My parents have recently started planning a big family vacation. I’m thrilled, of course, because this really benefits me and my siblings! But my poor parents are a little less enthused than they were when they first announced the trip, because they’re finding vacation planning to be a lot more stressful than it was years ago. They’re not used to booking things online and using apps and technology, and they seem very frazzled. My mother keeps saying that all of her planning is “in different places”–she means on different apps–and my dad has pretty much given up entirely. Any tips for helping a couple well-meaning older folks to navigate vacation-related apps?
Technology has changed almost everything about our daily lives–and that includes our vacations. These days, we book lodging, schedule travel, buy event tickets, and more through mobile apps and websites. A staggering 90% of travel bookings involve an online element–and an increasingly large chunk of those trips are being booked on mobile devices!
For many of us, of course, all of this just means more convenience. App designers work hard to create apps that are useful to people of all ages and backgrounds, as their apps represent a major way for businesses and nonprofits to raise their profile. According to the designers at Acendia, a mobile app development firm that helps visitor-driven nonprofits like zoos, museums, and aquariums, “The idea is always to give people more, not less, and to put everything they need in one place.”
But, as your mother is discovering, using multiple apps can result in having information scattered. Still, there are ways to make things a bit more organized. There is nothing to stop your parents from keeping a paper record of their trip, just as they would if they were making their arrangements over the phone. One useful idea: your parents could keep track of the apps and sites they use on one sheet of paper (or on one digital document), with notes on the purpose of the app in question, any reservations or confirmation numbers and (if the sheet can be kept secure) even login information and passwords.
Another way to simplify is to keep all of their apps on one device–with tablet computers cheaper than ever, they could even buy a new device for the trip. Whether they use a tablet or their phone, they may be pleased to find that carrying that device with them on their trip makes life a lot easier. Though they may be unfamiliar with this new way of booking vacations, there’s a good chance they’ll come to love it when they realize how much of their planning information will remain at their fingertips when they’re on the go on your trip!
Of course, there are still ways to take a low-tech vacation, say the docents at Henry County, Georgia’s tourism office. It’s really up to each of us individually to decide how we want to relax! You can still book travel over the phone, and you can even hand everything off to a travel agent–a role that’s actually been making a comeback lately (as recently as 2014, travel agents reported a 47% rise in revenues–perhaps your parents aren’t alone in wanting to rebel against online bookings!). Ultimately, technology is here to make your parents’ planning job easier. If it’s not working, they don’t have to use it!
“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” — Robert Louis Stevenson