Here is an article I have sent to the budget airline, AirAsia, in the hope that they will publish it in the ‘Readers Stories’ section of their inflight magazine.
“To many people I am a high tech backpacker. I don’t travel with the very latest gadgets however I do travel with a smart phone in a water proof case, a slimline laptop and a Kindle. I get a data sim card in every country I visit for more than a few days. I also enjoy using Facebook to feel connected to family and friends at home and WhatsApp to connect to people I hope to meet on my travels. I travel for freedom, for fun and to make new connections.
So far my family and I have been travelling for seven months and we have six months left to enjoy life together on the road. My husband and I and our two pre-teenage sons aged 10 and 12 have travelled extensively across India and South-East Asia.
It is important to me to ‘give’ as I travel and I much prefer to give my time, expertise and knowledge rather than purely money. I am a professional coach with 20 years experience bringing out the best in adults from all walks of life and supporting people to make their organisations and businesses thrive.
I love to share my knowledge and passion for technology when I travel and, my husband and I have done this by supporting businesses and individuals we meet to overcome usability obstacles and understand the importance of their presence on social media sites such as TripAdvisor, Facebook and their own blogs or websites.
The planning logistics of travel has changed so very much over the last few years and although we do use digital versions of guidebooks we get a buzz from discovering new sources of information online, perhaps an improved way of locating accommodation at the best price or saving hundreds of pounds flying to a particular destination.
I get excited when searching for flights. I am not sure if it is the promise of future adventures or of the instant reward of grabbing a bargain that draws me most. There is something so compelling and almost addictive about the sensation I get from mastering a particular flight search website or bringing up the same search on several different sites to compare prices and schedules.
I prefer to search on a computer rather than on an app on my mobile phone, however I have found apps to be most convenient when it comes to storing our flight information ready for check in or when we need to show our onward flight details to an immigration officer. (With an app I usually don’t need the internet to access the information I need in that instant, that is as long as I have opened the app to store the information on my phone beforehand.)
Out of our 14 flights so far we have flown with Air Asia eight times and we have five more flights booked with Air Asia over the next two months as we fly between Laos, Thailand and Western Australia. We usually have flexibility of dates when we travel and being able to see the prices of flights across a range of dates on both the Air Asia Website and App makes pinpointing the cheapest date to travel enjoyable and easy.
The Air Asia Mobile App has even got me out of a tricky situation when applying for visas to Myanmar because we needed to book our flights while sitting outside the Myanmar Embassy in Delhi, but only had 40 minutes to do so.
Last week, when my flight aggregation site of choice, Skyscanner, told me that the cheapest way of getting from Perth in Western Australia to Balikpapan in Indonesia and then onto Auckland was to go via Jakarta. A quick search on Air Asia instead revealed that I could get to Bali with Air Asia and routing via Bali would save us hundreds of pounds, we booked immediately.
Technology enables my family and me to improve the lives of local people and travellers we meet and it allows us to travel with ease to destinations we never dreamed we could afford to visit.