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The Internet

Prompt #23: TECHNOLOGY – Number 11 of the 30 Days of Indie Travel series

Where would today’s travelers be without smartphones, GPS, iPods, iPads, or even the internet? Share one item of tech you can’t live without or tell us how technology has changed the way you travel.

I love technology.  It has changed travel for the better.  On my first international trip I had to pack a CD player and CD’s, enough books to get me through the time in the air and on the road, and a camera.  Today the CD player and CD’s have been replaced by my iPhone and the number of books I take has gone down since I have my numerous titles installed on my iPad.  I do have a lot more camera equipment and a laptop, but this is due in large part to my evolution as a photographer from using a point and shoot to a DSLR with the lenses and storage needs that go along with it.  I firmly feel that technology helps me to travel more enjoyably and to travel more intelligently.

The one technology that I could not travel without though is the internet.  On trips, the internet is my lifeline.  It provides a copious amount of information about a place very easily.  Maps, reviews and suggestions are all much easier (and more compact) to access than when you had to have a Lonely Planet guide with you for each destination.  Today you can log onto wikitravel.org and get great information about a place from a wide variety of people very easily, while other sites may offer specifically tailored information for your interests.

The internet is also crucial to travel bookings.  I no longer have to use an agent to compare properties and flights.  Instead I can do this quickly and easily, finding the best deal for my travel needs myself.  I can check on kayak.com what is available and at what price then go to tripadvisor.com to see if the lowest price is really the best deal.  I love to plan trips and with all of the tools on the internet available to me this is very easy to check out and consider alternatives.

The internet also plays a huge role in my communication while away from home.  It allows for inexpensive phone calls and email, making it far easier and far less expensive to keep in touch with my friends and family.  I do not need to find a postcard stamp and a mailbox, I just need wi-fi.  Skype makes it much less important to have an international calling card with you.  In short, without the internet, communication would be much more difficult and much more expensive.

The internet is a great addition to the lives of travelers.  It is important to let it go from time to time while traveling, to ensure that you are living life instead of living life online.  Without access to the internet, however, it would be much more difficult for me to live abroad, much more difficult for me to travel.

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