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We are in a new stage of the Internet. Thanks to new technology, we have seen the web become increasingly more practical and socialized. This has touched every industry you can imagine, and changed how we communicate, interact, shop and even work. It is like having an entirely different world at our fingertips, which has melded seamlessly with this one.
One of the biggest changes has come to the travel industry. Social media in particular has rewritten the rules of holidays, even offering a real time look into someone’s vacation. Not to mention the ability to remain in touch with others while away, effortlessly and naturally.
These are the ways in which web 2.0 have most influenced travel.
The Ability To Shop Around
When you went on a trip before the Internet, what did you do? You went to a travel agent, who would assure you that they were absolutely getting you the best price and trip. Never mind the commission they got as a percentage of what you spent, of course. But now, you are able to do things for yourself. Websites like Travelocity, Priceline and Expedia have made it simple to book your entire trip.
From vacation packages to popular locations, to finding hotels, auto rentals and flights booked at the lowest price, you no longer have to rely on an agency to get your trip booked. You can even find last minute cancellations that will give you further discounts.
Mobile Apps For Travel Efficiency
Smartphones have really changed things, haven’t they? Now, you can find apps for everything from finding a good restaurant (Zagat), to the lowest price on an auto rental (AutoSlash). You can even plan an entire itinerary and keep track of your trip (TripIt). Really, there are so many mobile apps out there that you can do nearly anything. A lot of them are free to cheap, as well.
One of my favorite things to do before I go on a trip is compare reviews. Hotels, restaurants, clubs, shops…anything that will be in my local area. The web makes this simple, as there are dozens of sites out there that cater to that very thing. My personal favorite is Yelp, which has an easily navigated website and a ton of cities to choose from. It is popular enough that you can be sure to find someone who has had an experience anywhere in the chosen location.
Sharing Your Trip
It is so simple to share your trip these days. All you have to do is upload photos from your phone directly to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr or any other site you might be interested in updating. You can write blogs on the go, or just keep up with friends and family as you travel from place to place. It is a nice change from getting people together to look at vacation slides. You can even use sites like FourSquare to show exactly where you are going by checking in from local establishments or areas.
Couchsurfing Like A Boss
Not everyone has the cash to stay in a hotel. Many people travel on a budget, and spend most of their cash on flights or bus rides. When you are low on funds, you can benefit from couchsurfing. This is staying the night (or a few) on people’s couches, in spare rooms or even on their floor.
Many avid travelers provide this service for free when they are home, and you can find a whole network all over the world on CourchSurfing.org. This will give you a chance to see reputable reviews by other members who have safely stayed at each house, so you will know that you are not at risk. Imagine being able to even save on hostels!
The web has changed the travel industry, but there is no denying that the change was for the better. You now have greater control over your trip, and can make the very most out of it all.
What are some of your favorite travel sites, tools and apps? Let us know in the comments.
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