Technology has changed our lives in both positive and negative ways and, it has revolutionized several aspects of traveling. Love it or leave it, technology has made travel easier than it was only a couple of decades ago.
We may not have our flying cars, mater transmitters, and jet packs, but we can go online to find great deals on flights and hotels without a travel agent. In fact, 60 percent of leisure travelers make their own travel arrangements – generally online.
And, we may not have hoverboards that actually hover, personal force fields, and food replicators, but we do have many electronic gadgets we can take with us on a daily basis to make getting money on the road and keeping in touch so much easier.
Are You Old Enough to Remember the Old Days of Travel?
It wasn’t all that long ago that:
- Calling home while traveling internationally meant a trip to the local central telephone office to make an expensive international call.
- Post restante was the way to pick up mail from home at the local post office in the cities you were visiting. If you changed your itinerary, your letters might still be sitting at a post office in a city that you spontaneously decided not to visit.
- Finding a bank or money changer to cash travelers’ checks wasn’t always easy. And you couldn’t use those travelers’ checks in stores like Americans were accustomed to doing.
But today’s travelers have it much easier. Just consider the following technologies that we can use to make traveling across town, the country, or even the world easier.
Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) Are Everywhere
You can access your cash pretty much anywhere from an ATM. Even countries that may seem less sophisticated than your home country in other ways have ATM machines all over the place.
And how lucky that you can use both your debit and credit cards all over the world. Just be sure to let your bank know where and when you’ll be traveling on your trip so your cards are accepted.
Credit Cards Make Travel Easier
Edward Bellamy predicted both debit and credit cards back in 1888 with his novel Looking Backward. In his novel, everyone received an equal amount of credit, which hasn’t happened for us. Oh well, but a good thing about them is that they are accepted all over the world, so you can buy that collection of only-available-in-the-UK Doctor Who DVDs you found in a London shop or the classic Solaris poster you found in Moscow.
As with your debit card, make sure to notify your credit card bank where you’ll be traveling and when.
Video Chat Reduces Costs
in his 1911 novel Ralph 124C 41+, Hugo Gernsback predicted, among other things, video chat. Today, we can chat with anyone in the world using a wide variety of software applications and phone apps, including Skype, FaceTime, and Duo. Calling internationally with many of these programs are often far less expensive—sometimes even free—than using a traditional landline or your cell phone service.
Cell Phones Are Handy
It is said that Star Trek’s communicators inspired the flip phone design of a cell phone, and there are several visionaries, including Nicola Tesla, who predicted smartphones. With these now ubiquitous and handy devices, you are always just a phone call away from family and friends for any emergency. International rates on cell phones can be high but hearing a familiar voice can be well worth the cost. And, of course, you can always use one of those video chat apps to reduce the cost of the call.
Laptops Make the World Your Office
Arthur C. Clarke once predicted that we would all be able to communicate around the world instantaneously. This prediction was based on communications technology available in the 1960s that led to the development of cell phones, the Internet, and laptops.
Laptops empower us to carry around all our data and programs in a light portable fully functional computer. And with a portable external hard drive not much bigger than a pack of playing cards, you can have more than enough storage space for data, photos, videos, and whatever else you want to have with you—or record while on your travels.
If you don’t need a fully functional computer, you can take a tablet instead. Those were predicted in Clarke’s classic novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey, written in 1968.
Travel Easier with eBooks
I regularly recommend what I call Travel Reads – books you can take with you on the road and enjoy during downtimes. Although I always prefer to read books made from paper, many people use their tablets, smartphones, and specialized e-readers to read eBooks. The cool thing about taking eBooks with you when you travel is that you don’t have to use valuable luggage space for books, and you can take an entire library with you instead of just one or two titles.
In the past, if you traveled internationally and wanted books in English, you needed to take enough for the whole trip because it wasn’t always easy to find books in English overseas.
Technology solved that.
And if you need to download more, you can do that wherever you have an internet connection – which is just about everywhere.
Traveling Life Is Good
Yes, technology has made it possible for travelers to be actual modern nomads. Many of you reading this are probably not even old enough to realize just how lucky you are to have this technology.