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How the Web is Changing the Way We Travel
Have you ever wondered how the internet has altered travelers' behaviours?
How do we travel today and how did we travel back in the 1990's?
A little overview, not too technical, just to emphasize on the key aspects...
The use of the internet has had a revolutionary effect on the travel industry, nevertheless...
Let's take a look at the main lines of the issue - why we travel, how we adopt the decision to visit a particular destination, how we choose our services and so on...
Motivational, Influential Factors
What motivates you to travel? What makes you want to set off for a trip?
I believe it's partly due to social media, partly word-of-mouth (which again is often spread online), but also due to travel sites that we visit...
The internet is motivating us to travel more than anything before.
You accidentally come across a travel blog, catch a glimpse of a fabulous place like Bora Bora, Venice or Machu Picchu and you wish you were there!
Motivation can come in a matter of seconds! We discover new places at the click of a button and learn about them in minutes.
Nevertheless, the process is much faster than in the past. Back then we used to think, plan for longer periods of time, sometimes it took months, years until we finally knew exactly how, where to travel and, we managed to gather the adequate funds!
Of course, real "travel bugs", feel constant motivation!
Thinking of myself: ever since my childhood, I always wanted to travel and explore the World! The motivation was constantly there. The lack of funds has held me back, though.
How We Pick Our Destinations
In the past there were some trendy destinations where pretty much everyone used to go. And they did this repeatedly. Every year they went to the same beach, the same hiking spot etc. etc.
I remember my family members, friends continuing to visit the same old place year after year. Rarely did they try something new.
In the past people seemed more "flat", less thirsty for adventure, not very interested about discovering new places. We could say they were more convervative.
As for "dream destinations"...
Rome, Paris, Venice, the country of Spain, Hawaii, Las Vegas were pretty much everybody's dream...
But most people haven't heard of the Maldives, couldn't find Singapore on the map...
Whenever I mentioned places like Trinidad Tobago, Peru, the Seychelles, Costa Rica, Andorra, Macau, Singapore or Vietnam - people looked at me like I was some kind of a "nut".
The internet helps raise attention just like TV shows (like "Lonely Planet", later renamed "Globe Trekker" did in the early 2000's).
The moment you see a beautiful travel photo on a website, you hit the "Like" button or share it... you'll want to visit it and just for curiosity (at least), you'll start collecting information and looking up transportation costs to that particular place...
Traveling is becoming trendier than ever before. It's fashionable, one could say.
Travel in Group or Alone?
Back in the 1980's, more people traveled in groups, while nowadays solo travel is very popular.
I remember how we used to get desperate if we didn't find ourselves a travel mate. We would gather in groups, otherwise the entire trip seemed pointless.
Nowadays traveling alone is quite popular. Still, many (especially old-fashioned) people will think you're "deviating from the norms" when traveling alone.
It the past, the lonely traveler bared a social stigma. They were often labeled "defect", "lost", "runaway", "rebel" or even "socially deviant vagabonds" who just "couldn't find anyone to travel with" and the list could go on.
The internet, mobile phones, social media, WiFi hotspots reduce the sense of loneliness. Sharing photos, videos, communicating with loved ones if far easier than several decades ago and there are lots and lots of travel meetups and conferences to check out!
Buying the Travel Services
In the past, everything was arranged by either a travel agency (through a physical office) or, we started out searching for local services, such as hotels, upon arrival.
Now you can easily book your own services only and this is both speed and more control over your itinerary.
A revolutionary change was brought by the fare comparison engines.
These are rather search engines that market selected merchants and do have their limits! Despite offering tremendous advantages, these comparison engines sometimes overcharge...
Low Cost Travel
The internet has made traveling cheaper! News, ads, all sort of information spread much faster.
Low cost airline tickets sold online cost far less than when we used to run out to physical offices and buy paper tickets.
News of special offers are spreading faster, stimulating people to travel.
The spread of budget travel can be largely attributed to the spread of the internet.
How's It With the Travel Niches?
Yes, there are plenty that received a tremendous boost or, have even appeared due to the internet!
Just to enumerate a few niches that evolved tremendously together with the spread of the internet: last minute travel, low cost airline travel, mystery travel...
Old popular services received a tremendous boost: hotel booking-, plane ticket booking-, cruise ship ticket purchasing- and car rental reservation systems are just the main areas... More popularity meant more intense competition between firms thus, lower prices!
Online Communities and Reviews
Probably the most popular one is TripAdvisor...
Communities help us choose and share our views on services and places. What would we do without them?
In fact - companies have recognized the importance of online communities. In order to better communicate their clients, plenty of them created their own blogs, review centers etc.
It's often the review center that motivates us to choose or avoid certain services or locations.
We share, we criticize, we appreciate... everything spreads.
The service providers have gotten more careful about the way they serve their clients. A single unsatisfied client's negative opinion can propagate and harm the company's image.
Interactivity helps engage visitors. Some companies, websites are stimulating the users to create their own content, share their own travel experiences, their photos and stories...
All I can wish for is that EscapeHunter.com can also bring a positive change to the way you travel!
My site is more than about "just traveling", it's about a taking a deep immersion and having deep joyful experiences...
I chose to be anonymous to help you put yourself in my place. I'm not bordered by my own culture, I'm wide-open to the great international World.
Source: © iStock.com/duckycards
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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