We all know that the world has changed, but what we might not appreciate is just how fast that change is happening. Our summer in Italy has shown us all the power of social media and the media, in general, in making our long-distance voyage not seem so long distance at all.
When our parents spent time abroad, they had to lug guidebooks and detailed maps of the cities they visited—or risk ending up very lost. Now, we all have that information at our fingertips—literally. Our phones have become powerful guides for the travel experience. Whether that means that we downloaded Rick Steve’s latest guidebook or audio tour of the Vatican or simply use the maps function to determine where we are (and where we are going), it is all right there in the phone. Those are the obvious applications. There are other resources for twenty college girls traveling in Europe—local resources. For those aware of Tinder, an online dating app that is popular on college campuses in the US, rest assured that it is international. If we need information on the places that locals go, a swipe to the right provides us with the opportunity to meet up with other local students and a chance to end up in just the right local restaurant with our friends that we never would have found on our own!
Miles away from home and a shift in time zones can potentially leave one feeling a bit homesick. While totally normal, it never hurts to get just one good look at the family pooch to make you feel a little better! FaceTime has taken the world and made it flat for all of us. Instead of writing a letter or simply talking on the phone with Mom and Dad about the Palace and our classrooms, we can take them on a virtual tour.
When I talk with my parents about European travel, back in their day, it involved travel agents. With online bookings and the awesome perk of discounts airlines in Europe, we are lining up weekends through Ryan Air’s online portal, finding hotels, reading the reviews from other travelers, and then identifying the best spots to visit from travel apps. It is amazing how easy it is to find the best off-the-beaten-path places.
What about friends? With social media at my fingertips, I have been able to find friends from other schools and from Auburn who are visiting the same town that I am. I have been able to reconnect with people who I haven’t seen or talked to in over 4 years!
Despite being over 5,000 miles from home, it’s incredible to see what a small world it is after all.