4 Ways Technology Has Forever Altered the Way We Travel

In most industries – from accounting and marketing to music and food – technology has permanently altered the future for the better. Travel, however, has been deeply transformed, perhaps more than any other industry. From how you book hotels and flights to the mobile access you have while on the go, technology is making travel much easier and more cost-effective.

Technological advancements happen gradually. Rarely do you go to bed one night, wake up the next morning, and decide to start using a new technology. There’s always a process of education, experimentation, and adoption. With that being said, it’s not always easy to look at developments in technology and recognize the full impact until years later. Let’s pause and review four ways technology has transformed travel – in some cases, it’s hard to remember when we did it any other way.

Four Tech-Friendly Developments

1. Online Booking

Before the dawn of the internet, the process of booking hotel rooms was essentially a shot in the dark. You’d either pay for a travel agent to find you the best rate or thumb through the phone book and call around. Thankfully, there’s now a lot more transparency and direct access for travelers with online booking.

Let’s pretend, for example, that you’re traveling to Denver, Colorado and need a place to stay for a couple of nights. In the past, you would have simply asked around or found a local Yellow Pages and called to make reservations. However, today you can use online resources. All you need is a search engine that compares prices on Denver hotels. Suddenly, you have dozens of hotels, reviews, and prices at your fingertips. Furthermore, you can book your stay directly from your browser.

2. WiFi on Airplanes

Do you remember when watching a movie on an airplane was considered high-tech? Well, now it’s simply the norm. The new cutting-edge technology is in-flight WiFi, which allows passengers to access the internet via their mobile devices.

Virtually all major airlines now offer in-flight WiFi. It’s considered a pretty standard value offering and tends to be pretty cost-effective for business travelers who need to get work done. Some airlines even offer complimentary internet access.

3. Mobile Flight Check-In

One of the biggest pain points for travelers is navigating through the airport. Between checking luggage, printing boarding passes, waiting in security lines, finding the gate, and boarding, the process of just getting to your seat can take hours in some major airports. This is why there’s been a major push to streamline the check-in process over the last few years.

Thanks to powerful new websites and ticketing systems, it’s now possible for passengers to check-in online for flights as much as 24 hours in advance. This may seem like a small thing, but for customers who don’t check baggage, it can save valuable time.

4. Language Translation Apps

Traveling internationally? You no longer have to speak the local language in order to get around. Language translation apps are becoming quite popular and can prove to be extremely valuable in certain situations. Google Translate is considered one of the best.

“Google will generate a written translation for anything that you type, speak, photograph, or draw on your touch screen,” expert Tom Samiljan notes. “For nearly half of its supported languages, it also offers audio translations—and the number keeps growing.”

Looking to the Future

What will the future hold? That’s a question that many within the industry are asking – and frankly, it’s one that can’t be answered. What we do know is that things are evolving at a rapid pace and technology will forever be at the forefront of travel.

Keep an eye on this industry and you’ll see that good things are happening for companies, travelers, and the environment.