Not so long ago, we didn’t have to worry much when it came to traveling. All we had to do was pick the right clothes and shoes according to the destination and kind of trip, sort out some papers and passports. There.
These days, considering the constant technological advances, we have been making some space in our suitcases – or we choose to carry a backpack instead – to fit our tablets, cell phones, notebooks, iPods and so on.
You wouldn’t believe how many gadgets and apps for travelers there are today. And that makes choosing the best and most important ones even harder.
So that we can make our trip to this place unknown a bit better, I searched for someone who could list some of the most relevant and necessary technologies today. I talked to Douglas Assis, a professor of Tourism, at Anhembi Morumbi University, in São Paulo.
“The tourism market has always been innovative in terms of technological incorporation. If you wish to know the proportions of such incorporation, you have to first understand that the civil aviation sector was the first one to connect all the world – before banking services and other markets, in which information control is vital to the quality of the services”, he points out.
Technology on behalf of the consumers
Assis mentions that the technological changes tend to shake the market dynamic, changing, in turn, consumption patterns and the need for new services in all sectors.
Therefore, my dear reader, making your trip nicer and more productive has never been more possible than it is now. We can make choices based on what we want to do, and not according to companies’ availability and possibilities.
I’ll give you an example. How many trips have you planned with an agent lately? I guess there are great chances your answer will be: “None”. That’s what I’m talking about here. The recent tech breakthrough not only has made all the process steps easier, but it has also insured them: from planning, service acquisition and local activities.
Tell everyone about your experience
The most interesting thing about this technological era is the possibility and need of collaboration among travelers. So now, other than seeing wonderful places, we can also pass on all that we experienced to millions of people.
On the other hand, we’re also entitled to complain and let everyone know (on social networks, mainly) that a specific service wasn’t the best, or that the airline delayed, so on and so forth.
What’s positive about all that? Well, companies need to improve the quality of their services continuously. After all, we’ve been getting more and more demanding as customers – and we’ll keep going in this direction, that’s for sure.
Packing what’s important
The first tip Assis gives us is: “you should get a Smart carry on bag as soon as you can. We’re currently living the smart and connected bag era. Other than keeping your stuff, they can also charge your devices for you. Besides, they feature a built-in GPS so that you can find your bag in case it gets lost.
Amazing, isn’t that? And there’s more. The good and old (yes, I said “old”) smartphone. After all, you’ll need that to enjoy all the possibly imaginable apps that will make your trips just incredible.
Oh! My tip: So that you can use all the resources your cell phone offers, you should invest in an internet package you can use during your trip.
A better yet and more modern watch
I’m sure you have stopped by an electronic store and seen that watch that looks like a cell phone. Well, it doesn’t really look like a cell phone… It is one! I’m talking about Smartwatch. If you ask ten techies, you’ll find that Smartwatch is basically their favorite new thing.
“Called wearable devices – connected to your smartphone, this and other gadgets make the info of your trip more accessible, and so you have a new trend of apps adapted to this kind of device”, the professor explains.
Just so you have an idea, by incorporating your schedule into Smartwatch, you may get notifications about all the scheduled activities on your wrist. From airplane tickets to any other service vouchers.
Seriously: is there anything more practical and technological than calling an Uber Black in Paris, for example, by just touching the screen of your watch a couple of times?
Our only reservation is that, unfortunately, the devices today are still limited in terms of performance and internet bandwidth. So keep your charger close at hand.
This way, the first thing to consider is that you make sure you have a 3G or 4G internet connection, as a great deal of tips about places to go to (sometimes out of the main itineraries) are made available through geolocalization technologies.
“A good example is Swarm, an app that allows users to, other than share, recommend interesting locations, and that works via its users’ check-ins. It’s very similar to the old FourSquare”, Assis clears up.
Stay: From AirBnb!, on which you can search carefully for celebrities’ homes where you can stay for a better rate than a 5-star hotel, to quite creative solutions like an app through which you can rent a car for a short period of time. Check them out: Fleety, Zazcar, Getaround among others
Why rent a car for whole day rate if you’ll only need that for around 30 minutes a day? Why not use the money so you can have a nice dinner at some secret restaurant that you can find through Trip Advisor – an app where users can give their feedback of hotels, restaurants and so on.
Wifi: And so that you don’t go over budget to get some internet coverage, finding a place with Wi-Fi is the best way out. But how? Download the app Wifi finder, which locates hotspots for free WI-FI (such a wonder this technology, I’ll tell you!)
Translator: There’s a whole universe of apps that will help each and every traveler, mark my words. After all, today we can go to Japan and not speak a word in Japanese. All it takes is the download of Translate Voice, for example. It turns your cell phone into a “Star Trek” level translation device.
And more: And I’m not quite done. There’s more. You can also find exchange and map solutions, like the app called Wolfram Sun Exposure, that promises to help you with the amount of time you should stay in the sun.
Phew! There’s a whole lot to be said about technology. I have downloaded all the apps I mentioned and I’ll surely use them the next time I travel.
Stay tuned and there’s no doubt you’ll come across some of my comments on social networks and smartphone apps.