I recently received an email from AirFrance about electronics and some of the new policies they have for security when traveling back to the US. The email stated that all electronics that were planning on being transported must be in working order, and travelers must be able to prove so if necessary.
More and more, technology has started to be integrated into our daily lives—especially as a member of Generation Y. Our cell phones are our everything, our camera, contact book, way to keep in touch with friends, our maps, our boarding passes…the list goes on and on. It’s one of the most valuable tools I have as a traveler. There are a few times I would have been out of luck if I hadn’t been able to check in online before a flight, which was done completely on my phone. When I need to get around a city I don’t know, saving some maps can help me get to where I need to go in half the time (which makes me wonder how hard to must have been to travel in the days without well-drawn maps or GPS).
Technology isn’t always a positive thing when traveling, however. I wrote an article about being glued to your camera or phone screen for LanguageCorps, and how sometimes being so focused on getting the certain shot or getting somewhere without finding yourself lost can take away from some of the joys of travel. There are some places that you shouldn’t have a map for and that you should enjoy just being a part of, and constantly getting text messages can take away from that experience.
As our society becomes more and more attached to its technological devices, we might start to think about how many we really need and how often we need to check them. I know I am not going to be used to receiving messages from people all the time when I return home—not having WiFi constantly really changed my perspective about how long I really need to talk to my friends over iMessage or Facebook. I’ll miss having long periods of time where I can enjoy a stroll through the Uffizi or some escargot in Paris without my phone buzzing.
There’s a downside and an upside to almost everything, and technology while traveling is one of them. What do you think? Do you use your cell phone for travel? Do you find it harmful or helpful when you are on the road?
Image courtesy of Giuseppe Milo.