As the holidays draw near, you may find yourself dreaming of an island escape in Honolulu, strolling through New York’s Central Park, trekking the Machu Picchu trail, or perhaps shopping in Paris! Your next holiday may not be so far away thanks to recent developments in technology that make planning a trip and travelling abroad more convenient, affordable, and easier than ever.
With a world of information available at the click of a button, there’s been a significant change in the way that people now research, plan and experience getaways. Whenever we’re hit with wanderlust, we have access to information from around the world – all from the comfort of our couch!
Whether it’s for a spur-of-the-moment long weekend getaway or the trip of a lifetime, here are some of the ways you can prepare and travel thanks to today’s technology.
Planning a holiday no longer means a trip to the travel agent for face-to-face advice and countless brochures. Where we once used to go to the local bookstore and grab the Lonely Planet book to guide us through our planning, now simply jumping online gives us everything we need to know at the press of a mouse button.
Travel sites such as Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Traveller serve up price comparisons, reviews and recommendations on where to stay and where to get a good feed. These sites also give tips on what to see and do while you’re in each location.
When you’re ready to dive in and book in your plans, you no longer have to wait in lines for tickets. Sites such as Hotels Combined and Airbnb will have your bookings completed and a booking confirmation sent to your email in minutes. Just like that, you’re ready to jet set!
When it comes to getting around on holiday, it can now be as simple as picking up your smartphone and finding a free WiFi connection. Thanks to apps such as Uber, with the click of a button you can be picked up by car and dropped off at your desired destination. If you’re trying to find your way around, Google Maps will be your best friend – you can even download maps to your phone in advance so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll have reception or WiFi access.
Before you arrive at your destination, check out the travel options to work out the most cost effective and efficient routes. Whether it be travelling via public transport, car services such as Uber, or hiring a car for the duration of the visit. Most car rental companies are now online so you can book your vehicle online and have it ready to be picked up when you arrive at your destination.
If you’re travelling on your own and looking for a mate while on holiday, sites such as Tour bar, Couchsurfing, and Meetup can connect you with other people who are travelling solo so you can adventure and sight see together as a group. Remember, be sure to check out the safety recommendations on each site and take caution when meeting up with new people.
If you’re looking for things to do, apps such as Culture Trip will let you to see what’s going on in the local area including events, festivals and activities you can check out while on your trip.
Packing no longer means taking a suitcase that’s big enough to jam in a pile of travel books, CDs, music devices, reading books, and all the necessities you need such as clothing and toiletries.
Phrasebooks and language dictionaries have been replaced by smartphones and the likes of Google Translate and reading books (I say “books” because options are essential when you don’t know what you’ll feel like reading!) have been replaced by eBooks. Likewise, Discman’s and CDs have been replaced with smartphones and music apps such as iTunes or Spotify.
The huge array of comparison sites by the likes of Expedia, Hotels Combined, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor, and Traveller make finding the best deal way easier. Smartphones now mean we can also book online while on-the-go and check in online as an efficient and eco-friendly alternative. In fact, airports are encouraging passengers to check-in before arrival and use a digital copy of their boarding pass to board fights.
For travelers with tight funds, sharing accommodation in a cost-effective way has been made possible with companies such as Airbnb. For the spontaneous types, Last Minute is a great site to get cheap accommodation and flights when you book spur-of-the-moment. These options are great for younger people who have the travel-bug and are wanting to start exploring sooner rather than later.
Did you know that Cuba has two currencies? It’s true! They have one for tourists and one for locals. Doing your research when it comes to your money is important. You can also get savvy with your currency conversion thanks to sites such as TravelMoneyMax. Start looking at least one month before your holiday to see how the currency fluctuates and when you can get the best bang for your buck.
A savvy way to travel safe is the Government’s Smart Traveller app and website. You can subscribe to updates and find tips on how to travel safe in each location and also document your trip just in case something goes awry.
Communication has changed from payphones and postcards to letting family know you’re safe and keeping them in the loop with an available WiFi connection. Free calls can be made using free WiFi connections through apps such as Viber, WhatsApp, Skype, and Facebook Messenger.
Social media now also means you can connect with new found friends you meet along the way and stay in touch as you move from one travel destination to the next.
If you’re keen to meet some new peeps on the plane, KLM offer a Meet and Seat service and Virgin Airlines have an inflight messaging system, so travellers can view the social profiles of other people they’re flying with and get chatting.
Documenting your trip
Looking back on photos can bring back memories that may have faded over time. And it’s great to reminisce about your trip in the years to come! If it’s not online, did you even travel?! Social apps including Snapchat and Instragram mean you can show your friends and family where you are going and what you are doing along the way.
Thanks to the reverse camera and selfie sticks, asking people to take our photo next to Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty is a thing of the past. Photos can also be reviewed instantly so you won’t be disappointed when they’re printed and you’ve left the country!
New jobs and newfound fame
You may have seen our Instafamous blog featuring the lucky couple Gypsea Lust and Do You Travel who travel the world documenting their adventures via blog and Instagram. Tech has enabled people to share their adventures on social media, captivating followers worldwide. Give documenting your trip a go next time – maybe your travel blog will be the next big thing!
With 195 countries, seven continents, five oceans, and seven seas, your travel options here on Earth are virtually endless. Cassandra De Pecol visited all 195 countries in a record time of one year and 193 days! Where would you visit first? Let us know in the comments.