It’s always better to leave your gadgets at home when going on vacation, or at least to silence your phone. Or is it? It seems modern travelers are totally addicted to their smartphones, tablets, e-readers, laptops, and so on, as a new global research shows.
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A new study by one of the world’s largest travel websites, Epedia, and Egencia, their business travel brand, revealed that travelers are most anxious about losing their phone other than any other possession. The researchers analyzed the mobile device-related behavior of 8,856 employed adults from 25 countries and despite the differences between nations, they all shared one thing – high levels of dependency on mobile devices. Globally, 94% of the travelers admit they bring at least one device on their personal vacations, while 97% – on business trips.
According to researchers, today devices can act as a concierge, guide and even as a companion for travelers. The results from the Expedia/Egencia Index show that 76% of the people say their smartphones are “very important and critical” to their daily lives, while 70% say the same for their laptop. It turns out Indians are the most dependant on their smartphones, with 95% of them finding them “critical”. UAE travelers are also addicted to their phones – while 86% of them categorize the device as “critical”, 89% of them admit they always bring a smartphone on their business trips. But Emirati seem quite dependent on all devices in general, as they are the nation, most likely to bring a laptop on their business trips. On the other hand, the world’s least smartphone-dependent people are the Norwegians, of whom only 57% say their phone is very important.
Interestingly, the study finds that 35% of the travelers use their mobile devices more when they travel, compared to when they are at home. This, as well as the rest of the findings, may come from the fact that most of the people surveyed actually went more on business trips than on leisure vacations. Either way, mobile device etiquette is extremely important to travelers, who find making calls on speakerphone the most offensive behavior, otr at least according to 53% of them. Another 47% of the people can’t tolerate someone who plays music, games or videos without headphones, while 42% of the respondents say it’s really offensive to take photos or videos of people you don’t know. Other Mobile device etiquette violations include making calls while in restaurant, video calls, FaceTime or Skype in front of the people, loud ads, messaging or emailing at seated performance or activity, and also photographing your food during a meal.
WiFi accessibility is essential for travelers – even leisure travelers say complimentary WiFi is the most important mobile-related hotel amenity, followed by high-speed internet access, wired in-room connectivity and a business center with computers and printers. And free WiFi is essential for 86% of business travelers. Overall, Emirati use their smartphones for the same things as global travelers – email and messaging, as well as camera and video recording. Also, Emirati use social media, maps and navigation, entertainment, utilities such as alarms and calculators, and weather functions.
While globally, the most common ways to book travel are laptops and desktop computers, in the UAE, this is the smartphone. 40% of Emirati travelers book their hotel room and flight via their smartphone.