The concept of travelling has been around since time immemorial. But, as most time-honoured abstractions in this planet, the system of travelling has inevitably evolved over the years. And with the emergence of technology, anyone can agree that the way we travel has changed drastically.
The bad news
1. Technology can give you unrealistic travelling expectations.
As a bookworm, I’ve personally hated all movie adaptations I’ve seen of books I’ve already read. Why? It’s simple: a wide imagination is always better than movies that have to work around limited budgets and skills.
When we see snippets of well-taken travel photos, it’s easy for us to imagine the whole landscape of a place. I bet I’m not the only one who’s experienced travelling to a place for the first time and getting disappointed. Usually, we set our expectations to clean and majestic tourist spots free of other tourists who’ve been equally fooled by photos from the Internet. Because of this, our destination loses its magic and we wound up feeling cheated by a place that’s way better-looking on Instagram.
2. Technology can put you in a lot of pressure.
With the rise of social media, it’s challenging to take a vacation and not let anyone know about it. It’s even more difficult to witness a picturesque view and not take a picture of it from all angles — isn’t that what the word “picturesque” means, after all?
Case in point: There’s a strikingly beautiful sunrise at a mountain peak, and you can’t decide whether to take a photo of the view or take a photo with the view. Then, you stress over “what your angle is” or what candid pose you can make. You end up scrambling with your camera, and sooner than you notice it, the sun has risen and you’ve run out of time. Drats!
3. Technology lessens our chances of surprises.
The invention of the GPS is heaven-sent, especially for travellers with no sense of direction like me. We save much precious time, money, and effort knowing exactly where to go and precisely how to get there.
Yet, almost every traveller can attest that there’s a little romance in getting lost. With the convenience of technology, we don’t need to bother asking locals for directions. We’ve lost the necessity of exploring foreign soil by foot. Gone are the days we get to discover off-the-beaten-path surprises. You can argue me out of this, but I’ve seen many beautiful sights from my poor sense of direction.
4. Technology can distract us from the reality of our trips.
Remember when travelling meant being a stranger in a totally different world? Since the Internet has become our best friend, we have been spared of all awkwardness and confusion when we’re in a foreign place. Sadly, this means we tend to bring our world with us, too. While the whole point of travelling is to take in unfamiliar things, technology has the tendency to rob us of our chances of immersion. After all, the cyber world is a portable territory.
The good news
1. Technology makes travelling easier and more convenient.
No need to bother with long queues or paying over the counter. Technology has paved the way for an easier and more convenient system of travelling. Who would have thought that booking flight tickets, getting reservations for shows, securing a spot on a guided tour, and reserving rooms could all be done while we’re cosying up in our bed, wearing our favourite pyjamas?
Miscommunication is another thing technology has saved us from. With the many language translation apps available, we never have to struggle the way we have before with language barriers. In regards to commuting, we can also use ride-hailing apps so we don’t need to play charades with cab drivers.
2. Technology makes travelling more affordable.
Thanks to technology, travelling has become more accessible to people from different walks of life. Promo fares for flights, discounts for early reservations, and online shopping perks are just some financial rewards we can attribute to technology. Let’s not forget the emergence of travel blogs and online magazines that let anyone with Internet connection find free tips on budget travels too.
3. Technology lets you connect with your loved ones.
Sure, it’s fun to disconnect for a while, but face it: homesickness is real. Technology lets us connect with our loved ones from the other end of the world, so it isn’t as much a challenge to leave them home anymore. This factor acts as a security blanket, too. Having the means to contact our family any time in case of emergency gives us much more freedom to charter strange places alone.
4. Technology gives you more travelling options.
Many environmentalists thank technology for coming up with eco-friendly travel options for almost everything. From virtual receipts to online albums, technology has clearly given us several opportunities to skip the usage of non-renewable resources.
Not only that! Technology also helps us personalise our trips. Thanks to the Internet, it’s now a lot easier to look for our prefered restaurants, hotels, or tourist spots.
5. Technology lets you capture moments.
We all want to savour a good moment. We also want to keep it for as long as we can. Technology helps us with our nostalgia, giving us an easier time to take photos or videos of places we want to cherish forever. You might not be as big a fan of taking pictures as the rest of your family, but you’d be lying if you said you wish the camera had never been invented.
Without a doubt, there are conflicting sentiments on the influence of technology over the world of travel. As travellers, there’s one insight we have in common: no one wants any invention to spoil the goodness of travelling. So, make sure to use technology up to its full potential, but never let it get in the way of reality.