Relying on Cash
Japan is a cash society. When traveling in America, I use a slim wallet that holds about 5-7 cards. I do not carry cash. On the other hand, in Japan cash is an essential to purchasing food and goods at most places. It is possible to use train cards to pay for food and products at many places like convenience stores and vending machines.
As a traveler, it would be nice if all payment terminals gained compatibility with phone payment systems, like Android Pay and Apple Pay, resulting in a revolutionized payment structure.
It is theoretically possible to use a phone in public transportation. Tap your phone at the gate and you could be through the system with NFC technology.
We’re inching closer to this becoming a reality with modular smartphones, like Google’s Project Ara.
Technology Ubiquity Outside of Travel
California, Iowa, and Delaware are currently considering or experimenting with digital driver’s licenses. In the future, we may only need to carry an app that has your official government identification. Could this include digital passports someday?
My bet is that it will take a while. Even when I have a digital boarding pass for Air Canada, the staff often end up printing one out since it does not have the gate information. Although, Google Now has been pretty accurate about displaying gate and scheduling information when I am at the airport since it knows my flights by reading my email.
The greatest difficulty to that method is battery life. When I traveled around, I had to carry a heavy battery back to keep my phone charged. For phones to be dependable to carry all critical information, they need batteries that can handle days of constant use between charges. They also need to be slightly more rugged so they could be dropped on the ground or in water without breaking.