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Broad horizons: Smartphones are helping to enhance the travel experience

Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest often suggest travel destinations based on your likes and viewing habits.

Schiphol airport is one of Europe's busiest hubs
Schiphol airport is one of Europe's busiest hubs - Copyright ANP/AFP Ramon van Flymen
Schiphol airport is one of Europe's busiest hubs - Copyright ANP/AFP Ramon van Flymen

A number of travellers are turning to technology to help them explore the world? In particular, smartphones are transforming into powerful travel guides.

“Phones have become more than just a connection device; they can be powerful travel agents,” Julianna Marshall, an International Drivers Association travel expert has told Digital Journal. “With the correct use of technology, your phone can offer an exciting way to explore the world.”

According to the Reviews Organization, the average person checks their phones 144 times daily, which shows how much many rely on their smartphones.

In this digital age, the smartphone can transform travel experiences. Travellers’ reliance on smartphones has surged, with many turning to their devices to explore new areas.

Anything connected to the internet — from smartphones to power plant controllers — can be manipulated. — Photo: © PhotoTelegram

For many it is the unpredictability that tends to intensify their experiences. This applies especially to travel, as an OpenEdition Journals study demonstrated that unexpected events, like being at an unplanned destination, make trips more memorable.

Marshall presents five ways by which people can surrender control of their smartphone:

Using Randomizer Apps

Marshall explains: “Tech has gifted us with apps like Mitty, Adventure Machine, and RandomTraveller that randomly select your destination. A survey suggests that most people, especially tourists, trust randomizer apps to pick their choices, from destinations to the food they eat.”

“You never know what place the algorithm might pick, which makes the journey interesting,” advises Marshall.

Predictive Analytics

According to Marshall: “Travel platforms like Hopper utilize predictive analytics to recommend destinations based on your past travels, patterns, and preferences. An article published in Forms explains the definition and how predictive analytics works. Predictive data analysis is one of the main principles of future planning.”

In-app Suggestion

Marshall advises: “Many flight and hotel booking apps suggest new and trending destinations. According to a report from TravelPerk, 45 percent of travellers went with destinations presented by their travel apps in 2020. In-app suggestions play a huge role in marketing and advertising”.

Virtual Reality Tours

Marshall states: “Virtual reality technology can transport a person to various exotic locales from their living room. Once you’ve toured a place virtually, your phone can help you plan a trip to the location you loved the most. The beauty of virtual reality is that it can allow you to check multiple destinations without spending money”.

Leveraging Social Media Algorithms

Marshall proposes: “Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest often suggest travel destinations based on your likes and viewing habits. Based on data from Statista, in May 2022, there were almost 1 billion visits to Pinterest…Pinterest is not just a site for creative minds but can also be a haven for travellers.”

Other advantages, according to Marshall are:

  • Spontaneity
  • Enriching Experiences
  • Amplifying Anticipation
  • Unique Stories
  • Learning and Skill Enhancement

Marshall concludes: “Real travel isn’t about visiting places, but rather about ‘being’ somewhere.” So, the next time you consider exploring, let your phone think. And you, just pack your bags…”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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