How Virtual Reality Is Transforming The Travel Industry

How Virtual Reality Is Transforming The Travel Industry

How Virtual Reality Is Transforming The Travel Industry

By: Mieke Leenders

How virtual reality is changing the travel industry

 

We have always been fond of imagining the incredible or impossible but reality has often needed some time to catch up with our minds. Now that we are exploring more and discovering more, it is something of a tragedy that we can’t get there quicker. We are learning more about space every day but can’t go there yet. We read about all these amazing destinations but don’t have the time or money to visit all of them in our lifetime.

We are slowly kicking our addiction to material goods and are looking for a new high in unique experiences. With Virtual Reality, we can accommodate this trend by completing our destination bucket list and even by adding some things we might never have thought of. Next, to that, Virtual Reality is slowly but surely transforming the way we will travel as well as the way we will decide on where to go.

What is Virtual Reality?

 

What is virtual reality

 

Virtual Reality (VR) is an interactive, computer-generated immersion into a simulated environment. Although it has the reputation for mainly playing with our visual perception, other senses, like the sense of touch, has also been incorporated into the experience. The world can either be inspired by the real world or a fantastical one, but it can also combine the two and add some fantastical details into an existing location (augmented reality). VR is most commonly explored with a virtual reality headset, sometimes aided by certain objects or props do make the experience more layered and realistic.

VR and the travel industry

VR has many different kinds of applications and the travel industry is one that is being transformed by it in many ways. Virtual Reality is an amazing tool for enhancing existing experiences or presenting us with those that are still impractical to visit physically. VR will surely become an indispensable tool for our traveling experiences as well as an effective sales technique for hotels and travel agencies.

Travel where it wasn’t possible before

You might have some destinations on your list that are too dangerous or nearly impossible to visit in person. Or perhaps a bit too impractical for you to visit for other reasons. You might even have scratched these destinations off of your list altogether. In this context, VR has taken up the job of fulfilling some ultimate destination wishes that will, In turn, transform the way we think about them.

  1. Dangerous or unstable destinations

Marcus Olsson, CEO, and founder of SceneThere has devised some travel destinations in a virtual reality context. When he was invited to North Korea to speak on entrepreneurship, he took the opportunity to bring his 360-degree camera and take some shots while he was there, turning them into a VR travel experience.

North Korea is a place most of us have never been to considering the current state of affairs. Olsson’s idea in this is rather two-fold. He doesn’t only want people to see a place as if they are there, but perhaps it will also stimulate them to eventually take the chance to go there anyway. This way they can serve as an introduction to some places and in time, perhaps boost tourism in unexpected places.

  1. theBlu

Travel has often been associated with conquering our fears and experiencing something entirely new. The ocean can very easily be a rather intimidating destination but definitely also an interesting one. theBlu offers an underwater experience that brings you within touching distance of some of the ocean’s most iconic creatures. You can stand on a sunken ship scattered across the ocean floor and watch whales swim by. If you want, you can even have some adventures and help marine biologists on a quest to save some animals and learn as you are confronted with the real dangers of an underwater trip.

  1. Birdly

Travel has also been associated with a desire for freedom and no creature embodies this sensation more than the bird. Our desire to fly has taken shape in many different ways in the tourism industry. One of these is zip line and canopy tours where you can soar over jungles and forests, even near oceans. With Birdly, our new travel destination can be the skies themselves as well as some famous locations we can now explore from the air.

  1. Titans of Space 2.0

Most places on earth can be put within our grasp but the same can’t be said for space. Space travel has been the source of debate (and dreams) for decades but as far as commercial travel goes, we still have a long way to go. With VR, we can go on a  tour of the solar system that would exceed the efforts made by even the best planetariums.

Travel more interestingly at the destination itself

Other than creating a destination in VR altogether, an actual location can also be augmented into a more interesting and more educational travel destination. Here are two amazing examples;

  1. David Attenborough, National Museum of Australia

Do you just love Jurassic creatures from bygone eras? Yeah, me too. VR is transforming high culture just as much as destination tourism. The National Museum of Australia has opened exhibitions combing David Attenborough’s documentaries with close encounters with long extinct beauties as well as familiar destinations we can now see in a new light, as the great barrier reef. 

    2. SoReal China

China has opened the world’s first VR theme park. Located at the heart of Beijing, this theme park is a gamer’s dream. But it would be a mistake to think only gamers will get a kick out of this theme park. Wouldn’t many of us want to travel to the future, battle in space wars and even enter Star Trek? This high tech tourist attraction is bound to put Beijing even higher on people’s bucket list.

VR and the travel business

Although more easily connected to entertainment, VR is also being adopted to be applied for use in business. This is a particularly clever way to go about it. Next, to being overstimulated, we can also be distracted so easily. Rather than reading through a long, descriptive text or sitting through a sales pitch, it is so much more interesting to be shown the actual product, right then and there, as if we were present already. It is the theatrical yet equally effective version of ‘please, try this cheese cube and guarantee you will want to buy the whole block’.

