My recent travel tip article about homesickness got me thinking about how intertwined technology and travel are while on the road. Here are my tips for finding that much-needed balance between the two.
1) Social Media
There’s no way around it. We all love social media and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. While Facebook and Twitter are ideal methods for keeping in touch with our loved ones, I try to keep the use to a minimum. For one thing, a lot of places around the world don’t have the best internet connection so there may be times when you don’t have the option of posting a picture or messaging a friend back home. Try designating a time and place (either in the morning or evening) and take the rest of the day to enjoy your surroundings.
Let’s be honest. Everyone loves getting mail especially since so much is done these day via the web. No matter how hard I play it off, I can’t help but smile when I receive a letter or postcard in the mail. Another reason to opt for the old-fashion but never out of style postcard is because a lot of people actually keep a collection. It’s a way to make your friends and family involved during your trip (if not a bit jealous – although that shouldn’t be the reason to send one). I used to collect postcards simply because the pictures were way better than any my camera could take.
3) Calling Cards
Don’t underestimate the Calling Card. While Skype and other internet dependent technologies are affordable, you won’t always have an internet connection and investing in a calling card is a good resource to use. For example, NobelCom sells phone cards and they do a good job of tailoring their prices to the younger market, which is always a perk if you are on a backpacking budget.
4) Enjoy the Moment
Technology is a great thing but it should’t overpower your trip. While it’s tempting to tweet that you just bungee jumped or swam with sharks, the tweeting and Facebook picture posting can wait. The focus should be on the experience and not the response. Travel is about living in the moment and learning more about yourself through your surroundings. This is easier done away from your computer. That said, as a travel writing “bohemian”, I do understand the need to use these technologies to engage your readers.
5) Try Talking
One might think that this is another obvious choice but a lot of times people don’t even feel like communicating with a real person. I know people who purposely call others when they know they won’t be available. I’ve also seen the dreaded “oh no – a live person answered and not an automated recording” face. Personally, despite being naturally shy, I’ll always pick the human person over the fake recording. The same should be true during travel. It’s better to ask a local about where to eat and drink than looking in your guidebook designed for tourists.