Travel has changed significantly over the past decade, mainly due to technology entirely upending how we plan trips and explore new places. No more are the days of paper confirmations, folding maps, and convoluted reservation processes. Now, the latest devices and networks work smarter and harder to simplify travel in every way possible.
It’s no surprise to hear that in recent years, 74% of travelers plan their trips on the internet, and 45% use their phones to plan every part of their vacation. Smartphones alone have changed travel as we know it. From online booking to mapping directions to finding the best restaurant in the area, every part of modern-day trips is easily accompanied and managed by the device in the palm of our hands.
With plenty of travel applications available to download, viewing your reservations on-the-go is easier than ever. Save paper when your booking details can be found right in the app; no need to spend precious time printing out confirmation papers before you leave. When synced to your calendar, things like flight bookings will often pop up on your screen the moment you need them.
Plenty of airlines and major hotel chains offer mobile apps where you can book directly from your device, simplifying your trip even more. Select specific seats, choose room types, or input details and requests that personalize your experience and make it the most comfortable for you and your party. Did you know that there’s even an app to get a direct airport ride, complete with luxury black car service? Plan out your trip from start to finish with ease, right from your phone.
But it doesn’t stop there. A variety of GPS-enabled platforms can give you directions and or the best routes available when you’re away from home. Track flight prices or compare hotel costs with customizable alerts, letting you when deals are available. Use social media to stay updated on the latest features added to your favorite travel apps and be the first to find out when there is a promo code or sale.
Taking stunning photos on a trip can be as easy as owning a smartphone released in the last few years. No need for a separate camera, charger, or memory cards, as many devices now offer up features like portrait and studio modes, can optimize picture color, and even capture enough ambient light to take photos in the dark.
It’s not a new thing to be able to post images to social media directly from the device they were taken on, but this feature becomes essential when you are away from home. Update family and friends and preserve timeless moments, all without having to take photography classes or lugging around an extra camera bag at the amusement park.
Keep a customized tour guide right in your pocket with a virtual assistant, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and built to respond to any questions you have by digging through the top results in major search engines. Many phones come with these assistants ready at the touch of a button, but there are additional apps and wifi-based devices too that can perform tasks and provide answers when asked.
What does “this” mean when traveling? Use a virtual assistant to search for nearby attractions, learn weather patterns, or simply to dive into the culture of your destination. This type of AI can additionally help reduce a language barrier wherever you are traveling, by translating phrases and signage along the way.
Plenty of gadgets these days are equipped with technology that helps make your travel experience that much more streamlined. Certain brands of luggage come with charging ports to boost your phone or tablet’s battery life on the road, and some even offer location tracking (super helpful to keep an eye on your checked baggage).
Additionally, smart locks, lights, and smart home systems are a great idea if you want to be able to check up on your house while you’re gone. Keep doors locked or open one up for a trusted friend, and control lights from afar to save energy.
A number of lodging opportunities currently offer digital check-in when you arrive, which may be a key choice depending on arrival time. Avoid waiting in long lines with heavy luggage in tow with a contactless check-in, and get your vacation started that much faster.
Keyless technology is another update many hotels and rentals currently offer, letting travelers use a digital key on their phone or a keycode to get into their reservation.
Many theme parks and eateries offer virtual queues and digital “skip-the-line” systems that let you reserve your name in advance. Get a text or digital update when it’s your turn so that you can walk away and do other things versus waiting in a physical line.
Certain resorts with attached attractions may also offer something like a wristband smart device, that not only lets you into attractions you’ve paid for but also lets you access your hotel rooms, track park photos, and more.
Traveling for an event or with a large party? Choosing brands or visiting attractions that make use of the latest advancements in technology may be the best move to keep everyone on the same page while offering the utmost convenience.