A new study commissioned by CoPilot highlights the ways in which mobile devices have transformed the American vacation.
The “Vacation Technology Survey” found that 89 percent of people bring a smartphone with them on vacation. Over half of respondents also brought multiple devices with them, the most popular of which being a tablet (54 percent) or laptop computer (53 percent).
The portability and versatility of mobile devices has transformed vacations. Ten or 15 years ago, thick guidebooks and paper maps were required to fully understand and navigate a vacation destination. Today, vacationers are turning to their smartphones to perform these functions.
In fact, local search (93 percent) and GPS directions (77 percent) were the two most cited uses for a smartphone or tablet. GPS apps were also cited as the most popular way to navigate, beating out personal navigation devices (32 percent), paper maps (32 percent) and printed directions (31 percent).
“Mobile devices allow vacationers to travel more like a local than a tourist,” said David Quin, vice president of consumer business at ALK Technologies. “You can discover all the best places to eat, the best sites to see and then get there without getting lost. With CoPilot, you can do both local search and navigation from a single app. Exploring a vacation destination has never been easier or more reliable.”
However, even as most vacationers rely on their devices for navigation and search, they can’t rely on mobile networks to provide adequate coverage. 83 percent of respondents indicated a lack of reliable mobile service while on vacation. Coupled with the fact that only 15 percent check mobile coverage before they leave, there are many people who can’t fully use their mobile devices on vacation.
“While some carriers claim to cover 90 percent of the country, that’s population, not geography,” said Quin. “Vacations are times to go to the mountains, beach, desert or other rural and remote locations. These are precisely the areas with unreliable mobile service.”
This presents an issue for the 80 percent who use mobile devices for GPS directions, as many GPS apps rely on mobile connection to steam map data. No connection, no map. No map, no directions.
However, you can avoid this with CoPilot’s offline navigation. CoPilot downloads all map data to the device. With maps stored on the device, vacationers are never without directions, no matter how remotely they travel.
The survey found that one aspect of vacations wasn’t changed by technology. Men are still less likely to ask for directions, even if it’s from their GPS app. Men used each category of directions (GPS apps, personal navigation devices, paper maps and printed directions) less than women. They were, however, more included to use “Other” methods for directions. What those are will have to be the subject of our next survey.