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Travel and technology go hand-in-hand. Discover some of the ways technology is used to make your vacation easier to plan, safer, and more enjoyable.
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in how we travel. From booking accommodation and checking in for a flight, to sophisticated border systems, technology and travel go hand-in-hand.
This trend looks set to skyrocket in the coming years. New technologies have the potential to make overseas and domestic travel even faster and more efficient. In this article, we take a look at how our travel experience is being shaped by technology now and in the future.
Border Management and Security
For several years, technology has helped us apply for the permission we need to enter foreign countries. Many countries have electronic visa application systems, making visiting the embassy for a visa appointment a thing of the past.
Several nations that allow holders of certain passports to enter without a visa have introduced electronic travel authorization systems. The best example of this is the United States ESTA which pre-screens visa-exempt visitors. Others include the Canadian eTA and the recently introduced South Korea K-ETA.
Europe will introduce ETIAS in 2023, its own electronic travel authorization for non-EU nationals visiting the Schengen Area visa-free. ETIAS will be required to cross an external Schengen border without a visa.
Passengers register with these systems online. Personal and passport details are cross-checked against information held in international databases to detect potential health or security risks. Technology used in this way makes traveling safer and also protects residents.
Mobile Technology and Apps
With the advancement of technology, you don’t even need a laptop or personal computer to arrange your vacation. Smartphones now allow us to do everything on the move. Look around you on the subway and almost everyone is glued to their screen, it’s more than likely that a few are booking flights, checking out accommodation, or using a map.
We can also check in for our flights and get the latest travel updates direct to our phone, anytime. Translation apps are making it increasingly easy to communicate with locals and get the most out of our stay.
Travelers are seeking ever more convenient options, and smartphones and mobile apps are providing excellent solutions.
Robots and Virtual Assistants
Robots are no longer just found on the big screen, they are now very much a part of our lives, including when it comes to travel.
When taking a trip, there’s a good chance you’ll come face-to-face with robotics technology.
The use of robots has increased as a result of COVID-19 as a way to effectively reduce human-to-human contact. Some hotels have even introduced robots to concierge roles, for example when handling luggage and assisting guests.
Another (not so) futuristic role of technology in travel is virtual assistants. Like robots, they can provide the same role as humans at airports and hotels, offering guidance and information to passengers and guests.
Facial Recognition and Fingerprint Technology
Artificial intelligence in the form of recognition technology may be used at several points during your trip. Facial recognition could be used at passport control. Biometric measurements are used to compare a passenger to their passport photograph. This technology can help prevent passport fraud and also streamline the airport experience.
Passport checks take as little as 2 to 3 seconds using this technology, compared to manual passport verification which takes at least 10 seconds and up to 30. This means less time waiting in line and more time enjoying your vacation.
It’s not just at airports where recognition technology is implemented. Some hotels already use it to access rooms with a fingerprint and there are many more potential uses to be explored.
Augmented Reality at Tourist Attractions
Tourist industries across the world are utilizing Augmented Reality to provide a more immersive experience. At exhibitions and museums, AR technology is used to superimpose images, text, or sounds onto what the visitor is looking at. They just need to hold their smartphone or tablet up to a scene to see the AR version.
AR can be used to bring exhibits to life and make the whole experience more immersive. Travelers can be taken back to a time in the past, or introduced to the creator of a piece of artwork using AR technology.
If we choose to, we can now stay connected when we travel. People who can do their jobs remotely can continue to work on their projects whilst exploring somewhere new, a great option if you’re unable to take time off.
Technology also allows us to easily stay in contact with family and friends, letting them know where we are and sharing photos. It can be fun to share our experiences with loved ones and it can also make traveling safer.
Overall, technology is making travel smoother and more streamlined. It is providing simple solutions to planning and arranging our vacations, providing a great travel experience, and helping to keep us safe. The possibilities for technology in travel are endless and we’re sure to see even more innovative solutions in the not-so-distant future.