From phone based navigation systems to multi-currency cash cards, technology has revolutionized the way we travel in a multitude of ways. It can make us feel more secure, more entertained, more connected and it can simply help cut down the amount of luggage we carry with us.
Let’s begin with the humble mobile phone – an invention that we can’t imagine having ever lived without, even though it’s not so long since it was a preserve of the very rich and before that a space-age dream.
In those ancient times – the early 1990s – you would set off on your travels and family would not know if you’d made it to your destination safely until they received a postcard a week later (often after you had already returned home!) or… you made a phone call. And what an ordeal that phone call could be – searching for the right amount of change and then searching for a working payphone, before working out the complicated international dialing sequence and then competing with the background noises of traffic or hotel hubbub to make your voice heard.
These days you can call your loved ones from wherever you want with no complications. In fact you can text them, email them, show them a photo of your first night meal on Facebook… all from your handy smartphone.
And the smartphone doesn’t just serve your communication needs abroad. Ever gone a driving holiday? Just compare using a phone’s inbuilt satellite navigation system to getting tangled up with an over-sized road atlas and the benefits are plain to see.
The tablet is another terrific technological travel companion. Why watch a grainy, poor sound quality, edited version of a film on a screen the size of a cigarette packet and why settle for the airline’s choice of entertainment? Load up your tablet with movies, television episodes and games before you travel and you’ll be kept interested all the way from A to B.
E-readers meanwhile make your holiday literature selection a much easier process. No-more cramming weighty paperbacks into your luggage – you can fill your reader with as many books as you want and read them in the sun without straining your eyes. Admittedly though, there was something good about sand falling out from between the pages when you came back from holiday.
This summary of technological travel advances merely scratches the surface, but one more worth mentioning for now is the multi-currency prepaid travel card. With the same appearance of a debit or credit card, this handy invention means no more trying to familiarize yourself with strange notes and coins, and no worries about keeping all those bank notes safe.