People continuously rave on about how technology has changed the way we gain travel information and how we can get it within seconds however recently I have noticed this has been to the detriment of the true values of the traditional backpacker. I guess I am a traditional backpacker? When I took my first round the world trip nobody had a mobile phone, nobody had a laptop, none of the hostels even had Internet! The only contact I had with anyone was the good ol’ fashioned hostel message board, a phonecard and the occasional visits to an Internet cafe which was few and far between because of the cost.
Unfortunately I think technology is ruining parts of the travelling experience
Let me explain…….
1. Don’t ruin the surprise – Nowadays people rarely just turn up and search for a room, when you decide you are moving on you can research places to stay in your next destination, check reviews and book all within 10 minutes. Surely the excitement of just turning up and spending a while looking for a bed is better than looking at a computer screen and planning? This also goes for the sightseeing you want to do. If you already know about everything and have it all planned online before you travel you will undoubtedly miss out on some even greater experiences.
2. Its Good To Talk – well at least face to face!! I was recently at a hostel bar in Athens and was chatting to the bar man. The bar was packed yet there was literally no atmosphere apart from the odd slurp from a straw and the continual noise of fingers hitting a keyboard. We discussed for a while that surely the idea of a hostel bar was the place to meet people NOT sit on your laptop and contact all the people you already know. In fact the bar man and myself talked about it so much he decided to turn off the wifi and start happy hour early. Thankfully people stayed and we all got chatting and had a great night! This is one of my all time favourite travel experiences.
3. Water & Tech don’t mix – The pool & the beach two of my favourite locations to meet new people, chat have a laugh play games and have some drinks. I was shocked to meet a couple recently who both brought their macbooks to the pool everyday and then proceeded to either watch movies, TV shows or skype their friends at home. Now surely if you are travelling and in a foreign country the last thing you want to be doing is watching stuff on your laptop and constantly speaking with your friends at home whilst you can be making new ones?! I still cant believe I witnessed this however they did it basically every day for a week before moving onto enjoy their movies at some other pool in some other location!
Whilst technology may rule our lives at home we must make sure we let it go and get back to basics when we are on the road.
Having said all this I am in love with my ipod. When I first travelled I had a minidisc player which I thought was amazing and much better than a cd player and taking all my Cd’s. Now I can take my whole music collection when I travel and after all I’m sure you’ll all agree music plays a very important role in travel. So next time you hit the road ditch all the other flashy stuff an ipod is all you need 🙂