Mobile technology has changed almost everything. It’s changed the way we work, the way we eat, the way we date and especially the way we travel. Because of innovations in mobile technology, travel has become easier and more accessible than ever before. These are seven ways mobile technology has changed travel, indefinitely.
1. Deciding on a Destination
Back in the day, if you wanted to discover new destinations you had to scour brochures in the lobby of a travel agency. People bought guides the size of telephones books and called up friends for personal recommendations on things to do. With the coming of the internet and apps like MyDestination and TripAdvisor, all of that information is at your fingertips, literally. There are also tons of travel bloggers that share awesome information about their amazing travels via Instagram and other social platforms. You don’t have to look further than your smartphone for inspiration.
2. Booking Flights and Hotels
In the past, you needed a really good travel agent to shop around and get you the best prices on flights and accommodation. Not anymore. Now, you can do it in seconds from your phone. Apps like Expedia, Travelocity and Kayak will even bundle flight and hotel packages for you. You can also read reviews and check out hotel amenities.
Travel has also become significantly more accessible thanks to alternative and more affordable accomodation options. There is, of course, the budget and student friendly Hostel World that allows you to find accommodation within their huge network of hostels all over the world. And if you’re adventurous or looking for even more unconventional travel options there’s CouchSurfing. And let’s not forget about Airbnb, which needless to say, changed the traveling FOREVER.
And guess what? All of these options are mobile, which means you can find flights and accommodation on the go.
3. Travel Documents
Once upon a time, people carried a small mountain of papers on any given trip: airplane tickets, confirmations numbers, maps, hotel reservations –the list goes on and on. Now, all of those documents are readily available on your mobile device. There are even apps like TripIt that organize them for you and keep them in one safe place. The only physical document you need to carry is your passport, but who knows what the future might bring.
4. On the Go Entertainment
Remember when your carryon bag was full of books, crossword puzzles and playing cards? Now all you need to entertain yourself while traveling and even on your vacation is on your phone or tablet. Mobile devices allow you to carry an infinite number of addicting games (Piano Tiles 2, Kill Shot Bravo, Rover Craft Racing) and an entire library of books around wherever you go. If you’re still carrying around paperback books, it’s time to let go.
5. Getting Around
No map, no problem. GPS navigation, namely Google Maps, brought a freedom and independence like no other. Whether you’re on foot, bike or public transport–the fastest, the shortest and the cheapest routes are all at your fingertips. You don’t need to ask for directions or wander around a city with your head in a map any longer…THANK GOODNESS.
Need to communicate with a local? You used to have to thumb through phrasebooks to try to figure out what to say, and that was only half the battle. The other half was figuring out what the native had said in return. Now with at least a dozen translating apps like Google Translate, iTranslate and Waygo, there is no need for any of that. All you need is right there in your phone.
6. Travel Photography
We’ve come a long way from disposable Kodak cameras. In the last 5 years, there have been tremendous improvements to mobile cameras. So much so, that you can arguably take professional quality photos with the latest iPhone or Android device (look it up, iPhone photography is a thing). You don’t even have to ask a stranger to take your photo anymore, thanks to the invention of the selfie stick. Couple that with extensive editing apps that enable you to do everything you could in a dark room and you have amazing travel photos without lugging around any equipment. Not to mention that you can share them INSTANTLY with your friends and family on Facebook and Instagram
It used to be that international calling cards were a travel necessity. Now you can call home for free from anywhere in the world. All you need is wifi access and you can make free calls via Skype. And if you’re #TeamIphone, there’s also FaceTime.
Amazingly, it’s not even necessary to make a phone call OR text anymore. You can check-in and communicate with your friends and family on social media…I mean, if you want to.
How has mobile technology enhanced your travel life? Let us know in the comments!