VR and the hotel industry

 

Virtual reality hotel room

 

A picture can be very misleading. They will always be taken from the best possible angle and highlight a room’s best features while hiding the worst. How often does a hotel room actually look like it did in the photo? By allowing a potential guest to take a virtual walk through one of the rooms, they are immediately being given a better idea about the sense of space, light, and ambiance into a room conveniently accommodated with a 360-degree angle. A predecessor of this has already been used for many years in the 360-degree photo you could find on the websites of some more upscale hotels and resorts. This may have nudged us into the booking direction slightly but an actual walk through the room might almost be irresistible.

This can be taken further into a tour of the actual hotel and even a virtual booking process. Booking engine Amadeus has launched a virtual reality booking procedure in which you won’t only be able to purchase your plane ticket, for example, but you will be able to select your seat by taking a walk through the plane itself.

Sample your trip

The experience doesn’t have to stop with the sale of a hotel room. We rarely travel to just stay in our room, after all, but to get to know the location itself. This is why some hotels offer a virtual experience of some of the touristic highlights the area has to offer. You will able to stand on top of the Eiffel Tower or walk through the ruins of Rome.

Naturally, this method has also been adopted by some travel agencies who can now present the ‘month’s travel tip’ in a far more attractive jacket. If you are still deciding on the perfect honeymoon destination or where to go for your summer holiday, you can simply have a virtual one first.

VR Travel Apps

 

 

 

Conclusion

The virtual world is slowly merging with our physical reality and will definitely define the future of travel. Considering the big steps that have been taken already, the next couple of years are bound to be telling. VR will be a new sales technique using our strong focus on our visual senses as an incentive to buy. It will move tourism from the actual destination to the empire of our minds but on the other hand, it will also push us to visit certain places in person after haven been introduced to it. It gives life to our fantasies and makes impossible trips possible. The travel industry will always have a physical aspect tied to it and VR won’t replace traditional travel. It will simply transform it by combing what we already have, by what we dearly want to add to it.

Hopefully, you found these guides helpful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message anytime via our contact form.

Thanks for reading!

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How Virtual Reality is transforming the travel industry

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11 Best Travel Hacks For Packing Electronics

11 Best Travel Hacks For Packing Electronics

11 Best Travel Hacks For Packing Electronics

Best travel hacks for packing electronics

Best travel hacks for packing electronics

One of the most frustrating things when planning a trip is figuring out what you are going to pack. There are so many things to consider these days like baggage restrictions, weight limits, carry on board rules and much more. 

These rules and regulations are not much of a concern if you are going on a hiking or camping trip, but if you are air traveling, this can be a huge headache. I recently wrote an article on rules for carry on luggage you can read here. 

When packing your electronics, there are many things you need to be concerned with. Traveling with electronics is very common today and you will want to pack them right in order to prevent damage, also ensuring you are not breaking any rules.

In this post, I will show you 11 best travel hacks for packing electronics.

 

Best Hacks For Packing travel electronics

Best hacks for packing travel electronics

Packing electronics for air travel

When you go traveling with your electronics, it is a good idea to pack them in your carry on luggage. You don’t want to pack them in your checked luggage as you won’t be able to access them and you risk them getting damaged, lost or stolen. I wrote more information on packing your electronics for air travel in the post best tips for traveling with electronics. You can read that here.

1. Pack large electronics last

This will allow your electronics to be easily accessible on top, and you won’t need to go digging through your bag to find them.

2. Pack all your electronics together

This is important for 2 reasons. If you are on a flight, maybe a short flight, it will be easy to grab a tablet and say headphones together without rummaging around. They will be in the same location and you will know exactly where everything is.

Also, the TSA requires your luggage to be screened prior to boarding and it will be easier to locate them and unpack for the agents to screen.

Packing hacks for international travel

As you follow the tips above for packing your electronics for air travel, there are also some hacks to follow if you are traveling internationally.

3. Save luggage space by using an App

A great idea for saving space in your luggage bag is to download travel guides onto your smartphone. There are apps available for IOS and Android you can use for this eliminating the need for bulky paper books and guides.

4. Avoid extra fees – weigh your luggage before leaving for the airport

It’s very easy to weigh your luggage yourself before you travel. The airlines are very picky these days with weight and size limitations and you don’t want to be caught off guard and charged an extra hefty fee. I recommend the Etekcity Digital scale on Amazon. 

5. Use an international travel adapter

If you are traveling internationally, a universal travel adapter is a must-have. I made the mistake of forgetting one myself once. Yes only once! It can be very frustrating when you are in need of an adapter to charge your electronics and they are either nowhere to be found or way overpriced!

