The greatest travel innovations

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What travel-related innovation from the past 10 years or so has made your trips more enjoyable? We've narrowed down readers' submissions, and now's your chance to vote. The most popular will be featured in our upcoming 10th anniversary special issue—written and photographed by readers like you.


HERE ARE THE WINNERS (with some quotes from readers):

10. Online maps

MapQuest, Google Earth, and other online mapping tools make any first-time visitor a seasoned traveler before he or she even arrives in a place.

9. Digital photography

You can "take hundreds of photos" with a digital camera and "see right away whether you got the right shot"—so you don't have to "pay heaps of money to develop a ton of photos that didn't turn out."

8. Online flight check-in

Nothing has helped "shorten wait times at airports" like the ability to "bypass lines at the ticket counter" by checking in for your flight on the Internet and "printing your boarding pass at home."

7. GPS navigation

Driving is so much easier with a global positioning system to show you the way.

6. Worldwide ATM access

Being able to withdraw money from your bank account anytime "on almost every street corner in the world" alleviates the stress of "running out of cash" after "the banks have long since closed for the day."

5. Cell phones

Having the option of "checking the hours of a tourist attraction," reserving a table at a restaurant, or "making a hotel booking from the road" is a "huge travel blessing."

4. Global Internet access

A "cheap and convenient" way to keep in touch when you're traveling, the Internet is available today even "in the most remote parts of the world."

3. TripAdvisor

With "real people" sharing their "unbiased opinions" about hotels, restaurants, and tourist sights, TripAdvisor offers travelers the kind of "detailed information that guidebooks never have the space to include."

2. Online travel booking

Before the Internet, travelers were "limited to brochures, a few books, and travel agents" to help them plan and book their trips. Now, with websites like Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, and Priceline, "anyone can be their own travel agent."

1. Roller bags

Unlike "the old suitcases with four wheels and a strap," today's roller bags have retractable handles and two wheels—"a simple concept" that keeps them from tipping over easily. "People of all ages and physical abilities" can now "move quickly through busy airports without having to carry heavy luggage." These bags have "changed absolutely everything" about travel.

See more reader comments below:

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