Paper Trail: To Austria and Back Again

My family and I recently enjoyed a trip to Austria for a week of skiing. At the onset of the trip, I decided I would track all the areas that print interacted with my trip and how if at all print was different in Europe than the USA. Please note we have iPhone 3Gs and while we did not activate them to have Internet access in Europe we could have.

The results of my observations have pluses and minuses for printing. The important lessons will come from understanding where print has value and where it is the past communications tool.

Each line item will have commentary with my thoughts on its continuing value or not. As always, I encourage your comments and counterpoints to any and all of my observations. Please note that these are my opinions and view of the changing landscape and how we are using Internet-based communications in place of printing options. There are also powerful ways print will stay dominant.

The morning of the flight (Boston to Munich, Germany):

Itinerary — Instead of a printed itinerary we used saved emails and a travel website. The website we purchased our tickets from also sent us flight status updates via text. This option completely replaced our printed option. It worked well.

Long Term Parking ticket stub — I think this printed piece can be replaced with technology. My cell phone can be used to track it using a parking application made by the airport. Then payment happens when that cell phone drives out of the parking lot.

Boarding passes — Another printed piece that technology can replace. Again, my cell phone can act as the boarding pass.

Passport — While I think technology can eventually replace it with biometrics of some sort, we are not there yet. I trust a printed passport over an electronic replacement.

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