On The Road Again
“We all thought it’d be a good idea if you wrote a blog post about your recent travels around America as you’ve been up to quite a lot and taken some pretty awesome pictures along the way.”
This was waiting in my inbox when I returned from my holiday at the beginning of the month. Sounds great, right? Sharing my experience of my favourite thing in life… travel.
Me – “Don’t our blog posts normally relate to our work or digital?”
So, how on earth can state and country-hopping across the USA and Canada relate in any way to digital I hear you ask?
Well, the answers simple, a trip like that takes A LOT of planning and organising. Lucky for me I had my trusty handheld device with me throughout to help me every step of the way. Whether it be deciding where to eat, what to do, how to get there, the answer was always just a swipe away.
Take getting to Seattle, my first leg of the trip. I’d never flown with Norwegian Airlines, never been to Seattle or even the state of Washington for that matter.
Using the Norwegian Airlines mobile app, I was able to manage my booking, upgrades, meals and check-in. Two days before departure the app sent me a notification to begin the check-in process, state my baggage, with no requirement to print out my boarding card (so, you could even say I’m doing my bit to save the world one boarding pass at a time).
Terrible jokes aside, nine and half hours later, I had finally arrived. Using my Uber app, I ordered myself a taxi where it took me to my Airbnb.
When it came to my Airbnb, the app provided me with specific notifications with regards to my stay; how to check-in, emergency information and the process for check-out. My host also provided me with a wealth of information for things to do and places to visit when I selected the reasons for my visit when making my booking.
One of the highlights of my time in Seattle was when I made a spur of the moment choice to get a ticket to a baseball game one evening. I mean, how could I not? Sporting events in the USA are never a bad idea.
A quick look on the Seattle Mariners website and within a few clicks my ticket was saved in the Wallet app on my phone, super easy.
The game didn’t end up being all that exciting, but between the fantastic atmosphere, the stunning view of downtown Seattle from the stadium and even somehow managing to come away with a game ball, I’d say It was definitely a successful outing.
I chose to do all my photography on my phone rather than taking my SLR for no other reason than not having to carry it around all day and enjoy the views rather than looking at them through a viewfinder.
Probably the favourite state along by journey was Colorado. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit this state four times now and it gets better each time I visit. Super friendly people and views that are always breathtaking. Add in the fact that the backdrop is of the Rockey Mountains and it’s impossible not to fall in love with this place.
For this part of my trip, I was visiting multiple cities and areas in the mountains so of course, I had to rent quite possibly the most American, beast of a car that I could find.
I did this directly through the Expedia app (you get double Expedia points when booking through the app for money off your next trip), similar to the Airbnb app, I got regular notifications of collection times and how to get to the rental area.
A bonus was that my Chevrolet Taho had CarPlay which made my 80 miles drive down to Colorado Springs a breeze and not just for the ease of using Google Maps as my navigation but listening to country music while on the route.
Colorado Springs is a real gem for natural beauty, Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls and Pikes Peak were all breathtaking. Granted I didn’t exactly last all that long at the summit of Pikes Peak which is 14,115 feet above sea level. When comparing to Leeds, at its highest, is 1,115 feet so it’s easy to see why the altitude sickness kicked in pretty quickly.
After a few days down in Colorado Springs, it was back North to Denver to spend the last few days of my journey meeting some friends and driving out into the Rockey Mountains to take in some spectacular scenery.
So how does this all relate (just) to the digital arena?
You’ll have no doubt noticed that I mentioned my phone on many occasions and for various functions. From deciding where to eat, things to do, directions and tickets. The realisation when thinking about how I could tie my trip to something digital (ish) was that throughout my whole trip, not once did I use a paper ticket for anything while I was away. Everything was done via my phone. Boarding cards, bus tickets, check-in, baseball ticket and car rental – the whole nine yards.
Why shouldn’t we use digital to our advantage when travelling; we live in a modern, digital world, so that’s how it should be, right? We all want to travel the world, experience everything and in this day and age, it’s never been more simple and accessible. Will I make a conscious effort to travel digital next time? 100%!