Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle’s seminal movie based on Alex Garland’s book, The Beach, has influenced thousands of travelers since it was released in 2000. They want to emulate the path of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Richard, as he finds himself on a paradise island. In the movie, the young American backpacker only took a handful of possessions with him and left the developed world behind. Times have changed drastically in the 20 years since then, though, and now technology has completely changed the way people travel. If Garland was to write his debut book again in 2019, it would likely be a lot different to the 1996 version.
Back in the 1990s when Garland was a free spirit traveling the world and getting ideas for his novels, it was normal for backpackers to take only a handful of clothes and go for days on end without washing them. This is fine in backpacker circles, but can be frowned upon by members of the local populace. For that reason, developers have come up with an ingenious way to wash clothes while on the move. The Scrubba Wash Bag has been touted as the world’s smallest washing machine. The pocket size piece of kit has a flexible inner washboard, enabling users to simply put clothes in the bag and scrub them by hand.
There are also plenty of tiny vacuum cleaners on the market for sucking up dust and crumbs from your clothes and laptop when you’re far away from modern cleaning facilities. It is clear that there was a gap in the market for hygiene equipment in the traveling sector. Some clever inventors also spotted a need for technology that helps people document their adventures.
When Garland was traveling around Europe and Southeast Asia, he was only able to correspond with his family back in England through letters in the post. But the internet age has made the world a smaller place, and now travelers never feel far from home thanks to the use of messaging services and email to contact friends and family. A lot of backpackers now like to document their adventures and post videos to their blog posts or YouTube. The best way to do this now is with glasses that record video. The CG300 Spy Camera Glasses, for example, allow wearers to covertly record everything they see. This is a great way to make perfect memories.
For the modern-day traveler, entertainment is just as important as practical technology. While most people go on an adventure across the globe to escape their everyday existence, millennials still like to be in touch with the best movies and TV series like House of Cards and Stranger Things. This is because they are so accessible thanks to services like Netflix. The streaming giant which was conceived in 1997 allows users to download a certain amount of content to their device and then watch it without an internet connection.
The widespread implementation of 4G networks means that getting entertainment while traveling is easier than ever. All backpackers need is a device that can access the internet. Games are hugely important for those long journeys and stopovers and there are some unique games out there. Playing live games like online blackjack puts players in touch with real-life dealers in black suits while they might be on a seven-hour bus ride in the middle of nowhere. Downloading MMOs like Sparta: War of Empires allows players to socialize with gamers online. These are just a couple of examples of games which make for cool talking points on the road. On the wackier side, there's No Game, for instance, which is a revolutionary idea which turns the traditional mobile game on its head. Or there is also the S.M.T.H app which dares users to throw their phone as high as possible. This can certainly lead to some hilarious outcomes.
Modern technology has made traveling anywhere a painless process. Backpackers no longer feel loneliness, and they can smell good while recording their experiences. Of course, if you want to go minimalist like Garland, you can choose to leave all the modern conveniences at home and travel the old-school way.