One of the major benefits of the developments of the Internet is its ability to eliminate the elements of space and time in mass communications. Our computers and cell phones can now connect us to people and places all around the world instantaneously. Families and friends can that are across the country can communicate through e-mail, share photographs and videos, and even talk “face to face” with video chat from such programs as Skype. In a sentence, the Internet is making the world smaller and more accessible to more people, everyday.
But not only is it bringing world to my fingertips, there are certain websites and functions that help bring me to the rest of the world. The World Wide Web has supplied us with critical travel tools that will allow almost every feature of a trip to be paid for and planned in advance, so all you have to do is go. It has become the first step in almost every traveler’s agenda, and for good reason.
Of course, I am recalling this from personal experience. A few years ago I had a compelling urge for an epic, yet feasible, road trip (or Vision Quest, as one of my teachers so eloquently put it). I needed to go to Toronto (yes, Canada), and I was determined to make it happen.
The first step was to Hostels.com (I was on a budget, too) to search for a place to stay. I was able to pick a hostel, pick a room, and pay for the first night at the website.
Next, not having a GPS system, I headed to MapQuest.com for directions. I was going with my girlfriend, and we had considered making side trips to Buffalo, NY and Columbus, OH to visit her family (as well as grab some food). So we had to plan our trip from North Carolina, to Buffalo, to Toronto, to Columbus, and back to North Carolina. Map Quest gave us detailed turn-by-turn directions, warned us of roads with tolls, totaled our mileage (over 1,100 miles), and even provided an estimated cost of fuel.
Finally, we needed something to do once we were in Toronto. Through a simple Google search we were able to find dozens of bars, restaurants, tourist destinations, sporting events, etc. so we knew there would be no problem finding things to do.
So after a few hours tops of planning and preparing, I was all set to go on a four-day excursion to another country. Lodging was taking care of, we knew where we were going, and what we were going to do when we got there. All that was left was to get in the car and go. And off we went!
Submitted by Will Campbell, a student in Elon University’s Interactive Media Master’s Program.