7 Ways Travel Has Changed in the Last Decade

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In the past decade, travel has changed in so many ways — both good and bad. From advancements in technology to restrictions on air travel, here are seven ways travel has changed since 2010.

Advancements in Technology

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Technology has had the biggest impact on how we travel. The two most prominent players in the game have been the widespread adoption of the smartphone and global access to WiFi. Instead of lugging around a bulky camera, your heavy laptop, and a bag of wires and adapters on your trip, you can do pretty much anything on your phone. These days, we can check into our flights online, carry our boarding pass on our phone, confirm hotel reservations, navigate a new city, and so much more all through our phone  These days there's an app for everything, making travel a breeze.

Rise of Digital Nomads

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The beginning of 2010 saw the emergence of a new breed of traveler — the digital nomad. In 2010, this type of worker was only found in small pockets of major cities with reliable WiFi. Back then, if you wanted to travel and work abroad, you had to find work in foreign cities. Or you had to save up all your vacation days and try to make trips work around your full-time job. Today, all you need is a laptop and you can set up your “virtual office” just about anywhere on the planet — even on an airplane.

Travel Photography

Female tourist capturing photo of Oia, Santorini
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Gone are the days where you had to wait until you got home to develop the fantastic pictures you took on your trip. In 2010, digital cameras were just becoming popular and not too many travelers could afford one. Film processing was pricey too and you never knew if you got a good shot until after your trip was over. In 2010, the iPhone 3G had a camera with a paltry two megapixels. Today, you can take professional-grade pictures on just about any smartphone or digital camera, review them, edit them, and upload them to your many social media sites or travel blog in real time.

Travel Blogs and Vlogs

tourist hiking and vlogging on the mountain top
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In 2010, travel blogs were a novelty just beginning to gain traction. I created my first travel blog back in 2007 while backpacking in South Africa. It was a bit clunky having to find an internet café to type entries from my travel journal and upload all of my pictures. Today, with global WiFi and a camera, you can create a travel vlog and upload your entire trip to YouTube for all the world to see.

Easier Trip Planning

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Goodbye travel agents, hello travel apps. Although travel agents were (and often continue to be) a great resource for travelers, advances in technology have put many of their tips and tricks in the palm of your hand. In 2010, you would typically go to a travel agency with a wish list and a budget to create your dream vacation. But what happened if you wanted to make a change or stay longer than your itinerary said? Today, the world is your oyster and you have all the trip planning tools you need to execute the perfect, customized trip. From extending rental car reservations to booking accommodations, you are in control of your destiny with a click of the mouse.

Social Media Mavens

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Creating a travel blog is a great way to document your trip and maybe inspire someone to follow in your footsteps. But it’s the explosion in social media in the past decade that has really changed the way we communicate. Take Instagram for example. It’s so easy to post a picture of Venice or Paris that will make thousands of followers want to follow in your footsteps. Gone are the days of sending “wish you were here” postcards or emails to family and friends with a couple of photos attached. Add Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube to the mix, and you’ll be able to have all your friends and family feel like they are on your adventure with you.

Pros and Cons of Air Travel

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Of all the methods of travel, air travel has changed the most in the past decade. In many ways, it's become more of a hassle. Gone are the days where you could check your bags for free and get through security in a few minutes. Today, with new security regulations and low-cost airlines offering “no-frills” fares, quick trips through security, free checked bags, and in-flight meals are a thing of the past. Airport security is now so tight, it has officially become the top reason people hate to fly.

On the other hand, with more airlines and routes available to you, air travel has become easier than ever in many ways. Competition between airlines has created those "no-frills" fares which, though certainly inconvenient, open up air travel to more budget-conscious folks. Advancements in technology make checking into flights at home a breeze, and programs like TSA Pre-Check and Clear have tackled those rising security wait times.

Whether you believe the changing times are a good thing, or pine for those golden days of travel past, it's clear that the future will only bring more change. Who knows where we'll be in the next decade?

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