Technology has been exponentially growing, which has made several daily tasks easier to complete, like getting to your destination by typing an address into Google Maps and seeing the fastest route. Yet, technology can be overwhelming and complicate these basic tasks as well. I can’t be the only one who’s taken a strange route to the grocery store because Google Maps sent me through a neighborhood.
There are pros and cons when using technology to plan and book a vacation. Here is a list of ways to use technology to your advantage while traveling and what to expect.
Power at Your Fingertips
PRO: From picking your destination to finding an affordable hotel with all the amenities you want, the internet can help with the heavy lifting. For example, if you type into Google “Best Places to Vacation in Hawaii,” several articles, advertisements, popular tourist destinations, activities, restaurants, etc., pop up to further your search.
“It allows you to weigh out your options. You can look at multiple different packages, tour operators, and suppliers, and pick the best one for you,” says Sierra Lytle, a travel advisor at My House of Travel. “All of these things you can compare is in one area online.”
Moreover, finding hotels that are available and in your price range has never been easier. You can effortlessly and instantly book a hotel a thousand miles away on your smartphone, computer, or laptop. But the power at your fingertips can go to your head.
CON: When the Google search engine pops up with a hundred options after you search “Hotels in Hawaii,” it can be very overwhelming. How do you decide what company to go with when you have too many options?
“Especially with the airlines, which one to choose can be very overwhelming,” Lytle says. “You can spend hours trying to figure out what option to go with.”
When your destination is somewhere you haven’t been, how do you know if your hotel is in a friendly, safe area? It’s faster to take the easy route and book the first hotel in your price range, but you might end up in an unappealing hotel or a bad part of town.
When booking a hotel, or finding an area to stay in, always research beforehand and look at the reviews to see what previous guests have thought about it. When traveling to a different country or somewhere you’ve never been before, search to see where most tourists stay or ask a friend who knows more about the area.
The World of Apps
PRO: Besides the internet, apps have also been developing and can significantly impact travel. Airlines are now offering apps you can download from the app store to help schedule flights. By imputing your information, the app will save that data and make it easier to book your next flight.
“With the airline app, they will allow you to preload all your information and requirements for special assistance needs before you get to the airport,” Lytle says. “For example, if you need to ask for wheelchair assistance or just assistance in general at the airport…all of these things can be pre-planned.”
This leaves less room for error when booking your trip. Another app that will help you find the cheapest flight is Hopper. The Hopper app monitors airline flights and sends notifications when they drop or rise, and it also has a feature to predict when the rates will change.
CON: The simplicity of using apps can help when booking a flight, but there is a lot to know when buying a trip through an airline. Most airlines have different fees for certain class services (Basic Economy, Main Cabin, and First Class) and luggage. For example, Frontier offers some of the cheapest flights, but passengers only receive one personal item (purse, small backpack, etc.), and a carry-on can get expensive. On the other hand, Delta offers more expensive flights, but each passenger gets a free carry-on and personal item.
“There are all these different classes of service, and they all have different rules. For example, Basic Economy is nonrefundable, non-changeable,” Lytle says. “Some airlines charge a change fee, and some don’t. So navigating, especially with the airlines, which one to choose can be very overwhelming.”
If you run into any problems with an airline and have to call the company, the hold times can feel neverending.
Time and Energy Spent
Planning a trip is time-consuming, from searching for your future destination to booking your flight, hotel, and car rental. If you’re feeling overwhelmed during the process, consider contacting a travel agency for further assistance.
Lytle has clients who know exactly what they want and others who don’t, and she helps them narrow down the search for their perfect vacation. After My House of Travel gets a consultation request, they meet with the potential client within 24 hours.
“Once the consultation is complete, we’ll turn around and send a proposal within one to three business days, depending on the complexity of the trip,” Lytle says. “I would suggest for anybody that doesn’t have the time to spend hours planning a vacation to consult with a travel advisor.”
At My House of Travel, each travel advisor has specialty areas where they have been and have knowledge, resources, and education in that destination.
Traveling and taking a vacation tends to be stressful until you arrive, but the internet can be a resource. If you find yourself overwhelmed and technology being a burden for planning, contact a travel agency and effortlessly get your trip planned.