Technology has transformed the way we get from A to B. Here, the O2 Gurus guide you from your home to your hotel with help from the latest in transport technology.
Technology is transforming the way we travel. It’s thought that before long we’ll be able to check out potential destinations using virtual reality headsets, and use smart contact lenses to provide real-time language translations when abroad.
Yet even today the experience of travelling from A to B has been altered radically by technology’s relentless forward progress. Let the O2 Gurus guide you through these changes with our guide to how to get from your home to your destination using the latest tech innovations. Happy holidays!
Before leaving home
Gone are the days when it was necessary to factor in hours of time at the airport to check in. Airline apps (such as Delta’s, above) allow customers to check-in without having to queue in person, meaning a previously arduous process can now be completed in minutes – from the comfort of your own sofa.
There’s plenty of other ways technology can help you prepare for travel. If you need help packing productively, apps such as TripList make it easier to keep track of what you’ll need whilst you’re away, and link directly to Google and Amazon so you can quickly order those last minute necessitates you forgot to pick up.
Getting to the airport
Catching a taxi to the airport may be your best bet if you want to avoid expensive car park costs, and these days there’s no need to lump your luggage out onto the street in order to try to hail one down. Rides are now just a few clicks away, with apps such as HAILO allowing users to summon a black cab driver with just two taps of their smartphone. Payment can then automatically be made via a pre-loaded credit card.
Public transport is also becoming an increasingly intelligent transport option. Travel planning apps and websites, such as London’s TFL, are excellent tools for working out the quickest way of getting to your intended destination using buses and trains. Transport smartcards, such as London’s Oyster cards, are making public services far easier to pay for. They also give providers access to detailed passenger data, which in turn can be used to help inform future service improvements.
At the airport
Technology has not just changed the way you go about booking a holiday – it has also permanently transformed the airport experience itself.
Wi-Fi and smartphone services now come as givens at the world’s major airports. Customers can connect to the web via their phone to access flight information services, view wait times at security checkpoints, and calculate the time they require to reach their departure gate. It means customers can now track their flight without having to join a throng of people also craning their necks to look at departure boards.
Technology is increasingly being used to reduce queues and cut down work for airport staff. In some places, luggage check-in agents have been replaced by kiosks where customers can weigh and tag their belongings without assistance, whilst check-in stations can be used to print boarding passes and coupons, as well as file complaints. In addition, touch-screen scanners are also simplifying passport control. These self-service stations are easy to use and can process more customers at a time than human agents, making them capable of reducing wait times and stress levels considerably.
Virtual assistants have already been introduced at some airports, such as Athens International in Greece. Holograms of human agents are located around the airport to provide customers with the latest announcements and travel information. Most importantly, they leave travellers with a smile on their face.
Reaching your accommodation
Successfully off the plane, but unsure about how you’re going to make it to your hotel? Don’t worry – car rental is straightforward in the digital age. Companies such as CarRental.com have developed apps that let you search their giant international database and locate the nearest rental car according to your airport code, postcode or current location as identified by your phone’s GPS. The Zipcar app, meanwhile, lets you unlock your new ride using your phone.
If you’re renting, there are ways to avoid the considerable cost of also hiring a sat nav or eating up your data using conventional GPS phone navigation. Smartphone apps such as Navfree, for example, come with pre-loaded maps and route planning and do not require you to be connected to the internet. Garmin’s StreetPilot is another good option – its friendly interface is linked up with Wikipedia and Foursquare, the location-based social networking site.
Arrive to your holiday destination, only to find you’ve made a wrong or unsatisfactory booking? Hotel Tonight is a great last minute accommodation finding app which guarantees the best rates possible.
If you urgently need to get online, the free Wi-Fi Finder app gives you easy instructions to find your nearest connection spot – as long as you’re located in one of the 144 countries that it supports.
How else have you used technology to ease your journey from home to holiday? In what other ways could tech be used to enhance your travel experience? Tweet your ideas to us at @O2.