Old-school trumps tech­nol­ogy when trav­el­ling

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - TRAVEL - By Myscha The­ri­ault

WE’VE all been there. De­spite your best ef­forts to be pre­pared, ac­ces­si­ble and on time, a tech­nol­ogy glitch has left you blow­ing in the wind. No mat­ter how well you jug­gle all of your busi­ness, lo­gis­ti­cal and fam­ily obligations, some­times it’s just im­pos­si­ble to keep all of your balls in the air. I love tech so­lu­tions as much as the next woman, but there are times when they let you down. When that hap­pens, my backup plan is to kick it old school.

Nav­i­ga­tion: An up-to-date GPS will cer­tainly get you where you need to go most of the time, but there will al­ways be con­struc­tion changes and new exit lanes your sys­tem won’t have on file. Ad­di­tion­ally, in large ur­ban ar­eas with highly con­cen­trated streets and high­way ramps, I’ve found even the new­est GPS can have trou­ble updating quickly enough to meet my needs. Fast­mov­ing mo­tor­cy­cles and lanes full of cargo trucks block­ing the way only add to the need for rapid re­cal­cu­la­tions.

And as much as I love the new Garmin we pur­chased on the road this sum­mer, it only lets me see a very limited pic­ture of where I should be head­ing next. That’s where hav­ing an old-fash­ioned map comes in handy. When my hus­band and I are road trip­ping long term as we are now, that map is typ­i­cally a na­tional road at­las paired with a fold­ing lo­cal sup­ple­ment picked up at the tourist in­for­ma­tion cen­ter.

When we’re on a walk­ing tour we’ve trav­eled to by plane, we still pick up a lo­cal map at the in­for­ma­tion cen­ter but tend to sup­ple­ment it with in­sert maps from the guide book, es­pe­cially if there’s no lo­cal Wi-Fi to use the nav­i­ga­tional app on our cell phone. I’m also not above call­ing a lo­cal con­tact with a pen and pa­per in hand and ask­ing for spe­cific in­struc­tion.

Au­dio: Wire­less head­sets for your phone and other elec­tronic de­vices may be a great con­cept, but to be hon­est they come with as many quirks as they do perks. Ex­tra charg­ers, de­vice sync­ing and find­ing the lug­gage room can all be te­dious for the full-time trav­eller who needs to stay as mo­bile as pos­si­ble. The same can be said for travel speak­ers, although depend­ing on the trip we do oc­ca­sion­ally bring a set with us.

When space is tight or soft­ware is glitch, how­ever, old-school ear buds are the way we roll. Many of them are avail­able with mi­cro­phones as well, mak­ing hands-free phone con­ver­sa­tions pos­si­ble with­out a charged power source. They also work if you want to watch on­line TV in the air­port with­out dis­turb­ing those around you.

While there’s cer­tainly no need to throw the tech baby out with the bath­wa­ter, hav­ing a few ba­sic so­lu­tions in your travel reper­toire can save you a great deal of time, space, stress and even cash on the road.


An old-fash­ioned map or na­tional road at­las comes in handy when trav­el­ling.

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