7 Ways smartphones have reinvented the way we travel

2017-06-27 12:39 - Unath Nkanjeni
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Cape Town - Can you imagine life without your smartphone? Not a pretty thought now is it?

They've literally become ubiquitous, replacing quite a few of our day-to-day objects and bringing a whole new meaning to the term multitasking.

Having crept into our lives as early as the early 2000s, smartphones have since become a vital necessity rather than a luxury. And with so many upgrades, new releases and app innovations it stands to reasons that the way we travel has changed.

But if you're part of Next-Gen Z, allow us to take you on this nostalgic journey of how things have dramatically improved since the advent of the smartphones.


SEE: #SABudgetTravel: Online travel booking patterns sees 'positive growth'

Planning a trip

While many may joke of planning a trip in a WhatsApp group chat today, before smartphones these conversations were typically had over email chains, or worse, in person - when you eventually saw the person that is. 

A six-way group message can test your patience!  But nothing beats the satisfaction of sending that “all booked!” message and marking the occasion with emojis and celebratory GIFs - especially when the friend - whose only contribution so far has been a thumbs up emoji - suggests changing the dates at the last minute. 

Booking a flight

We may not readily admit that smartphones have changed our lives for the better, especially when you realise how hard it is to switch off - but can you imagine how annoying it must have been to stand in a long line waiting for your turn to make a booking. Nowadays we can even apply for our passport online.  

SEE:  Warning: Your passport 'expires' three months before it expires!

Well, with today's technology, travel is literally at your fingertips whenever and wherever you are. Ultimately, that’s between you and your smartphone.

SEE: Fact: Smartphones make holidays better

Booking accommodation

This digital transformation has been particularly pertinent in how we book hotel accommodation. The adoption of smartphones has made travellers more spontaneous and last minute.

According to Booking.com, 50% of reservations made with a mobile device are for the same day or following day and almost 60% of travellers globally think it is important to be able to book travel on the go - so it seems this trend of the spontaneous traveller is here to stay.

SEE: #LocalGuidesZA: Here's how you can earn yourself a free trip with Google

Finding your way around the city

Gone are the days of having to make cast-iron plans as much as three weeks in advance via numerous landline telephone calls just to find out where places are, thanks to Google Maps.

With its real-time location sharing, the feature allows you to navigate the city and lets you get to your destination faster with real-time updates, as you beat the traffic with automatic re-routing based on live traffic, incidents, and road closures.

SEE: WATCH: Google maps adds real-time location sharing

Places to check out

Considering it the first tool we check out when are searching for directions, before smartphones, the new "it girl" of social media, Google Maps was a thing, yet to be heard of. 

But now, with it revamped feature called Popular Times - available on web, Android and iOS - Google Map has real-time crowd status, so you can zoom in on location to check what's going on in real time before you head to some of the most popular spots in that town.

SEE: Mapped: The world of real time connectivity in your car


SEE: How crowded is your favourite spot? Google Maps can now tell you in real time

Getting a ride around town 

Gone are also the days of having to order a cab or car services and hope for the best.

Since smartphones got a whole lot smarter so has transportation, thanks to global transportation network companies, such as Taxify and Uber. 

Such initiatives make avoiding unnecessary human interaction a whole lot better too.

SEE: Travelstart partners with Uber for half-price airport transfers

Travel photos

In this day and age, travel photos are everything.- something the Y generation can tell you all about. 

Using photo albums to store beautiful images taken from trips may have been a thing in the 90's, but that's now the role of the instant picture-sharing app, Instagram - "if it's not on the 'gram, it didn't happen."

Allowing you to share on the go with the use of hashtags - a common language amongst millennials - and filters to choose from, the platform can turn any destination into "The World’s Most Instagrammed Views" - a bonus for travellers who choose their holidays based on the app.

SEE: Instagram: How it is changing travel