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The Digital Passepartout

Digital has come a long way in the 19 years since I started my globe-trotting. Back then, the likes of EasyJet had only just launched their website, without online booking. And there was no such thing as Google Maps or TripAdvisor!

Nowadays, I can plan every detail of a trip through the power of the internet and mobile. Below are some of the resources I use for my adventures, along with what similar resource was available in 1997.

1. Wikipedia and Wikivoyage — good for top level information about a destination.
In 1997 — Encyclopedia Brittanica from the library or various newspaper/magazine articles.

2. kayak.co.uk — in my opinion, the best price comparison website for flights.
In 1997 — manually visit different flight operators websites, if they existed!

3. TripAdvisor — popular reviews site, with a mobile app that helps find restaurants near your location.
In 1997 — word of mouth reviews from friends, family and colleagues.

4. trivago.co.uk — in my opinion, the best price comparison website for hotels.
In 1997 — manually check hotel prices or book through an agent on the high street.

5. YouTube — watch destination videos and maybe even learn a few foreign phrases.
In 1997 — TV shows such as Holiday (BBC) or Wish You Were Here (ITV).

6. travelmoneymax.com — a website for comparing foreign currency prices.
In 1997 — buy currency at terrible rates at the airport.

7. Google Street View — helping you find your way around, with a mobile app that uses GPS so you’re never lost.
In 1997 — try to get hold of a paper map from somewhere.

8. Isango — book tours and excursions online.
In 1997 — arrange tours locally, often at more expensive prices.

9. Skype — keep in touch with friends and family at home.
In 1997 — use the hotel telephone, find a pay phone or possibly spend a fortune on a mobile call.

10. Flickr — store all your holiday snaps online and allow users to view and share pictures.
In 1997 — get all your rolls of camera film developed manually.

As you can see, a lot has changed! I’m in no doubt the next decade will bring further changes in the way the digital world helps us travel and go on new adventures.

James Merriman: James has been a web developer for over 10 years. He has worked with brands and clients such as BP, Castrol, Freederm, Legal & General, Thatchers and Wrigleys. James joined Oxygen in August 2016.