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Technology has many benefits and tourists can use it in various ways in their travels: to get around in cities (maps), to find good restaurants, museums nearby, to take pictures and to share them on social media channels or blogs, or to keep in touch with their loved ones. But when it comes to technology and travel, it’s not all positive and some negativity rears its head.
It makes you expect too much from a museum
Museums are important tourist objectives (the Louvre was the most visited art museum in 2012.) Over the past few years, museums successfully integrated technology offering their visitors multilingual interactive panels and exhibitions, or video and audio presentations. You definitely saw them in important museums – for instance the Technical Museum in Vienna. But this type of technology is expensive, and museums from smaller countries with a lower budget cannot afford it.
Are you disappointed when a museum only offers static exhibits? You are not the only one, as many of the global travelers I talked to feel the same way. Many children nowadays refuse to enter a museum that does not have interactive content. In my opinion that is a pity, because there are many museums with relevant content, albeit not interactive.
I recently visited the Aviation Museum in Romania. If you were not aware, the beginnings of aviation were influenced by the inventions and work of some important locals (Henri Coanda and Aurel Vlaicu.) While the museum is interesting, it offers only static exhibits and information on printed guides so it does not have an impressive number of visitors. And that’s too bad, as approximately 850 million visit American museums each year, to give you an example.
It influences you to focus more on sharing than experiencing
When visiting a place, do you take photos first and then enjoy the view? Do you share your location on social media first or enjoy your visit and share it later? You are definitely not the only one caught up in documenting your trip, but things started out differently. There were only film rolls available for cameras, the cost of a photo was higher, so people were taking fewer snapshots, one-maybe two films per holiday.
Nowadays, as you’ve surely noticed, people take a lot of photos: with a camera or a smartphone; they also use selfie sticks to take a photo of themselves in a given place. These devices got so popular, that they ended up annoying other visitors and Disneyland and other landmarks banned them.
With the boom of social media platforms and channels, you almost cannot control the impulse of sharing your whereabouts. But focusing more on sharing where you are, what you do, what you eat, along with what your friends have to say about it sometimes stops you from properly experiencing a given place.
It raises your expectations too high and then reality ends up letting you down
We can take a picture nowadays and then use filters, enhance it and make it look amazing. In fact, if you’ll read various blogging or social media tips you’ll often see the recommendation to have amazing eye-catching photos in order to get shares/followers.
But there is a downside to that. You may fall in love with the way a place looks – the bright colors, details, etc. – and, when you get there, to be more or less disappointed with what you find. It was the case for me with a wonderful castle in Romania – Corvin’s Castle – amazing in photos online, but less bright in reality. Grey-er, not as red as in the photos… get my point?
Yes, I wrote a previous article on this topic and about an advice that I have for anyone who travels (as a tourist or as a traveler): don’t set your expectations too high, even if social media often pushes you to do just that. But yes, I see that, with the “push” to post perfect photos, the real experience is enhanced, a lot, and it becomes a lie online. But people see the latter, not the actual castle/building/photo and… you get it: we tend to expect what we see. And it’s not our fault – as we don’t know how a place really looks like until we see it.
While there are undeniable benefits of using the latest technology available when traveling, too much of it can damage your enjoyment and even bother other tourists. You should always try to find a balance between experiencing a venue and sharing photos and impressions on social media and you should try to not judge a museum by how much technology it uses, but by the variety and novelty of the content it provides.
A side note: I don’t advocate for not using technology while travelling. I use it: I too take photos, I too use a gps or an app like Waze while on the road with a car and so on. But I also notice the negative impact of technology on travel and I am just wondering if anyone else notices it as well.