Has our increasingly connected world ruined travel?

Travel, like so many other industries, has been turned on its head thanks to the internet and our increasingly connected world, but is this a good thing?

It almost seems impossible to think of a time before Facebook, let alone the internet. When photos of events were shared weeks after they occurred (if at all), and holidays were booked on the basis of outdated guidebooks and optimism.

Of course with these huge technological advancements comes ease and instant gratification, with review sites providing peace of mind and comparison sites helping keep costs down.

But pre-booking everything greatly reduces the chance of stumbling upon hidden gems, or hanging out in the actual local areas (as opposed to the areas your tour operator tells you are local!).

Christos Hajipapas Director of specialist tour operator Cyplon, outlined some pros and cons of being able to research and book online.

"The advantages of the internet in relation to travel first and foremost come in the form of greater price transparency and the ability to compare prices quickly. Technology has changed the travel industry and the way we travel by making things more readily available to the consumer as well as forcing prices lower," He explains.

"It has also given people more insight into where they can travel and the experiences other travelers have had which is a good thing - it can help inspire people on their travels and create wonderlust.

Read: Families take over £2,000 worth of gadgets on holiday

"However, this does have its downfalls given that many operators offer slightly different services which aren’t always entirely visible to the consumer on the internet. The internet allows for far greater visibility, especially for flight and hotel packages, however it has not yet conquered the art of multicentre stays and other true tailor-made products that require a certain degree of flexibility. It also cannot describe the varying levels of service you will experience in-resort from one operator to another."

And of course, access to the internet can also have huge effect on the travel experience itself, not just the research and planning aspect.

While holidays traditionally provided an opportunity to ‘get away from it all’, today even Mount Fuji has WiFi, making it almost impossible to switch off from work email, social media feeds and clickbait.

Experiences that used to be savoured and enjoyed are now being seen through the lens of a smartphone. Who can forget the image of the man sitting on his boat, so engrossed with his phone that he missed the once in a lifetime sight of a humpback whale breaching just a few feet away?

On top of that, always knowing exactly where you are going thanks to map apps means no more whiling away the hours in unknown streets countryside.

The internet may have made the facilitation of travel easier, but is that really the price we want to pay for losing out on actual conversation, really getting away from it all and discovering new food, people and experiences by yourself?

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.


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