I remember when I first started travelling backpacking was all about the simple life. Anyone caught travelling with a laptop or even a mobile phone was considered a “flash packer” and wasn’t entering in to the spirit of the travel adventure! Of course these days things have moved on somewhat and I can’t imagine any backpacker, independent traveller or holidaymaker not travelling with at least their smartphone, maybe their tablet too and quite often a laptop as well! Rather than diminish the travel experience I’m a firm believer that the smartphone especially has enriched travel in so many ways, empowering us to do more and make the most of our travel experiences. So here’s a few reasons why I think your smartphone is your best travel companion.
Easy to book hotels, flights and more
Travel doesn’t always go smoothly, sometimes flights get cancelled, hotels get overbooked or aren’t as nice as you’d hoped for, trains needed booking or you simply need to know the local bus timetable to help you get around. All of this is now instantly at your finger tips, no wasting time walking around town trying to find a tourist information office to help you get that info. If a crisis occurs you can simply perform a quick search and get your travels back on track. This has been the case for me a number of times now and the day was far from ruined all thanks to making a few quick searches and secure bookings online. I remember well my experiences before I had my smartphone with me when I’d waste a day or more trying to sort out another hotel, or a train ticket out of a city, even a new flight because of illness. It was hellish before the smartphone and wifi came along. Now its an absolute god-send. For this reason alone you should always have your smartphone with you. It just my save your bacon!
Helps your relax more
I’m just not one of those people who can lay on a sun bed and stare at the sky or 8 hours of a day. I appreciate relaxing times as much as active excursion days but I find I need distractions to keep me in one place. While I enjoy the odd book that’s just one possible medium I could consume. Now that the smartphone is so powerful and storage is so huge its incredible to think how much I can do from the comfort of my sun lounger. I can play the latest games on my phone, even mobile bingo games, I can catch up with friends back home, write in my travel journal, even watch a movie if I want. Its all right there, relieving the boredom whenever I want. It really has helped a guy like me relax and unwind when I’m on a beach holiday. Slowing down and getting in to the chilled way of life has been made all the more easy now that I have a phone full of distractions. My smartphone is now my meditation tool as much as anything else!
Keeping in touch
While this is an obvious one for a phone it can’t be overlooked, not just for keeping family and friends entertained with photos of last night’s dinner, but also for the countless times smartphones have let loved ones know you’re ok. Bad things happen everywhere, natural disasters, terrorism, even just acts of crime that make the international news. I’ve been on numerous trips where just a simple message to let loved one’s know I wasn’t anywhere near some catastrophic event makes carrying my smartphone around with me all the more worthwhile. Indeed this has been the case for many other travellers, most notably in Paris and Belgium recently but also the earthquake in Nepal and Japan. Not only that but twitter has become the go-to platform for learning about an event that may have an impact on your travels. I was in the Philippines in 2012 when an earthquake struct as I was waiting for a ferry to another islands. Twitter was the best place to go to find instant reports of Tsunami warnings and aftershocks. It helped me make better judgement calls as quickly as possible and also reschedule my travels after all the ferries were cancelled.
The smartphone has changed our lives in many ways but its changed travel for the better in many more! Whether its keeping in touch when it matters, trying to relax instead of stressing or re-arranging your travel plans last minute. No device has ever had such a useful impact on travel.