In my post 21 must have travel accessories, I mentioned this travel adapter. They are inexpensive and easy to pack in your carry on bag. You can buy one on Amazon here.

6. Use a portable backup device

This is something that not everyone remembers to bring with them when traveling internationally. If you are in an area that doesn’t have internet access, you may be taking photos or videos and need to back them up somehow. A portable backup device will allow you to do just that. I recommend you check out the Seagate backup plus slim on Amazon.

More packing electronics for travel tips

7. Store your cables and loose cords in a sunglasses case

This is a really cool idea and it works very well. To keep your USB cables, chargers and other loose cords organized and protected, use a sunglasses case you might have sitting around that you are not using.

8. Pack your batteries properly

 

Recent regulations now state that you must pack battery packs and lithium batteries in your carry on luggage. You can not pack them in your checked luggage. So if you plan to bring a drone or anything else that uses these batteries make sure you follow the regulations of the airline. This article will explain everything you need to know about traveling internationally with a drone, including how to pack batteries properly.

9. Use a smart electronics organizer case

Using an electronics organizer case is a very wise idea. Not only will it help keep your cables and cords organized, but it will also help protect and keep everything clean and all in one place. It is great for carrying and organizing cables, cords, USB, adapter, power bank, phones, Android and apple chargers, and other electric gear. I recommend the smart electronics organizer case on Amazon.

10. Keep your electronics device and charger together

It is important to keep your electronics device, Ipad, tablet, smartphone together with its charger in the same place and not separate them. Far too often, something happens where either your luggage bag will go missing or perhaps even stolen leaving you with a device without a charger. Or a charger without a device.

11. Use proper cases to protect your devices

Traveling can have a huge impact on damaging your devices. Most devices including smartphones, tablets, chargers will have proper protection cases you can buy if you don’t already have one. You can also use a universal travel case that will work for most devices. They will have a solid outer shell to protect from the elements and other hazards.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you save space when packing a suitcase?

Here are a few tips you can try to help save space in your carry on bag or checked luggage.

  • If you have a belt, lay it flat or roll it in your shirt
  • Pack socks inside your shoes
  • Use a pill organizer case instead of packing large bottles
  • Avoid last minute packing and stuffing your bag in a hurry. Plan ahead!
  • Wear bulky items if needed to save space. You can always carry the item or take it off later like a winter jacket
  • Use packing organizer cubes. These are amazing for saving space. I recommend these packing organizer cubes on Amazon.

Here is a great video showing some amazing packing tips

Can you carry your own headphones on a plane?

Yes, you can. But there may be times when you can’t. I recently wrote an article on the rules for carrying your own headphones on board a plane. You can read that article by clicking the link.

Travel essentials for men – Can you pack a beard trimmer in your carry on luggage?

According to the TSA, Transport Security Administration, yes you can carry these on board. There are certain beard trimmers that I recommend for carry on. You can read the full article by clicking the link.

Some other great travel packing tips:

  • This tip is great for people who love hiking or backpacking. When packing your backpack, try to place heavier items towards the bottom and against your back. This will help provide better balance.
  • Don’t assume that your medications are ok to pack. Always check the laws of other countries to ensure it is safe and legal to bring into the country.
  • Keep multiple copies of your travel insurance and other travel documents. Keep one in your carry on luggage and one in your checked luggage.
  • Keep track of your own travel packing hacks and tips that you learn along the way. Write them down or store them on your smartphone for reference for your next trip. It can be helpful for you on future travels!

If you enjoyed our best travel hacks for packing electronics guide, have a look at all our travel gear guides here:

Hopefully, you found these guides helpful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message anytime via our contact form.

Thanks for reading!

Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if purchases are made through those links at zero cost to you. I will only sell and recommend products that I have either used personally or believe will be helpful for you. You will only see proven and trusted gear, and I will help guide you away from the products that simply don’t work!

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Best Tips For Traveling With Electronics

Best Tips For Traveling With Electronics

Best Tips For Traveling With Electronics

By: Mieke Leenders

 

It was hard enough to travel when we just had to bring ourselves and our clothes, perhaps even our families. Keeping an eye on everything and most importantly, understanding the rules when it comes to carrying certain items. If we don’t, we might just lose them during a security check.

Nowadays we have some added precious cargo in our electronics. These come with separate rules and understanding those is most paramount in keeping everything safe and snug while we travel. These rules seem to be changing almost daily and it is wise to keep up with the latest procedures, but there are always the basics you need to apply no matter what the laws themselves say.

But not to worry, after a couple of times these procedures will come as naturally to you as breathing.

Here are our best tips and tricks for traveling with electronics!

 

woman wearing vr goggles while traveling

Best Tips For Traveling With Electronics

Best Tips For Traveling With Electronics

 

In the air

Packing electronics for air travel

 

We have stressed this point before, always travel as light as possible. It may be tempting to bring all of your favorite gadgets but focus on the mere essentials only. You will thank yourself later when you avoid a lot of hassle with a huge amount of cables and devices.

