Top Ten travel innovations in the last 25 years

Though flying has become a hassle in recent years, there have been many technological advances that have made traveling easier, safer and more convenient.  Here are ten.

CHARLOTTE, March 3, 2012 — Time was when flying was regarded as a luxurious adventure.  Today, with the increase in security measures, flying, at best, has become a major hassle.  Despite that, over the past quarter century, there have been numerous innovations which have made travel considerably more comfortable and convenient.  Here’s a list of ten:

1 – GPS Systems – Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, reading maps has been virtually eliminated and, as a result, countless marriages have been saved.  A GPS has greatly minimized those last second “Turn here, turn here” moments which frequently lead to detours in unfamiliar territory.  While headache remedies may have taken a financial hit, the benefits of GPS are immeasurable.

2 – Tour Group Headsets – Today you can stray from traveling partners and still hear the commentary of your tour guide.  The guide wears a microphone while group members don headsets, which allow them to walk away from the crowd and still hear all the information.  A side benefit is that it is infinitely easier to keep the group in a cohesive unit.

3 – High Speed Rail Service Throughout Europe – Go from city-center to city-center faster by rail than by air on trips of three-and-a-half hours or less by using trains that travel just under 200 mph in many European countries. 

In many European destinations, high-speed trains now allow travelers to base themselves in one location and do day-trips without the hassle of changing hotels. 

Eurostar service through the Channel Tunnel has made traveling between London and Paris a 3-hour excursion.  While a whirlwind tour of either city is less than ideal, people are able to get a taste of either city when time does not allow in depth exploration 

Another example is Italian Eurostar service between Rome and Florence.  The journey only takes an hour and a half, so a one-day excursion is a simple proposition.

4 – Internet – Take any and all versions of “pads” and “pods” or other form of internet connection and staying in touch with home or tracking friends within your destination(s) is now little more than a touch or two away.  One great advantage of internet access is the increased ability for doing individual travel.  Groups can split up to explore personal interests and easily reunite through the miracle of instant communication.  In addition, Skype has even made it possible to see your friends and loved ones as they are traveling.

5 – Euro – Though the currency may be having its problems, it has certainly made traveling between multiple European nations a lot easier.

The euro has not only simplified the process of currency conversion for travelers, it has also minimized the cumbersome task of figuring conversion rates in individual countries.

6 – ATMs – ATMs allow you access to money at any time including weekends, holidays and after hours.  It may not sound like a big deal, but with the convenience of ATMs always being in close proximity, the urgency of running low on funds at an inconvenient time is greatly reduced.

7 – Swiss Rail Pass – The rail pass itself has been around for years, and it has always been a great travel bargain because it offers the use of local transportation, postal buses, boats, funiculars and cable cars as well as trains.  All too often, however, travelers fail to consider the bonuses that are included with a rail pass such as significant discounts for mountaintop excursions and other private transportation services.  In addition, a Swiss Rail Pass offers free admission to more than 400 museums throughout the country.  It doesn’t take long for a Swiss Rail Pass to pay off. 

8 – Cell Phones – Rushing to pay phones to announce late departures or arrivals to friends and family members is a thing of the past, not to mention the ease of staying in touch while traveling.  Many airports even have cell phone parking lots where people can park while they wait for an arrival call from a plane that is in the process of landing. 

A cell phone parking area not only reduces congestion at the terminal, it also saves a lot of time and gas by eliminating the need to circle the airport while you wait. 

9 – Personal In-Flight Entertainment Systems – Select a variety of movies, TV shows, games or even track your location during a flight.  For movie purists who don’t like having their entertainment edited or censored for family viewing, personal monitors make it possible to watch uncut versions of their favorite programs or movies.

10 – Eurail Saverpass Programs – Many European rail passes now offer Saverpasses which provide substantial discounts for two or more people traveling together.  Saverpass products are a relatively recent innovation which are great for small groups or families.  In essence, a Eurail Saverpass makes as few as two people a “group” which provides significant discounts for traveling by rail throughout Europe.  And, like the Swiss Rail Pass, there are excellent bonus options for ferries, ground transportation and other services that can result in significant savings.

So next time you’re stuck in line at the airport, taking off your shoes and your belt and being inconvenienced, just remember that traveling has, indeed, become considerably easier over the years, and it’s only getting better.  

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC, founder of The Magellan Travel Club which creates and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more. Inquiries for groups can be made at Peabod@aol.com Taylored media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others. As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime. To date he has visited 69 countries. Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook. Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries.

 


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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com) and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.

 

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