Technology Is Changing How We Travel

Shadow of an airplane over a crowded beach

My Facebook news feed is often littered with links to articles that talk about the importance of traveling while young, how to travel on the cheap, people who travel the world to telework from different locations. There’s almost always a catch, but my friends who post these links do so with an air of whimsy—wouldn’t it be grand to travel the world affordably throughout the year?

Airbnb has made inroads in many countries around the world to help bring tourists affordable options for places to stay, as well as a chance for locals to make some extra money. Quartz recently looked at how much Airbnb has spread across Africa: “In the last five years, more than 2 million people have found holiday accommodation in Africa through Airbnb which now has over 100,000 listings on the continent. African hosts earned $139 million in the last year, according to a new Airbnb study.”

Because of Airbnb, many young Africans are also becoming tourists across the continent. The article notes that 29% of travelers using the site are African, and are looking for comfort when they travel—comfort at a cost they may not find at well-known hotels and resorts.

Airbnb hosts and guests still need to be cautious about the status of the site within different countries. While it’s popular in cities like Cape Town and Casablanca, the government of Namibia recently stated that hosts could see jail time if they fail to register their homes with the tourism board should they choose to be listed on Airbnb. The board’s CEO stated, “We need to guarantee the health and safety of guests, but we cannot do that if the accommodation is not registered or regulated.”

If comfort and cost are not your deterrents to travel, but rather your work schedule, see if you can pull off a “workation.” As more companies are allowing teleworking, some employees are seeing it as an opportunity to travel and work while abroad. Companies like Unsettled and We Roam set up travelers with spaces for both living and working for a month at a time.

It seems like every month, there's a new app or website that aims to make travel more affordable and accessible. It's becoming easier than ever to experience another country and meet people from other cultures.