By Brenda Mussoko
Travelers at the airport
“We are going to Europe!” That was the most exhilarating moment for Sarah and her husband who screamed with joy after landing on an opportunity to do a Europe tour. This was definitely going to be the most remarkable experience for her since she had never been to Europe before. For a random experience, she quickly browsed through a couple of images from general tour websites showing breathtaking sceneries of various parts of Europe. Three weeks later, the flight and hotel bookings were all done online after scanning through airline companies’ web pages to choose packages and rates that stood within a set budget, offering value for money. A day before the trip, they checked in online and called their usual cab person who agreed to pick and drop them to the airport 4 hours before departure time. Unfortunately, the cab man fell ill the following day and they got to know just a few minutes before the agreed pick-up time. Luckily, she was registered with Uber taxis and through her phone, she was able to log in the app and pick one of the cabs available around her locality. In less than 10 minutes the cab arrived and off they went to the airport where their excursion began.
Now, let’s reflect abit on how the digital age has made the traveling process worthwhile…
Memories of how the analogue days used to be when planning a trip are quite blurred now. In the past, all traveling arrangements including booking flights could either be made at the airport or for hotels bookings and reservations simply force one to make numerous landline calls which most of the time had poor connections and proved to be very expensive for ordinary travelers.
This is not the case nowadays with technology favoring us by displaying the values of digital communication in our usual planning of trips. At present, one is able to access flight information from various airline websites and do own bookings without the help of a travel agent who induce their cut (commission) in the whole process, which is an added expense for the traveler. Once personal details are shared, a database is automatically generated and saved for record purposes to be used in future inquiries and bookings. Most companies have an online chat booth that helps a customer communicate with an officer to get instant response to all queries. Dialogues can be carried out throughout the booking process.
The social networking websites are a huge plus for most companies nowadays. Travelers find it easier to navigate their way through a company’s Facebook page in search for more details about rates, accommodation and even booking since all these information can be easily and quickly accessed through personal cell phones. This also applies to other social media tools like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat among others.
Travel companies and hotels are keen to upload as many photos and videos as they can on their social sites to give a snippet of experience to potential customers who are always eager to compare with other competitors and make decisions based on what they find more interesting.
One other very useful facility for travelers is the digital network money transfers like M-Pesa, Airtel Money, mobile banking and PayPal among others, which allow customers to make instant payments directly to the company’s account using personal cell phones through a mobile network. These phone-based money transfers have made it easier for travelers to not only keep their money intact and accessible in the most secured way but also enabled them receive money from friends and family whenever they get stuck without the need of looking for a physical bank or any other financial institution. Travelers are able to monitor their cash flows since they can equally access their personal bank accounts and query for balances. A decade ago, the process would have been different; from queuing in a bank to withdraw money at the counter, to waiting a couple of days for a cheque to clear for one to receive money. Cheques are still used today but mostly in business to business dealings because their processes are quite extensive.
Credit cards (with Visa chip nowadays) are widely used especially for international trips to assist travelers purchase goods and services on credit. Most people prefer this arrangement because they are able to pay gradually hence making prior repayment plans with the bank. However, if not restrained, this arrangement can similarly work against extravagant customers putting them in high debt risks. Either way, credit cards have made it easier for travelers to move about and access any goods and service they wish at their point of comfort.
Google maps has provided quick navigation solutions to backpackers (budget travelers) who like the thrill of exploring unknown zones. Google maps is a web mapping service for route planning for travelers on foot, vehicle, bicycle or public transportation. Once the Google map app is uploaded to a mobile phone, details on the destination are fed to it and a route plan appears directing travelers towards their end point. Initially, the traditional atlas was used by backpackers to trace their way although it proved to be quite cumbersome since it was a huge sheet of paper and most of the times, people were not well conversant with it.
To make the journey more interesting, travelers are now enjoying the comfort of listening to their own choice of music through personal podcasts and iPods. Previously, before these portable digital media players existed, travelers would listen to a playlist from either a radio show or station in a communal vehicle. http://www.padhaaro.com/blog/traveling-alone-make-music-your-companion/
Finally, photography in any excursion is a must activity whether by phone or a professional camera. Photographs capture experiences and help to create memories of the areas visited and people met all through the trip. Unlike the earlier times when it took much longer to process photo images taken from analogue cameras, we can now take instant photos which are automatically saved in our gadgets without the need of processing physical ones. Photographs can be uploaded on social sites like Facebook, Instagram or blogs to share those happy moments with mostly family and friends from all over the world.
The shift from traditional to revolutionized age has brought industrialization to an economy in a huge way. There is absolutely no doubt that traveling in this digital age has been made easier, bearable and luxurious. Who knows what is being fabricated now in terms of digital structure in preparation for the next generation.