It’s no secret that technology can make almost every part of our lives easier. But how does this work with vacations, which are meant to be separated from the hustle and bustle of everyday life?
A recent study by the U.S. Travel Association entitled “The Use of Technology to Enhance the Travel Experience” provides some answers. The study found that over 80% of travelers said using technology enhanced their travel experiences. In addition, those who used technology while traveling had more fun on their trips and were more likely to say that they would recommend their vacation destinations to others.
The biggest takeaway from this study is that a vacation’s success depends on the type of technology used, not just its presence or absence.
So, what are some of the ways a gadget can add to an experience? Here are three:
1) It can get you where you want to go. GPS devices like Garmin’s Nuvi can help you navigate foreign cities and find hotels or attractions in unfamiliar places quickly and easily. They make it possible for you to get off the beaten path without getting lost!
2) It can help you make new friends. Social networks like Meetup are great for meeting other people with similar interests when you’re away from home. From wine
When it comes to vacation, the most popular dilemma is whether to take the gadgets or leave them at home. Taking the gadgets means that you can tweet from the beach and keep in touch with your loved ones back home. Leaving them at home usually means there will be fewer things to worry about while being away. However, gadgets can drastically improve your vacation experience if you know how to use them.
Vacation is also an opportunity to try new things and a gadget can bring a new dimension to your vacation by introducing you to new experiences. Here are some of the ways in which a gadget can add to your experience:
A gadget can help you learn new things. You can carry your laptop or tablet along with you and put it to good use by reading up on the place where you are holidaying. You can also use your gadget to brush up your language skills if you’re going abroad.
A gadget can be used for making arrangements on the go from bookings and reservations to getting directions and weather updates. This saves a lot of time and effort as well as money as compared to making all these arrangements before leaving for a trip.
Gadgets such as digital cameras and camcorders allow you to capture memorable moments and preserve them
I’m not a tech person. I don’t have an iPhone, a Blackberry or an iPod. I don’t even own a digital camera; I like to take pictures but the ones I take usually end up in a shoe box somewhere. When I need to make a call, I use my old-fashioned mobile phone, which has no internet access and no camera.
All of this is by way of saying that when I went on my first trip with gadgets, it was not because of great planning or forethought on my part. The devices were gifts from American Airlines to the members of the media who were invited to visit the airline’s Envoy Suites (business class) cabin on a flight from JFK to Barcelona.
The idea was that we would try out the gadgets and give them back at the end of our stay in Spain. But then a funny thing happened: My fellow gadget-ees wanted to keep their shiny toys as much as I did. And there is one good reason for this: Gadgets can add to an experience instead of detracting from it – which is exactly what we have come to expect from these devices in all aspects of our lives.
American Airlines’ business class package includes an Apple iPad with the most important information about your trip
This year I have spent more time than usual thinking about gadget gifts for my family. As a result, I’d like to share a thought that has occurred to me many times over the past several years: there are some gadgets that are so central to the experience of traveling that when purchased, they immediately become a part of the memory of the trip.
The ability to capture photos and video is the most obvious example, but there are other moments in which technology can add to the experience.
When buying a new camera, consider this important purchasing decision: if you buy a camera with interchangeable lenses, you can create memories that will last a lifetime.
When I am packing for a vacation, I try to make sure that I have all of my gadgets. However, even with the most careful planning, there are still times when I forget something. When that happens, it can be a real hassle trying to find it. One time when this happened was during a trip to the beach. While I was planning the trip, I made sure that I had all of the things that I needed for the beach. However, when we got there, I realized that I forgot to pack my sunscreen! Luckily there was a gift shop at our hotel where I could buy some more.
Nowadays you can use your gadgets in many ways while you are on vacation. For example, you can take pictures with your digital camera or your phone and post them on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram. You can also use your phone to look up information about the place where you are visiting by using apps like Trip Advisor or Yelp. This is very convenient because if you want to go somewhere nice for dinner or want directions to a particular attraction, you only need one device instead of having multiple maps and other guides.
When you’re headed on a trip that includes travel by plane, train or car, some gadgets can ease the journey. A few can make it more fun.
The most useful gadget is one that you probably already own: your smartphone. Pre-trip planning, including reserving a rental car and finding the location of your hotel and any connecting flights, is easier with a smartphone than with a laptop because you can do it on the go.
Apps for iOS and Android devices can help you find restaurants in your destination city, as well as provide reviews from other diners to help guide your choice. There are also translation apps for dozens of languages; I’ve used Word Lens (iPhone/Android) when I’m traveling abroad to translate words from French or Spanish into English by pointing my phone’s camera at them. That app works even when you don’t have a data connection.
Two iOS and Android apps — TripIt (free) and TripCase (free) — organize all your confirmation emails, boarding passes and other travel-related messages in one place, making them easy to access with your phone or tablet. And they’ll send alerts if there are last-minute changes in flight times or gate numbers.”
In the early 1900s, when Henry Ford introduced the assembly line, it was a controversial innovation. Critics argued that it dehumanized work and would lead to mass unemployment. “It is not the employer who pays the wages,” Ford said. “Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.”
This is a familiar argument today, but in an unexpected way. Now we hear it from people who worry about what automation will do to jobs. The usual list of threatened professions includes truck drivers, cashiers, and even writers. But these are merely tasks that may be automated; they are not why people go on vacation. The real threat to humans from machines is more subtle: our unique ability to match gadgets with experiences.
To consider how this works, let’s start with a gadget that was once a luxury but is now so ubiquitous we don’t think of it as one: cameras. When they were first invented, they required hours of exposure time and so could not be used to photograph moving subjects or even landscapes in windy conditions. But over time they improved dramatically in quality and decreased drastically in price. Today we can carry around tiny cameras that produce magnificent images; some smartphones have lenses made by Carl Zeiss, formerly used almost exclusively for