It’s no secret the internet has changed EVERYTHING. One of the areas affected the most by the digital revolution is undoubtedly how we travel. 

I recall fondly the time I bought my first plane ticket. I was embarking on a working gap year in London and, since I didn’t yet have my own credit card, I consulted a travel agent who reserved a flight for me, to be confirmed once my EFT money transfer had cleared!

Things have certainly changed since then.

Need to travel somewhere? There’s an app for that! Nowadays you can do just about anything from the comfort of your own home using your computer or cell phone and a half decent internet connection.

The rise of smartphone apps has truly revolutionised the travel industry. Take Airbnb for example. Although founded in 2008 this platform has only really taken off in recent years and it has completely altered where we choose to sleep as tourists, not to mention transformed the concept of the homestay. Already Airbnb have over 1 million properties listed in over 34,000 cities around the world (half of these are peoples’ private homes), and accommodation types range from the top hotels down to a mattress in somebody’s camper van!

You can book plane tickets, airport transfers, cab rides and tours from your smartphone, and then submit reviews on all of these a moment later. You can check the weather before you arrive somewhere, and if you need to, you can order a coat online to be delivered before you get there!

Is your mind blown yet? Imagine this:

I need to travel to Johannesburg urgently. I go online and book a flight which l pay for in part with eBucks earned from filling my car with petrol, and the other half by credit card without having to input my details because they’re already saved to my profile. I receive my booking confirmation via email which comes through to my phone. To save time I then check in online and receive an electronic barcode which serves as my boarding pass, no printing required.

I use my smartphone app, Uber, to call a taxi without actually speaking to anyone. The app tells me exactly how long the cab will take to arrive and an estimation of the fare as well as the driver’s name and license plate number. The taxi arrives outside my house and I’m notified by sms. We drive to the airport and on route I have a FaceTime call with my sister and remark on how fast my young nephew is growing. We wave good bye through our phone screens and I arrive at the airport. I don’t need cash as my taxi fare is automatically paid via my credit card and 30 seconds later I receive an email with the receipt attached.

I drop my bags off at the airline counter, pass through airport security and grab a coffee. When it arrives I take a photo of the clever design in my froth and post this on Instagram. I then check in at the airport on Facebook so everyone can see where I’m going, and pull out my Kindle to finish reading my favourite book.

Yes, things have certainly changed.


This article first appeared on Computicket Travel.