The Impact of Technology on Travel
Technology changes how we relate to and interact with the world around us. It has greatly impacted how we travel and things like smartphones, social media, and travel websites have created a travel experience that is quite different than it was 30-40 years ago. Let's take a look at some of the positive and negative ways technology has already changed our travel experiences.
Traveling has become much easier than it was once. Everything from booking your trip to researching your destination can now all be done comfortably from the palm of your hand. You no longer need to visit a travel agency to book your flights, as that can be done through websites like Decolar or Expedia. Booking hotels and accommodations can also be done conveniently through websites and booking platforms, and with reviews, ratings and photos of where you'll be sleeping you'll be less likely to be surprised by your accommodations! Researching on the Internet also allows you to get to know your destination before even stepping foot on a plane and you can easily map out all the sights you want to see, along with the easiest way to get to them.
Being away from home no longer means being disconnected from your loved ones. With email, instant messaging, social media and Internet access almost everywhere you could imagine, it is easier than ever to stay in touch while traveling. You no longer have to wait until you get home to share your travel photos with your friends and family, just upload them onto social media for them to see in real-time. Staying connected also allows many people to work remotely which opens the doors to new travel opportunities.
No more hidden gems
While it's great to be able to instantly share your travel photos with people online it does come at a price. With so many people posting photos, places that were otherwise unknown are becoming more popular and receiving more visitors. One such example is Horseshoe Bend in Arizona, which until a few years ago only received a few thousand visitors per year. Thanks to social media and geotagging, Horseshoe Bend has become much more popular than it was once and now receives approximately 1.5 million visitors each year. If you'd like to learn more about this interesting case you can watch this video:
Imagine visiting Paris 40 years ago. As you wander the city taking in all the different sights and sounds you become lost. But maybe getting lost means discovering new streets you wouldn't otherwise have walked down. Maybe while walking down one of these new streets you decide to grab a bite to eat inside a small bistro you otherwise wouldn't have visited. Now imagine the same scenario nowadays. You get lost as you wander the streets of Paris but instead of discovering new streets or eating at that hidden bistro you simply open up Google Maps on your phone and find your way back to your hotel.
There is no doubt that traveling has become much easier and more efficient thanks to the Internet and our smartphones. But we must be careful to make sure we don't abuse this technology. We should certainly take advantage of booking platforms and apps that make it easier to plan our trips, but maybe once at our destination we should spend a little less time with our phones and a little more time immersing ourselves in a new landscape!
If you'd like to practise your English for you next trip and discuss how travel and tourism are changing make sure to sign up for our next workshop: Tourism and Travel.