Arriving in a new city used to mean a dearth of information about the best restaurants, bars and clubs to suit your tastes. This partly explains the popularity of guide books. With no local friends to ask for recommendations, how do you know where to go?
But guidebooks only give you a tiny selection of the options, are biased towards the preferences of the writer, can become quickly outdated and the places mentioned tend to attract a huge number of tourists reading the same guidebook.
A backpacker holding the paper version of the Lonely Planet at the central train station in Florence, Italy
Now smartphones allow to access a litany of located-based restaurant and nightlife guides with reviews from locals and other travelers. This gives you so much more valuable information on which to make your decision to suit your personal tastes.
For example, recently I was out on a Saturday night in the city center in Vienna, Austria. Not finding the bars there to be my scene, I got on my iPhone and started to search for clubbing options and voilà! 20 minutes later my evening was transformed as I grooved to my favorite music, sipped on great cocktails and chatted with new found friends. 🙂
It used to be the case that communication was a luxury. It was difficult and expensive. Now with a local SIM card (see my article here
for more on that), you can speak, write and send photos etc for almost no marginally cost all while traveling.
Just as with sharing location, most IM apps now allow you to conduct video or phone calls, write messages, shares documents (including photos) from wherever you are in the world. This truly makes the world smaller!
This allows the traveler to stay in touch with family and friends so they know that all is well. It makes it so much easier to maintain contact with acquaintances from your trips.
Moreover, apps like Tinder or Happn help you meet new people either for friendship or romance (read more about my experience with Tinder here
) so that you don’t have to spend your time alone (if you don’t really want to). 🙂
Smartphones allow travelers to snap on the go, edit and publish on social media within seconds, like I did here in Grenoble, France
Another huge advantage is the ability to post in real time my photos and videos to social media. In the past a traveler had to wait until they got home and developed the photos in order to create a slideshow so that they could share their trip with friends. Now this is done instantaneously! As a vlogger this clearly has huge benefits for Tsar Experience where I communicate daily with my followers (especially on Instagram where I typically post daily).
GoogleTranslate and similar translation software now improve communication in other languages that you might be struggling with. I find this an indispensable tool as I combine my travels with learning the local languages. You can whip out your smartphone and resolve a basic communication problem in a foreign language. A godsend! 🙂
It’s often happened that old friends have reconnected with me having seen a post showing them that I was nearby. The advantages this brings are simply amazing!
As you will know from my YouTube channel, one of my least favorite things about traveling are dishonest taxi drivers (watch my video below for more on the taxi mafia). Smartphones are a superb development for thwarting such miscreants from ripping you off as a traveler!
This is because taxi apps or other car services like Uber
allow you to keep track of your itinerary and the real price plus have a review system where you can give both positive and negative feedback to other travelers.
Not only taxis easier to find but also public and intercity transport, as well as, flights are now much easier to handle. You can often bus your tickets for public transport on your phone, checkin on an app and buy your train tickets there. This is cheaper and more importantly, saves you a huge amount of time that would otherwise have been spent standing in a queue, perhaps with a lot of stress if you need to travel immediately.
Traveling used to mean having to forego watching your favorite shows, keeping up with the latest developments in your home country and often sitting idly while traveling over long distances. Now ou can access all your usual news and entertainment resources while traveling and there’s more.
Your library now fits onto your iPad, same with your film collection. Moreover, I can work pretty effectively from anywhere (vital as a digital nomad) so long journeys do not mean time lost at all. I normally prefer trains over buses where possible as it’s more comfortable to type my laptop.
Here I’ve outlined 5 significant changes I’ve noticed about how traveling has been revolutionized by technological advancements, primarily by the ubiquitous smartphone in the last decade. Have you noticed any other significant changes? Are you happy about the rise of the smartphone (and the demise of the paper guidebook, for example)? Write your answers in the comments section below! I love reading about your travel experiences.
If you are the kind of person who wants to go to Eastern Europe to party hard, meet beautiful women, just have an unforgettable experience and learn loads of lifelong skills all during your stay in a city like Odesa, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv, Minsk, Moscow or Saint Petersburg then …
you need to go here to the Live the Tsar Experience page or apply directly with the following application form.
You can also reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or slide into my DMs on my Instagram.