This blog is called Tales of Travel and Tech, but I’d like to remind everyone that traveling doesn’t mean taking a bunch of tech stuff along on your vacation.
Want to maximize your travel experience? Then skip the tech!
Most of the time, that is. Not all of the time.There’s plenty a bit of tech can do to expand your travel, but not if it blocks you from experiences!
On a bus, plane, train:
I often travel alone but always find scenery to see, people to talk to, other conversations to listen in on. (Plus, there are typically movies on buses or planes.) When I absolutely must work my tech comes out, at the cost of some cultural gains or enjoying some of the world’s beauty.
Do you really want to be looking at some screen while once-in-a-lifetime scenery or cultural experience is right outside your window?
Walking through a city:
I am there for the sights — and sounds — so iPod music in my ears would kill at least half the experience to be gained from my travels.
Do you really want to cut out the sounds of the life and culture going on around you?
Remember the license plate game? I Spy as you see what’s around you? Conversations about life or what’s going on around you? Inventing games that stretch your brain? Reading books that take you to anywhere to do anything?
Any tech, aside from that which enables you to see/hear/walk/etc, takes all that away from you.
The only tech we need on vacation is tech that enables communication with the people involved. Calling a hotel or museum. Checking out that hotel or museum, etc online. Using a language translation app or language dictionary. (And actually, plenty of us traveled perfectly well before cell phones so we don’t even really need that.)
And speaking of language…
Trying to read road signs, billboards, and signs in store windows in a foreign language can bring more good laughs than a funny video.
I have 20 movies I ripped from CDs in 2011 and 2013. They were on a USB card so I could plug them into my Mac or a TV. In 4 years I’d watched zero of them! I finally watched 2 when a sandstorm hit Tel Aviv keeping me and my guest stuck inside for two days and the rest when I was ill and stuck indoors. With so much going on around me daily, it was more interesting to watch life.
You and your family (if traveling with family) could take games and entertainment with you, but I hope you’ll ask your self this:
Will it actually enhance your vacation or will it reduce amazing experiences and unique family time that can be remembered fondly for the rest of your lives?
Traveling alone? Ask yourself this:
Will it enhance your travels or reduce amazing experiences you would have if your face wasn’t buried in a screen?
Chances are, you can leave all the electronic games at home. A few games on your iPhone or smartphone and a set of dice (for Yahtzee* and Farkle**) are all you need. (I always have about 8 dice in a tiny coin purse in my backpack.)
There are many games you can play with dice, you can bring people together in a game, and you can play dice almost anywhere. (Don’t try dice on an airplane or your dice may end up under a woman’s sari.)
Perhaps, a partial concession to tech set up Overdrive [iPhone or Android] so you can “check out” books and videos from free from your local library.
Another interesting entertainment when you’re not out and about:
watching local TV, which can be fun if you know the show, or be fun to figure out the story when you don’t know the local language, or helps you become familiar with local languages.
But there is some tech you’ll want to take:
A camera — so you can take your vacation home for posterity. I suggest one that can go underwater or in the rain and snow. You may also want a GoPro or other action camera.