I remember the day when it dawned on me that the very essence of travelling had changed in the digital age. It came during a trip of a lifetime to the USA: eight people with even more ideas where to go driving along the West Coast for two weeks and booking accommodation spontaneously in so many places I can’t even remember now. All thanks to mobile apps.
Everything happened during that trip: 2000 km, two flights, same directions but divergent paths, staying in campers and four-star hotels, losing luggage, missing flights, complaining about cars and even an almost-forever BFF breakup but one thing remained constant – we did all our logistics using mobile apps.
And ok, I’m 30 but it certainly wasn’t always like this. In the analogue era of paper maps, phone cards and cash only when I travelled around Europe, you carried around a file with all your documents, stayed in places you had to book at the travel agent’s and handed out gifts if it turned out that your money is no good where you are.
Such memories give you a warm and fuzzy feeling but, seriously, how much easier travelling can be than it is today when you have a smartphone? Let me take you for a quick nostalgia vs. technology trip around the tourism & leisure in the 21st century and let’s see how travel apps provide a fantastic resource for making your life easier.
Old school: It certainly is fun to pin your route on a map hanging on the wall or read and exchange travel guides with your friends when you are preparing for an epic trip.
New school: But how about using one digital map shared across devices where you can discover local diners, national parks and attractions? You can comment in real-time and choose everything together on Roadtrippers.
Old school: Do you remember twisting your tongue to learn where is the best local restaurant in a country the language of which you don’t know?
New school: Google Translate would help you communicate and TripAdvisor would share millions of reviews by other travellers on hotels, restaurants and fun things. Time saved and most hits do prove to be worth it.
Old school: Once you only had two options: the safe one where you go to the travel agent’s and the rogue one to go abroad and solve problems as you go.
New school: The whole world of deals is at the tap of your finger. “Official” accommodation on Booking.com or a more adventurous one from locals on Couchsurfing and Airbnb. Flights and cars on Skyscanner or Expedia. Package holidays on TUI or G Adventures.
Old school: Waiting for a bus that has no schedule, a train that is always late, driving all night long, or hitchhiking your way through the night. This is what travelling looked like.
New school: Now, there are mobile apps for hailing taxis, black cars, private cars or helicopters. You can share long-distance rides on carpooling apps such as BlaBlaCar or sRide and hitchhike using Sidecar. And cutting journey times inside the city? Why not. Exit Strategy would show you the best railway cars to use for optimum station entrances and exits.
Old school: You come back knackered but still need to spend a couple of hours sorting through pics, cut film footage or make a PowerPoint presentation to show to your family and friends (I still remember my dad doing it)?
New school: Share your great time instantly on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. Write a daily diary with photos, clips and geolocation and send it to others with Day One Journal. Or simply capture even more beautiful moments and edit them with Prisma and Snapseed.
Clearly, if you own a smartphone, smartwatch or tablet, you no longer have to wander in the dark or fear the unexpected while travelling (if you remember to charge your phone regularly).
You can be always as prepared and unprepared as you wish, solve problems as you go and have a great holiday experience.
So go to App Store and Google Play, download some of these mobile apps and start exploring the world around you and if you need any help, you can always ping us! Bon voyage!