Remember when you had to contact a travel agent every time you wanted to take a vacation? No? You’re not alone. The rise of technology has revolutionized the way we travel over the last 20 years by making it easier and cheaper to see the world. Here are a few ways the travel industry has changed in the last two decades.
1. The rise of low cost airlines
Budget airlines have taken off! Gone are the days that airlines assumed loyalty from their passengers where comparison shopping was considered out of the question. Low-cost carriers are rapidly increasing in their market share and now account for just over a quarter of flight tickets sold—up from 8% in 2003.
2. It’s easier to stay in touch
Internet used to be an expensive and time consuming luxury to have while you were away on vacation. Now with the rise of smartphones and more accessible WiFi, you can stay in touch with anyone pretty much anywhere at any time.
3. Travel blogging
Before the internet, we had to actually read physical travel guides before planning our trip. Today, we’ll just consult our favourite travel blog and use that as inspiration for our next big adventure.
4. Online trip planning
The rise of online travel websites like Expedia and Travelocity eliminated the need for travel agents in most situations. These websites made it not only quicker, but cheaper to purchase flights, hotel rooms and rental cars all with the click of a mouse. In fact, today, the best and most up-to-date info can be found online and you can comparison shop to boot!
5. You can work while you travel
In today’s digital age, many people with a decent laptop are taking advantage of many jobs allowing them to work anywhere with reliable WiFi. These ‘digital nomads’ with jobs that aren’t bound to a traditional workplace are travelling the world while still making a fairly good paycheck. This is definitely living the good life!
6. Google maps
Taking a road trip used to involve many, many hours of research planning out the routes you needed to take. Nowadays, it takes only a few seconds to look up your route on Google Maps. Even better, you don’t even have to look up your route ahead of time. Plus, now there’s no way you can ever claim to be lost.
7. Air travel is less glamorous
Twenty years ago airline travel was an actually enjoyable experience. Security lines were shorter and airplane food actually tasted like, well, food. Now, airport security has ramped up to include explosive tests, 100ml liquid bottle limits, and invasive searches by uncompromising security staff. While the price of air travel has decreased thanks to the rise of low-cost carriers, this has come at the expense of customer service and the perks that we used to enjoy.
It’s hard to believe there was once a time where you had to wait until you got home from vacation to get your photos developed. Now you can make your friends and family jealous while you’re on vacay with all your glamourous selfies.
9. The Euro
If you’re going to Europe, you used to have to worry about having enough cash for all of the different countries you were planning to visit. Now, you don’t have to worry about having the proper currency every time you enter a new country - the Euro is accepted everywhere in Europe (except for the UK and Switzerland).
10. Better entertainment
Who needs to send a postcard when you can upload hundreds of photos onto Instagram? Even though you still see them for sale at souvenir shops, writing postcards has become a thing of the past. With email and social media this form of communication has pretty much died out.
12. Online reviews
You don’t have to feel like you’re going in blind the next time you’re visiting a restaurant while on vacation thanks to online review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor. Checking out online reviews before going away will help make you a local expert before even stepping foot in the city.
13. You don’t have to stay in a hotel
Airbnb has become a popular alternative to staying at a hotel. Not only is it cheaper, but the accommodations are often more comfortable and interesting. Plus, many hosts like to act as a travel guide and enjoy sharing local wisdom with their guests.
14. You don’t have to dig through your suitcase for important documents
15. There’s less excitement when you get home
Arriving home from overseas used to be met with an obligatory welcome home party which included sharing photos and stories about your trip with family and friends. Now there’s no need as the majority of your closer friends and families were likely already following your adventures online during your trip and living vicariously through you.