I love travel and I love the internet. It’s sort of a given when you start a travel blog and studied in an IT related field but this is less about that and more about how my day-to-day travel life has benefited due to access to the internet. Sure it’s handy to have as a replacement for those guidebooks everybody keeps talking about as a dying market. There are after all a million and one websites, blogs, facebook pages, twitter accounts and more out there all aimed at giving you that authentic travel experience.
But where the internet has really made travel easier for me is in its convenience. I love a good map as much as the next person but after said map has had you walk around in circles for an hour dragging your luggage looking for the elusive address you are after how much do you love it then? Wouldn’t it be easier to google map yourself to your hotel/hostel/B&B and then take the map and your mobile internet device with you later to wander the streets and get lost in the moment?
Isn’t it easier to have your boarding pass saved directly to your email or app on your phone ready to be retrieved than trying to find a printer to print it yourself? How about looking up the timetable for the next bus or train in real time when you’re standing at a stop in a country you don’t know the language of? Or getting local updated tips on restaurants, hotels, towns with apps like foursquare which are used the world over?
Sure there are legitimate ways to deal with all the above that don’t require any form of internet connection and many would say speaking to locals and interacting with the world without using technology is a better way to travel. But when I use the internet to do exactly the same thing in my home country why should I change what I do just to fit that authentic model expected by travellers and tourists that have gone before me. After all there is no right or wrong way to travel.
We are a generation of internet addicts so it’s no wonder in the last 12-24 months there has been such a surge in travel companies all looking to offer global roaming sim cards and internet devices to travellers at cheaper and cheaper rates. These providers are still charging a premium for the internet experience but it’s only a matter of time before exorbitant roaming costs are a thing of the past and we no longer need to seek out local sim cards in each country upon arrival.
I see the internet as is the supplemental tool to making your travel life less stressful. Some might say those who depend on the internet are lazy, I call it being resourceful. It opens up travel to those who might not have the confidence to tackle the world with just a suitcase and a smile, call it your safety blanket if you like. If more people are travelling then more people are getting a better appreciation of the world we all live in and maybe growing as people at the same time and that can’ be bad.
What do you think, does having access to the internet make travel easier for you or do you think it’s ruining the experience?