Put the phone down!

Posted: 25 October 2010 in Europe, Travel Tidbits

Dear world,

it is very much a possibility to take a vacation without technology. Our phones seem to be glued to our faces, which is ironic, because I grew up without a phone, at all… And it was a really nice existence. We feel the necessity to have phones at all times, because our work, our family, and life in general, expect us to be at their beckon call. Guess what, sometimes we just need a break. So when you go on vacation, ditch the phone! First of all your hotel will have a phone, your neighbor will have a phone, and if you’re in a well populated area, you’re probably close enough for other people to hear you scream if you get in trouble. Debate all you want, but my actual point is to tell you what tech you should bring with you.

Do’s

1. A Watch. Do you even own a watch? Not many people do. Mostly because we use our phones too often for telling the time. Just try and have a functional watch on your wrist, and you’ll find it the most useful gadget you brought along.

2. A Hairdryer from the country you’re going to. Yes, we can pile on a million converters. But, if you want your hair to look great, just go to the nearest electronic store and get a $20 no-conversion-necessary hairdryer, and save yourself the headache. Note: Call the place you plan to stay at, it might come with a hairdryer already.

3. Detergent. I know it’s not technology-based, yet it is one of those things that can be either difficult to find, or expensive to buy. Tide makes great travel packs that you can carry onto the plane.

Don’ts

1. A Laptop. If you are staying in a hotel, than OK… you can get away with it. However… Hostels and laptops do not mix. You either have to keep it on your person indefinitely or it will get stolen. Do you really think a rinkydink lock will keep someone from stealing your laptop? Think again. Secondly, learn to detach. No one really needs a status update minute to minute. That’s why there are internet cafes.

2. Electric toothbrush. Sounds silly, but it’s much easier to carry a regular toothbrush, than to carry chargers and converters.

3. A Camera (attached to your face). I know what you’re thinking “Never! How could I not take a picture of everything?!” I don’t want you to not bring it, but try to at least enjoy some of your trip without looking through the lens. Whenever you see a famous landmark: take a deep breath, soak it all in, talk to your friends or family about it. Then, after all that, you can take a photo.

Things to look for:

Internet! Internet cafes are everywhere, and usually cost only a couple dollars per hour. It’s pretty reasonable, and if you can’t find one right away, just ask a local, they’ll probably know. Also try the library! I know it’s a novel concept, but often they will have free internet for people with library cards. If you don’t have a card. Get one. It makes a great souvenir. It’s free. And you can use your hotel address. It usually works. Except in New York….

Laundry! Some cities don’t have laundry facilities readily available. So when planning your journey, also plan where you’ll have access to laundry. If you think that you’ll just wash stuff in the sink… remind yourself how many other people might need to use that sink. Most big cities should have a good option, or their might be laundry in your hostel or hotel. This is one aspect where forethought is key. Never wing it when it comes to clean clothes!

Other useful packing ideas:

Everyone knows how to buy travel sized bath products. But make sure you have a money belt; copies of your passport and credit card numbers; address of the embassy; knowing how to get to and from airports and train stations.

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