Wind back 5 or 10 years in any airport and you’d inevitably see people clutching onto their paper boarding passes and fresh cash they’ve just collected from the currency exchange office. And admittedly there’s a certain appeal to having something physical to bring back with you; whether that’s the boarding pass as a souvenir or the money you didn’t spend.

However the reality is that we’re living in 2016: the digital age.

With the convenience of having everything you need in one device — our smartphones — why bother carrying anything else?

Travelling with eTickets

If this bit of research by is anything to go by, 81% of people in the UK (above 18), people love the ease of having their eTickets on their phones and having less stuff to carry or worry about.

Those less comfortable with using eTickets had understandable concerns like “what if your battery dies?”, although for a geek like me, battery packs are a must-carry when travelling anyway. (Bonus tip: it’s not a bad idea to print out a backup and leave it in your bag just in case.) 😉

Digital payments & travel cards


Image courtesy of

In this post I talked about the debit card I use when travelling in Europe. It’s such a relief to not have to worry about hunting the best exchange rates, losing cash and coins or pickpocketing. By using a travel-friendly debit or credit card that doesn’t charge you silly amounts on every purchase, you’ve got one less thing to worry about.

Cards are great, but my absolute favourite way to pay is using contactless on my iPhone or Apple Watch. Wherever you see the contactless sign — even if it’s abroad — you’ll be able to just tap your device down next to the NFC reader and boom!, payment done. No need to inspect each coin to make sure you’re giving the right amount; and no need to worry about whether you’ve been short-changed by a sneaky vendor.

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies however. Even though devices like the iPhone require your fingerprint in order to make a contactless payment, many people in the research mentioned above were still cautious about using their phones for payments, primarily because of security concerns. Still, for me it’s my favourite way to pay — especially when I’m away.

Paper vs Digital: how do you travel?

I’d love to know where you stand. Do you stick to the traditional, paper-printed eTickets and cash when you travel 💵 or have you gone digital? 📱

Let me know in the comments!

Fabio Virgi

A real geek at heart, Fabio caught the travel bug after traveling for a month in the summer of 2015. After visiting 4 different places in 4 weeks, he decided to leave his job, become self-employed and see all the world has to offer!