Image via Flickr by Sole Treadmill
Traveling is a lot easier and safer than it once was. Thanks to new technology such as smartphones, apps, Wi-Fi, and numerous travel websites, you can prowl the streets of Paris or mosey around Marrakesh with confidence.
Getting From A to B
Before the days of smartphones, finding your way through a foreign city was a challenge. Now, instead of asking for the nearest metro station in broken French, you can just pull up Google Maps and get instant directions. Instead of getting scammed by mercenary taxi drivers, you can use Uber to get to your destination. These methods are quicker, safer, and much less embarrassing than standing on a street corner with your head buried in a map.
With Google Maps, it’s a piece of cake to find a piece of cake — or whatever else you might want to eat. Just search for nearby bakeries or pizza places and take your pick. You can even check out menus and reviews before you commit to a restaurant choice. Are you a vegetarian? No problem. Use HappyCow to find restaurants with vegetarian and vegan options.
It’s never been easier to search for and book cheap flights with price-comparison websites like Skyscanner. It’s also a breeze to track your flight online and download your boarding pass in advance. No matter which airline you fly with, you can download the app to your smartphone so you have all your travel details conveniently accessible at a moment’s notice.
Booking a cheap hotel room is already easy, but you are no longer limited in your accommodation options. Websites like Couchsurfing and Airbnb give budget-conscious travelers a whole host of options for places to stay. Couchsurfing is totally free. However, if you don’t want to open up your own home for international house guests, you can still find an affordable place to stay on Airbnb. Staying with locals is also a great way to get the inside scoop on all the hidden gems the tourist sites don’t tell you about.
Staying Safe While Abroad
Before the dawn of modern technology, staying safe on your travels was a daunting task. What did people do in an emergency before smartphones? Luckily, we have more options now to help us stay safe while we travel. Access to Wi-Fi means you can always find contact information for the nearest embassy or emergency services. Also, membership to a service like MedjetHorizon provides a safety net if you ever have a medical emergency and need to get from a foreign hospital back to your home country.
Speaking Like a Local
One of the biggest travel challenges of the past was being in a location where nobody speaks English. Instead of relying on a pocket phrasebook, you can simply type any mysterious words on the menu into Google Translate. No more pointing to something you think might be steak and hoping for the best. Even more amazing is that you can point your phone camera at a word, and the Google Translate app will give you the translation in real time.
From flights to sights, there is a technological answer for any aspect of travel you can think of. So go forth, explore — and stay safe!