Think back to five years ago. Do you think the world has changed a lot since then?
If you’d asked me a few months ago, I probably would’ve said no. We already had internet and Step Up 2, so what more could we really need?
But last month, I realized that things — at least in the travel world — have changed a lot. I was in Washington, DC for the wedding of one of my best friends, Jen, and had the opportunity to use several technologies that didn’t exist five years ago.
Here’s how I think travel has changed — and one important way it hasn’t:
Old way: Find a pricey hotel online or crash with friends and feel awkward slash imposing.
New way: Airbnb
There were zero hotels within walking distance of Jen’s apartment, so I looked on Airbnb and found an amazing apartment that was literally across the street. It had a kitchen, so we saved money by cooking food; a desk, so I could work; and a huge bed and couch, so three of us could stay there comfortably. Best of all, it cost around $120/night, less than a comparable hotel would. (Want to try Airbnb? Use this link to get $25 off your first booking!)
Old way: When I lived in DC for a summer, I took hot sweaty buses everywhere. On rare occasions when I was going home late at night and didn’t feel like getting stabbed, I would take a taxi.
New way: Uber
I felt like a Real Housewife of DC with all the private cars I took. No convenient bus route? Take an Uber. It’s getting dark? Take an Uber. I have to carry some bags? Take an Uber. The ubiquity and affordability of private driving services has revolutionized how we get around in big cities. (Use this link and get your first ride FREE.)
Old way: Wander around while getting hungrier and hungrier. Attempt (and fail) to determine if a restaurant is good from their menus. Attempt (and fail) to get everyone to agree on the same thing.
New way: Yelp
Seriously, life is so much better with Yelp. Before you go out to eat, and before you get hangry, look up what’s popular and nearby. I love that you can see how expensive it is, if it accommodates dietary restrictions, and sometimes even get a coupon!
Old way: If I’d had an online business five years ago, I imagine I would’ve worked in a coffee shop or hotel room, which is fine — but the new way is pretty neat.
New way: Coworking space
I spent several days working at UberOffices, which is a coworking space in downtown DC. (Alexis Grant has an office there, and she lets our team work there if we’re visiting.) It was actually really nice to work around other people — but still have the freedom to come and go as you please. For business travelers, coworking spaces are a great option if you want to be productive and also network a little bit.
Old way: Walk into a store, get overwhelmed, try on a bunch of things, and end up spending too much money just because you want to get out of there.
New way: Rent the Runway
Omg, this website is my new favorite thing ever. Maybe because I’m 28 and every person I know in the universe is getting married, but also because I really dislike shopping, and packing dresses.
Rent the Runway solves all of that; simply log on and select your max price, dress size, event, dress color, style, length, etc, and the website brings up matching designer dresses. You can see what the dresses look like on people with your body type, and when you choose one, they’ll ship it to you for the weekend!
How Travel Has Stayed the Same
Though there may be apps for particular aspects of travel, it’s still the experiences and people that make or break your trip. (Like this idea? Click to tweet!)
The new technologies are great, but these companies might not even be around in another five years. Surely, in 10 years, this post will be obsolete, the apps forgotten and replaced.
But that time Jen and I had to run to the store to buy a new wedding dress two days before the wedding? Her first dance with her dad? Late night Vietnamese and milkshakes with my friend Labe? Watching Michigan beat Penn State on an iPhone from the reception?
Those are things I will never forget.
Do you think travel has changed in the past five years? How?
Note: This is not a sponsored post. Some of the links are affiliate links, but I decided to write about each of these companies on my own accord.