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No more maps, casino clothing or camera equipment: Technology means we can pack lighter and be more independent

A puzzled tourist trying to decipher a huge map in a strange city is one of the classic images of how old-style traveling could get complicated. These days, all you have to do is download an app such as Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps to find out exactly where you are.

Travel has changed more than ever in recent years, as new technology has opened up so many exciting possibilities for us. One area that it is easy to overlook is how the latest advances allow us to pack more lightly and travel more independently than ever before.

No more struggles with maps
A puzzled tourist trying to decipher a huge map in a strange city is one of the classic images of how old-style traveling could get complicated. You had the choice of buying a big guide book or folding map, or else trying to navigate around the unfamiliar streets as best you could. These days, all you have to do is download an app such as Google Maps, Waze, or Apple Maps to find out exactly where you are. Tourists who want to be especially well-prepared can even carry out a 3D tour of the city there are visiting before they leave home, planning an exact route that covers everything that they want to see.

Surprisingly, the sale of travel guides has increased in recent years after a long period of falling numbers. According to the NPD BookScan Travel Publishing Year Book, 2017 was the best year for sales in more than a decade, with European cities the main sellers. However, it seems likely that travelers use these guides together with mobile apps for an easier time.  

Leave your smart casino clothes at home
In the past, if you were planning to relax by playing roulette or slots while somewhere like Las Vegas or Macau, it was almost certain that you packed some smart clothes to wear to the casino. The dress code varies from casino to casino and while you won’t need to dress like a character from a James Bond movie, some of them have a smart casual as a minimum and others are more demanding.

The emergence of online casinos means that it is no longer necessary to pack smart clothes to play these games. Instead, it is possible to play online in a hotel room, on the beach, or wherever else you want to join in with the games. The Royal Panda casino in New Zealand is an example of an international site that features live blackjack, live roulette, and a wide selection of slots such as Iron Bank and Crystal Prince. These use the latest technology to offer live-streamed games with human dealers and progressive jackpots that can be triggered randomly. Now you don't even need to leave your hotel room if you so desire.

Better photos with far less equipment
If someone shows you good-quality photos or video from their trips in the 20th century, you can be almost certain that they used to travel with a big, bulky camera and accessories likes lenses and a tripod, as well as rolls of analog film. Yet, if someone shows you a high-quality photo from this year it was probably taken using just a slim smartphone.


Photo source: Pxfuel

These devices aren’t perfect for taking snaps in every setting, but the ease of use and convenience of having one in your pocket at all times has revolutionized how we gather our travel memories. Any memorable scene that we stumble across can be uploaded to social networks in a matter of seconds.

It is also worth remembering that a decent smartphone will have a camera that is far more powerful than even a very expensive model from ten or 20 years ago. Steven Sasson of Kodak created the first digital camera, in 1974, and it took one 0.01 megapixel image every 23 seconds. Now, you can get over 100 megapixels, 100x zoom, and 8k video on a small device you can carry everywhere with you.

All of these changes mean that packing for a trip is easier and more enjoyable. This means more time for thinking about what to do once we are away, and less time stressing about how to fit everything into a suitcase.

Main photo source: Pxfuel

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