Travel Then & Now: The Rise of the Smartphone

Recently we discovered a travel tips list from an early Anne McAlpin packing workshop, and we were amused and amazed by the ways in which travel has changed, even just in the past few decades, so we started doing some research. The result was a series of articles on recent changes to how we travel that we will present over the rest of this year, on topics from technology, to luggage, to traveling with your pet. We will start off with one of the most drastically changed parts of travel: technology.

It is difficult not to be aware of how quickly technology has changed in less than a generation. In 1985 we only had the option of booking tickets through a travel agent or the airline (online ticket sales were still a decade away!) Tips from the list found in our files included recommendations to: take pre-printed labels instead of an address book, use postcards in place of a camera, and tear the required section from your guide book to cut down on weight in your luggage. Another travel tip book from the 90s suggested carrying, not only a tape player for music, but a short wave radio. As for cameras, you not only had to pack film, which required careful consideration, but make sure you remembered to mention it to airport security so that it didn’t go through the x-ray machine. Every last one of these tips has been made redundant (except for in the case of some professional photographers) by one invention: the smartphone.

The smart phone is our camera, our address book, our journal, our alarm clock, our music, our guide book, our map, and, sometimes, our plane ticket. It has eliminated significant poundage from many people’s luggage, but it comes with its own add-ons; adapters, charging cords, and even backup batteries are no longer optional, but essential. Where the loss of a camera or alarm clock would be unpleasant, the loss of our phone could now ruin a trip. The best way to deal with this? Back everything up and have it accessible in a secure online account. Make sure that the loss of your phone, while sad, won’t ruin your trip.

Today’s must-have items for the tech-savvy traveler include:

  • Mobile Power Backup battery
  • Waterproof pouch
  • If traveling internationally: necessary adaptors (and don’t forget your phone cords!)

You can find all this and more to make every trip stress-free at your local AAA Travel Store!

For an up-to-date list of travel tips check out one of our upcoming Travel Smart, Pack Light events at an AAA location near you.