If you don’t trust your impulses, use a smaller bag for travel and so automatically limit the number of items you can bring. For your own comfort, make use of compartmented bags with extra padding. If you don’t have such a bag yet, there are some great choices on the market. For example, have a closer look at the Osprey 55 Travel Backpack. This medium sized gem can be used in many different ways; backpack, duffel bag, and it even provides a removable daypack.

As for the safety of your electronics, it is strongly advised to use highly durable and specialized travel gear in order to store them effectively. A good backpack is a great choice but if you would rather keep your devices separate from the rest of your luggage, then there are several products on the market that allow you to store various items in the same place.

If you need some inspiration, have a look at this Universal Travel Case for Small Electronics and Accessories. It allows you to store your phone and all separate items belonging to it safely. If your preference goes to this one, you can choose a separate protective case for your laptop in order to reduce shock damage.

If you want to travel with your laptop separately, have a look at the more complex laptop bags with strap for extra comfort while traveling. If you are using a backpack, however, and would prefer to keep it stored in there, a simple sleeve is perfectly sufficient for that little bit of extra protection.

If you are looking for a way to efficiently keep all of your essentials together, read more about the Airpocket Carry-on. This simple carry-on is designed to hold all of your essentials and still meet the guidelines imposed by airlines. This handy little pocket can fit snugly under the seat in front of you and allows you to avoid the war over a spot in the overhead compartment with your bulky bag. This makes the Airpocket a good option for safely storing your electronic devices as well as travel documents or even a book. Whatever you need for your comfort onboard!

Going through airport security with electronics

 

 

female airport security guard

best tips and tricks for traveling with electronics

 

 

If you are still concerned about the electronics ban, don’t be. In 2017 the US had enacted a ban on electronics in your carry-on larger than a cellphone. This ban caused such controversy, however, that it was lifted in the same year and you are once again allowed to travel with your laptop within the United States.

That being said since 9/11 airport security has still somewhat tightened, especially in the US of course but this has taken effect in other countries as well. It has now become custom to not bring water bottles unless purchased after the security check and near your gate. Electronics have a separate set of rules as well and are required to be screened separately from the rest of your carry-ons. Prepare for this in order to travel more efficiently and separate your electronics before arriving at security, placing your electronics in a separate plastic bin provided at the checkpoint.

For those of you traveling with US airlines, the Transportation Security Administration lists all items you can bring in your carry-on luggage, checked in luggage, both or sometimes neither. Make sure to check where your items can be stored legally so you don’t risk losing them to security. I bet some of these might surprise even the most seasoned travelers!


Using electronics on an airplane

 

Once you get everything through security and on the plane, the onboard team will inform you of the procedures they expect you to follow regarding the use of your electronics. Most of the time this will involve putting them in airplane mode (or turning them off) and storing them away safely during take-off and landing. Once in the air, you can use your electronics but only with airplane mode enabled until they give you the green light after landing. Of course, you will have no Wi-Fi service so make sure you prepare or download everything you need upfront. Movies, TV-shows, EBooks, … You won’t be bored!

 

At your destination

Safety first

 

hotel safe traveling with electronics

 

As always, take care not to leave any devices unattended. Make use of hotel safes or hostel lockers if they are provided. When deciding on your travel cases or bags, consider simple models that perhaps don’t clearly show the content and use bags you can keep upon your person easily rather than having to carry it by hand (this is often the case with certain laptop bags that offer a handle rather than a strap. Make sure to avoid these!). These are so easily snatched away.

The above-mentioned travel backpack, laptop bag, and Airpocket are all travels bags that can be held close and safely at all times. If your preference goes out to other products, make sure they possess these qualities as well. 

In case one or more of your devices get stolen anyway, you can make use of tracking software in order to locate them. These can be used for laptops and tablets as well as smartphones. Many such programs would be required to be installed up front so make sure you prepare for this possibility.

While charging …

Next to checking if you have the necessary plugs you can use in your country of destination, make sure to also check if you need a voltage converter. It might not always cause problems but it did, for example, last time I traveled to Mexico. Belgium being my home country I mainly have chargers and appliances I purchased there. Belgium has 220-volt electricity where Mexico has 127. You can imagine many more problems when Mexicans travel to Belgium, no doubt!

Consider making a portable power bank a permanent part of your travels. A lot of airports, hotels, and restaurants provide relatively easy service for your charging needs but you can always run into a situation where you really need to charge but can’t. For those situations when finding a socket to charge your power bank is harder, if there is a blackout or if you happen to be in an area where they simply don’t have electricity, consider purchasing a model with a solar panel attached.

If you have no idea where to start looking for one, check out the Cobra Electronics Dual Panel Charger, and others like it. This foldable little power bank with its 6,000mAh Lithium Polymer Battery Pack has no issue charging several devices at once and comes with two USB ports and one micro USB connector. These solar panel chargers can be charged on the wall as well as with solar power so aren’t bound to the use of panels alone.

