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Old 01-05-2012, 08:24 PM
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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I would say, right now, the world is still very diverse and the landscapes, culture, people etc are different enough to make each trip an adventure, but do you think in the future, if people become more generic, travel might be less interesting? Do you think travel seemed more adventurous in say the 1920s without mass air-travel, technology etc? I wouldn't say the presence of McDonald's necessarily detracts from the sense of being in a different place, but if places become more developed and say get rid of their traditional architecture and replace it with modern architecture, it might begin to take away the character of a place. Of course some things like mountains etc will always be there, but I also fear that the environmental degradation that comes with development/industry will make places less beautiful. If there is no more rainforest in Borneo, just palm and rubber plantations, and the coral reefs are all destroyed, what reason would there be to visit? Of course tourism is the least important thing to worry about, but it will make travel that much poorer.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:18 PM
Location: City of Angels
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technology and globalization have made it cheaper and easier to travel, for which i am grateful. ethnotourism has never really interested me, so i don't mind if secluded hill tribes are wearing western clothing and listening to ipods. i prefer modern architecture, altho i can see how traditional architecture would have it's appeal.

i dunno, overall i'd say it doesn't devalue the travel experience for me. but i'm not exactly difficult to please either.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:35 AM
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I believe that while travel still holds a profound mystery, the advent of the Internet and always-on media has removed some of that mystique. I like research as well as the next guy, but I think one can ruin the "discovery" process if one goes too deep. It can become clinical rather than organic.
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:59 AM
Location: Beautiful Pennsylvania / Dull Germany
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I think it made travelling much easier, as globalisation removed poverty in many places around the world, and communication, public transport and airports have been improved during the last years.

Many countries will not remove their old architecture, as old buildings are important for tourists and somehow national identity. I could never imagine France demolishing Versailles Castle, Eiffel tower or Arc de triomphe.

I do not eat at McDonalds when I am travelling around the world, unless there are no other possibilities. First time I went to Russia without knowing their language, I ordered some чизбургер (cheeseburger) because this was one of the very few things I could pronounce. Whenever possible, I try local food and local drinks.

Technology and globalisation has made travelling more affordable for lots of people. If the only disadvantage might be a little less authentity, I can live with that.
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:41 AM
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I think traveling to different parts of the world and meeting people of different cultures as well as seeing local famous landmarks will always be more interesting than watching stuff about them on the internet.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:15 AM
Location: IL
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Well, in one sense travel is less adventuresome, as you are now much less likely to die getting there. Planes, boats, cars and trains are now much safer...that is good. Before going to a place I try to do a bit of research, as I do like having some general idea of what my surroundings are, it takes away some of the feeling of being completely lost, and again, for me, that is good. There is plenty of adventure in just being in a new place not knowing the language.
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Old 01-07-2012, 08:20 AM
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In some respects .... yes.

Ease of travel means that you get far more tourists than you used to get. We were in Rome last year and the sheer volume of tourists detracted from the visit (yes, I know, we were tourists too). I couldn't help contrasting with my first visit there in 1973.

In the developed world, globalization means that, outside of the historic sites, you get the same stuff in all the cities. Fast food outlets, Starbucks, large chain stores, etc. etc..
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Old 01-07-2012, 11:13 PM
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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One thing that I think has somewhat corroded (but not "ruined") the mystique of travel is the internet. Don't get me wrong, it's very convenient for booking flights, hotel / hostel rooms, etc., checking out restaurant menus, etc. But with Google Maps having photographed most streets in North America and Western Europe (among other places), Bing Maps providing detailed low-level aerial imagery, multi-megapixel images and Youtube videos of almost every popular tourist site freely available online, 3D gigapixel panoramas of many of them, etc., part of the "adventure" isn't so adventurous anymore. These "problems" largely have cropped up in the past five years with sites like Flickr and multi-terabyte arrays becoming practical.

Still, I'd rather be there in person to "experience" the site rather than just look at a picture of it, and for the really big tourist draws there have been books in libraries long before the internet with pictures of them.

As for when you travel, the internet is very convenient, in terms of uploading pictures, posting travel reports, checking bank account balances, making further reservations, e-mailing home, chatting with friends at home on Facebook, etc. In fact, there has always been widely available internet access almost everywhere ever since I took my first international trip (other than to Canada) in 2005, so I can't really imagine how inconvenient travel was without it. It's also extremely convenient for keeping up with the people you met while traveling. My Mexican friends are now some of (if not) my closest emotionally, but we're 2,000 miles apart.

As for the increased accessibility of tourism, I think that's actually decreased quite a bit in developed countries ever since the financial meltdown, but popular tourist spots are still crowded. However, I have that to thank rather than to curse, as I am not "rich" or even "wealthy" by American standards, and you once had to be exactly that to travel internationally for leisure. Increased prices for fuel and other goods call into question whether travel will be affordable in the future. An example: as late as 2007, domestic airfare to most places on the East Coast, flying right out of Duluth, was under $300 R/T in the summer. A normal person could take an extended weekend in DC, Boston, or NY (although more probably took them in Las Vegas, fares for which sold for $49 or less one-way for a period of time). I saw as low as $450 R/T for flights to London in April or May from MSP (they were usually $650), and flights to Tokyo from the same were $650 R/T. Now it's more like $500 for domestic fares and at least $1,000 for international fares, though there are still some deals if you really scour hard and are flexible. Food costs have gone up as well, and the increased cost of living domestically with stagnant (or vastly decreased, in my case) wages and salaries have done equal damage.

As for globalization in terms of large chain stores popping up all over, I think that's contributed to a growth in the local standard of living, and still in most places I've been I've seen a lot of local businesses. The United States definitely is the most chain-dominated country I've seen: Carrefour, Alcampo, and Eroski co-exist with local tintorerias and papelerias and all manner of local businesses in Spain (and the same with Wal-Mart, Mega, and Suburbia in Mexico), and restaurants are still generally local (although not fast food restaurants in Spain). Plus, I'm not the only who finds it fascinating to walk into different chain stores in other countries.
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Old 01-08-2012, 12:37 AM
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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I still enjoy hearing tales of folks who traveled via 'freighter', to destinations unknown / planned.

It certainly is easier to actually get where you want to go, so the 'process / adventure' of traveling is now pretty simple.

Personal devices (phones / iPods / laptops / dvds) has reduced the need for interpersonal communication, that is sad. It used to be ez to get into conversations with interesting folks while waiting for an international connection (and while enroute). I learned a lot from these acquaintances and they are missed. It was especially fun to talk to kids traveling overseas to boarding school (they had such great adventures / dreams / stories). With the current societal issues they may take you as a lurking pedophile.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:02 PM
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No, when it comes to accessibility/overall knowledge. Places people could only learn about in travel guides now have updated photos, reviews, pricing, menus, etc. which is great.

Yes, when it comes to having contact with locals (today people check everything on their smart phones/tablets and simply do not bother talking to other people - some of my best travel stories took place when I chatted with locals - and also the thrill of traveling to a great place and ending up finding a fantastic restaurant/hotel/market/etc. totally by chance and obviously loving it.

In that sense, it is just not fun anymore. Sometimes I just ignore any gadgets just to start a conversation with someone who might give me an amazing tip or simply be a very kind, friendly local with lots to share. That is something a gadget will simply never have.
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