Travel in 2010

7 Dec

I recently had a week-long trip to California. I thought I have to write something before my next one to Seattle.

Travel in 2010 is different. First, we have to deal with two more new things among the complicated TSA airport security procedures– the pat-down and full body scanner. Second, now you can expect more when flying in the air, things such as watching live TV and checking in on Foursqure. Third, AT&T seems slowly improving its 3G network in major US cities, which means, you may have a smoother experience when using Google Map app on your iPhone or iPad to figure out where you are while traveling in a city you’ve never been to.

Many people still travel in an old-fashion way–carrying a real book on the trip, booking tickets through a travel agency, checking in flight at airport and writing down all the research they have done about the destination at home. Many people including me no longer do such things. We carry an iPad to read and to watch movies. We book our trip purely online or even through our mobile gadgets. We almost forget what it means by “checking-in at airport.” We check in online and pass the security with a mobile boarding bass on our Blackberry, iPhone, or Android. We figure out what time the next bus comes on mobile Google Map service. We find the nearest popular restaurant on Yelp.

Travel in 2010 is truly different. You can choose to travel the way people did in 20 years ago and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you can also have a cheaper, less stressful and more productive trip by embracing social, digital and mobile. We may be sitting right next to each other on a Boeing 737-800 plane but we are from totally different two worlds. Technology and mobile networks have not only redefined the way we travel but more importantly, they have redefined our perception about travel. A destination could soon be your new home with all the help from mobile apps. A trip may no longer need a carefully planed itinerary. An improvised one could end up being an unforgettable and pain-free travel memory, like the one I just had in California.

Watching Thanksgiving Parade live via Direct TV on a Continental EWR-SFO flight. Yes, I was also watching a movie on my iPad.

Reading the New York Times on Santa Monica beach. 3G covered.

Finding a fabulous restaurant in SF on Yelp is easy

I was at the same gate in SFO 2.5 years ago but this time I used a mobile boarding pass to pass the security. It was seriously cool.

However, I was eventually given a real boarding pass at the gate.

One thing that did not change is Continental's F class breakfast menu. But it was still a hearty and delicious meal though.

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