The big and small innovations that characterize modern travel are easy to take for granted. In theory you could wake up in Los Angeles, pack a bag, and step out of London’s Heathrow airport thirteen hours later or less.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving we posed a simple question to the travelers in our forums. What are we as travelers most thankful for? Without taking even the simplest conveniences for granted, what are the things that make travel possible today? The response was as passionate as it was varied. Here are the results. Feel free to post your own!
1. Wheels on Luggage
More than the Internet, more than airplanes, more than GPS and Google maps, more than digital cameras and all the frequent flyer miles in the world, most of all Fodorites are thankful for wheeled luggage.
New possibilities: “Having luggage on wheels makes it possible for many people who might not otherwise have been able to travel much to deal with airports, train stations, etc. It’s one thing to have to lift a suitcase from floor to chair or up a few steps, it’s another to scamper down long platforms or corridors carrying that suitcase.” –HKP
Take it from the pros: “Definitely wheeled luggage as a flight crew person! Do you know how horrible it was to walk with a suitcase, purse, and extra totebag full of your crew book, safety equipment, the length of ORD, ATL, JFK in the past? Its a wonder my arms are not down to my ankles!!!!” –dutyfree
Or should we say a safe landing. Flying in an airplane is said to be safer than driving a car, yet according to some totally unscientific Google research, your average Boeing 747 travels at a speed of about 880 miles per hour! It’s magic, is what it is.
Good point: “That airplane plus flight crew does come in handy.” –KarinNp
It all goes back to wheeled luggage: “The airplane for sure, but after that, I’ve gotta go with wheeled luggage.” –Christina
3. The Internet
Well we here at Fodor’s obviously appreciate the role of the internet in travel; Fodors.com started in 1996 and has been going strong ever since. But, to share the limelight a tad, we do also appreciate things like booking engines, hotel websites, and Skype.
Completely unsolicited endorsement: “The most important boon to travelers is the internet. Not only can I find bargains that were once known only to travel agents, I can obtain advice from dozens, if not hundreds, of people who are more knowledgeable on any given subject than any one travel agent could ever be. Hooray for Fodor’s.* –ira
*Ira, your wheeled luggage is in the mail
4. GPS and Google Maps
If you put a lot of research into your international trips, chances are good you’ve used Google Maps to map out the walk from your hotel to a nearby sight, or from the rental car lot to your long-lost-cousin’s house.
Cheaper than counseling: “GPS overseas: great for traveling in places like Germany and the Netherlands where you cannot understand place names fast enough when driving. Saves on divorces as the husband cannot ‘blame’ you for poor map reading…..” –Christina
5. Credit Cards and ATMs
Who needs traveler’s checks anymore? ATMs all over the world are fully equipped to take your money, and sometimes even at a good exchange rate. Credit Cards make it all happen too.
The impulse buy: “Atm’s– couldn’t work overseas every week without them! I always need some money for a nice glass of red wine and pasta in Italy, or jewelry in Dubai.” –dutyfree
6. Also Mentioned
–Tide stain sticks
–U-shaped inflatable neck pillows
–Printing boarding passes at home
–Moving sidewalks/conveyor belts
–Disposable underwater cameras
Photo Credit: Kossy@FINEDAYS on Flickr