There have been tremendous changes in the travel industry in the last ten years. With smarter gadgets, new technology, smartphones, new apps and a lot more sources for a traveler to have a virtual experience of the destination and make an informed choice to have the best possible experience. While in 2004 nobody would have thought about these, in the year 2014 these are a reality and a part of the everyday routine:
Though the trend of cheaper airlines did exist in the year 2004 but with a limited network of airlines and covering very selective destinations. One can not deny the charm of travelling through a scenic rail route but having an alternative option of a cheaper airline is definitely a plus! The range of airlines and offers of exciting discounts, air miles and deals from time to time as promotions have certainly made air travel accessible to a lot more people in 2014.
Avoiding the hassle of making endless calls to an agent to know the appropriate and available travel options now selecting the best possible option is just a click away, literally! With the boom of travel industry via internet one can schedule their own trip, compare the options and book it online in the most convenient manner and strike a great deal while saving a lot of time and money. Needless to say this new this new empowering way is not only smarter but lets one have a customised experience with their own preference of travel dates, flight timings, hotels and what not!
Communication from abroad
The hassle of finding an internet cafe to get access to the slow dial up internet connection or that weekly email to the loved ones is just not the case anymore. With wifi, smartphones and social networking sites the world seems like a smaller place. Not to forget those high bills for international calls, with the international sim cards becoming cheaper and more widely available for most of the destinations, keeping in touch with the loved ones has very little effect on ones wallet making the traveller happier.
Years ago photography meant a film camera and then eagerly coming back home and rushing to the nearest studio to get the pictures developed and waiting for it and saving the negatives for more copies. Now apart from the smartphones with a fairly good camera there are of course the DSLR cameras which have literally brought out the hidden photographer in every traveler. Apart from being user friendly they come with multiple features for adding effects, adjusting the light and even editing the pictures making every frame picture perfect!
Technology and gadgets
Nothing comes as a better life saver these days like the an smartphones and the laptops. For language problems in a foreign country there are translators in the phone. Feeling lost in some unknown land, there is GPS to guide you with the route. Numerous apps to solve the problems every traveler faces from checking the pnr status of your train to the must do things in the destination one is traveling to. Currency converters, calculators, weather information or even a wifi finder. There is an app for every concern.
Accessibility to gourmet world food
A foodie no longer has to dream about traveling to the USA to savour the juiciest burgers or the Middle East for an authentic Mezze Platter. With the international chains opening up all across and more importantly not only the packaged foods like the sauces, chocolates etc. but even fresh exotic ingredients like lemongrass for that Thai Curry to be made at home to fresh herbs to garnish the homemade Italian pasta (made with gourmet cheese of course), the International flavors are well accepted and available now, right from the cheapest ingredients to the most expensive dishes in the world.
While there were definitely a lot of travel enthusiasts back in 2004 as well, the most people got to was sharing their pictures and experiences with friends and family in person or via email. In 2014, sharing of experience is a big part of the travel itself. Not only people inspire others to travel by sharing their pictures on social media, nowadays everyone is a blogger in one way or the other. Whether you are commenting on someone elses blog, just uploading your travel pictures on your social media profile or a full fledged blogger who documents every experience and transports its readers to the destination literally. The travel blogs let the people mix with other travelers, get useful tips and plan their trip in a better way.
On one hand airlines have become abundant, covering wider destinations and offering cheaper airfare the other side has luxury which has completely taken over the airlines and have made the journey an experience in itself. The finest champagne or wine served along with multi cuisine gourmet food, a seat which reclines completely, suites (yes they are a reality now… who would have thought this 10 years back) and the pleasure of having a private lounge while waiting for the flight is all there and a lot more on the best luxury airlines in the world.
Entertainment options en route
Over time the in flight entertainment has definitely got better with multi lingual choices in movies, music and even latest television series. But whether one is travelling by a train, by road or whatever means, an Ipod for music, the Ipad are a quintessential part now. And with wifi and in flight phone calls (whether we like it or not) in proposal while on a flight, even in the middle of the air one can now stay as much connected.
Although there are definite plus points of world becoming closer with rapid technological advances and so many more airlines covering most of the destinations in the world. However, it all does leave a strong impact on the environment as well. India is one of the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. Now with time a lot of airlines are offering the choice to consumers to pay a little more to clear the carbon footprint for their travel. Over the ten years with more advancements, on one hand technology has had an adverse impact on the environment while on the other hand there is an increasing sense of awareness to tackle these issue, all it depends on is the route one takes!
These changes in travelling have surely made travel easier, more convenient, almost a customised experience with choices that can literally spoil the travelers with very high quality and advanced gadgets which have improved the quality of travel as well as made capturing and sharing really easy.
By Reema Bhalla