 

Conclusion

Security procedures and traveling with items in need of extra checks can be a real pain but once you fully familiarize yourself with these routines and keep updated about any possible changes, there is no reason why traveling with your electronic devices should be complicated. The key is always to keep informed and everything else will just become a habit as you go along.

Make sure to check the above-mentioned products if you are still looking to shop for certain luggage or perhaps even if you want to travel more efficiently. If you prefer to look for other products, research those with similar qualities as these are the ones that will make your travels a whole lot easier. Always keep in mind that you have the right amount of compartments, sustainable material, decent padding and at least a strap to keep your bag close to you.

If you ticked all these boxes, you are now ready to travel safely and headache free with your favorite devices. Good luck!

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How To Use Google Voice For Travelers

How To Use Google Voice For Travelers

How To Use Google Voice For Travelers

Lately, I have been researching some really great cost saving tips for travelers and came across Google Voice. I already knew what Google Voice is, but wanted to find out more about how it can benefit travelers.

My research found some great information that I will share with you here. So let’s cut to the chase. Here is what you need to know.

What is Google Voice?

 

Google Voice is a phone app that allows you to make and receive calls plus texts to actual phone numbers from anywhere in the world. So you can give someone one number and have it forwarded to multiple phones. Great to have for travelers.

Why Google Voice is great for travelers

 

  1. If you are from the USA, you can transfer your current number to Google Voice. If you are not from the USA, you can have a USA based number assigned to you.
  2. Use the app or website to receive calls and texts from anywhere.
  3. Receive voicemail. When you receive voicemail messages, Google transcribes the message and sends you an email or text.
  4. You can also make calls and send texts to USA and Canada numbers.
  5. You can forward your voicemail or texts to an email.
  6. Screen calls and block numbers.
  7. Google Voice is FREE!

 

Let me clarify the free part. Google Voice accounts are free. The only feature Google charges for is making international calls or switching your Google Voice phone number once you’ve created your account. Also, your current phone company may charge you for minutes you use answering calls or data access for using the website, but it really depends on the plan.

 

Google Voice App – How to use it

google voice app

 

Here is how to use the Google Voice App:

 

First Sign up for an account here. Google will let you select a number from the giant pool of numbers they have. If you have a current USA number, you can just use that one. If not, select one from the list. One thing to note, if you don’t select a Google Voice number and decide to use your own, you may lose a few features.

But what if you are not in the USA?

If you’re not currently in the USA, you will have a few extra steps to do the initial setup. Google really aims the Voice service at USA based users and makes it more difficult for others to sign up. You may need to use a VPN to make it appear like you’re inside the United States. You can find out more info on VPN here.

 

Once you have the number selected, it’s time to get it verified. You will be given a 6 digit code. Some points to know about verification:

  • Google won’t let you put phone numbers in that you don’t have access to answer. Makes sense right?
  • They (Google) won’t let you forward to the same number on multiple Google Voice accounts.
  • You can’t use Google Voice without at least one verified phone number on record.

 

Once your account is created, you can choose to access your Google Voice service one of two ways:

 

Google provides apps for Android gear. But you can now download the app for IOS and Apple users as well. These apps allow you to use Google Voice for visual voicemail. Plus allow you to use Google Voice as your outgoing phone number on your mobile phone. So everyone you call will see your Google Voice number in their caller ID instead of your cell phone’s number.

 

Call forwarding

 

You can also forward your calls to multiple numbers at the same time. This is great for travelers if you are away and have a home and mobile number you want to ring. You can also program numbers to only ring during certain hours of the day. Maybe you want your work number to only ring during weekdays, and have your friends or home number to ring on weekends.

Can you make calls with Google Voice?

 

Yes. By going on the Google Voice website, you can make outgoing calls. It will dial both your phone and the number you’re trying to reach. You will then be connected. Use the Google Voice phone app to dial directly.

Using Voicemail

 

When you receive a call from Google Voice, you will have 2 options. You can choose to either answer the call or send it directly to voicemail. If you are screening the calls, new callers will be asked to say their name, and then you can decide if you want to accept it. You can also set certain numbers to get directed to voicemail if you choose.

It’s easy to set your own voicemail greeting and messages are automatically transcribed by default. When you receive a voicemail message, you can play it back, view the transcription, or do both. You will need to view the message on the Internet or using a Google Voice phone app.

Google Voice for International calls

 

You can only forward Google Voice calls to USA numbers. But you can use Google Voice to dial international numbers. In order to do this, you need to buy credits through Google. Once you have the credits, you can either use the Google Voice mobile app or Google Voice website to make your call.

