Modern technology is progressing at a rapid rate, and it is changing how we go about our daily lives. From work and study to entertainment and communication, internet-enabled devices have had a major impact on all aspects of life. This includes travel and what we do in our free time, such as camping and glamping. Technology can make it easier to see the world and visit new places, and it can give holidaymakers a wider range of choices. Through a computer or even a mobile phone, trips can be booked and paid for.
Once the trip starts, technology still plays a crucial role in making the holiday a good one. From translating foreign phrases and finding local restaurants to keeping in touch with loved ones back home, having a mobile on holiday is a must for most people. 92% of Australians say their phone is an essential item on their holiday checklist, and two-thirds of those respondents use their phone to check in with news from back home, using social media sites and apps.
Social media and video sharing
Even when we travel, are we ever really away from friends and family these days? Social media and video calling can link people together, no matter where they travel to. Instead of waiting for postcards, people can hear about their friends’ trips as they are happening through the magic of technology. 52% of Facebook users said that their friend’s photos inspired their travel plans. On Instagram, there are 153,105,752 million posts which use the hashtag #travel, and a further 68 million for #holiday. Technology means that when we have a great time on our travels, we no longer need to wait to share that experience with friends. Through pictures and live video, they can share the trip in real time and everyone back home can share in the trip as well.
Being your own travel agent
There are lots of reasons to use a travel agency to book your next vacation – they save you time and stress, they have insider knowledge of destinations, and they can provide expert advice plus a few extras. However, they also add a lot to the cost of the average holiday. Thanks to technological advances, booking your own holiday – and getting a great deal – is easy for anybody to do. Internet-based travel agents are far cheaper than their land-based counterparts because they have fewer overheads to account for. For an even more budget-friendly option, travellers can use price comparison websites to get the lowest possible price direct from the supplier, or coupon websites which offer deals and discounts on travel.
A recent report revealed that 38% of coupon code searches relate to travel and holidays – beaten only by retail and eating out, which are also key components of any good trip! Holidaymakers want to get more for their money, and having access to the internet allows them to search for the best price, instead of settling for the first price offered. Using the internet to book travel can also secure cheap flights and help travellers grab the best rooms early, book activities and tickets for the trip, and even reserve a table at the local restaurant. Coupons and deals are great for securing cheap fun filled holiday experiences for your family; you can grab them from Frugaa which will help you plan your trip within budget.
Planning your trip online
For a truly memorable trip, you want to pack your days with lots of activities and see plenty of local sights. Technology can help you make the most of your time away. Before you go, use a travel planning app like TripIt on iPhone and Android to find the best places in your chosen destination. TripAdvisor is also a popular network, with reviews of people’s previous experiences coupled with tips for securing upgrades and boosting value for money.
Thanks to the internet, travellers can now plan every detail of their trip, stuffing their itineraries with plenty of things to see and do. Earlybird deals can be secured, seats can be reserved and many online guides feature direct links to tours and attractions. Review websites can also point out sights which the guide book might miss out, including charming local spots off the beaten track. Take a tourist experience or follow the recommendations of the locals: through the modern miracle of internet communication, we can all personalise and customise our vacations and make them truly memorable.
See where you are going before you set off
Struggling to choose a destination? Curious to see where you will be heading? Internet services are able to show you almost any place in the world, before you even leave. Take a virtual tour with Google Earth or Google Street View, or explore the world’s key cities with special panoramic tours. You can even see cruise ships, hotels, beaches and more yourself in stunning 3D detail with virtual reality tour experiences, now offered by many leading travel agents or through special mobile applications.
Virtual reality is one of the biggest disruptors to the travel sales industry right now, and many agencies are getting on board with the new technology. Using special headsets and high definition 3D graphics, agents can show their clients around a destination and help them choose if it is the right place for them. VR tours are about as close as you can get to seeing the world, without even leaving your chair! While the experience does not make up for a real trip, it can certainly be a big persuader when choosing a destination or a style of vacation.
Secure transport for your trip
When you head off on vacation and leave your own car behind, it can be daunting to tackle an unfamiliar public transport system. Yet again, your mobile or laptop can come to the rescue. Hundreds of cities across the world now have Uber services, with ride-share drivers available to help you get around. Mobiles can also link you with car rental and taxi firms. If you feel brave, why not try out your holiday city’s metro system, or take a ferry to see islands and towns on the coast. Through mobile devices, you can access maps and work out routes, fares, timings and more so you get where you are going safely, affordably and on schedule. Imagine being met from the airport by a waiting driver, and whisked away to your hotel suite without needing to lift a finger or carry a bag. Using your mobile, you could order a car from the arrivals suite and it could be waiting for you by the time you check out.
Find and purchase holiday insurance
Travel insurance can literally be a lifesaver if something goes wrong on a trip. Insurance can protect against financial loss in the event of an accident or illness, so patients can claim back costs used to access private healthcare overseas. Insurance can also cover the loss of personal possessions, either through accidental damage, forgetfulness or theft. However, 15% of travellers fail to take out any insurance when leaving the country, and a huge 58% never check the exclusions policy and other small print. This means that up to half of travellers could be without full cover when they need it.
Insurance is not only well worth the extra spend, but it is very easy to access online. Comparison websites help travellers find the best price for their needs, while search engines can take you directly to the top suppliers. Travel agencies can also advise on insurance, and there are online forums filled with helpful travellers who will answer any questions and provide as much information as they can.
Stay safe and check in
One of the biggest concerns affecting today’s travellers is that of international security and the threat of terror attacks. Countries such as France and Turkey where high-profile attacks on tourists have caused major loss of life have seen a dramatic decline in tourism visits and the general climate towards travel has cooled. In fact, there has been a significant rise in ‘staycationing’ – people taking their annual holiday in their home country. For example, domestic overnight stays in Queensland rose 11.6% in the last twelve months – compared with an international travel rise of just 5% overall.
However, having access to technology can help people feel much safer – and it can also help in the event of an emergency. Many travel agents will stay in touch with their clients during the trip, and provide an emergency number to call in the event of any problems. Cheap international calling and video calls ensure that people can reach home if they need to send a message, and mobile apps can provide information about current local news, how to access emergency services and what to do in the event of a natural disaster or terror event. Additionally, social sites such as Facebook now offer ‘check-in’ services where those travelling abroad can mark themselves as ‘safe’ if a disaster occurs in a place they are staying. This can reassure families back home while keeping phone lines free for the emergency services.
The future of travel
Technology is certainly making the world smaller, and people can travel to exotic and wonderful destinations at a relatively cheap cost. Not only this, but they can showcase those destinations through their social network posts, and inspire others to catch the travel bug too. As time goes on, new apps and services will bring much more automation to the typical trip, and studies suggest that in the future, the majority of trips will be booked and organised online.