Do you remember travelling with your family during your school summer holidays as a kid? Those massive aluminum trunks being dragged from the taxi to the station platform, endless bags of gifts for cousins, large tiffin boxes brimming with enough food to feed a small country and your entire family coming to see you off at the railway station for a month-long holiday.
Cut to today. There’s a long weekend coming up, you open an app on your smart phone, decide where you want to go, book your flights and hotels in under ten minutes and before you know it, you’re all set for your quick weekend getaway.
Technology has undoubtedly changed the face of travel and made travelling so much easier. Let’s look back and see how travel has changed over the years:
Deciding Your Destination
Then: Back in the pre-Internet days (aka the Stone Age), you’d be pouring over holiday brochures at a travel agent’s office, buying guidebooks or taking a friend’s recommendation when it came to deciding where to go.
Now: Today, it could be a popular travel blog, a travel show on TV, social media, or even your friend’s Facebook photos that spark off your wanderlust and inspires you to travel.
Booking the Flight/Train
Then: Remember those snaking queues at railway stations where you stood, months before your trip, sweating, swatting away flies and impatiently shifting your weight from one leg to another, just to book a train ticket? Or visiting Malhotra Uncle’s travel agency in Connaught Place to get you a good deal on an air fare?
Now: Thankfully it’s much easier now. All you need to do is go online, hunt for the best flight/rail deals, check travel review sites and in a few taps, your bookings are done.
Booking the Hotel
Then: Back then you’d go through hotel brochures, ask friends where they stayed during their holiday and then actually phone the hotel to book a room (Remember calling someone instead of texting? Yes, that!) All the while, you were never entirely sure of what your hotel room looked like. For all you know, you could end up in Bates Motel and never be the wiser!
Now: Online booking engines and recommendation sites are the simplest, and often most reliable ways, to not only book a hotel, but also be sure of the location, what your room looks like, the amenities offered. And nowadays with home sharing communities online, you can even stay with a local, get great recommendations on what to see and where to eat, and even make new friends!
Learning Local Language
Then: Back in the day you’d carry a phrasebook on holiday, struggle with broken Spanish or Italian, give up and basically end up miming that you want to go to the loo.
Now: Today all you need is a smartphone (which, unless you’re living under a rock, you do!) with apps like Google Translate, iTranslate or Waygo installed, to help you interact with the locals with perfect ease.
Then: You’d be at the Eiffel Tower with your family, waiting for someone who looked honest enough to not steal your camera to stop and ask to click a photo. Plus, you only had thirty-six photos on one reel, so you had to think twice before taking a picture. Once you were back home, you’d have all the photographs printed, display them in an album to visiting relatives who’d murmur polite comments about how good the place looked while sipping chai.
Now: This is the age of camera phones and selfie sticks, so no more waiting around for someone to pass by to click your picture. Take a selfie at the Eiffel, upload it instantly on Facebook and watch the comments and likes pour in.
Staying in Touch
Then: While on the go, you’d send back pretty postcards, write letters and occasionally splurge on that long-distance phone call from the hotel reception, or a local phone booth. Staying in touch certainly wasn’t easy and most people back home didn’t expect to hear from you unless it was an emergency.
Now: Free WiFi hotspots at airports and cafés make it so easy to e-mail, Skype and Tweet as much and as often as you like. Get yourself a local 3G connection and check in wherever you go because, hey, if it’s not online, it didn’t really happen!
Travel has come a long way and it only seems to be getting faster, quicker and better. So what are you waiting for? Pick up that smart phone, download the MakeMyTrip app and book your next holiday now!