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Reflections on Traveling in the Digital Age

Cassie Duray-Bito is not only our Media Coordinator/Junior Buyer, she is also our resident world “explorer” (see what I did there).  Work life balance is a main principal at Explore and Cassie balances her work life with her passion for traveling. She recently returned from a trip to Africa and wanted to share some thoughts on traveling in the digital age…

Since the beginning of humanity, people have been traveling. Whether for necessity, work, or fun, humans are always migrating in one direction or another. With the advent of airplanes, travel was transformed in a big way, nearly setting the precedent for all future travel. “Simply call up your travel agent and they will book you the trip of your dreams!” Planning a trip was primarily a hands-off experience or a tedious run of phone calls to confirm the details.

That all changed with the arrival of the digital age. Now, with the click of a button, you can book your flight to Paris, schedule your Uber pickup and even show your boarding pass on your phone. Traveling has literally leaped into our hands. We have more control over our next journey than ever before and can compare prices over multiple websites to ensure that we do, indeed, get the best deal. With access to the internet, we can be our OWN travel agents and explore the world at our fingertips.

So, with all this change, how are we handling it? Are we using our newfound powers for good? Are we biting off more than we can chew? Below are some of the pros and cons of traveling in a digitally-fueled world.

Pros

  1. It’s hard to get lost. Before we had access to maps in the palms of our hands, or on the dashboard of our car, directions to somewhere new was a process. You could print out directions from MapQuest (remember them?!) or rely on huge printed maps, books or word-of-mouth. Now, just hop on over to a Starbucks and use their WiFi to reroute your trip!
  2. You can take unlimited pictures of your trip and share them instantly. These days, everyone has a camera in their hand and can take 50 pictures of the same thing in a row if they’d like. Once they finally capture that perfect picture, they can upload it to Instagram, add a hashtag and voila! They have shared their experience with hundreds, if not thousands, of people around the world.
  3. Being able to reference reviews. There is a plethora of reviews on nearly everything under the sun, so it is much easier to make informed decisions of where to go, what to eat and what to do at any given moment. Is your mom gluten-free? Find a restaurant that serves good options! Is your boyfriend a wine snob? Find a bar that has imported wine! Do you absolutely have to bring your dog with you? Find a good hotel that allows pets! The list is endless.

 

Cons

  1. It’s hard to get lost. Yep, you read it right. There used to be a time when getting lost was the fun. True, make sure you’re not getting lost in an unsafe area but way back when, before we followed a perfect predefined route to our destination, it was the random turns and dead-ends we experienced that led us to that super cool restaurant tucked under the freeway, or allowed us to witness a random drum circle in an unknown park. It was the way of adventuring before adventuring became a thing (cough, wanderlust, cough).
  2. It’s too easy to bring your work with you. Before we had the ability to check our emails on our phones or our laptops, when we went on vacation, we actually went on vacation. Sure, we could call into the office and may have gotten tied down a bit via landlines, but for the most part, we were untethered to our jobs, free to be unreachable during our journey. (Man, gotta miss those days!)
  3. You can get trapped behind the lens of the camera or the screen of your phone. Because we always have the internet in our grasp, it’s hard to leave that world behind when wanting to unplug. It’s tempting to spend time taking the best picture you can or adding the most relevant or quirky hashtags to your posts, but while you’re doing that, the “real time” of your trip is literally happening. You may miss important moments or special memories because your head was buried in cyberspace.

 

Obviously, the internet is here to stay, and it has brought numerous revolutions to the travel-sphere. We are nothing if not awed and amazed by the wonders that have emerged from such a little device! But, perhaps, remember that you only get one life and it is meant to be lived. So get out there and live it!

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