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10 Best Travel Inventions of all time.

3/8/2012

Many of the everyday goods, gadgets, and electronics that we have come to rely on have revolutionized the travel world.

Here are “10 breakthrough inventions that deserve credit for turning the travel sphere on its head.”

Hotel Key Card.  Magnetic key cards started appearing in the 1950’s and have since become the standard means of entry at accommodations around the world.  It is a powerful piece of plastic that has made hotel stays safer and more convenient for travelers.

Smartphone.  This one is a given; the smartphone can not only provide you with hotel reviews, navigation, and panoramic photos…it is also handy as a distraction for travel weary youngsters.  But, the best may yet be to come.  Apple has filed a patent on a tool that would allow air travelers to use iPhones to store valid IDs and boarding passes.  This technology would work in conjunction with innovative airport security checkpoints that might use facial recognition technology or retina scans along with electronic identification stored on smartphones to move passengers swiftly through checkpoints.

Credit Cards first appeared on the scene in the 1920s but didn’t gain popularity until the 1950s, when Diners Club and American Express issued their first cards.  Travelers now use credit cards to earn miles and keep track of spending.

Travel adaptors and converters.  The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) developed a worldwide standardized electrical plug, but only one country jumped onboard (Brazil).  At present, at least 12 major electric-plug types are widely used around the globe.  But, all you need are two handy little gadgets; the adaptor and converter.

Digital Camera.  Not only does the digital camera save valuable packing space, it allows you to share photos in a snap.  Today’s variety of models are also quite budget-friendly.

Travel Insurance has been saving globetrotters from the trip-ruining effects of defaulting airlines, hurricanes, illness, lost bags, and civil unrest for nearly a century.  To date, about 30 percent of travelers (and 70 percent of the cruising set) insure their trips.

Online Travel Booking.  The power to quickly and easily research flight times and fares, purchase tickets, investigate hotel availability, and more has transformed the way we plan and book trips.

GPS.  First developed for military use, GPS, in concert with mapping software, is now commonly used in rental cars, on smartphones, and even on bikes. 

Wheeled luggage. It can be difficult to imagine that it took until the 1970s for a traveler to scrutinize those heavy, boxy suitcases and decide to stick some wheels on the bottom.  Bernard D. Sadow, former V.P. of U.S. Luggage is the hero that did just that.  His “Rolling Luggage” idea came when he spotted a skid with wheels as he was lugging a pair of heavy suitcases with his wife and a light bulb went off.

Jet engine. Cars, trains, and ships are certainly some of the most important travel inventions of all time.  But only one machine – the airplane – makes it possible for a traveler to cross oceans in a matter of hours.  One of the first commercial jet-engine flights, a Pan Am trip from New York to London, took off in 1958, ushering in what many call the “golden age” of commercial air travel.