Decades ago, travelling used to be reserved to moneyed people. Only they can afford to pay for expensive seats in airlines, hotel and resort rooms, car rentals, and tours. Furthermore, they usually visited tourist spots whose prices are jacked up by local merchants and providers to take advantage of the influx.

Not anymore. The travel and tourism industries have so many players that it has become very competitive. To stay in competition, these providers had to lower down their rates and/or introduce perks to draw in customers. Now, everyone can enjoy the excitement, thrill, and beauty of travelling to different places in the world thanks to cheap airfare, economy hotels, and affordable travel bundles. People have become more interested in discovering hidden wonders, which are usually affordable, than visiting overpriced tourist spots.

In addition, many people who are cash-strapped have developed clever, practical ways to travel while, at the same time, maximize their money. Thus, there are now people who backpack across the country, taking ordinary public transportation, bike, or even hitchhike to go to places. They may stay in bed-and-breakfasts and hostels, which are very cheap. In many cases, they even couch-surf or stay in another person’s house for a night or two. Needless to say, that means free accommodation. Some truly adventurous folks camp out in remote places to hit two birds in one stone: save money and enjoy true wilderness.

During old times, when one hears the words “tourist,” “tourism,” “holidays,” “travellers,” and the like, they have visions of tourists wearing flower-printed shirts, shorts, and wide-brimmed hats with a camera slung around their necks. Well, today, many modern tourists have learned to merge with the culture of the place they are visiting. For instance, they wear simple shirts and shorts or don what locals normally wear. They eat where locals eat their meals, walk streets that sometimes lead to poorer sections of town, interact with the local populace, and even make the effort of learning the local language. Daring travellers who went to the place for the purpose of exploration (e.g., climbing a mountain, exploring a cave, etc.) bring with them their adventure gear. These modern, smart tourists view the flowery-shirt wearing, camera-wielding tourists as oddities that stick out like sore thumbs.

Aside from availing of cheap ways to travel, there are now technologies that make travelling even easier and more convenient than ever before!

• CRS – originally, CRS, or computer reservations systems, allowed travel agents to reserve flights in behalf of their clients. Now, CRS incorporate other services such as accommodations, car rentals, and tours. With CRS systems, travel agents can work out a client’s travel arrangement in its entirety using one system.

• Online booking – with the power of the Internet, people can now book elements of their travel via the Internet. Indeed, as long as there is an Internet connection, people can reserve flights, hotels, car rentals, accommodations, and other services anytime, anywhere.

• Virtual tours – do you want to know what a tourist destination looks like before actually going there? There are sites that feature virtual tours wherein you witness a simulated tour or walk-through of a destination. Virtual tours enable you to get initial views of the destination.

• Global Positioning System – GPS, or global positioning system, will show you where you are or where you want to be. Satellites orbiting around the Earth help determine your precise location or the location of your destination. The information is shown on your GPS receiver or GPS-enabled phone or tablet.

Travel now! The world is waiting for you!