Barbara Daroca: How Technology is Reshaping the Way we Travel

Technology, whether we like it or not, has changed the way we travel; nowadays, as connected travellers, we have access to virtually everything within our fingertips, and travel planning has become as easy as pie – a flight, a train or a hotel can be booked within minutes.

With the help of technology, travel can also become more eco-friendly. Gone are the days where we had to print our airline ticket, boarding pass, train and hotel reservation and the million other things that need to be printed! Instead, we now have online check-in and online reservation coupons.

We can even create our own holiday experiences. Thanks to websites, blogs and travel apps, we can compare flights and find the cheapest deal possible, get useful tips and travel advice, instantly read reviews on what to do and receive smart recommendations based on our current situation (the weather, our interests, our budget and so on). Through sharing economy platforms like Uber, BlaBlaCar and Airbnb, we can use alternative transport and accommodation options.

This digital reinvention of travel has also an impact on our behaviour, needs and expectations. Modern travellers, and Millennials in particular, are looking for more imaginative and creative travel, the most unique and authentic experience, far away from the crowd, tourism tours and restaurants over-packed with other tourists. And to find this perfect experience, the mobile device has replaced the classic guidebook. More and more people are turning to mobile technology to explore destination options and ideas and, once they have chosen a destination, they often use their smartphones to make their dream a reality. According to Google, 60% of destination searches come from mobile devices and 70% of travellers with smartphones use them to search travel.

Smartphones have become the essential trip companion and enable connected travellers to be more spontaneous. They spend less time to make their decisions, tend to do their booking later and decide on what to see, eat and shop only after having arrived at the destination. According to a TripAdvisor study published in 2015, connected travellers are likely to want their smartphones with them on vacation to organise their trip more efficiently (44%), look for things to do (67%) and book accommodation on the go (31%).

Staying connected when travelling is the new trend, but it is a good thing? The answer must be qualified. Technology and connectivity enhance travel experience but can lead to dependence and create anxiety and tension in technological dead zones where Wi-Fi network and infrastructure are inadequate or do not exist. Connected travellers have to strike a balance between being connected and being disconnected. Connectivity is not the panacea and from time to time, it is so healthy to be unplugged. You spend exclusively your time on holiday and can make unplanned discoveries. It is worth it, isn’t it?