There is no denying that your phone can help you while you travel. From hotels to walking tours, last minute flights to theatre shows, cell phones are making our travels easier – and more streamlined – than ever.
The travel industry has noticed: smartphones are changing the way that people travel around in the US and beyond. That means that hotels, tourist attractions, and airlines have to change the way that they market to the people visiting their cities. What does this disruption mean for you and your future travels?
The travel industry is catching up to technology - yet again
In the not too distant past, the only way to book a plane ticket, cruise, or foreign hotel room was to visit a travel agent in their storefront office. Over the past few decades, travel bookings have migrated almost exclusively online, as OTAs (online travel agencies) have taken over. But now it seems that their days might be numbered as well, at least as we know them.
Mobile travel apps are now a popular way to book travel, with companies like Airbnb launching their own ‘same day’ and next day booking capabilities on their apps. As more dreamy travellers wander through cities with their cell phones firmly in hand, the best way to catch their attention is by offering all of the services and bookings that you need, right on your phone.
Apps can help you get the most of your travel experience
Chances are, when you visit a new city these days, you are no longer wandering around without a clue. Instead, you now know exactly where you plan to eat, drink, and visit – and you have the apps to help you on your way. You’ve got an app to help to get from place to place, a rideshare app to grab a quick taxi, a restaurant review app to prevent you from stumbling into a tourist trap to eat, and entertainment apps to keep you company while you have a drink in a bar or café. You never have to worry if you’re spending money on a bad meal or booking a hotel in a rough area again!
How can your cell phone improve your travels?
While you might normally use your phone to scroll through social media platforms or check the news, there are many other ways that your cell phone can help you improve your travels.
● Take spectacular travel photos, and edit them on the spot (and post them)
● Never get lost again by using maps designed for pedestrians and public transit users
● Use it to pay for public transit with ApplePay or AndroidPay
● Find and pay for scooters and bikes scattered around a city
● Hire an Uber or Lyft to get you where you need to go, fast
● Read reviews of restaurants, bars, and cafes to help you choose where to eat and drink
● Use translation apps and functions to translate written content into English, and help you to communicate with locals in their language
● Snag cheap tickets for shows and musicals by entering lotteries and buying rush seats
● Keep up to date with news and world events
● Check in to your flight, select seats, and pay for checked baggage
● Book last minute hotels, hostel beds, and AirBnb accommodation
● Hop on friendship, networking, and dating apps in order to meet locals
● Research and book walking tours and local activities
● Check opening times and entry costs for museums and attractions
● Stay in touch with your loved ones, and check in with your mom!
● Check your email and stay up to date on your work
● Look up train schedules and book long distance train travel
● Make written notes about your favorite attractions and random musings so that you don’t forget them
● Travel in virtual reality
● Stay in touch with the new friends you meet along the way
● Listen to music and podcasts to pass the long hours on trains, buses, and planes
Sometimes, it’s just nice to put the phone away
While no one likes to get lost, there is something to be said about the magic of losing your way in a foreign city and stumbling upon an ‘off the beaten track’ hidden gem. Now and then, experiment with switching your phone off and ‘getting lost’ while you are traveling!