Last updated: 01:08 PM ET, Thu January 14 2016

Just How Important is a Smartphone When Traveling?

Travel Technology | Gabe Zaldivar | January 14, 2016

Just How Important is a Smartphone When Traveling?

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

One thing you never have to be reminded before leaving the house for your vacation is to get your smartphone. Sure, you may leave the passport on the nightstand or forget that contact lens wash in the bathroom, but you would never dare leave that device that seems to monopolize space in your hand.

That’s what travel website Expedia and its business travel brand Egencia found in a recent study conducted by Northstar.

The study asked 9,642 people from a reported 19 countries about their respective thoughts on smartphones and how important that particular gadget is to their travels.

READ MORE: Why You Should Take Your Smartphone on Safari

Spoiler alert: It’s extremely important.

Here are some interesting factoids gleaned from the responses.

Never Fly Without It: “60 percent of travelers globally say they would be unwilling to go on vacation without a mobile device. 63 percent sleep with the device beside their bed while on vacation. 28 percent carry a rechargeable pack or spare battery.”

If you do some quick soul searching, you already know this to be true. The phone has become our lifeline to the outside world, filling us in on news from throughout the world or our own social circle.

Also, it makes for a dynamite alarm clock.

Our Digital Appendage: “84 percent of travelers worldwide want to be able to access information from anywhere while they travel, with more than half of respondents saying they would be ‘lost’ without a mobile device on vacation. In fact, a full 60 percent of travelers say they agree they never truly ‘unplug’ on leisure trips. In fact, 35 percent claim to use their mobile device more on vacation than they do at home.”

At home there is that comfort in knowing our surroundings. But abroad, the feeling of being caught uninformed is exacerbated, which leads to that paranoia that we might dare be without our smartphone, or so we presume.

The ease of checking emails or Twitter feeds—a couple swipes on the phone—means that it’s almost a reflex to stay plugged in.

Another interesting bit of stats that came with the press release is the part that highlighted what we travelers found offensive about smartphone use. Ubiquitous use doesn’t come without its fair share of criticism, it seems.

“Playing music, games or videos without headphones” was the winner with 59 percent of the respondents finding fault with the practice, followed closely by “Making/taking calls while on speakerphone” (57 percent).

READ MORE: Hilton Guests Can Now Open Their Door Via Their Smartphone

Now you foodies should be aware that 22 percent of the respondents were sick and tired of seeing you take images of food.

Aman Bhutani, president for Brand Expedia Group, expounded that the smartphone was that one tool that gets travelers from the start to the finish line of travel: “We have found that travelers are using mobile devices at every stage of the travel process, from researching and booking trips to capturing and sharing the travel experience.”

Rob Greyber, president of Egencia, offered thoughts on that arsenal of apps that come with the smartphone that make business travel so much easier now: “Mobile devices may be a requirement for business trips, however, business travel and connectivity is changing. Various devices allow for a seamless experience with apps that enable users to be more productive and efficient, which travelers are utilizing in order to prioritize work-life balance and disconnect when possible.”

We then come down to you, the travel enthusiast.

You might be preparing for a month-long journey backpacking or a one-night business trip to San Francisco.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that the one thing that you will remember, save getting dressed before you depart, is to pick up that smartphone.

That seems silly, because you probably never put it down in the first place.


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