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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

How Smart Technology is Enhancing the Travel Experience

Technology is transforming our inhabited world at a scorching pace. Smart technology is transforming our being and thinking, adding a new dimension to the travel experience and changing the way in which travelers interact with the world. In a future world carved out of Big Data, virtual reality and robotics, a rich, varied, enjoyable and personalized experience is in store for any traveler.

Smart Technology Is Here To Say

Smart technology is already upending the world of the traveler. It has already spawned new kinds of travelers i.e. flashpackers, cyber travelers and digital nomads of the world. Flashpacking is the next step to backpacking. It involves traveling for prolonged periods of time on a shoestring budget, without missing out on necessary gadgets. The cyber traveler of today is equipped with gadgets such as laptops, smartphones and tablets to remain connected while on the move. Digital Nomads are the modern-day incarnations of the nomads of old. They combine wanderlust with work, taking up freelancing and consulting assignments to support a life on the road.

Home may still be where the heart is, to rephrase the old saying. But smart devices have made it increasingly convenient to carry the home or rather the digital part of the house wherever one goes. A versatile range of informative websites and apps have made it possible for both, an intrepid enthusiast and a business traveler to have a fulfilling travel experience.

Smart Travel Gadgets

Smart luggage and connected baggage are making a slow entry into the luggage space, which has remained virtually untouched by technology since the 1970s. Bluetooth-tooth enabled suitcases enable a traveler to track the location and movement of baggage. The built-in GPS functionality ensures that the suitcase is never permanently separated from its owner. A lock control feature allows the owner to access his luggage and a proximity sensor automatically locks the luggage incase it becomes separated from the owner. The suitcase is also equipped with a pocket sized anti-theft luggage tracker that provides 24×7 data on its location in the remote event of a theft. The case also has a USB socket to facilitate charging of other devices. The interaction between the owner and the suitcase takes place by means of a smartphone app.

A pocket-size vacuum tool helps the traveler to pack soft items such as towels in such as way as to save on space and maximize capacity of the case. Toothpaste tablets are a perfect alternative to messy toothpaste tubes. The instant action of popping a toothpaste tablet, rinsing and brushing it away keeps the mouth clean and fresh. A Mini safe option allows a person to monitor his wallet and prevent hackers from gaining access to its contents. An inflatable travel neck pillow is a must-have tool for a tired traveler to take a nap, snatch some moments of relaxation and enjoy privacy in a calm atmosphere.

The summer heat can be an unnerving experience and this can be further compounded by high humidity and the resultant trail of sweat and odor. An air-conditioned shirt is a perfect antidote as it regulates the air around the body and makes the person comfortable. Winters can also be an extremely disconcerting experience. A thermal blanket made of durable insulated material would come retain and reflect 90% of the body heat, insulating the wearer from the harsh winter conditions.

Smarter Travel In Future

Virtual Reality and Immersive Reality technologies, still in their infancy, are set to revamp travel-related hotel and airlines sectors. The Virtual Reality technology will rewrite the rules of customer service. A traveler will be able to have a feel of the hotel room and airline seat before arriving at an appropriate decision. This technology would not only provide an immersive experience to potential clients, but also enable the experience to be tailored to the specific needs of an individual.

Holographic 3D images would help people to talk and be present, irrespective of their location. Wearable technology such as smart watches, connected with smart apps, will allow travelers to board airlines on the basis of the boarding passes saved on the smart watches and receive live journey updates. At the next stage of wearable technology, travelers will be able to explore new places with the help of navigation features and gain quick access to transport in a new place, thanks to collaboration between the app and transportation companies.

Big Data will provide the hotel companies with valuable insights into the minds and behavior patterns of the travelers, enabling them to provide customized services to each guest. Robots are also likely to come of age in the future, performing functions such as cleaning rooms and delivering guest amenities. The Passport and Visa documentation procedures have remained largely unchanged and bogged down by a plethora of rules and idiosyncrasies of individual nations. Anyone exposed to the visa quagmire knows how difficult it is to even get a Schengen visa from US although the USA passport counts among the most powerful passports in the world. The silver lining is that E-passports and e-visas are likely to replace their paper versions as the cornerstone of international travel in the future and transmute into a simplified avatars of the present.

Hellen Keller’s famous statement ‘Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all’ can be paraphrased into ‘Life is either daring travel or nothing at all’ and smart technology is poised to make the journey more enriching and memorable.

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