I recently had the pleasure of interviewing, Audrey Hendley, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships at American Express on staying connected while on vacation!
1) What advice do you have for people looking to stay connected while on vacation?
I find it interesting, we just did a survey of travelers and we found that 77% of travelers want to stay connected when they're on vacation. It used to be that when you're on vacation, you wanted to check just your work e-mails and what was going on back at the office, but it seems now that things are really changing and that when travelers are on the road they want to stay connected. Not just with their friends, but with their family, they want to check their restaurant reservations and see what's going on at a local destination.
2) Are people looking to stay connected for personal reasons or work?
It sounds from what we heard in the survey that it's more for personal use. And connectivity and being connected is very much a part of our world so it seems like it's not just when we're home but it's also when we're on the road. One of the most frequently asked questions of our American Express Travel Specialist is "When I'm on the road, how can I be connected?", "How do I get connected, how do I stay connected?" Particularly when travelers are going a little further afield.
Image courtesy of Vegan Tekno Travel
Absolutely. I'm sure we all have a story, we all have friends who've been on vacation, they're posting their photographs, theyr'e making posts online and we're all following along with their vacation and I think that has a tremendous amount to do with it. It's all about being connected and sharing our experiences in real time and I think it's a lot of fun. Folks travel, you know there are people that would prefer to be totally disconnected but being connected is a very alluring part of vacation and there are so many wonderful ways to do that. There are great ways to tap into social media. I think everybody's taking advantage of that.
4) For those traveling abroad it's easy to rack up charges, do you have any tips for people looking to travel internationally?
Absolutely! First is to check your plan – your cell phone plan or your iphone plan because you can often convert it over to make sure that your phone works in international destinations. Secondly, and this is a very basic one, make sure all your devices are charged up before you get there, so that they work once you get to the destination and finally sometimes you need a converter to make sure that you can continue to keep your devices charged. So make sure that you get that converter before you leave home so you're all set and ready to go when you get to your destination.
Airline photo courtesy of Triangle Rent A Car
5) What are some great vacation ideas for people who want to stay connected while on vacation this year?
Well, one of my personal favorites is cruising. It used to be that when you were on a cruise and you had the day at sea you were uncontactable, but now with all the wonderful cruise ships that are in the water and great new technology, you can actually take a cruise and be connected for the entire time, and I love the flexibility of a cruise in terms of pack and unpack once and you can visit lots of different destinations and that's my personal favorite.
Elite Choice – Cruise Ship
6) What are some things to keep in mind when planning a vacation where you want to be connected?
Well, the first one I would say is work with a Travel Agent Speclist because they will help you get the most out of your vacation whether you're choosing to be connected or disconnected make sure you leave your itinerary at home or with a travel specialist so if anything should go wrong when you're on the road, that you are contactable.
7) Do you have any advice for those looking to go on vacation without their electronic devices?
Well, the first on is leave that itinerary at home so you are contactable and secondly is relax and enjoy it. Sometimes you go through a little bit of a withdrawal when you're leaving those devices at home but travel is a wonderful experience and it certainly is a great way to connect with friends and family, so leave the device if that's what you want to do and go and embrace the vacation. There are lots of options, but you can also have in your back pocket what are ways to be connected in even the most remote destination, you can find ways to be connected also.
8) Where can viewers go for more information?