 

Some other great Google Voice uses for travelers

  1. Airline Updates. When you book your ticket, enter your Google Voice number. Then you will be contacted of any flight changes as long as you have Wifi or data coverage.
  2. Free calls to North America, cheap calls everywhere else.
  3. If your cell phone were to break, you will still get your messages via online. Very convenient.

 

Some common Google Voice problems

 

Google voice is not perfect and it does have it’s fair share of issues. Here are some of the common things people complain about.

  • Glitches with using the app for iPhone. Seems to work better with Android.
  • Voicemail can sometimes not work properly.
  • Samsung Galaxy users can receive error messages requiring resets, data and cache clearing.
  • Trouble ending calls on Google Hangouts.

 

Google Voice is a great tool for people on the go. It can save you a lot of money and is very convenient to have. If you want to stay connected while traveling, Google Voice is something for you to consider.

Hopefully, you found this article helpful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message anytime via our contact form.

Thanks for reading!

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Tech Trends That Will Change The Future Of Travel

Tech Trends That Will Change The Future Of Travel

Tech Trends That Will Change The Future Of Travel

Right now is an exciting time for travelers. In 2017, over 4 Billion people traveled through the sky. That number is expected to double to almost 8 Billion by 2036. That’s an enormous amount of travelers.

One thing that all travelers have in common is they are demanding and also very particular with those demands. We all want bigger and better and expect it now. Travelers expect their trip to go flawlessly and have very high expectations.

In order to meet those demands and high expectations, travel technology has to follow along and keep getting better all the time. Technology plays a huge role in our lives now, and we can only expect it to get more involved and hopefully make things easier and more convenient for us.

Technology is changing the way we experience travel today and will continue to do so. I have compiled a list showing tech trends that will change the future of travel.

Virtual Reality (VR)/Augmented Reality (AR)

 

virtual reality tech trends for travel

 

What is the difference between Virtual reality and Augmented reality?

Glad you asked. VR and AR differ in a few ways. First, for anyone who has experimented with virtual reality, you know that it’s pretty much a complete immersion experience that shuts off the physical world.

Augmented reality, adds digital elements to a live view. This is usually done by using a camera on a smartphone. Both VR and AR have an amazing ability to alter our perception of the world. The big difference is the perception of our presence.

VR will transpose and bring us somewhere else. AR will take our current reality and add something to it. It doesn’t move us somewhere else. It “augments” our current state by using glasses or camera.

Both VR and AR are becoming more advanced all the time and both are expected to be involved in our lives more over the next few years.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple said this on Cramer.com about the excitement over AR with Apple products:

“I’m excited about Augmented Reality because unlike Virtual Reality which closes the world out, AR allows individuals to be present in the world but hopefully allows an improvement on what’s happening presently… That has resonance.”

Tim Cook.

So how are VR and AR going to change travel?

According to Consumer Technology Association’s 2018 report, 63% of consumers were willing to use virtual reality to explore holiday destinations to make a decision. We know travel decisions are made by our perceptions and visually orientated. So marketers are using this tactic to help us visualize what we can expect.

Imagine being able to see your hotel room in advance, taking a virtual walk through a golf resort before booking or even exploring huge national parks from your own home. Wouldn’t this help you make travel decisions? Sure would!

Now imagine using augmented reality as you walk past a restaurant and the open and closing times appear on your smart glasses. Or let’s say you are walking through a historical museum and all the tourist information appears. Wouldn’t that be amazing!

So in a way, Augmented reality would have more practical purposes than Virtual reality for travelers. The one negative I can think of is, maybe in many years from now, VR will become so amazing and popular, that it will harm actual traveling and make authentic traveling less frequent or obsolete. But who knows if that could actually happen.

 

Bitcoin

 

bitcoin tech trends for travel

 

What is Bitcoin? What are the advantages of Bitcoin for travelers?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is an exchange of digital information that allows you to buy or sell goods and services. Travelers will always be searching for a safe and secure currency to travel with and the Bitcoin travel wave is definitely here. To be able to convert money easily into local currencies and even enjoy a very unique travel experience, Bitcoin is the way to go.

As bitcoin gains popularity and becomes a more widely used currency, travelers can use it as their primary source to pay for their travel expenses. Not just their plane tickets and hotel rooms. There are many airlines, car rentals and travel agencies accepting Bitcoin right now and more companies are accepting it all the time.

Instead of taking cash and credit cards, using Bitcoin can be very useful. Local Bitcoin exchanges would allow users to change their coins for local currency. The fact that bitcoin is a web-based currency will let travelers go through border controls and not worry about the authorities asking about how much money you are carrying.

Also, Bitcoin accounts can reduce the risk from pocket pickers and thieves. This is a huge security advantage that all travelers have over everyone else. It’s kind of like having extra travel insurance! Another advantage is bitcoin allows travelers to have a safe money reserve if they lose their physical wallets, their credit cards or their cash.

