourists. But, most importantly, be extremely careful when you decide to eat lunch, since you will essentially be eating the locals, which will be very unpopular with them. As suggested by #People, the bigger the molecules you consume, the more locals you'll be destroying; for this reason, many locals are intensely fearful of nanotourists.

Unsurprisingly, small plates are very popular with nanotourists. Anything else will be so large that you'll have severe indigestion when you return to your normal size. The national dish is quark, but it may be a bit different from what you're used to.

In the nano world, you don't have to worry about disease-carrying bacteria being in your food, since if they are in the food, you can see them and therefore dispose of them by whatever means necessary. Anyway, most bacteria will be too large to get in your food (see #Stay healthy), so you can in most cases be sure that your food is free of germs.

Another notable fact is that fast-food chains can't color their food, since the food coloring molecules would be large enough to be seen. Therefore, you will notice a significant difference in the appearance of some foods, and while this might turn you right off eating those foods ever again, at least you'll have learned something.

  • McDonald's. When they speak of a "Big Mac" here, they mean really big. McDonald's stores in the nano world have pixelated-looking Ms around their stores because each molecule is visible in the shape; also, since paint just doesn't work in the nano world, the famous Ms aren't yellow.


Drinking is rather difficult because you literally have to consume each molecule at a time, spoiling the whole concept of drinking a liquid. If you do need some water, though, just combine two hydrogen atoms with an oxygen atom over and over again and you'll soon have plenty of water to last the day. But be careful and concentrate on what you're doing, minor errors are enough to end up with heavy water, hydrogen peroxide or such. However, to avoid doing this work, it makes sense to drink before you shrink and then again after you have returned to normal size.


Tired after a long day? Take a small break in the elliptical quantum corral

Sleeping in the nano world is much the same as sleeping in the normal world. However, considering what could go wrong while you're sleeping, it's likely best to get back to your normal size before sleeping.


Giants have a tendency to name some of the elements after cities in their own world — to name a few, Livermorium, Berkelium, and Californium. Locals despise this practice and, therefore, the use of such terms won't make you anyone's best friend.

Since everything is governed from the cell nucleus, politics is not a serious issue. Instead, generally the worst thing you can do is tell a bunch of nonmetals that you prefer metals or vice versa; insulting metals is especially unwise, since metals are conscious that, if they form large enough associations, they are safe from human consumption, and can do more damage to you than you can do to them. If any of the locals tempt you to go near an electric socket, get away as soon as possible.


Most activities take place in a cell nucleus, if you can find one of those. It's impossible to communicate with the locals since they don't have eyes or ears.


Bonding with the locals is easy if you have the right chemistry, just beware of over-the-top reactions. If you're not seeing enough reactions take place, try using a catalyst.

The molecular association fully described as "One Oxygen Atom Combined with Two Hydrogen Atoms" (known in short as "water") is the equivalent of the local fire department. Various other associations claim to have similar abilities. There is no police station but various chemicals are known for curing various diseases, so tourists may want to try these.

Stay healthy

Caution Note: Bugs are HUGE in this world, so nanotourism is certainly not to be recommended if you suffer from arachnophobia or entomophobia. The same goes for viruses and bacteria.

It is well-known among locals that when humans become nanotourists, they often suffer greatly from phobias — for example, arachnophobia. Therefore, beginning in 2018, qualified physicians were no longer allowed to shrink individuals with such phobias. Actually, though nanotourism is seen as a cure for claustrophobia, since rooms of the house and the insides of cars suddenly seem very large.

On a (somewhat) positive note, however, your problems with seasonal allergies are at an end — the pollen will be too large for you to inhale.

Stay safe

Travel Warning WARNING: Some atoms will react when they meet. Don't go near them when that happens, because insane amounts of energy are often emitted — enough to knock you over or even instantly kill you.

Be careful to not leave your belongings behind as it can be hard to find them back, and be careful to not accidentally shrink the kids. Be careful what particles you mix—what's known to normal-sized humans as dangerous is very, very dangerous when you're at nano size. Definitely, don't go near sidewalks and highways because of the associated risks when you're so small. Imagine you're an insect and then go only where an insect would go.

Also, be extremely careful not only for earthquakes and tornadoes, but also a phenomenon called Brownian motion that can throw objects around like nothing else imaginable. Another extremely dangerous phenomenon, commonly called rain, occurs when large quantities of water fall to the ground in large clusters, instantly drowning large regions of the lithosphere.

Go next

You did remember to schedule a time to get enlarged back, didn't you?? If not, there's no reason to panic — you just gotta Super Size yourself by eating at McDonald's, which (as per #Eat) have locations in the nano world too. The more calories, the larger you'll get — just be careful that you don't turn too chubby when you're back at your normal size.

See also

  • Science tourism — perhaps, though, nanotourism isn't as related to science as it sounds, considering the above...
  • Big things in Australia — if you can stomach being upside down for long periods of time, this is a safer way of feeling small.
This tiny travel topic is an outline. Use a magnifying glass to see it in usable size. A microscope to expand it to guide. AND A TELESCOPE FOR STAR SIZE!