While summer is sadly drawing to a close, that doesn’t mean our wanderlust is. After all, with school back in session fall is a perfect time of year to explore many parts of the world without the hassle of crowds. When you think about your next big trip, odds are, apps don’t come to mind. But they should, considering 42% of travelers now turn to apps to research or book their trips.
And booking is just the beginning. Apps have an increasingly more important role in all facets of our vacation from the travel itself to day-to-day exploration. In fact, apps have completely revolutionized how we travel the world.
How so? Below I examine four key ways, most of which you’ve probably taken advantage of already.
1. Virtual Reservations & Boarding Passes
Being able to buy tickets, check-in, or even board your flight via your phone is a game changer when it comes to travel, and it’s all thanks to apps. Not having to check-in when you get to the airport or sifting through your bag for that printed boarding pass expedites the entire airport experience. The same goes for other transportation methods (Uber, trains) and hotel reservations.
It can be easy to forget the days when you didn’t have all the reservation details of your upcoming trip right at your fingertips, just a few swipes away. Not only is it extremely convenient and has helped streamline travel, but it gives you peace of mind knowing your reservations are all set with all confirmations just a tap away.
2. Real-time Information
Another way apps improve your sense of security while traveling the world? By keeping you in the know. Apps can feed you up-to-date information about your travel and reservation details, so you’re never caught off guard by any changes. Apps can send you push notifications or emails letting you know that your flight is delayed, or that your hotel check-out time is at 10am so that you’re always prepared for what’s coming.
Moving beyond just travel centric apps, apps in general have location-based technology they can tap into so they know exactly where you are, and can feed you up relevant information such as local news or weather. There are enough uncertainties when it comes to traveling, and apps make it so you’re armed with the information you need to navigate day-to-day.
3. Ability to Navigate the Unknown
Speaking of navigation, I can’t tell you how thankful I am to be able to utilize my phone instead of a physical map. As someone who has no sense of direction, those maps don’t do much for me except somehow manage to get lost in my bag. My husband and I traveled to the Greek Islands this past May, and were incredibly impressed with just how accurate Google Maps was there. While I ama big proponent of putting away your phone and getting lost in a new city, it’s nice to have a security blanket in the form of an app in your back pocket in case you can’t find your way back.
Another way apps help you ‘navigate’ the unknown? By giving you the insider’s guide to the city. Apps like TripAdvisor aggregate reviews on everything from local activities to bars and restaurants, so you can make sure you don’t leave without checking off the ‘must-dos’.
4. Connectivity to Home
Perhaps one of the biggest ways apps have revolutionized travel is their ability to keep us connected to home. When I studied abroad in Florence in 2008, I was incredibly thankful for Skype so that I could regularly communicate with my friends and family back in the states whenever I was able to connect to Wi-Fi. Nowadays? Your family and friends are just a swipe away on your phone at all times, and the same goes for work.
Apps have made it possible to stay connected to your world back home, no matter where you may be traveling. You can even control settings in your home from lights, to the alarm, and temperature to ensure all remains well on the home front while you’re gone.
The evolution of apps alongside the travel industry has empowered people to travel the world much more often than they used to and as a result, is even causing a shift in the way we work. In fact, a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor found a 50% growth over the past 5 years in companies who have a primarily remote workforce. Expect that number to only increase as apps become more sophisticated in their ability to connect the world.
How have apps transformed the way you travel? We want to hear below.
Author bio: Justina is the Head of Content at Localytics, a mobile engagement platform that powers app marketing and analytics for brands like Hulu, Nordstrom, and RunKeeper. When she’s not inundated in the app world, she enjoys all things Boston tech and running with her Dalmatian, Bella.