Imagine your perfect travel companion. Is it your partner? Your best friend? Someone out of the latest Sports Illustrated? Well, for a majority of travelers that indispensable sidekick is about five inches tall and tags along in their back pockets.
A new study from Expedia and the company’s business travel brand, Egencia, found that participants consider their smartphones the most invaluable item to carry when going abroad — above a toothbrush, driver’s license, and other items that would normally be considered necessities.
“We have found that travelers are using mobile devices at every stage of the travel process, from researching and booking trips to capturing and sharing the travel experience,” Aman Bhutani, president for Brand Expedia Group, said in a press release. “And just because a traveler can use their device to read work email and stay connected to the office, they also believe it improves the quality of their vacations.”
Sixty percent of participants also said they would be unwilling to go on vacation without a mobile device. The study included 9,642 travelers across North America, Europe, South America, and Asia Pacific. The most smartphone-addicted countries were China, Taiwan, and Thailand, where upwards of 90 percent said their smartphone is an important travel companion.
More than half of all respondents said they would be “lost” without their smartphones. And while a mobile device can be a lifesaver for navigation, buying tickets, and finding restaurants, many said that their reliance on their phones made it impossible to “unplug.”
Those results might suggest that while travelers find it absolutely impossible to travel without a smartphone, they kind of wish they could.