I recently had the opportunity to take a EuroTrip. It was my second in less than 10 years and although neither were like the movie (in some ways I am very thankful for that!), I did notice a few things that have dramatically changed, specifically around how I phoned home, traveled from point A to point B, and packed for the ultimate adventure. All of these were different because of my mobile device.
I was with my phone the entire time as I was lucky enough to have data available in the countries I traveled. And with a data enabled smartphone you are nearly unstoppable.Forget The Toothbrush, Don’t Forget Your Mobile Device
I didn’t have to check in with my family using a calling card or racking up an expensive bill. I could Face Time with the free WiFi offered in my hostels, or post a Facebook status to let them know I was alive, well, and drinking another fabulously made European beer (see picture on right).
At museums and monuments I no longer needed to pay more for a tour guide. Everywhere we went I could look up the history or a YouTube video. Most sites had QR codes bringing me to the content to which I could digest at my own pace and skip or reread what I wanted to learn. If there was something I couldn’t look up that instant, I would take a picture or put a reminder in my calendar to go back and look it up when I was on my next plane, train or bus.
I could fit in seamlessly. Instead of reading the map of the tube with my mouth open looking confused, I downloaded an app (HopStop) so before I hopped on the underground I knew where to transfer and when to mind the gap and hop off. While I was lost in the Red Light District I could pull up my hostels address and navigate the strangely named streets without signaling that I was lost.
Packing, typically my least favorite part of a trip, was almost dare I say it easy. I worried I would “look American”. I am proud to be an American, but London is so trendy I wanted to make sure I looked the part. Before my trip I used Instagram to see what clothing trends were popular over there by searching for trends via hashtags (#LondonTown).
I understand not everyone will have the data plan I did, but there are a number of other ways mobility will impact the way we travel abroad and domestically. It is a pervasive technology that will never go away and only become a bigger part of how we plan and execute travel.
Interested in the topic? Here are 3 more ways mobile will change travel.
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