Saved by tech: 5 ways technology saves travelers

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There are five fundamental ways in which technology has transformed and continues to transform our trips and saves our lives.

Photography at Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand

Technology helps improve our lives in countless ways. We all rely on so many tech tools, it would be nearly impossible to list them all. In fact, chances are we barely even notice many of these tools and are completely unaware of how access to advanced innovations improves our world, every single day.

One might think that when we travel, we pay more attention to things. The same way we learn to appreciate our packed closet when wearing the same 5 shorts for a month, we’ll acknowledge the contribution of the devices and apps that make our trip so much better. Still, many of us fail to realize the deep influence of technology on our travel habits, which is exactly why the following lines were written. Here are the five most fundamental ways in which technology transforms our trips and even saves our lives.

1. Saving memories

After we’re back from our trip, we are left with the wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) memories and stories we’ve gathered along the way. Gorgeous views, strange animals, great people, and questionable fashion choices – these will all remain in our hearts forever. Thanks to technology, travelers across the globe can savor these memories in a more tangible form by snapping pictures.

Travel photography

Ever since the digital camera was developed a few decades ago, explorers never again worry about the number of photos taken, and with the emergence of smartphones, remembering (or forgetting) to bring a camera with us became a thing of the past. We can now take as many pictures as we want, store them in the cloud or upload them to social media, and leave it to Facebook to bring back these memories years later, in the middle of a busy day at work.

2. Saving money

One misconception regarding travel is that you have to be rich to enjoy it. Too many people wait for retirement to allocate budgets for world (or even out-of-state) exploration. In reality, most of the nomads you’ll meet have far less funds than you might expect and prove to us all that the ability to travel has more to do with our priorities than our bank account.

But since this is a barrier that many people face, it is also one than technology has to address. Thanks to technology, people around the world enjoy tools that save them money on flights, hotels and other forms of accommodation, local attractions, and anything else you can think of. Today’s travel tech arena includes websites and apps that will compare prices, get you post-booking refunds and make sure you get the most bang for your buck. 

3. Saving emotional energy 

Even veteran backpackers sometimes experience travel anxiety, which can be triggered by many different factors, big or small. According to experts, researching our trip can help reduce anxiety, but what happens when research only leads us to believe that we have no idea how to plan ahead? 

The emotional energy involved in planning our trip can sometimes leave us too exhausted to actually enjoy it. Not knowing what will happen and how might cause us to imagine the worst-case scenario and in some cases decide to change or even cancel our plans. This unfortunate turn of events may seem extreme, but it is all too common in the travel world.

Technology helps us regain control over the situation with remote ticket booking that turns the unknown path into a clear and detailed route.

4. Saving time

Sure, there’s something romantic about wandering around a new city. But even when we travel, we still need to make certain deadlines and reach a specific destination just in time. Technology can save us time and trouble by suggesting the best route by car or by foot.

Travel tech

Not only that, but if you’re no stranger to traveling, you probably have at least one tale of getting completely lost at the absolute worst moment. Not knowing where to go in the middle of the night without a soul in sight can be a terrible experience, so thank goodness for navigation apps such as Google Maps, Waze, and more. 

GPS enables travelers to arrive at an unfamiliar place and still have enough information to get by. Since many of these technologies belong to Google, they allow users to search for whatever they might need — including nearby restaurants, hotels, museums and literally anything else — and find clear directions that will take travelers exactly where they need to go.

5. Saving lives

Location-based technology tools are meant for more than just plain navigation. Adventurous travelers might find themselves in dangerous situations that require sending an emergency call for help. GPS tracking devices and apps like the Spot Gen3 GPS tracker or the Polarsteps app can save our lives in the most literal way and provide travelers and their loved ones much needed peace of mind.

These tools use global satellite positioning technology to provide updated and even real-time information regarding our current location. Some tracking technologies rely on cellular networks, which can be more accurate, depending on the local infrastructure.

When we travel (and really, at any other time), nothing is more important than our safety. Being surrounded by strangers and experimenting with extreme sports in an unknown environment can be very risky. Us travelers sometimes make the mistake of pretending to be superheroes. We’re not. We’re human beings, who need to stay safe and use whatever tool can ensure that. 

The technologies included in this list can serve more than one of the above purposes. Navigating tools, for example, not only save us time and protect us but also reduce emotional stress, while remote booking technologies save us plenty of time and money in addition to eliminating travel anxiety. 

If, for some reason, you still long for the days of digital-free travel, all you have to do is read this list and be reminded of the massive positive power technology has to offer. Sure, staring at our screens and leaving nothing to mystery can damage the trip, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As long as limits are applied, travel tech is nothing but marvelous.

We are incredibly fortunate to be living in the era of mobile devices and a global internet connection and must learn to embrace these capabilities and use them when needed. Here’s to the travel adventures that save our spirit, and the technology that makes everything possible!

Posted November 26, 2019
Rotem Taitler
A history buff, lover of art, and coffee addict who is filled with perpetual curiosity about everything in the world and is especially passionate about storytelling, traveling and wine.