There are some great advantages for travelers to use Bitcoin, and it continues to grow in popularity every day.

 

 

AI- Done For You Automation

 

AI robot tech trends for travel

 

Are you a DIY person? Do you like to do everything for yourself and complete tasks without help? Or maybe you like having those tasks completed for you? Well, as automation continues to get better, how much you Do It Yourself (DIY) compared to how much is Done For You (DFY) will change. No doubt about it.

In the beginning, AI automation was limited to physical tasks only. We are now automating mental tasks. We use machine learning automation for booking reservations, transactions, customer service and much more. AI will speed up processing times, make fewer mistakes than humans and decrease overall costs for travel companies.

2 huge aspects of AI being utilized are robotics and virtual assistants. Imagine having a robot concierge and check-in service. Or robotic room service. Hotels are looking to cut costs all the time, so that just might be a possibility someday.

Virtual assistants are one of the next big things in the online world. You now have home assistants from Google, Amazon, and Microsoft which are getting so popular these days. Smart home automation is almost the norm for most people now, and being able to take these “assistants” with us on our travels is easy by their integration with smartphones.

Artificial Intelligence and done for you systems are the way forward for travel. We need to be able to adapt and as they say “get with the times”. AI will do the things we don’t want to do anymore. If the tasks that are too complex or dangerous for us to do, then AI will complete them. Plus help us do tasks that we are poor at. This is going to be very beneficial and enhance the quality of life.

I do believe these systems will be a huge cost saving for companies and make things more convenient for travelers.

 

5G Connectivity

 

5G connection tech for travel

 

We all need to stay connected during our travels, and sometimes that can be very difficult. Data is everywhere, but we still rely so much on WIFI to stay connected. As our devices become more advanced, being able to stay connected is a must. Enter 5G.

5G networks are the next generation of mobile internet connectivity, offering faster speeds and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices than ever before.

5G networks are currently being developed and expected to launch across the world by 2020. Until then, we still have 2G,3G,4G and Wifi connections.

It’s still not exactly known how much faster 5G will be than 4G, as much of the technology is still being developed. But it’s expected that the networks will provide a significant upgrade to current download and upload speeds minimum 1GB per second.

Some estimates expect the average speed of 5G networks to reach 10Gb per second and possibly reach 800Gb per second. That’s unheard of in today’s world.

There will be a need for changes to existing smartphones and other devices. It’s unknown if your current 4G phone will need to be replaced or incur extra fees or charges. Smartphones that come out after 2020, should have the capability of 5G set as default.

So 5G connectivity is something that will definitely impact travelers. How much? Well, that’s yet to be seen. I guess we need to wait until 2020 to find out!

 

Smart Hotels

 

smart home for travelers

 

I mentioned earlier how smart homes are now so popular and being able to connect to your home while traveling is something that many people do. But what about smart hotels?

Yes, smart hotels and smart hotel rooms are becoming a thing. People are so used to smart home technology, that it is almost expected now that your hotel of choice has some smart technology.

Many vacation rental property owners see this as a huge opportunity to cut costs and keep the workload down. For hotel owners, the technology needed to have smart rooms is much more involved. Voice assistants and voice-operated services are something will become normal to see in hotels.

Chances are, you will be able to order room service by using Alexa, Google or Siri. And maybe it will be delivered by a robot someday! Perhaps control the temperature of your room while at dinner, or turn the lights on before you arrive back. For more luxurious places, image turning on the fireplace from your smartphone or turning down the volume of the sound system you may have forgotten.

Smart hotel technology is here and will be here for a long time.

 

In summary,

It’s very obvious that 2018 and beyond has plenty of promise for travel technology. From smart hotels, and artificial intelligence to 5G networks and Bitcoin, the travel industry will show us all of the latest gadget trends to keep us on our feet. One thing for sure is the travel industry is always ready for change. But the question is…are you ready?

Hopefully, you found this article helpful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message anytime via our contact form.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Google Maps Tricks Travelers Need To Know

Google Maps Tricks Travelers Need To Know

Google Maps Tricks Travelers Need To Know

 

If your a traveler with many apps on your smartphone, my guess is that Google Maps is one of them. Google Maps has an abundance of information for travelers including detailed maps, accurate navigation, and many other great tools and features.

Most fans of this app are not even aware of how to access the best features of the popular tool. But to be honest, they are not easy to find. I love using Google Maps and have spent a lot of time researching the many other features it has.

I still remember playing around with big, scarily detailed maps in the car or little city pocket ones given away for free at tourism centers just as well as I remember using a compass during “dropping” events at school. And I am not even that old!

Now, just like all of you, I have transferred most of my life and habits online and want to learn about the fastest, cheapest and easiest ways of doing things.

The world of navigation moving online is a bit of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, we have the convenience of downloading a map to every place on the planet with a handy GPS system to boot. On the other hand, we sometimes treat these apps and programs with a greater level of complexity than we need to.

