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Travel Toolbox: Innovations in Travel

Some things in travel will never change — people will always visit the Coliseum in Rome or stop to marvel at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. But advancements in technology are changing a lot of things on the periphery of travel, from the way we book transportation to how we keep in touch with people at home.

Innovation is happening all around us, and travel planners can benefit by taking advantage of some of the new ideas and technologies available today. Embracing innovation can help make tasks that were once tedious feel seamless and can open the door to new experiences that you may not have thought of before.

In the group tourism industry, embracing innovations in travel could prove especially beneficial as travel planners work to attract a younger generation of travelers. Here are five innovations that you should watch for 2015.


Wi-Fi Everywhere

Though it was considered a high-tech perk a decade ago, wireless Internet connectivity has become commonplace around the globe, and travelers expect to find a Wi-Fi connection nearly everywhere they go. Hotels around the world offer this service, sometimes for a fee, and some tour operators and bus companies are even promoting Wi-Fi onboard their motorcoaches. Today’s planners can ingratiate themselves to their Web-connected customers by ensuring that good wireless service is included free of charge all throughout a tour.


Cheap Data Roaming

Long-distance telephone charges used to make it expensive to communicate with people back home, especially when traveling overseas. But with the prevalence of text messaging and social media, it’s never been easier or cheaper for travelers to keep in touch. Mobile phone companies now offer international travel packages that give subscribers the ability to send and receive text messages and use mobile data in foreign countries for as little as $30. With those “data roaming” features enabled, travelers can stay connected to loved ones at home and send text messages just as easily as they do at home.


Device Consolidation

There’s no more need to carry around myriad electronic devices when traveling. The little pocket computers that we still call “telephones” have become so powerful that they have eliminated the need to pack a music player, a laptop, a GPS device and even a camera. The photographic capabilities of today’s smartphones have come so far that they rival any stand-alone point-and-shoot camera. Unless you have photography enthusiasts in your group that enjoy shooting with fancy equipment, encourage your travelers to use their phones for their snapshots and save room in their suitcases for more souvenirs.