Not long ago, mainstream travel meant finding a place that was relatively convenient — resorts that had been vetted by travel agencies, easily navigable cities with strong tourist infrastructures, and destinations that were either a direct flight or, at most, a single connection away from home. Going off-the-beaten-path was only for the most rugged, devil-may-care vagabonds who were willing to put up with grueling 40-hour bus rides, language barriers, and byzantine visa requirements.
Those days are long gone. Just take a look at Instagram or Facebook and you’ll see friends off visiting places that once felt inaccessible to the American traveler (save for the most intrepid types). This effect is thanks, by and large, to advances in technology — which is not only making travel safer but easier and more accessible, while also helping us share our adventures in new and exciting ways.
As the world gets seemingly smaller, the entire industry is seeing seismic shifts. Finding off-the-beaten-path restaurants is easier than ever and we have access to photos, travelogues, and other digital details any time we want to track down a secret waterfall or hot spring. Rather than spending most of their time just hitting up the big museums and historical sites, travelers are digging in and exploring further afield. That’s a good thing, obviously.