Swipe & Go Travel Apps (The Business of Fun #7)Reading Time: 3 minutes
I called my travel agent today.
Her company ProTravel calls itself and its agents “The Human App.” After an hour or so of window shopping and viewing flight times and tooling around on a variety of sites, I gave up and picked up the phone. Within minutes we had worked out my next summer jaunt. She was able to give me an objective view on a couple of options and told me that I would be getting all kinds of goodies because the hotel I’m staying at is a “preferred partner.” Plus, we schmoozed for a while about motherhood, millennial trends, and life. Plus, I know if I have to make last-minute changes, I can just make a quick phone call and Laurie will take care of it.
Although technology has radically changed the way we travel and I’m as geeky as the next girl, I like my Human App.
Before the Internet, we had to rely on magazines and printed travel guidebooks to research where we might want to go. Of course, we listened to recommendations from family and friends. Now, we read and trust reviews from total strangers. We can “visit” places we may want to go, view 3D tours of the properties, and even plan random excursions (which makes them less random), buy tickets to events, and figure out what we want to eat when we arrive. As virtual reality becomes new reality, you can even “experience” a destination while sitting on your couch (not a fan.. a little anticipation is a good thing.)
The first automated reservation system for travel was introduced in the 1950s. Prior to that, it was a totally manual system. I remember visiting a friend who worked for CompuServe in the 1980’s. He brought us into his home office, turned on his big clunky desktop computer, and showed us that we could actually view airline schedules online. We couldn’t actually make reservations yet, but just being able to see behind the curtain seemed pretty thrilling at the time.
We now have our choice of planning and booking apps. Ironically, Western Union comes up first on a Google search when I was researching top travel apps. Because technology changes so rapidly, you have to check back often to see what’s new in the travel app world. Here’s the latest Forbes list for 2016.
Waiting & Sitting
I have mixed feelings about the new Delta terminal at LaGuardia. An iPad sits at every chair, so you can e-mail, shop, or simply order a cup of coffee without walking 10 feet to the counter. Although I’m all for ways to kill time before boarding, if I’m going to sit for three or four hours, walking a few steps before I sit might help me burn a few calories.
Headphones continue to evolve, so we can travel in our own quiet bubbles and in-air wifi is taken for granted. I rarely see people reading books and magazines or talking to their seatmates these days. Technology amuses us — and can cut us off from humanity.
I have discovered, however, that technology makes finding lost luggage must simpler. And my luggage hasn’t gotten lost lately, which may mean that technology-based tracking systems are working!
Sharing & Remembering
You don’t ever have to be alone when you travel. Here are 15 ways to connect with strangers in strange lands (or cities).
We have more ways than ever before to engage our loved ones in our journeys…Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube/Vimeo, Periscope, and even drone shots. I used to collect picture postcards and I miss the ritual of buying stacks of them and mailing personal notes to people back home. Of course, they didn’t arrive until long after I returned from my trip. The thrill of waiting to see your photos after your film was developed is a thing of the past. We are now immediately gratified and always in touch. We don’t need to ask “How was your trip?” because we already viewed the fictionalized and romanticized version on Facebook and we vicariously ate every meal with you on Instagram.
I was thrilled to see that some of the ideas for saving your travel memories on this list are actually real-life physical concepts that don’t involve dragging and dropping. Of course, technology can make travel faster and cheaper and give you ways to entertain yourself along the way. But exploring remains something you can still do with your eyes, ears, hands, and feet. Putting your device down every now and then is not a bad thing.
P.S. Tomorrow the topic turns to games — travel games to pass the time plus old fashioned ways to amuse oneself on a rainy day. Don’t miss out! For the entire “business of fun” series (and more) please subscribe to Bad Girl, Good Business!