Move over house keys and photo IDs, smartphone is the most indispensable travel accessory according to a survey commissioned by Expedia and Egencia Mobile Index (Expedia’s business travel brand), even ahead of toothbrush or driver’s license.

Almost 9,642 travellers from 19 countries participated in the online survey conducted by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm. The survey conducted online across North America, Europe, South America and Asia Pacific has revealed key insights about smartphone consumption by travellers.

In the US, one-fifth travellers deemed their smartphone the most essential, on par with travellers who said their driver’s license was the most important item to travel with.

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

Travellers Never Truly Unplug

  • Globally, 60% of travellers said they wouldn’t go on vacation without a mobile phone, and 63% sleep with their phone next to their bed on vacation.
  • Travellers admit to being addicted to their mobile devices, even while on vacation. 84% of travellers worldwide want to be able to access information from anywhere while they travel, with more than half of respondents saying they would be “lost” without a mobile device on vacation.
  • 60% of travellers say they agree they never truly ”unplug” on leisure trips. In fact, 35% claim to use their mobile device more on vacation than they do at home.
  • Almost one-quarter (23%) have purchased inflight Wi-Fi on a leisure trip in order to connect to work, highest among those in Hong Kong (53%), China (42%) and Taiwan (40%).

Asians love their smartphones

  • 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%.

“We have found that travellers 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.