A comparative journey through time: how tech has made travelling easy

I’ve accidentally taken part in an experiment. By putting myself in a similar set of circumstances, outside the rhythm of a daily routine, and separated by roughly 8 years; I have been able to vividly compare two snapshots in time and observe the impact technology has had.    

In 2015 I packed my backpack and went on a trip around South America. I picked up the very same backpack in September of last year to do pretty much the same thing, but head a little further North as my starting point. Since I’ve returned, I’ve been surprised to find myself answering the question of, “So, how was it?” with “easy”.    

Let me explain why by giving a shout-out to the top 5 brands that, today, have removed challenges I felt in 2015 through their technology.   


Airlo – an eSIM provider; the great enabler – buying a SIM card for each country without the pain and delay of hunting down a physical shop. This meant access to the internet from the minute we crossed a border giving us instant and (almost) constant connectivity.


Moovit – think City Mapper but with more coverage globally – this saved a lot of time as we became instant experts on public transport systems that were previously a source of worry to try and navigate.  


Uber – getting from A to B – existed in 2015 but had not yet hit a critical mass of drivers or the geographical coverage in Latin America. The proliferation of both meant it was an unparalleled transport preference for shorter trips due to the quicker, cheaper, and safer service.   


Chat GPTour personal AI assistant – while still flawed, and never used in isolation, it was a useful aggregator for information we wanted to know about a destination. We once missed a historical centre walking tour, so simply created our own tour using ChatGPT.   


TikTok – user-generated inspiration – move over Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet, we reached to TikTok for inspiration for the best things to do in the middle of nowhere. Many suggestions followed; many suggestions were vetoed, but it was a far more convenient and engaging way to get a better picture of where to go and what to do.  


Credit where credit’s due, we used Google Maps, Google Reviews, and Google Translate on a daily basis, far more than was possible in 2015. Their suite of propositions has changed consumer behaviour and acted as the portal through which we found and evaluated many brands we interacted with.   

All of this in my pocket at almost all times had many benefits beyond making it easy. To climb up the emotional ladder, we felt more secure, comfortable in taking risks, and, ultimately, freer. Admittedly, time without any technology at all has its own list of benefits.   

So, what is the point of all this? Isn’t it obvious that technological progress is going to change how we experience things? Perhaps, but it brought into focus a few questions that brands may not be asking themselves frequently enough:  

  • How is evolving tech impacting our customer journey and the way consumers interact with us?  
  • Which additional consumer groups can we reach and unlock through an increase in accessibility?   
  • Is our proposition keeping up with the rate of change in consumer behaviour?   
  • Are consumers really buying what we’re selling? Are we really focusing on what matters most to them?   


By: Nick Campbell

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