For some of these, it can take some time to get to know them since we are no longer simply folding open a piece of paper. Once you understand them, though, you will be able to experience the full convenience of it.

What you don’t know about Google Maps is actually easily discovered in the menu section we tend to ignore. I tend to learn about an app as I go instead of exploring it fully so I know I often miss out on some things. Next to the information available on Google Maps itself, there are also a couple of cool tricks you can learn by exploring a little further. Let us tell you about them!

 

#1. You Don’t Need Internet

That’s right, you don’t need to be connected to the internet to use Google Maps. Even when you are offline, the app will work via GPS and you can use it as normal. This great as it can be very expensive for data and roaming charges. You won’t be charged anything to use Google Maps offline.

I recommend you download the app while connected to wifi, then use it wherever you are. It will even work if your phone is in flight mode since it will be running off GPS.

#2. Create Indoor Maps

I bet you never really considered this as we tend to focus on travel routes but Google Maps can also help you with floorplans! You can use Indoor Maps to view floor plans, and navigate inside shopping malls, stadiums and airports.

This is not a bad idea, really. I got lost in buildings so many times. Here is how you go about using it;

  1. On your device, open Google Maps.
  2. Search for a place that has indoor maps.
  3. Once located, zoom in to the map until you see a floor plan.
  4. In the bottom right, choose between levels and floors.

Check out the full list of available maps here. 

 

 

#3. Use Drag And Drop

 

 

#4. Measure Distance

 

Using measure distance, you can calculate the distance of any two points on Earth. Just choose “Measure distance.” This will drop a point (signified by a white dot with a bold black line), then click anywhere else on the map and the distance between the points will be calculated. (You can switch between metric and US measurements by clicking on the scale in the footnote. You can also add more points and move the points around later). The total trip distance will be calculated in the main card.

#5. Your places and your timeline

 

These are the first two options you see pop up when you tap on the menu button. In your places, you can save or share various places of importance to you. These can be favorite places, regular places (think of home or work) or even a wish list.

Moreover, Google maps being a Google application, means other Google programs can be synced to the maps. For instance, I have a Gmail account and can now see my next flight in my ‘upcoming places’ as well as my calendar.

Under ‘visited’ you can see all the places where you have been and enabled Google maps for use. These are imported from your timeline. Your timeline is a great way for you to see your travels all mapped out. Whether you went somewhere by bike, a hike or a car, you can see where you went and how you got there.

If you like, you can also edit the info and delete certain entries. These can be very convenient to keep some overview for yourself and are completely private.

#6. Online and offline navigator

 

Another menu option that will catch your eye, is offline maps. Amongst the many things I didn’t know about Google maps at first was that I initially assumed it was only convenient for online use and I preferred using some offline apps while traveling.

But if you download the maps up front, you can use these in Google maps just the same. This is particularly useful when crossing some borders and subsequently avoiding roaming charges. As Google Maps works off GPS, you can even navigate in airplane mode.

How to download a map:

  1. Open Google Maps and search for the desired location
  2. Tap the white bar naming the search at the bottom
  3. Tap the ‘download’ button

If you would like to view or manage your offline maps, you can do so under offline maps.

#7. Customize your travels and your routes!

 

Google maps – My Maps

One of the coolest things you can do is customize your travels in map form. By downloading the My Maps app, you can very easily create a personal map of your trip and share it with others. This app is available for Android only but you can always access the same options through Safari by logging into your Google account via this link.

How to get from A to B …

In some situations, it would do you well to search for the fastest way to get to your location but for others, it can just be fun to enjoy the ride. For these types of trips, you can add various locations to your route and make the trip as long, personal and interesting as you want. After you enter your destination and starting point, you can tap the options menu on the top right and select ‘add stop’.

 

#8. There is no road… now what?

 

If you think you can only measure a distance from one clearly marked destination to another, think again! If you want to walk, hike or cycle off the beaten path but want to know how long it will take you, Google Maps can tell you. Just tap and hold where you want to go and you will see a pin appear. When you then hit the ‘dropped pin’ notification for more info, you can see the ‘measure distance’ option. Select this and Google Maps will do the rest!

What is near me?

 

You just arrived in your hotel after a long drive or flight, so what you really want right now is a coffee or some dinner without too much research or hassle. For this, use the ever convenient Explore Nearby option available just below the screen.

You simply tap the kind of places you want to explore (restaurant, bar, …) and Google Maps will show you all the nearby options. When you select an option that seems appealing to you, you receive various details like ratings by other users and the type of food/drink they serve.

Hit the ‘more’ button and see what other kinds of place you can find near you!

If you enjoyed our Google maps tricks for travelers guide, have a look at all our travel gear guides here:

 

Hopefully, you found these guides helpful. As always, feel free to leave a comment or send us a message anytime via our contact form.

Thanks for reading!

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