You can teach an old dog new tricks

Learning treeThis summer I have been sharply reminded of my need to continue to learn and to adapt  to the changes that are taking place around  me.

This can sometimes be a challenge when you are older with ingrained habits and entrenched mental models. It was time to move out of my comfort zone and keep up with the pace of change. 

One of trends that is rising rapidly is the use of technology in our daily lives. This was highlighted in my recent holiday where technology has had a profound impact on the holiday experience.  

Last week, I was ‘taken’ on holiday by my youngest child. Mr. W was busy at work, the eldest at the age of 17 had her own plans and so the 2 of us decided to do something together.

We choose to do ‘touristy’ things in Paris and London. This is something which I tend to avoid as have an immense dislike of crowds and queues! I realised that this meant that my children often missed out on visiting some of the major city attractions and decided that I needed to adopt a different mindset and approach.


At the age of 14 years, my youngest has for the past few years been responsible for organising the bulk of our holidays. Why? Mainly because he is very technologically minded and can find his way round the internet faster than Mr. W or I can! He is  very organised and is a whizz at pulling together a travel itinerary.  

I was acutely aware of how different the world of travel is today than in my days of old. Hotels, places of interests and attractions were researched through the multitude of sites such as Trip advisor,, Trivago, Expedia…

An interesting infographic on how technology is changing travel can be seen here. It shows that 77% of people read hotel reviews before they book and they certainly did influence where we stayed.

We ended up with a long list of things to do and places to see including  The LouvrePantheonNotre Dame, Sacre Coeur, Eiffel Tour, Palace of Versailles, Centre Pompidou, Musee D’Orsay….to mention but a few!


We flew with Jet2 to Paris, checked in online, presented our printed tickets at the check in and found the seats that we had pre-booked. Apart from our passport, a printed sheet and our luggage that was all that was needed.

Paris underground

In Paris, we used the underground travel pass that we booked and which came through the post. All routes were already studied and planned and we knew exactly which lines we needed to be on. My youngest had downloaded travel maps and features on his  Smartphone and these provided extra assurance.  


Times and tickets for the museums and places to visit were already booked and received through the post or downloaded and printed. We arrived, queued up, presented our tickets and enjoyed the attractions.

We found one of the underground stations closed and used the replacement bus that was provided. After confirming that it was 3 stops to our destination, we found to our dismay that we were taken to a large bus station in an area that was unfamiliar. My map reading skills are poor and must say that the locals were not helpful when we asked for directions in our best school taught French!

The answer? Youngest pulled out his Smartphone, found Google maps and we were soon on our way.

Where to eat and how to get there?  Restaurants reviews were read online and then found using an online travel map – travel could not have been easier in a foreign non English speaking land!

My eldest had decided to join us for a few days in Paris and after our time there she flew home whilst we continued to London via the Eurostar. At the station, we simply scanned our printed barcode into the scanner and were on our way.


At our hotel, CitizenM, in London, the youngest checked in using one of the many computers available.

CitizenM key

He picked up 2 cards from the nearby box, placed them next to the scanner and hey presto our room keys were ready (There was friendly and welcoming staff available if needed).

Samsung tablet

The bedrooms in the hotel are controlled by these Samsung tablets – everything from temperature, light, blinds, TV, video…all at the press of a button. Youngest was in his element! 

Seeing the world through the eyes of a teenager has been an eye opener. His generation is growing up with rapidly changing technology and has become part of his everyday life. It has made travelling so much easier, accessible and less stressful. With planning and technology at your finger tips, the world can only be your oyster….I say bring it on and embrace it.

What do you say? How are you adapting to the pace of change?

First image courtesy of basketman at The rest are my own and can highly recommend the Musee D’Orsay and The Louvre


About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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2 Responses to You can teach an old dog new tricks

  1. Jamie says:

    Great post, Vera! I have a trip coming up and was debating adding a package so my smart phone would work overseas. You’ve just convinced me this is as essential as luggage!

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