Smartphone the most essential travel item, survey finds

Worldwide, smartphones are travelers’ most indispensable items when they travel, even ahead of their toothbrush and driver’s license, according to the Expedia/Egencia Mobile Index.

The index, commissioned by Expedia.com and Egencia (Expedia’s business travel brand), was conducted by consulting firm Northstar. It was based on input from 9,642 travelers from 19 countries.

Among U.S. respondents, one-fifth considered their smartphone to be their most essential travel item, on par with the number of respondents who said their driver’s license was the most important item to travel with. In the United States, those items tied for the most essential item for travelers.

Worldwide, 66% of respondents said smartphones are the most essential item, while 74% considered it an important travel item.

China, Taiwan and Thailand topped the charts on the countries where respondents placed the most priority on having smartphones while traveling; in China, 94% of respondents said they consider their mobile phone an important travel companion. Taiwan saw the same percentage, and in Thailand, it was 91%.

The study also found that worldwide, 84% of travelers said they want to access information from anywhere. Over half, 60%, said they do not “unplug” on leisure trips, and 35% said they use their smartphones more on vacation than at home.

Globally, 60% of travelers said they wouldn’t go on vacation without a mobile phone, and 63% sleep with their phone next to their bed on vacation.

“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,” said Aman Bhutani, president of Brand Expedia Group.

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