Whether you are looking for your ESTA expiry date or hoping to book a hotel for your next vacation, you can do it all easily from the comfort of your home because of technology. Thanks to the digital revolution, you no longer have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to reach your dream destination—the world really is at your fingertips, thanks to technology and innovative companies like AirlineHero and TravelHero that are making travel more accessible than ever before. Here are six ways travel technology has changed the world of travel as we know it.
6 ways travel technology changed the world
1) Google Maps and GPS
If you’re old enough to remember travel days before Google Maps and GPS, then you know just how much technology has changed travel. Remember having to buy a paper map and how long it took to find one and figure out which exit to take off of I-80 in order to get gas? Now, not only do maps exist in digital form on your phones, but you can see exactly where you are going with GPS and never have any problem finding your way through urban or rural landscapes. Getting lost has never been easier.
2) Debit Cards
In 2009, travellers who wanted to use their debit cards for overseas travel had to enter all of their information into government websites. This was a huge headache because it meant travellers would have to repeatedly re-enter all of their information each time they made a new purchase or money transfer. This was due, in part, to the travel industry not wanting to pay for fraudulent charges and overdraft fees that could occur if visitors accidentally withdrew too much money from an ATM. Since 2010, however, debit card use has been streamlined with technology that doesn't require repeated entries; instead, it logs individual payments so there's no need for constant updating.
3) Online Booking Agencies
ESTA has made it possible for many companies to offer online booking services to people seeking travel deals. This can make an enormous difference in a traveller’s experience because he or she doesn’t have to talk with dozens of different agents. Instead, an individual can book flights, hotels, and car rentals online through one site at a much lower cost than talking directly with a travel agent. Governments across the world also allow companies like Kayak and Expedia to sell plane tickets and advertise their services at much lower costs than before—they can also reach more customers worldwide than they could have before, which provides travellers with access to more flight deals.
4) Insurance Services
Travellers of today want to be able to see exactly where they’re going and how they’ll get there. They expect an abundance of reviews, photos, maps, and booking options before they even leave home. This makes sense—because while travel is supposed to be exciting, it can also be stressful. When you have a powerful tool that allows you to decide whether or not you’re headed in the right direction as soon as possible, it helps relieve some of that stress. And that’s why getting online insurance for travel has become all the hype in recent years.
6) Cleanliness of Hotels and Hostels
You might not be staying in a 5-star hotel, but you don’t have to stay in filth either. If cleanliness is a concern for you, ask about room cleaning service or if it’s available before booking your stay. Most hotels provide towels, washcloths and soap when you check in, but it doesn’t hurt to ask about extras like toilet paper and shower accessories (like shower caps or loofahs). Hostels usually provide common items like towels and soap. But if they don’t, I recommend bringing your own towel (don't want to use those raggedy sheets) and some kind of plastic-bristle brush or loofah that can do double duty as a body scrubber during your shower.