BY Fast Company 3 MINUTE READ

Thanks to technology, travelling internationally today is much more convenient and accessible than it was even a decade or two ago. Where planning for travel used to be time consuming, and navigating a foreign city difficult, all that has changed thanks to mobile apps, comparison engines and more. Here are six ways that tech has changed the way we travel for the better.

IT’S MORE AFFORDABLE
A few years ago, it was nearly impossible to compare flight prices as a consumer – travel agents had to do this for you manually, and even they didn’t have all the comparison information in one place. But thanks to tech integration, things like flight comparison engines allow you to compare prices of any airline in the world even on your mobile phone, which means you can choose the cheapest and most convenient flights. But integration has gone even further than that – now you can compare not only flights, but also car hire providers and accommodation search engines like Booking.com and Expedia. Platforms like Travelit by Seekers Travel allow you to do all this online in one space – which means a huge time and cost saver.

IT’S MORE SEAMLESS
Thanks to things like online check-in and QR codes, you can keep most information and documentation to do with your trip in digital format on your phone. Things like flight boarding passes, airline reservations, train tickets and hotel reservations can all be kept digitally, which means less hassle with printing them out, and less chance of losing them as you move from place to place.  

PROVIDES INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
In the past, finding information about recommended hotels, places to visit or how to get from A to B was hard to come by – there were guide books but these dated quickly, and word of mouth was only helpful if you could track down someone who’d been exactly where you were going. Nowadays, most comparison engines feature user reviews of hotels and top places to visit in your destination – and sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp are completely specialised in providing user reviews. Then there are the thousands of personal blogs and travel sites giving you personal recommendations and travel tips about where you’re going.

FOREIGN LOCATIONS ARE EASIER TO NAVIGATE 
The need for paper maps, phrase books and more is gone – now, things like Google Maps and Google Translate mean you can easily navigate around a foreign city, even if you don’t understand the language. Restaurants, grocery stores, tourist attractions and your hotel’s location – all of these are easy to find when you can easily translate street signs for example, or ask a local for directions using your phone to speak their mother tongue. Apps like Uber have also made it more seamless to get around your destination, rather than needing to hail taxis or buses.

IT’S EASIER TO STAY CONNECTED 
Staying in touch with your loved ones back home – or the office if you’re away on business – used to be difficult. Now, with messaging and video apps like Slack, WhatsApp and Skype, shared calendars and task managing apps, you can still be “virtually” present for meetings and status calls, as well as see your friends and family on screen when you may be thousands of kilometres away.

PAYING FOR THINGS IS MUCH SIMPLER
Do you remember the days of traveller’s cheques? Of having to queue up in the bank to withdraw foreign currency for your trip abroad? Now, you can simply use your debit card to withdraw local currency anywhere in the world – and specialised currency cards make this even safer to do. While you may still need to carry a small amount of cash with you, that too has become easier – you can order your forex online from most banks and pick it up at a day and time that suits you.

The common thread running through all these changes is that technology has improved our travelling experience, wherever in the world we’re going. Whether you’re in the planning stages, buying flights or navigating around a foreign city, technology has given us more choice and more convenience, letting us see more of the world and the wonderful people in it.