A SHOCKING WAY TO TRAVEL
Just consider this list.
- Poste restante
- Slide nights
- Relying entirely on a travel agent
- Being surprised by what the hotel looks like, or where it is located
- Using the landline in your hotel room
Yes, technology has changed the way we travel and while I’m all for it, I do have some reservations.
For me, one of the joys of my backpacking days was that frisson of fear/excitement that came from knowing I was out of reach until I decided to do something about it.
Now, with the whole world connected 24/7, it takes effort to fly under the radar.
And it probably should go without saying… but I’m not that enamoured of the prices Telcos charge for international roaming.
We’ve all got a bill shock story. Here’s mine.
Quebec City, 2008. Phone bill? $2500. And there’s the thing, the one phone call I made was short, if only because the recipient had the sense to ring off as soon as he heard how enthusiastically I’d been celebrating Quebec City’s 400th anniversary. And I swear I didn’t read the emails, not a single one properly. Just a quick flick, that’s all it took and I was $2500 poorer. (In defence of my stupidity my BS story happened four years ago, months after the iPhone had been released here.)
The irony, which I don’t mind admitting from this safe distance, is that at the time I was writing a column for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald called Smart Traveller. More like not-so-smart traveller.
Never again. So this is what I do now, and why with above provisos, I think the world of travel is so much better now than when we eagerly accepted invitations to slide nights.
BE SMART WITH YOUR PHONE.
Stick to texting. It’s a no-brainer really. Turn off data, and then just to be sure, flick the switches on the mail, calendar and everything else that comes with a button so the phone doesn’t inadvertently dial a number when you’re not looking. Call me paranoid if you like but they’re not called smart phones for nothing.
While lots of other travel writers recommend buying cheap phones or sims when you land, it’s so much easier to use your own phone when you’re on unfamiliar territory. And, really, how long did it take to master your phone? Do you want to go through that again? No, I didn’t think so.
WIFI, WHY NOT?
One word. Skype. Download the App right now. But do all other travellers a favour and don’t use your hotel WiFi if there’s a charge. Then tell management how you feel about being charged for something as essential as plumbing. Better still, tell the world by posting on Trip Advisor. Trip Advisor has its flaws – like naming the Akama Resort at Hervey Bay as the best hotel in Australia for 2012 – but if you want the world to know something, it’s the go-to channel.
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