Technology is continuing to make travel easier and more accessible.
And, undoubtedly, one of the more intriguing developments in travel has been the move toward replacing credit cards, passports and hotel keys with a single device — the smartphone.
Some industry pundits have suggested that the smartphone could do it all in as little as five-10 years.
That certainly seems feasible.
Cards on the way out
The way credit cards are used is changing fast because of services like Apple Pay.
It’s becoming common to see people holding their phones or watches next to the card reader at shop check-outs while their identity is verified.
The days of carrying a wallet or purse full of credit and loyalty cards certainly seem numbered.
On our most recent European trip, we had all our loyalty cards, Seniors Card, Driver’s licences etc stored on our phones using the Stocard App. It worked well, however we still nervously took along our actual credit cards. Perhaps next time!
Hotel room entry
Hotels world-wide are gradually testing various methods of keyless entry where a smartphone will open and lock room doors, instead of using cards or, in some cases, actual keys.
It’s just another way in which hotels are streamlining traditional processes to improve the process for guests.
Wireless phone charging
The industry is also moving to introduce wireless charging to reduce the need for charging points in hotel rooms. The latest phones can be charged wirelessly
And cheap international telephone roaming is now common in much of the world. Our charges were pegged at three Australian dollars a day – if we made calls. We send to use Face Time on free wifi.
The European Union has, also made cheap roaming mandotory in its member countries.
Of course, using a phone as a boarding pass is now common at airports.
The movement to electronic Passports is probably a little way off yet – and may be governed largely by political and immigration issues.
However, steps in that direction are still being taken in preparation.
There are also automated security booths appearing at the departure area of many airports.
So, depending on destination and hotel, it’s already possible to:
- buy aircraft tickets online and store them on your phone
- board a plane using a pass and the tickets on your phone.
- pay for your hotel with your phone
- enter your room using your phone
- pay for meals and purchases using your phone
- book Uber or similar transport to and from airports.
And, thank goodness that today’s smartphones have ever-more-strict security features to prevent misuse.