Using technology to make travel easier

History of airplanes.Orville and Wilbur Wright were the inventors of the first airplane. On December 17, 1903.The first airplane design was in 1899 - it was a small, biplane glider flown as a kite.In 1902 the Wright brothers flew the first manned flight (glider).The U.S. Government bought the first airplane in 1909 for $25,000.The first flight was in 1911 and took 84 days to complete - stopping 70 times and crashing numerous times

Travel planning has gone digital. While you can still call to make reservations, most people turn to apps to book flights, hotels, car rentals and more. Just about every aspect of a trip can be planned and confirmed using technology.

“We’ve seen an explosion of technology when it comes to travel booking. When you’re traveling these days, having a smartphone is imperative,” Sally French, lead travel writer for NerdWallet, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The technology goes beyond booking, with certain apps offering advanced features like digital keys, and reservations for getting in line and even ordering food.

However, learning how to manage all this technology can be challenging, and as French says, “everyone has their different comfort levels.”

Apps today aren’t trying to make booking travel harder, but rather easier and more user-friendly.

According to a recent Marriott International survey of customers 55 and older, Marriott Bonvoy app users want dynamic search functionality to find the lowest prices, chat functionality to talk to the hotel directly and transparency, especially with pricing.

“The Marriott Bonvoy app can help our guests through the travel journey from start to finish — everything from research, planning and booking, to earning and redeeming points for free nights and experiences,” Peggy Roe, executive vice president and chief customer officer at Marriott International told the AJC.

The ability to earn points and get perks simply by using many travel apps is a significant incentive for digging into the technology, but you don’t have to feel pressured to be an expert from the start.

“Be open-minded to using your phone and be OK with asking for help,” French said.

It’s important to spend time on each app getting to know its functionality, as well, even before you book anything, according to Roe.

The more familiar you are with your travel apps, the less stress you’ll most likely have when traveling. You can eliminate things like waiting in line to check in, and never have to worry about missing a flight change.

One particularly innovative feature you may find with your hotel apps is mobile key check-in. This feature turns your phone into your hotel room key without ever having to go to the front desk.

“With mobile check-in, you can share what time you plan to check in and then receive a mobile key so you can head right to your room when you arrive,” Roe said.

While you can get a physical key if you want, having your key on your phone means there’s one less thing to keep up with or accidentally misplace.

There is an adjustment period, though, when using all this technology, and for those used to relying on paper, going digital can feel less secure. However, you can still have a backup without printing everything out.

“I recommend digital versions of everything. Just snap a picture on your phone of anything critical,” French said.

From travel details to your passport and credit cards, having a digital backup is key, and yet another way to use technology for easier travel.